The real success of Bungie’s Destiny 2 isn’t its thrilling narrative; it’s the series of tweaks made to the gameplay that improves Destiny in every way imaginable. Bungie clearly incorporated Destiny player feedback into the design of the sequel, and it’s made the experience that much better, and it’s made the experience that much better.
Bungie’s always been effective at “hearing” player feedback, no doubt in large part thanks to its active community manager David “DeeJ” Dague. Take 5 minutes to browse either the Destiny subreddit or the Bungie.net forums, and you’ll see a myriad of player complaints both toxic and otherwise. Destiny 2 directly responds to many complaints about Destiny.
Remember that one random thing that annoyed you about the first game? It’s probably gone, replaced by a more intuitive system or mechanism. There’ll also be about five other tangentially related adjustments that you now realize you wanted all along. The overall experience is still a grind in the higher levels, but it’s one that feels far more rewarding than its predecessor.
You might not notice many of these changes at first — because the game looks and feels so similar — but the deeper you get into Destiny 2, you’ll notice these 9 incredibly important enhancements to the new game:
9. Planetary Items Are Easier to Find and Less Important
Early Destiny players remember the horrors of being a farmer of planetary resources needed to upgrade your weapons and armor. Worst of all, they were hard to see in most cases. (Remember trying to spot dark red Relic Iron in Mars’ muted red environments?)
In Destiny 2, similar but new planetary materials glow in stark contrast to the surroundings, making them easier to spot. They also only provide reputation boosts, a slight perk that gets you better gear in the long run. You never have to go out of your way to hunt them down, but they’re worth grabbing when you find some randomly.
8. Weapons Don’t Need to Be Leveled Up Anymore
Speaking of upgrading weapons: Every single weapon you receive in Destiny 2 comes fully leveled. Most weapons in the first game took a lot of XP to fully upgrade. In many cases, you’d have to spend a lot of time or resources to level up and test out a weapon that wasn’t even any good.
7. “Going to Orbit” Is Gone for Good — Sort Of
Gone are the days that players spend hours and hours just idling in space, not even able to fly their ship around. “Going to Orbit” was code for the onerous transition between activities. The time-consuming, necessary process has been eliminated in Destiny 2, which instead allows you to seamlessly select a new area or activity from the map no matter where you are.
6. Ships Now Give You Transmat Effects When You Teleport In
Ships once did nothing for you other than lightly spice up your interplanetary orbit time, but now, they also offer a fun cosmetic spawn-in effect. When your characters spawns anywhere in the game, these themed animations can add enemy-specific aesthetics or something like Void Light to make things more interesting.
Geographically, Destiny often felt like a segregated experience because of its split between first- and third-person spaces. In the social spaces, NPCs were mostly stationary objects — “things” — that gave you infrequent rewards and offered stilted bits of dialogue. But in Destiny 2, characters like Cayde-6 fight alongside you in some missions, and you spend a portion of the much-improved story campaign traveling the solar system to reunite the Vanguard.
4. Subclasses Are More Thematic and Complex
Every Super ability can be offensive in nature, and the balance across the classes feels better than ever. Best of all, a lot of tweaks have been made to new “new “Paths”” bundlere specific abilities for your chosen subclass.
Whereas the Warlock Voidwalker once felt like a generic purple space mage, in Destiny 2, the subclass actually feels like a mage steeped in the mystical Void of space. Abilities are grouped so that the Voidwalker saps the life force out of enemies to feed their own powers, doling out singularities to deal massive damage. Likewise, the Hunter Gunslinger abilities suit a high-risk, high-reward playstyle focused on precision hits and reckless but efficient gunslinging.
3. Challenges and Milestones Replaced Bounties and QuestsIt as the gaming equivalent of running errands.
Rather than add another task for players to do as part of the experiences, Milestones and Challenges cycle automatically daily and weekly and can be easily accessed as part of the menu.
2. Planetary Maps Dabble in Open-World in an Enjoyable Way
Learning a lot from games like The Division, Destiny 2’s equivalent of “Patrol Maps” offer up an experience that’s reminiscent of the “open world” trend without mishandling the experience.
Now, most missions are triggered within the maps, and you can fast-travel between locations. Furthermore, each planet has an NPC that offers special missions and gear once you level up your reputation with them. Because everything is concentrated into focused locations, the experience feels that much more lively, busy, and interesting.
1. You Get Rewards for Absolutely Everything
In the first game, you could play a Crucible match and win the game for your squad — but the guy who did nothing but die repeatedly would get the sweet rewards while you got absolutely nothing other than Experience and Reputation.
But in Destiny 2, the game cleverly hides your teammates’ loot. Even better, you always get a reward for anything you do, whether it’s a Crucible match or a short Public Event. At higher levels, you’ll get weapons or armor that might be useless, but you’ll also get reputation Tokens, that stack up to be worth a lot
The future of Destiny 2 looks promising, and it’s all but certain that Bungie will keep listening to fans so they can deliver an even better gaming experience in the future.