In what has surely been the strangest leadup to a new Destiny 2 season in some time, Bungie surprise revealed Season of the Haunted last night after it accidently leaked ahead of Tuesday’s launch and some big things are happening. The giant Cabal ship from the first raid is back, its communing with the evil pyramid on the moon, and now the nightmares are back. To fight these new threats players will get the long-anticipated Solar 3.0 re-work of their abilities and the Trespasser Exotic Sidearm from way back in Destiny 1‘s Rise of Iron expansion. It’s a lot. Let’s break it down in detail.
First, the story setup. Calus is back, his ship the Leviathan is corrupted, and he’s trying to talk to the pyramid on the moon to gain access to the power of the Darkness. Last we heard of the dethroned emperor he was doing experiments with the Scorn (The Presage) and broadcasting propaganda to rally more Cabal to his side (Vox Obscura). Now his latest plan seems to have unleashed a new set of nightmares, including one which seems to have a past relationship with the stoic commander Zavala in particular. Plus the H.E.L.M. command center has taken flight and is now orbiting the moon.
So that’s the evocative and lore-drenched backdrop for Season 17, but what will players actually be doing and collecting this time around? Here’s the list of new content so far:
- Leviathan free roam space: it looks like Calus’ gold plated ship has gone full Metroid and is now a patrol option for players.
- Nightmare Containment: seasonal public event where players summon and destroy nightmares in the basement of Calus’ ship.
- Sever: seasonal missions where players explore the Leviathan to uncover Calus’ plan.
- Solar 3.0: a complete re-work of players’ solar skill trees that adds fragments and aspects to bring them in line with Stasis and Void and add more customizability.
- Trespasser Exotic Sidearm: returning from Destiny 1, Shiro-4’s precision burst weapon was fine back in the day, but may have gotten up-tuned to be more deadly and fun based on how it handles in the season 17 trailer.
- Menagerie loot: the Calus Mini Tool, Beloved, Austringer, and Drang from Season of Opulance’s Menagerie activity are returning.
- Mysterious dungeon: the first of two new dungeons this year goes live May 27 with a standard and master difficulty level.
- Some extremely metal fits: the season pass is back as always, but the armor ornaments this time around look very extra and I’m here for it.
Season 17 is also bringing a bunch of other changes as well. In terms of weapon balance, Glaives are getting a big boost. The new weapon-type introduced in Witch Queen was first OP and then nerfed into the ground. Going forward, they should be more useful again with Glaive melee attacks being stronger and triggering perks. Trace rifles will be doing more damage as well, and changes to PVP should make in-air combat more viable.
Other big changes include an overhaul of Iron Banner. Power level will now be disabled (that was originally the entire point of the mode), rewards will be based around daily challenges, and the orb-dunking Rift mode will return alongside a new map. Trials of Osiris, meanwhile, is getting a bunch of new loot, though the competitive PVP mode won’t be back until June 10. Solstice of Heroes is also returning this summer, and unlike in recent years it’s apparently been re-worked and will hopefully revolve around a new activity and grind. Oh, and players’ loot vault is getting 100 slots bigger.
Bungie was extremely secretive about this season’s reveal and spent a lot of time in recent days hyping it up as one of the game’s best ever. At first glance I’m intrigued but not blown away. It’s great (and economical) to see old content repurposed and made to feel new again, but there is also something extremely Destiny about hunting for a god roll of the Beloved sniper rifle a second time while the older, under-powered version still collects dust in my vault.
Hopefully, there are a few extra surprises waiting in Season of the Haunted’s opening cinematic and story mission when it goes live later today. It will run until August 23.