Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

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Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Key art for Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Cover art, showcasing the reprised Moon destination
Developer(s)Bungie
Publisher(s)Bungie
Director(s)
Composer(s)
SeriesDestiny
Platform(s)
ReleaseOctober 1, 2019
Genre(s)Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is the seventh expansion for Destiny 2, a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie. Released on October 1, 2019 (delayed from its original date of September 17), it is the first major expansion to be published independently by Bungie after acquiring publishing rights for the series from Activision in early 2019, as well as the first to arrive on Steam rather than the Battle.net client which had been used since launch.[1] The expansion returns players to the Moon as a playable destination, with the location reprised and expanded upon from the original version of the first Destiny game. Shadowkeep includes new content for every aspect of the game; including new missions, new Player versus Environment (PvE) locations, Player versus Player (PvP) maps, weapons, armor, exotic gear, a new raid, as well as further fundamental changes to the core functionality of the game, including a revamped armor system.

Along with Shadowkeep, the original Destiny 2 base game was re-released as a free-to-play title under a release titled Destiny 2: New Light. New Light features all of the content of the original Destiny 2 base game, as well as the content from the first two expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind, access to the full PvE strikes playlist, the competitive PvP playlists and maps, and the hybrid PvE/PvP mode Gambit. Players of New Light also have access to all the playable destinations in the game, including the Tangled Shore, the Dreaming City, as well as the Moon without needing to own either the Forsaken and/or Shadowkeep expansions.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

Shadowkeep is similar in scale to the original Destiny's fourth expansion, Rise of Iron, and features a "full campaign", two new multiplayer PvE strike missions, and one new PvP Crucible map, as well as two reused ones. The expansion features the Moon as a returning, playable destination, where it has been reprised and expanded upon its original patrol mode from the original Destiny. Bungie claimed that the Moon would be twice the size of its original iteration, featuring major changes to the lunar environment, including the erection of a massive Hive fortress on the lunar surface that serves as a key area for the expansion. Eris Morn, a character from the original game who had been absent since the events of Destiny 2's base campaign, serves as the main NPC for Shadowkeep. The expansion also introduces a new faction of enemies called Nightmares—spectral manifestations of the trauma from the Guardians' past that have been reanimated by the Darkness and have been accidentally unleashed onto the Moon by Eris. Nightmare enemies mostly comprise of major story bosses from both Destiny and Destiny 2, as well as minor enemies from the Fallen, Hive, Cabal, Vex and Scorn enemy races, made more powerful by the Darkness and can even regenerate their health. Nightmare enemies can also be found in Lost Sectors. A new raid mission, "Garden of Salvation", was released on October 5, 2019, and takes place in the Black Garden on Mars from the original game; the raid is tied to the expansion's first seasonal content offering, Season of the Undying, which focuses on the Vex, who invade the Moon as a result of players' actions during the raid.

The expansion also features a new PvE activity on the Moon called "Nightmare Hunts", which are unlocked after completing the main campaign of Shadowkeep; they feature powerful Nightmare enemies with a Nightmare boss at the end. The activity has four new difficulty modes—Adept, Hero, Legend and Master—with brand new, preset modifiers. The Hero version of the activity released on October 8, while the Legend and Master versions were released on October 15 and October 22, respectively. Nightmare Hunts award "Nightmare Essences", materials which are required to craft new weapons and gear through another NPC called the Lectern of Enchantment. A new version of the PvE Nightfall strike activity called "Nightfall: The Ordeal" was released; The Ordeal features a weekly rotating Nightfall strike with the Adept, Hero, Legend and Master difficulty modes as well (also with preset modifiers), and can award exotic weapons and gear as well as upgrade materials. Unlike the regular Nightfall activity, matchmaking is included in The Ordeal but only on the Adept and Hero difficulties. Legacy Nightfall strikes also remain available for all players.

Changes were also made to the Crucible as well for Shadowkeep—the Control game mode is now in its own separate playlist, while a "Classic Mix" playlist consisting of the Control, Clash and Supremacy modes is also available. Survival is now the only available competitive mode featuring its own playlist and has been revamped into a 3v3 game mode; a separate "freelance" playlist is available for players who prefer to play Survival in a solo queue. The Crucible Labs playlist also returns, featuring beta versions of new Crucible game modes, including the 3v3 Elimination mode from the original game. Other PvP game modes in the Crucible are now featured as two weekly rotating playlists. A new rotating PvP mode called "Momentum Control" was released on October 29.

The armor system of Destiny 2 received a major overhaul with Shadowkeep. The "Armor 2.0" system rebuilds many of the functional aspects of the former armor system, allowing players more customization and control over their characters and their armor. Armor 2.0 allows players to use an "energy system" within each armor piece in order to equip armor mods; each mod acquired can be reused indefinitely, which allows for more experimentation and customization. Mods come either as a general mod or an elemental mod. Elemental mods must have the same energy type (Arc, Solar, or Void) that matches the armor piece's energy type in order for them to be equipped. General mods, however, can be equipped as normal. Each mod has an energy cost to them depending on its type, function and how powerful they are; players can upgrade armor pieces to increase their energy capacity to allow for the use of more powerful mods, and armor pieces get a small stat boost when they are fully upgraded. Armor 2.0 also reintroduces the Intellect, Discipline, and Strength stats from the first Destiny game, which allows players to reduce the cooldown times of their super, grenade, and melee abilities, respectively. Each armor piece also features a "Universal Ornament" slot, where players can change the aesthetic appearance of any Armor 2.0 piece to look like any Eververse armor pieces if they were already purchased and/or unlocked from Eververse. These ornaments do not impact game play.[3] The Majestic Solstice armor earned during the Solstice of Heroes event during Season of Opulence was updated to the Armor 2.0 system; players have access to the Armor 2.0 version of the armor set via Banshee-44 if they have fully upgraded their Solstice armor to its Majestic level during Solstice of Heroes. All other armor sets (including exotic armor) were also updated to the Armor 2.0 system.[4]

Shadowkeep also introduces "finishers" as a new gameplay ability. These new abilities put a marker above enemies when their health is below a certain threshold, which indicates that they can be finished off. Functionally, these moves can modified through armor mods that make them more powerful, or provide different kinds of benefits to the player. These benefits come at a cost; for example, being made vulnerable during the move animation, or losing some super energy. The finisher animation is entirely separate from the functional aspect, so players can choose the gameplay function they want and match it with a finishing animation that they like the look of. Different finishing move animations can be acquired similarly to emotes within the game, either through Eververse or in-game gameplay challenges. The armor mods, which give the finishing moves their functional gameplay aspect, can only be acquired through gameplay means. Upon launch, the feature is restricted to a single animation equipped at a time, however, it will later be expanded upon to allow a multi-emote functionality and eventually a randomizer.[5]

The expansion also brings back artifacts, a gameplay feature that was originally introduced to the first Destiny with The Taken King expansion and expanded upon in Rise of Iron, but has been absent from Destiny 2. With the release of Shadowkeep, artifacts are seasonal, meaning that at the end of each season, players lose their current artifact and its associated mods and gain a new one at the beginning of a new season. Players are able to enhance their characters and gameplay abilities by leveling up their artifact through earning experience points (XP). Seasonal artifacts also grant seasonal mods that players can equip on their armor and weapons; some of these mods are required in order to defeat powerful enemies called "Champions" featured in each season's exclusive seasonal activity; in the Hero, Legend and Master versions of Nightfall: The Ordeal and Nightmare Hunts; as well as the Garden of Salvation raid. These artifacts, and their seasonal limitations and mods, allow for experimentation with new and different gameplay abilities. Gameplay abilities that are favored by players will be further expanded upon in later seasons with new seasonal artifacts.[6]

The Power level cap was increased to 960 upon the expansion's release; new and existing players' Power levels were automatically increased to the new minimum Power level of 750 upon the release of both Shadowkeep and the free-to-play New Light version of the base game.[7] Bungie also made some changes to Power progression in Shadowkeep—Prime Engrams, which were first introduced in Forsaken and granted gear that provided a large boost to players' Power levels, are now awarded after players reach Power level 900. Players accrue Prime Engram charges while increasing their Power level from 750 to 900, which allow Prime Engrams to drop more often once the first soft level cap of 900 is reached. Legendary weapons and gear obtained through random drops during regular gameplay now have a chance to drop at players' current Power levels.[8] Once players reach the second soft level of 950, they can further increase their Power level to 960 by participating in pinnacle endgame activities (such as raids, Nightfall: The Ordeal strikes, Master Nightmare Hunts and Iron Banner), which reward powerful gear up to Power level 960.[9] Players can then further increase their Power level beyond 960 by upgrading their seasonal artifact through earning XP via gameplay and completing vendor bounties; seasonal artifacts also serve as an alternate Power progression source for players who choose not to participate in pinnacle endgame activities, and are shared across all of a player's characters.[10]

Seasons and seasonal content also received a major overhaul with the release of both Shadowkeep and New Light. There are four new seasons with the release of Shadowkeep, with each season lasting ten weeks long; unlike the Destiny 2 Annual Pass that came with the release of Forsaken, seasons can now be purchased à la carte in the form of season passes. The first seasonal content offering, Season of the Undying, is free to all players who purchase Shadowkeep; players who purchase the digital deluxe edition or the collector's edition of Shadowkeep are granted access to Season of the Undying plus the subsequent three season passes. Only players who purchase season passes have access to each season's exclusive seasonal activity, which players' actions during these activities have major effects on the game world and progress the story forward; these seasonal activities then become unavailable at the conclusion of each season. Players also have access to "seasonal ranks", which work similarly to the battle passes in Fortnite and Apex Legends. Seasonal ranks are divided into a free track and a premium track, with each track granting rewards at any given tier; there are 100 tiers for both tracks. Season pass holders have access to both the free and premium tracks, as well as season-exclusive weapons and gear, universal ornaments and exotic quests. Bungie stated that there are plans for players to purchase seasonal rank boosts before the end of each season.[11]

Plot[edit]

Shadowkeep focuses on Eris Morn, who had departed from the Tower and remained absent since the events of the Red War. The Guardian is summoned to the Moon by Commander Zavala in response to a disturbance originating from a massive citadel erected by the Hive near the Hellmouth called the Scarlet Keep. As the Guardian makes their way to the keep, Ikora Rey contacts the Guardian and reveals that the disturbance was caused by Eris Morn, and asks them to find her. The Guardian enters the Scarlet Keep and descends to the caverns below in search for Eris. They eventually discover a derelict alien vessel called the Pyramid (which was teased in the final cutscene of the base game), which Eris had discovered and accidentally activated. The Guardian tries to approach the Pyramid but is pushed back by a barrier emitted by the structure. The Guardian is then suddenly attacked by a Nightmare of Crota, Son of Oryx, and an army of Hive; it is soon joined by the Nightmares of Dominus Ghaul and Fikrul, the Fanatic, and they begin to overwhelm the Guardian. Eris then contacts the Guardian and teleports them away to safety.

The Guardian is teleported to a balcony overlooking the Pyramid, where Eris is looking over the massive structure, with a phantom of a fallen Guardian floating behind her. Eris explains that the Pyramid is a remnant of the Darkness that may have been struck down by the Traveler, and asks for the Guardian's help in finding a way inside the structure in hopes of finding something that would help prevent a second Collapse. As the Guardian investigates on how to enter the Pyramid, Eris reveals that the Hive living on the Moon have lived next to the Pyramid for eons due to its connection with the Darkness and they had constructed the Scarlet Keep above it as a result. The Guardian and Ghost discover that the Hive had exploited the Darkness originating from the vessel in order to command the Nightmares, created by the Darkness from the Pyramid which are manifested by the traumas of the Guardians' past; these Nightmares have begun appearing across the Moon and throughout the solar system. The Guardian then gives Eris a Nightmare essence from when they first fought the Nightmare of Crota, with which Eris forges a piece of armor that would help the Guardian bypass the Pyramid's barrier and enter the vessel. Eris then instructs the Guardian to defeat the Nightmare of Omnigul, Will of Crota, in order to collect more Nightmare essence, to which the Guardian does.

After defeating the Nightmare of Omnigul and extracting its essence, Eris forges another piece of armor for the Guardian. She then instructs the Guardian to investigate the Scarlet Keep and its tower in hopes of finding more information from the Hive in order to forge more armor. The Guardian makes their way into the keep and finds Hashladûn, Daughter of Crota, who was responsible for constructing the Scarlet Keep and is seeking revenge against the Guardian for the death of her father. The Guardian chases after Hashladûn into the keep and confronts her at the top of its tower. After defeating Hashladûn, the Guardian retrieves a Hive tablet that reveals the location of a powerful Hive artifact known as the Cryptoglyph, which the Daughters of Crota have been using to protect themselves from the Pyramid's power and command the Nightmares, and its powers could be used to harness Nightmare essence and craft more armor. Eris then sends the Guardian to the bottom of the Hellmouth in order to retrieve the Cryptoglyph. The Guardian finds the Cryptoglyph near the bottom of the Pyramid, and escapes with the artifact after defeating Besurith, Daughter of Crota, and her Hive forces who were guarding it.

The Guardian returns to Eris with the Cryptoglyph, and uses it to empower Eris's Lectern of Enchantment in order to forge more armor needed to infiltrate the Pyramid. It is shown that more phantoms of deceased Guardians have appeared before Eris while the Guardian was fulfilling tasks for her; Eris reveals that said phantoms are those of her former fireteam who previously took on Crota prior to the events of the first game. The Guardian then meets with Ikora Rey on the balcony overlooking the Pyramid; Ikora had traveled to the Moon to see the alien vessel with her own eyes, wondering how long it had been there for. Eris then appears before Ikora and the Guardian, with the phantoms of her former fireteam following her, stating the Pyramid has been there for "much too long". Ikora expresses that she could not help but feel responsible for Eris's predicament, but Eris retorts that her fate is her own responsibility and that she and Guardian know that Ikora did not come to apologize. Ikora replies that Eris was right about what she had discovered, and that the Darkness is indeed returning, mentioning that the Vanguard is available at her disposal. Eris then tries to repel away the phantoms surrounding her, telling them to "save your torment for someone who gives a damn". Eris then leaves Ikora behind with the Guardian in tow, stating that they have work to do.

The Guardian continues to gather Nightmare essence to create more armor needed to infiltrate the Pyramid. After defeating and extracting the essences of the Nightmares of Skolas, Kell of Kells; Taniks, the Scarred; and Phogoth, the Untamed, the Guardian constructs new pieces of armor with the help of the Hive Cryptoglyph and the Lectern of Enchantment. After completing the full armor set and equipping it, the Guardian descends beneath the Scarlet Keep to the Pyramid, and finally manages to bypass its barrier. Ghost all of a sudden becomes possessed by the Darkness originating from the Pyramid as the Guardian is being drawn into the vessel. The Guardian makes their way through the Pyramid, defeating the Nightmares of Ghaul, the Fanatic, and Crota along the way; the Darkness also taunts the Guardian through Ghost, claiming that there is only weakness and death through the Light, and that the Light had failed humanity and the Guardians during the Red War, the murder of Cayde-6, as well as the Great Disaster (an event prior to the first game that saw thousands of Guardians slain by Crota on the Moon). The Guardian then arrives at an altar where an unknown artifact is presented to them, with the Darkness declaring that "respite lies ahead". Upon touching the artifact, the Guardian is subjected to a vision from within the Black Garden on Mars, with a fleet of Pyramid vessels floating in the sky behind them. The Guardian then encounters the Darkness itself, taking on the form of the Guardian, who states they had "made it" and that they "heard your cries for help", and they would answer soon. The Guardian asks who they are, and the Darkness ominously replies that they are neither friend nor foe, but instead their "salvation".

Upon returning to the surface of the Moon, the Guardian gives Eris the artifact for her to study, and reports what they had encountered inside the Pyramid to the Vanguard in the Tower. Utterly suspicious of what the Darkness spoke to be their salvation, both Eris and the Vanguard conclude that the Darkness is preparing for its return, with a threat of a second Collapse soon to be imminent. As the Guardian continues to work with Eris and the Vanguard to combat the lingering Nightmare threat on the Moon and across the solar system caused by the Pyramid, Eris contacts the Guardian once again and reveals that the artifact began emitting a signal that leads to the Black Garden. Despite Eris's fears that the Darkness is leading them into a trap, a fireteam of Guardians assembled by Eris invades the Black Garden through a newly discovered Vex portal beneath the lunar surface near the Scarlet Keep to follow the signal to its source. The Guardians make their way through, tracing the artifact's signal while evading the Consecrated Mind, Sol Inherent, which they eventually destroy. They eventually discover another Pyramid-like vessel in the Black Garden's central mesa, guarded by the Sanctified Mind, Sol Inherent. They destroy the Sanctified Mind and enter the vessel, leading them to another altar similar to the one in the Pyramid, where the artifact's signal ends. The Guardian then returns to Eris, who states that the discovery of a second Pyramid-like remnant of the Darkness in the Black Garden enabled the artifact to receive messages directly from the Darkness itself. Eris dismisses these messages as attempts at manipulation, and warns the Guardian to not be swayed by whatever the artifact communicates to them.

Sometime after the invasion of the Black Garden, Eris contacts the Guardian once again, who reveals that the remaining Daughters of Crota, Voshyr and Kinox, have begun performing strange Hive rituals involving sacrificing Nightmares at the Scarlet Keep; Eris believes that the Daughters are attempting through these rituals to harvest the Nightmares' essences for purposes unknown. The Guardian heads to the Scarlet Keep and disrupts the ongoing rituals by killing several Nightmares before they can be sacrificed. Eris then instructs the Guardian to head to the Pit of Heresy, located in the depths of the Scarlet Keep, to investigate further. A fireteam of Guardians enter the Pit of Heresy, where they fight their way through and find Zulmak, Instrument of Torment, a powerful Hive warrior who was resurrected by the Daughters of Crota and empowered by the Darkness harvested from the Nightmares. The Guardians defeat Zulmak and return to Eris afterwards, who states that the Daughters have become more dangerous than ever as they had violated the Sword Logic (the religious dogma of the Hive where only the strong survive through death and sacrifice) by resurrecting Zulmak. Eris fears that the Daughters will attempt to resurrect Zulmak again, and she advises the Guardian to remain vigilant.

Season of the Undying[edit]

While the Guardian fireteam assembled by Eris Morn invades the Black Garden tracing the unknown artifact's signal, meanwhile, out of nowhere, Vex invasion portals suddenly appear on the Moon, sending forth waves upon waves of Vex from the Black Garden. The Guardian is summoned by Ikora Rey to the Tower, stating that armies of Vex have begun invading the Moon en masse from the Black Garden in response to the Guardian fireteam's presence there. Ikora sends the Guardian to the Moon to fend off the Vex and close the invasion portals. The Guardian then speaks to Eris, who has discovered a way into their staging grounds in the Black Garden. The Guardian heads to the Black Garden and hacks the Vex gate network, hoping to slow down the Vex invasion on the Moon. After doing so, the Guardian returns to Ikora, who reveals to them that the Vex have resurrected the Undying Mind (which was the boss of its namesake strike from The Dark Below), and that its primary directive is to take control of the Black Garden, moving in between thousands of timelines and learning from its past mistakes. If left standing, however, the Undying Mind could use its secondary directive to attack humanity and destroy the Traveler. Ikora advises the Guardian to continue assisting in fending off and preventing further Vex incursions on the Moon and slowing down their mobilizations in the Black Garden while she devises a plan to find the Undying Mind and end the invasion once and for all.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McWhertor, Michael (January 10, 2019). "Bungie splits with Activision, acquires rights to Destiny". Polygon. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Avard, Alex; News, Austin Wood 2019-06-06T18:36:16Z. "Destiny 2 free to play version coming this fall with Year One DLCs and all destinations included". gamesradar. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (July 18, 2019). "Bungie: Shadowkeep's Armor 2.0 system is about bringing stats back to Destiny 2". Polygon. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (August 14, 2019). "Destiny 2: Shadowkeep armor customization explained". Polygon. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (July 12, 2019). "Here's how Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's finishing moves work, according to Bungie". Polygon. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (July 22, 2019). "Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's Artifacts will introduce a new 'flavor' to each season". Polygon. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Nichols, Derek (August 15, 2019). "Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Instantly Levels Every Player to 750". Game Rant. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Young, Rory (August 15, 2019). "Destiny 2 Details Changes to Prime Engrams". Game Rant. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Albert, Weston (August 15, 2019). "Destiny 2 Introducing Pinnacle Power Sources in Shadowkeep". Game Rant. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Young, Rory (August 15, 2019). "Destiny 2 Gives More Details About Seasonal Artifacts". Game Rant. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Rivera, Joshua (August 29, 2019). "Destiny 2's Seasons Will Work Much Differently This Year". Kotaku. Retrieved August 30, 2019.