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4 upcoming ‘Destiny 2’ moves that are *way* more exciting than ‘Shadowkeep’

Community is what makes Destiny 2 exciting and always has been.

There aren’t many action games that feel as smooth or as satisfying as developer Bungie’s popular sci-fi guns & space magic series. That’s why people keep playing. But the raids, the PvP competitions, the secrets and puzzles — those are why no one who plays can stop talking about it.

In September, Bungie is going to deliver its first big Destiny 2 expansion since parting ways with former publishing partner Activision earlier in 2019. Shadowkeep is going to send players on a journey back to the moon — that place where that wizard came from — for more of all the things that make Destiny great.

But there’s bigger news than that afoot. The experience of playing Destiny 2 is poised to change in September in ways that reach to the very core of what the game is and how it’s meant to be enjoyed. It may never be a game for absolutely everyone, but the community that gathers around it about to get a whole lot more powerful.

Free-to-play, baby

Destiny 2: New Light is Bungie’s name for a completely new approach to bringing in new fans: free-to-play. That “vanilla” content, as fans refer to it, is still plenty — it’s the full experience that launched for $60 in Sept. 2017 and everything that followed until 2018’s Forsaken.

Community is what makes Destiny 2 exciting and always has been.

That includes a full story mode, a bunch of optional side content like cooperative Strike missions and PvP, and a raid. Plus all of the free updates that Bungie has delivered (and continues to deliver) that improve the baseline experience, as well as the fact that it’s part of a bigger, very online game and its existing community.

It’s an appealing invitation: Come play this free game that your friends have probably been talking about for ages. And oh hey, if you’re having fun maybe buy some add-ons that let you join those same friends on more current content.

Lots of fans feel that the best way to get more people playing Destiny is to let them play Destiny. And, well… New Light does just that.

New home, same benefits

Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net has been a good home for Destiny 2. But it’s part of the Activision family and Bungie needs to make the breakup official. So the studio is packing up its game and bringing it over to Steam.

Valve’s popular platform is equal parts storefront and community for people who like to play games on PC. Its social features are wired a little differently but at the very least, Destiny 2 players on Steam will enjoy a similar level of content moderation and cheat protection as they did on Bnet.

Bungie and Destiny players both will probably benefit most from the expanded community (and community features) that the move to Steam brings. It’s a bit more intangible than a free-to-play switch, and it caters to more of a niche audience. But Destiny 2 is a good fit for Steam, where a huge piece of the PC gaming audience is concentrated.

To the cloud

4 upcoming 'Destiny 2' moves that are *way* more exciting than 'Shadowkeep'

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Destiny 2 will also be one of the flagship titles on Google’s new game-streaming Stadia service. It’s included as part of the Stadia Pro subscription package, so players will have access to the most current version of the game for $9.99 per month.

Bungie has long shied away from comparisons that lump Destiny together with a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) like World of Warcraft. But launching on Stadia effectively creates that subscription kind of option for curious newcomers.

There’s a bigger piece to the Stadia launch, though. Destiny has always been envisioned as a hobbyist sort of experience, something you can sign into on any given day and have things to do or a project to work on. Combine that layer of appeal with the “play anywhere” nature of Stadia and… well… you can see where this is going.

By taking hardware concerns out of the picture, Stadia gives Destiny 2 fans a way to hop online anytime and anywhere — even on a smartphone — provided there’s a decent internet connection. And that goes hand-in-hand with….

OMG UNIFIED ACCOUNTS!!

The most boring bullet point is also the most exciting development. At long last, Destiny tribes are going away. Bungie is going to introduce unified player accounts, meaning your character — and all the gear, power, success, and failure you’ve amassed — is the same no matter which service you play Destiny 2 on.

Speaking as a fan, I can’t think of anything more exciting. I have lots of friends who play Destiny somewhere other than PC, where I put in most of my time. Unified accounts means I can take that progress and bring it somewhere else, for good times with different friends. I’ll still have to buy some other version of the game if I want to do that, but at least this creates a good reason to actually do it.

Cross-save also means no more platform-exclusive content like guns and missions. That’s been a point of contention for the community.

Bungie knows that fans are better than any TV commercial or livestream reveal. People yelling about Destiny is what convinces other people to play Destiny. And all of these changes seem to take aim on further empowering that word-of-mouth popularity while also giving existing fans a bunch of new reason to double down on this thing they love.

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