Is Destiny 2 Moving Closer To Apex Legends Or World of Warcraft?

TJ Denzer,

September 7, 2019 3:08 PM

Based on a recent Annual Pass system and commentary from gamescom, it looks like Destiny 2 is moving closer and closer to similar free-to-play and games-as-service models.

Destiny has always been a series so thick with content that it rewards those who stick with it for a long time and attempts to invite newer players to explore and go all-in on what it has to offer. With Bungie having gotten out from under Activision, many felt that we were about to see a new era of Destiny. To some extent we have, because Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, newly released cross-save capabilities, and so much more are showing that Bungie is going big for the foreseeable future. That said, new updates like New Light, a new seasonal Annual Pass system, and chatter with the devs like gamescom 2019 make us think the game could be moving closer and closer to a games-as-service model not unlike Apex Legends or World of Warcraft.

New Light brings some free-to-play to Destiny 2, but exactly what can you do with it? More than a little bit Bungie claims.
New Light brings some free-to-play to Destiny 2, but exactly what can you do with it? More than a little bit Bungie claims.

New Light’s announcement really started this conversation. With the introduction of a free-to-play system that allowed new players to jump into the game and give it a go, we saw Destiny 2 take on a method of invitation that World of Warcraft has been employing for years. Coming to the point where Destiny offers a similar depth of content, it’s certainly a nice way to get new players involved and see what’s to offer, but Destiny is also moving towards other offerings similar to free-to-play games – namely a newly announced battle pass.

Players familiar with Fortnite and Apex Legends will recognize the structure of Destiny’s new Season Pass right away. The pass comes as a collection of levels tied to various rewards. There are 100 ranks to the pass and each rank unlocks a new bit of currency, armors, shaders, and other rewards in the game. There are also free and premium tracks to the pass that offer different rewards depending on if you fork up a little cash for it. Also similar to Fortnite and Apex, a lot of the progression in the Battle Pass comes from just doing normal things in the game, such as hunting bounties, defeating enemies, completing raids, and more. The Season Pass is part of the new features that will begin with Shadowkeep in Year 3 of Destiny 2 when it launches in October.

With free weekends offered in the past, and New Light and the Season Pass offering the kinds of things we’d expect in free-to-play games, we took an opportunity at gamescom 2019 to ask the folks at Bungie directly if this was indicative of a full-on move of Destiny 2 towards a games-as-a-service or full-on free to play format, or if the game would always require an upfront cost.

The season pass offered for Destiny 2 is very familiar to the ones offered on Fortnite and Apex Legends.
The season pass offered for Destiny 2 is very familiar to the ones offered on Fortnite and Apex Legends.

To many of the folks behind Destiny, it’s always been a games-as-a-service model.

“We've always seen Destiny as an ongoing adventure that takes place in an evolving world,” A spokesperson of Bungie told us. “And I think in that way, it's always been games-as-a-service. There are special events, the world evolves and changes, and we update the experience with different limited time competitive engagements like Iron Banner or things like Festival of the Lost or things like Moments of Triumph or Solstice of Heroes.”

But what about free-to-play? New Light promised a sort of entry-level experience of Destiny 2, but will it be rewarding to players that play with it, but still don’t care to spend money on seasonal content? To that end, Bungie told us that it was meant to be a continually rewarding experience whether you pay your way into the bigger parts of things like Shadowkeep or not.

“There will always be new things available for New Light players,” they explained. “Festival of the Lost and things like that are available to all of our players whether they’ve bought into Shadowkeep and seasons or not. If they want to keep playing, they can. If they want to go all-in on Shadowkeep, they can. If they just want to buy a single season pass, they can.”

Notably, Bungie pointed out events like Festival of the Lost and Iron Banner won't exclude players that haven't upgraded from the base experience of New Light.
Notably, Bungie pointed out events like Festival of the Lost and Iron Banner won't exclude players that haven't upgraded from the base experience of New Light.

So with that in mind, are the players who bought in this far losing out on anything? What was the point of buying Destiny 2 if you’ll be able to do so much of it for free with New Light? To that end, Bungie explained that New Light wasn’t just for new players. Rather, all players benefit from various rewards presented with this new base of the game.

“Every single player in Destiny benefits from New Light,” Bungie claimed. “Anyone who engages with this new base of the game is going to obtain seasonal artifacts that they’re going to be able to level up. And any player reaches the cap of power, these are artifacts that will benefit players and push that power further, even if you haven’t bought Shadowkeep or Season Passes. We’re trying to make the part of Destiny that everyone identifies with at the basic foundation entirely what New Light offers. It’s also about trying to take those barriers between old and new players and really knock them down.”

How much of Shadowkeep will be kept away from New Light players? It's hard to say, but it's at least comforting to know that Destiny 2's New Light won't be left entirely cold from new content.
How much of Shadowkeep will be kept away from New Light players? It's hard to say, but it's at least comforting to know that Destiny 2's New Light won't be left entirely cold from new content.

With that in mind, it would appear that Shadowkeep, New Light, the upcoming Season Passes, and more are set to take Destiny to places it has never been (not to mention reexplore old familiar grounds) and benefit players of all experience with the game. With Destiny 2 fully under Bungie’s control, they have the full reign to cater the experience to the players and offer solutions like never before. While it seems a constantly evolving world will always continue to be part of that, Bungie also seems dedicated to lowering the barrier of entry with New Light in ways that have become a tried and true part of experiences like Apex Legends and Fortnite. We’ll look forward to seeing it all in full execution when Year 3 of Destiny and Shadowkeep launch on October 1, 2019.



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