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Destiny 2: The Quickest Ways to Catch Up on the Story

Here are three best ways to catch up on the Destiny 2 story.

Catching up on the story of live service games and MMOs with a long history is never easy. The struggle is made worse when half the narrative isn’t even in the game anymore. Here’s how to catch up on the story of Destiny 2 in the “quickest” ways possible.

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How to Catch Up on the Destiny 2 Story

Destiny 2‘s story is fragmented, missing huge parts, and so windy and convoluted it’s next to impossible to summarize it quickly. Luckily, both developer Bungie and the wider community have done their level best to put everything into perspective. There’s a lot to catch up on if you’re coming to the game as a new player, so here are three ways to get up to speed.

Use the In-Game Timeline

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One of the best narrative summaries that doesn’t take forever to consume, Destiny 2‘s in-game timeline, found in the upper right corner of the Director screen, gives a very brief overview of the past six years in-game.

Specifically, you can read two-paragraph synopses of each expansion dating all the way back to the beginning of D2 and the Red War campaign. Before the Red War are two additional nodes — Destiny Calls and The Witness — which detail the history of the franchise’s story and its ultimate antagonist, respectively.

These first two nodes each launch brief, several-minute cutscenes that give the broad strokes you should know going into Destiny 2‘s wider world. They aren’t comprehensive by any means, but they’re a start.

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You can also play three Timeline Reflections — the first story missions from the Forsaken, Beyond Light, and Witch Queen expansions — to give yourself a quick primer on some of the more important plot points from years past. Bear in mind that these missions are only introductions and might leave you with more questions than answers.

Watch a Lore Video (or Several)

If you want something a bit more feature-complete when it comes to learning the Destiny story, community creators have you covered. Just don’t expect to learn everything quickly. The story of this franchise is incredibly complex, with narratives hidden within narratives and past world-altering event chains happening offscreen. There are a couple of videos in particular I want to highlight.

The first is one of the most recent full-story recaps available on YouTube — a four-hour video from creator Evaze. Sure it’s long, but Evaze goes into great detail about many of the thornier details that you wouldn’t otherwise pick up on as a new player. And, believe it or not, these four hours will take you significantly less time than playing/reading all the content necessary to get the same amount of information.

Another creator of note in the Destiny 2 lore community is My Name is Byf. He puts out regular, lengthy lore explainers on his YouTube channel, covering topics from both the current season and expansion. One of his most recent gives a somewhat brief introduction to the idea of wishes, the Ahamkara, and a bit of discussion on the Season of the Witch.

Note that at around 20 minutes, this video from Byf is on the shorter end. As I said, it takes a lot to unpack some of Destiny’s denser topics, many times to the story’s detriment.

Find a Fireteam to Carry You Along

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Destiny 2 is best played with other people, and not only do you get in-game assistance when you have a fireteam of comrades, but you can also ask veterans about the story implications of what you’re doing as well. If you can find companions who’ve been playing the game for years across multiple seasons, they’ll have a wealth of knowledge you can draw on. More importantly, they can help you with some of the game’s harder early challenges.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve talked to a new player and explained the basics of the world to them. It’s an even better experience if you can actually play through some of what’s being explained. Sadly, a good half of Destiny 2 no longer exists in the game for “technical reasons,” so you’ll need to hear about the Red War and most of Forsaken from any friends you make in-game.

How to Find a Fireteam

As for how to find said friends, there are thousands of community Discord servers with players from around the world who are happy to welcome newcomers to the franchise. Those servers might be linked to a content creator, found via a tool like Disboard, or discovered through a dozen other methods.

Once you find a place you like, don’t be afraid to put down roots. I’ve made some of my oldest friends thanks to Destiny 2. Mine isn’t a unique story, either. There are some truly wholesome interactions and relationships you can build in D2. All it takes is a little time and effort.

Those are the three best ways I can think of to get caught up on the Destiny 2 story. None of them are easy, and none of them are fast, but D2 is a massive game with more than a decade of narrative to cover. Being a newcomer is probably one of the most daunting things you can be in a game like this, but there are resources you can use. For more, we have guides on all the DLCs and which you should buy, how to check server status, and more in our D2 guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.