The next season of Destiny 2 is right around the corner, with a release date of May 24th.

Today, Bungie released their usually weekly update the TWAB (This Week At Bungie) and revealed several new insights about the upcoming season: we were shown a new set of Trials armour that is set to be coming to the PvP mode (with one of the best Hunter armour sets in the entire game), release information on the upcoming Dungeon coming May 27th, and a suite of new patch notes including the fabled addition of more vault space – hallelujah.

New Trials Armour. Bungie, Destiny 2

Seasonal Updates for Destiny 2

One of the topics mentioned was seasonal activities and how there are changing in the upcoming year. Destiny 2’s seasonal events tie very closely to real-world holidays – Guardian Games in Spring, Solstice in Summer, Festival of the Lost in Autumn and the Dawning in Winter – and for a very long time now, have felt quite stale and lifeless. The new armour Bungie introduces to Eververse is always nice, some of the best armour in the game even, but the activities and events outside of the cosmetics always feel lacklustre when compared to other game’s seasonal events.

To combat this, Destiny 2 will receive a new item in the form of an ‘Event Card’. At first glance, these appear quite similar to how triumph books were handled in the original Destiny: a set of triumphs and challenges that can be completed during a set period that offer unique rewards for their completion. A direct quote of this new event card reads as follows:

‘With our Solstice event, we’re introducing a new feature called the Event Card. In much the same way that Seasonal Challenges introduces an easy-to-understand (and find) list of goals you can complete in a Season, the Event Card does the same for Destiny 2’s annual events. When Solstice begins, players will gain access to this Event Card which includes new points of interest to explore…’

This Week At Bungie 19/05/22

This will include unique event challenges, event-exclusive Seals and Titles to show off your accomplishments to other players, and ‘unique event rewards’. The base card will be free for all players, and it offers a reason for players to get involved with the seasonal events for their entire 3-week duration as opposed to tapping out after a week due to the monotony and boredom of an event. On paper, these changes are just a universal good.

 As always, though, the monkey paw curls.

The base version of the card will be free and grants access to the Seals, Title and other goodies, there is an upgraded version of the card that gives Exotic and Legendary cosmetics to the player.

‘While those items have traditionally been part of the Eververse store, with the upcoming Solstice event, we will curate a collection of these items as unique rewards through the Event Card itself.’

This Week At Bungie 19/05/22

This upgrade will cost 1000 Silver (roughly £7.99 or $10) and immediately grant the player with an Exotic bundle of cosmetics and will allow the said player to buy more, such as the ‘Sunny Exotic Ghost Shell’ using tickets collected during the event.

On the surface, this may not be much – if people want to splash some cash on cosmetics that were going to be in the Eververse store anyway, let them – but it comes as part of a growing trend in Destiny 2 of increasing prices and increasing the amount of content that is divided between different purchases that ultimately make the game so much harder to recommend.

The Event Card VS Eververse

Icon for the new Event Card. Bungie, Destiny 2

As stated in the TWAB, the upgraded version of the Event Card has a curated list of cosmetics that would otherwise have been in the seasonal Eververse store. At first, nothing seems to have changed: in fact, you’re more likely to get a deal as the 1000 Silver upgrade is projected to have a value of 3000 Silver. So, what’s the issue?

Well, the wording here implies that these items will not be available for Bright Dust (the free equivalent to Silver that is grindable) at the time of the event, and they will instead be available later down the road. Whether this means that there will be other cosmetics in Eververse at Solstice is yet to be seen, but what it does mean is that free-to-play players or players who do not want to spend money on Silver are going to be missing out on cosmetics that would, at one time, have been available to them for Bright Dust.

Bungie plans to expand this to all of its seasonal events, so let’s use the recent Guardian Games as an example: during the Games, a very popular shop item was the ‘Sponsored Exotic Ghost Shell’ which was available both for Silver on day 1 of the event, or available in later weeks through Bright Dust. If you wanted it as soon as, you got it for Silver, but if you were willing to wait you could get it for free.

Unless we are missing something (and we very much might) then this option will no longer be included in the new system.

Whether you care about the cosmetics or not, it is disappointing to see this kind of change: I have a friend in my clan who buys basically everything in the shop with Bright Dust, but now he won’t be able to do that because he rarely buys Silver. It limits player expression and, ironically, gives non-paying players one less thing to work towards.

At the end of the day, though, these are simply cosmetics. They do not alter gameplay and can be ignored if you wish: the base Event Card still grants access to a lot of other stuff, including the Titles and Seals.

However, what this Event Card upgrade signifies is a further shift towards slicing up the game into small pieces that can be sold at separate prices, when really, they should be purchased under one singular banner.

Destiny 2’s Accursed A-La-Carte

As of late, more and more of the game has been cut up to give out as individual pieces.

Firstly, the 30th Anniversary Event from last December gave players a fun and compelling suite of weapons, armour and a super interesting activity with Xur for free, but Bungie also offered a paid pass of around £21 that gave a new dungeon and the return of fan favourite Exotic, Gjallarhorn. While strange, this type of thing wasn’t frowned upon by the community: the 30th Anniversary Pack price was high, but both it and the free offerings could be considered equal in price.

Additionally, the free offerings were still super lucrative, and the pack was given out as a bonus at a time when the game had a content drought due to the delay of the annual expansion ‘The Witch Queen’. Overall, this seemed fine.

Related: The Simple Way to Fix Strikes in Destiny 2

Then came the ‘Dungeon Key’. In this upcoming year, including next season, Destiny 2 will be receiving a new Raid or Dungeon every season: a new Raid with The Witch Queen, new dungeons for seasons 17 and 19 and a free reprised Destiny 1 Raid for season 18. To get access to these 2 new Dungeons, players would either have to own the deluxe edition of The Witch Queen (where the Dungeon Key would essentially come at no extra cost), or they could purchase the key separately for 2000 Silver.

This is where players had a problem: Dungeons had become a core part of the game and so many had assumed that they would be available if you bought the season, they were available in, but instead you had to fork out an extra £15 on top of the seasonal price of £7.99. While not a lot, it once again represented a shift towards cutting up the game and offering up the dissected parts for a wide array of prices that would confuse and bewilder paying customers.

And now we have the Event Card.

On their own, each of these is not too egregious. It could be argued that the Dungeons needed to be monetised in this way to have them be made at all (we only got 1 new Dungeon last year and that was from the 30th Anniversary Bundle), much like how Ornaments packs of ‘Whisper of the Worm’ funded the Zero Hour mission. It could be argued that the Event Card is a better deal for people who want cosmetics and that by doing this they can start offering more cosmetics for free to more players. A lot of arguments could be made.

Not enough of them, however, account for the destructive effect this type of cutting has on overall game health and the ability to entice new players.

The Eververse Store on the week of 17/05/2022. Destiny 2, Bungie

A Losing Battle

Destiny 2 is a fantastic game.

It is the best first-person shooter on the market and is one of the most successful live service games ever made with a loyal community and incredible content. So why can I not recommend it… anyone?

This confusion involving the way the game is monetised is a large reason why. Major expansions, content vaulting, the Forsaken Pass, season passes, Eververse, Dungeon Keys and now the Event Card: there is just too much. It divides the player base and makes it insanely difficult to introduce new players to game when they have to wade through this much baggage to get caught up.

A lot of these things are inevitable and a lot of them are completely acceptable, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a confusing mess. When paired with the sub-par introduction for New Lights, creates the image of Destiny 2 as being a greedy, not fun game.

The game continues to receive numerous substantial and evolutionary changes to the entire game’s systems, modes and the like – the free side of the game even continues to expand, with the upcoming revisions of all the Light-based subclasses and another upcoming Raid being completely free for all players. The content is always worth what you pay for it and then some, and I have never felt ripped off by what Bungie has sold me.

I promise you; Destiny 2 is incredible. I just can’t bring myself to recommend it, not while the monkey’s paw continues to beckon for more and more.  

Destiny 2 is available now on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. The newest season arrives May 24th.

Check out another one of our articles at 9 to 5 Gamers here!

Jack Carson

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