First Impression With Destiny 2 Season of The Haunted and Solar 3.0
SO… we’re back in Destiny 2 country and it’s been…three months and a few days since I’ve rambled at length about Destiny 2 for you, my beautiful readers? After Elden Ring came out, everything sort of turned into a…haze. Not even Destiny 2 could pull me away from it. But now that I’m more or less at the end (still need to do the endgame boss gauntlet, I’m taking my sweet time), and there wasn’t anything that was grabbing me this week; I’m gonna talk about the new season of Destiny 2 content. Mainly because I need to fill the space and this is timely for me because A) New Season release and 2) I had no power for a few days and couldn’t play and research what I needed to as normal. But enough talk, time for Space Hauntings.
If you couldn’t tell based on the title, the current season of Destiny content is called Season of the Haunted. The setup for it is thus: the Leviathan, the massive planet-eating spaceship of Calus, the deposed Cabal Emperor has re-emerged from the Darkness in orbit of the Earth’s moon, like the Glykon cruiser from Season of the Chosen. We, alongside other members of the Vanguard, are sent to investigate and discover that like the aforementioned Glykon, it is covered with the same plant-like Darkness Corruption and crawling with Nightmares similar to the ones on the Moon created by the Pyramid (Darkness Spaceships part of a massive armada known as The Black Fleet). Shenanigans Ensue.
I’m keeping this as vague as possible because the season just started and the story stuff that’s being tackled here is cool. One of the characters I was hoping we’d see react to more of Calus’s bullshit would be his daughter Caiatl, the current Cabal Empress following us Spanking the Red Legion nearly 5 years ago, and who’s one of our closest allies at the moment. To say that she is less than approving of us (well, more like Eris) using Hive rituals to sever Calus’s connection with the Lunar Pyramid would be an understatement. The Sever missions, (the weekly activity that has us purging the Nightmares from the ship) are a good example of how the story is playing out right now. It’s a good showcase for Crow and some of the stuff he’s gotta deal with since he got his memories of his former life as Uldren Sov back. While I’ve not kept up on the lore since the Vow of the Disciple Raid dropped back in February, I’m once again reminded that the story is the best part of Destiny as a property. Seriously, Bungie’s been on a goddamn roll for the last two years and it’s awesome.
Gameplay-wise, it’s a slightly different story. The season came out three days ago at the time of this writing and the new dungeon isn’t even out yet (It will be when this gets posted), but the prevailing first impression of Season of the Haunted so far is “this is neat”. We get the Leviathan back as a patrol area, specifically the Castellum area, which is also home to the seasonal activity known as Nightmare Containment. This is a public event style activity where you and other guardians have to kill enemies and nightmares to seal them back up because of how badly the…hauntedness(?) is leaking out of the Leviathan. There are three progressively more difficult tiers to get through before getting to the final boss of the week and getting the loot. If you’ve played Destiny 2 in the past, this gives off big vibes of the Escalation Protocol activity on Mars from back in the day. It’s also the perfect opportunity to mess with Solar 3.0, the other main selling point of the season.
As the second of the three Subclass 3.0 updates meant to bring out Light-based subclasses, Solar 3.0 does for the Sunbreaker Titans, Gunslinger hunters and Dawnblade Warlocks what Void 3.0 did for those subclasses. So far, as a first impression…it’s fine. It’s very much a “this is still a work in progress” by both the season barely being out of the first week, and Void 3.0 having the benefit of being developed alongside the Witch Queen expansion, making it feel more fleshed out. Again, I’m speaking purely as a Warlock player because that’s where most of my playtime is these days; but the changes to Dawnblade, a subclass I seldom use, get me interested in maybe giving it more of a chance in the future. A good chunk of this comes from the new melee option we get called Incinerator Snap, which does exactly what it says on the tin and releases a wave of explosions from a snap of our fingers, Roy Mustang style. And if you’re telling me that you don’t wanna be blowing shit up Roy Mustang style, then you are a goddamn liar.
I am a little disappointed that two of our three aspects, Heat Rises and Icarus Dash are just ripped from the old Attunement of the Sky, but it means I can run those and Well of Radiance at the same time, which is nice. I also wish there was a bit more clarity on the verbiage for Solar. I say this because the new verbs are Radiant, Restoration, Healing, Scorch and Ignite and while the Radiant (a damage buff), Restoration and Healing all make sense, Scorch and Ignite could be better defined in-game. On paper, they work the same way as Slowing and Freezing work on Stasis, which is applying a certain number of stacks of one leads to the other. In practice, it’s hard to see what’s scorched or has enough scorch stacks to proc Ignite. Mainly because of all the other fire effects going down. But it’s early in the season, so I’m willing to wait to see what’s going to change because Solar 3.0 is still a good update to the current subclass system.
Overall, I think Season of the Haunted is gonna be a “Play mostly for the story” season. I like a lot of the ways that the characters are interacting with each other and how the story is panning out. The current gameplay loop is fine, but it could use some tweaks. I am however gonna max out the season pass this time around because the cosmetic armour this go-around is straight-up skeleton themed and I’m a sucker for that shit.