Destiny 2: Lightfall

The Big, Bad Destiny 2: Lightfall Preview

Bungie told us all about the upcoming expansion and the many, many features it will be bringing to the table.

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It's that time of the year again where Destiny 2 fans and players start frothing at the mouth as Bungie unveils and trickles out information relating to the next expansion, the next big chapter in the sci-fi saga. With Lightfall coming on February 28, 2023, I've attended a preview event hosted by Bungie where a team of developers showed and commented on a whole batch of gameplay about the expansion, and explained in further depth some of the new mechanics and features that will be arriving with it.

To this end, as there's a LOT to chew through, I've split this preview into sections that focuses on each of the respective new parts and improvements of Destiny 2 and what's arriving in Lightfall.

Destiny 2: Lightfall

What is Lightfall's plot?

Destiny 2 players are probably more than familiar with what's coming in Lightfall, but for those who are not up to speed, here's a really quick synopsis of the expansion's plot.

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As the looming threat of The Witness presses on the Sol System, the Guardians take to the outer reaches of the system to face off with former Cabal emperor turned Disciple of The Witness, Calus, as he mounts an invasion on the Neptunian city of Neomuna.

This campaign will have a Legendary Mode for the Guardians looking for a harder challenge that will reward a full set of powerful armour.

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What makes Neomuna special?

With narrative out of the way, let's talk about this new destination, which seems to be a really, really big step up on what we've seen before. Building on the previous sparse and quite empty environments that have coined Destiny 2 locations in the past, Neomuna seems to be far busier and more packed. The cyberpunk-looking city is filled with buildings and is defined by its verticality and towering skyscrapers. It feels cramped and busy and colourful, but at the same time dripping with new activities and opportunities to explore.

New group activities, which seem to be similar to the challenge of Nightmare Containments in the Haunted Leviathan rather than that of a Public Event, will be accessible, with these known as Disrupt Hack. To add to this and picking up on the Leviathan comparisons, enemies that roam the streets of Neomuna will put up more of a fight than those of roaming foes in the EDZ and other locations.

Neomuna seems to also feature a design that is more complex than other locations that are largely defined by their three main sub-areas and branch off paths, with this city being a more complex place to navigate and explore. As for some of the locations, on top of the cityscape, Guardians will be able to venture to the Pouka Pond to see the strange flying fish that inhabit the area, and will even be able to head to Calus' enormous ship, the Typhon Imperator.

Neomuna's hub area will also be a step up on other location specific hubs, and will feature a mailbox and a way to access your vault, and will all be capped off with a new vendor, who just so happens to be one of the new characters, the Cloud Strider, Nimbus. Guardians will also come across digital citizens that inhabit Neomuna, who can act like The Dreaming City's Corsairs, providing extra narrative beats and even the occasional short quest.


How will Guardians be granted Strand?

Bungie has shown off plenty of the new subclass, Strand, so I'll be brief here and just talk about some of the new parts we were informed about.

This will be a Darkness power that isn't gained in the same way as Stasis or any of the Light powers for that matter. It will be slowly unlocked over the course of the Lightfall campaign, with the Guardian being introduced to further powers as the narrative continues. Strand also doesn't gather its strength from the Traveler or the Pyramids, and instead is described as the "web of life".

Strand's unlock pattern will also apply to the way that Guardians acquire Aspects and so forth, meaning it will have more of a power curve as you advance the story, instead of the steep leap that has coined other subclasses.

As for the Strand supers, each is known as the following:

  • Titan: Berserker - Bladefury

  • Hunter: Threadrunner - Silkstrike

  • Warlock: Broodweaver - Needlestorm

Each of the Strand subclasses will be able to use a grappling hook that replaces their grenade, which almost acts like a powered up melee, as you can use it to not only leap and travel around, but also to fling yourself in for devastating close-quarters damage.

As for how the class looks in action, the gameplay revolved around the Silkstrike Hunter super, and from what we saw, this almost looks like a combination of Arc Staff matched up with Spectral Blades, and looks incredibly fluid and high in damage, and very unique in its own way.


Who will the Guardians be fighting?

With a new expansion comes new foes, although not quite to the extent of what we received in The Witch Queen. A lot of the enemies you will face will be very familiar, with Calus' Shadow Legion essentially being a tougher branch of Cabal to take down. To add to this however, there will be Tormentors, which are far more threatening foes who can use the Dark Harvest ability to literally suck the life out of a Guardian. What makes Tormentors so special is that there will be variants of these foes, with some being stronger/weaker than others, and the toughest being real threats to unprepared Guardians.

Otherwise, it was briefly shown that enemies can now possess Strand shields, which you will need to overcome, with some even wearing what seemed to be a Darkness-type shield, with the orange-gold glow of the Pyramids cloaking them. Vex also seem to have a presence on Neomuna, but the extent of this remains unclear.

Finally, as a brief note, we got to see a snapshot of Calus, and for those wondering, he seems to stand about twice as tall as a Tormentor - so a very big chap indeed.

Destiny 2: Lightfall
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What Exotics do we know about so far?

  • Quicksilver Storm: Cloud Strider Auto Rifle that is already available to anyone with a Lightfall pre-order.

  • Final Warning: Strand Sidearm that uses tethers and fires tracking rounds.

  • Deterministic Chaos: Void Machine Gun that weakens targets as it fires.

  • Winterbite: Stasis Glaive that freezes enemies on impact.

  • Cyrtarachne's Façade: Hunter Helmet that provides anti-flinching armour upon using a Strand grapple.

  • Abeyant Leap: Titan Leg armour that spawns multiple seeking projectiles upon using a Barricade.

  • Swarmers: Warlock Leg armour that creates Threadlings after destroying a Strand Tangle.

There will of course be further Exotics to hunt for, as well as a collection of Legendary armour and weapons, such as the ones below.

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How does the buildcrafting suite shape up?

As Bungie has been quite open about this feature for some time, I'll let anyone who is looking for incredibly fine details about the mods/buildcrafting - and for that matter loadouts (which I'll talk about next) - head to the dedicated blog post here. However, what I will add is how it all looks and seems to work in practice.

This system will resemble the transmog system, and will allow players to head into a defined user interface that is dedicated to buildcrafting. Here, you will be able to find all of the mods you currently have equipped, see all of the energy slots that your armour provides, visibly and clearly show which Champion Mods you are accommodating, and the same sort of deal for weapons, which are in a separate but attached window.

It's designed to be straightforward and easy to understand, which is why mods will no longer be defined by a specific energy element, and why certain mods are being removed altogether.

The system has also been designed so that it is easy to share, meaning you can simply grab a screenshot and show your build to friends who are interested in testing it out.

It should be added here that as Champions are being changed so that they can be stunned by actual elemental moves and not solely depending on what Seasonal Mods are available, it should become even more straightforward to create builds to suit endgame activities like Grandmaster Nightfalls.

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How do loadouts work?

Following up to the buildcrafting side of things, the loadouts feature was also talked about a fair bit. This will allow players to save up to ten unique loadouts (with loadout slots earned through Guardian Ranks, which I will also get to in a moment). This will work by allowing players to pull items and weapons from their vault without needing to actually visit it or use a third-party app, although it will only do so if you have the necessary space in your inventory. Assuming you do, simply click the loadout you want - which can be defined with a name, special logo, etc. - and everything will be instantly changed, and I really do mean everything, including mods, subclass Aspects, and so on.

It should be made clear here that you will only be able to retrieve items from the vault with the loadout mechanic, as it will not be able to deposit unused items - at least not yet. Plus, loadout swapping will only work in places where your loadout isn't locked, i.e. not in certain late game activities.

What are Guardian Ranks and how do they work?

For a long time now, the journey that players have taken in the Destiny series has been coined and documented as Triumphs, and while this won't be changing, the Guardian Ranks system is coming to give these more weight.

It'll be a better form of onboarding for New Lights, but will also bring extra challenges for veterans to tackle. The idea is that you earn ranks as you complete tasks in game, ranks that are defined by the Triumphs you complete. There will be 11 ranks to progress through, with the first six/seven being largely attributed to newer players and the tasks they will first undertake. Ranks after this will be tied to each season and will revolve around increasingly demanding activities and tasks, with the top rank, 11, being reserved for those who enjoy Grandmaster Nightfalls, Master Raids, Trials of Osiris, and other true endgame activities. These latter ranks will reset when a new season arrives but will be memorialised in a Guardian's journey.

Bungie also described this feature as being a way for Guardians to clearly see what they should be doing next in the search and effort to get better at Destiny 2.

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Season 20 - Season of the Defiance

While the topic of conversation was mostly Lightfall, we did get to learn a little bit more about the season that will be arriving alongside the expansion. It will be known as Season of the Defiance and will revolve around the action that is taking place close to home. Expect to see some of your favourite characters (including Mithrax, Petra, and Devrim Kay) from the past few years working together to help save and evacuate civilians, whilst freeing prisoners from the invading forces that have been tasked with conquering Earth.

Destiny 2: Lightfall

Year 6 in a nutshell

While Bungie didn't delve into details, the developers did tease what's to come throughout Year 6 of Destiny 2, with promises made about changes to the seasonal model, the Rituals playlist, player power, difficulty, and more, meaning there will hopefully be a lot of tweaks made to the wider Destiny experience.

The Final Shape and beyond

And last of all, a brief few moments were allocated to what comes after Lightfall. We were told that this upcoming expansion is the catalyst for The Final Shape and what comes after the Light and Darkness Saga.

To this end, Bungie also added that Destiny (as a series, not necessarily Destiny 2) is "far from over" and that the future will take us beyond our solar system and into the deep beyond of the cosmos.

Expect to hear more about all of this after Destiny 2: The Final Shape arrives sometime in 2024, and also about what Bungie has planned for Destiny 2's 10th anniversary.


As for Destiny 2: Lightfall, be sure to check out the expansion yourself when it debuts on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on February 28, 2023.

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REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

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