Lightfall, Bungie’s latest Destiny 2 universe expansion, is finally out. Fans of the game were excited to try out several new features that the company had promised. These include a new subclass, quality-of-life updates, and a brand-new campaign. While Lightfall may not have been the hit its predecessor, the Witch Queen, was, the expansion introduced several of these anticipated updates. For example, players now have a new mod system with a new loadouts section. In addition, the commendation system was also introduced, allowing players to show off accomplishments outside of titles and seals. And best of all, a new subclass and raid! However, as fans started to play through the campaign, many took to social media to vent their unhappiness.
So, let’s take a look at how this turnabout happened.
Lightfall’s story fell flat, according to some. And one of the reasons is that the tone did not match the gravity of events occurring in the game world. But let’s put it into perspective and start with what most agree was good. At the end of Season of the Seraph, players saw the Traveler take to space to confront the pyramid ships and the Witness head-on. This was one of the few times the Traveler showed any reaction to what was going on around it. The first was when it woke up and destroyed the would-be immortal Ghaul, who had successfully stolen the light from it. Now, it seemed there would be a significant faceoff between the Traveller and the Witness, who had pursued the former across the universe for millennia. And that is where the story picks up in Lightfall. Vanguard ships are flying around trying to help the Traveller defend against the Witness and the pyramid ships, only to have the Witness display their overwhelming strength.
The Witness then tries to open a gateway through the Traveller, only to fail. However, they were granted a vision of the Veil on Neptune and sent their new disciple, Calus, to acquire it. Former lightbearer Osiris and the Guardian chase after Calus to stop him.
They succeed but ultimately fail.
It is hinted that the Witness used Calus to get the Guardian and their Ghost close to the Veil to establish a connection to the Traveller and open the portal.
A majority of the campaign saw players on Neptune, a new destination. Osiris tasked players to help the Cloud Striders - the cyber-enhanced defenders of Neomuna. And this is where Bungie dropped the ball, according to some players' opinions.
It felt like filler to tide players over until The Final Shape. The missions on Neomuna started strong but quickly fell off. Moreover, they did not correctly convey the seriousness of what was happening back on Earth. You left a Defcon 1 situation to run around in an isolated environment. Nothing on Neomuna felt like it affected what was happening on Earth. All players got were lightheartedness and jokes by Nimbus - even when the situation was grim on Neomuna after the mission where spoiler alert, his mentor, Rohan, died. Between Nimbus’s marks and the campaign rush, it did not hit that sweet spot where players could genuinely be affected.
While Destiny 2 is known for player vs. environment activities (PvE), player vs. player (PvP) is also a significant contributor to the game’s popularity. So, if the PvE side is not resonating with players, they can turn to PvP.
While Destiny 2’s PvP events, the Iron Banner, and Trials have yet to appear in Lightfall, several issues are plaguing the mode. Lightfall was released without any new maps, while matchmaking and sandbox balancing are two problems players must deal with. In their latest look ahead, the game’s director, Joe Blackburn, admitted that matchmaking isn’t where they want it to be and hope to improve this as they adjust various algorithms.
Sandbox balancing is a more delicate process to get down, and beyond separate PvP and PvE balances, there’s not much that Bungie can do. Bungie has released two new maps in recent years, which has been disappointing. Playing the same maps repeatedly quickly gets boring. Bungie says they hope to shake things by releasing game modes like Eruption. And Lightfall brings with it ‘not swap’ - a new modifier for Trials of Osiris and the competitive playlist. This modifier will drain players' energy if they swap exotic armor in a match. It is one that players are calling “much needed.”
With the release of Lightfall, both PvP, and PvE have seen the introduction of players being invisible. And no, hunters are not to be blamed this time. It is a bug that has players and their weapons becoming invisible after playing any activity with a commendation screen. Bungie has quickly identified the cause and has a fix scheduled for next Thursday. Because the bug fix will go live two days after Iron Banner was supposed to start, they have postponed the event by a week and will bring forward Trials of Osiris for Friday instead.
The primary campaign is finished, and players still have unanswered questions. But Bungie has acknowledged and promised that the whole story would unveil over the year.
Team Hard in the Paint has won the race for world first in Lightfall’s raid, ‘Root of Nightmares.’ The raid saw fireteams of six rushing to solve puzzles and combat challenges to claim the coveted title and win the belt. Players are searching the game to see what has been unlocked with the final boss’s defeat. So far, a new cutscene is available when logging in, and some dialogue in patrol missions has changed. While there are still unanswered questions, and there may be even more after everyone has a chance to check out the raid, there is only one certainty. And that is, Destiny 2 has an exciting year ahead.
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