Datto’s First Impressions of Destiny 2: Beyond Light

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Hey everyone. Before we begin, I just want to announce that my second merch drop is now available if you’re interested. Got some really good stuff here for you, t-shirts, long sleeves, a zip up hoodie, some accessories like a hat, mousepad and a double-sided mask. Also have a couple of more limited items that will be going on sale soon, follow my twitter to be updated on when they go live. Kinda doing them as a test run to gauge interest and if there’s a lot of interest, we can definitely get more. Everything else though is made to order, so no worries on the other pieces. This campaign is going until December 1st, items should be shipping around mid-December and those of you in the US should get them around Christmas time, with international getting them a bit later. Thanks everyone, enjoy the video. Beyond Light. First impressions. Let’s talk. There will be spoilers, I suggest you finish the campaign and a good chunk of the post-campaign if you want to avoid some spoilers. Let’s start with story and campaign content. I enjoyed it more than Shadowkeep’s campaign, partly because Europa is a brand new destination and the Moon wasn’t.

The campaign is going to take you around 3-6 hours depending on how slow or fast you go and how much you struggle on certain bosses. Something that I felt was under appreciated was how on task it stayed. In Shadowkeep, there was, what felt like, a lot of busy work during the campaign. In Beyond Light, I didn’t really feel that way very often. There were a couple of times where the busy work happened, but it didn’t keep you trapped there for very long and the prospect of checking out a new area also helped alleviate that. The post-campaign didn’t feel too shabby either. The few missions to defeat Eramis’ successor were pretty fun and exploring some new territory on Europa was nice as well.

But the Empire Hunts are literally just the story missions, but you know, again, of various difficulties going into the future. Kinda feels like a wasted opportunity not turning them into strikes, MAN the tone has REALLY shifted since Warmind, hasn’t it? Europa is massive and beautiful and I know I said the Moon might be the biggest destination we’ve had, but I think Europa might take that trophy. It is a great destination, but I will say that we could REALLY use a fast travel point in the northern part of the map though, especially considering how often we need to go up there. I really enjoyed the boss encounters, especially when I was underleveled, although based on some stories I’ve heard about people struggling in these fights, that feels like a hot take. I’ve even seen people asking for refunds because they couldn’t handle some fights solo. Actually having a challenge in story content was quite refreshing for me anyway, even if you could just avoid it by leveling up some more. Things definitely had a Forsaken type vibe though, with the whole “here’s Eramis’ council, go find and hunt them down, which is where I feel like some people might’ve took some points off.

But I very much enjoyed the encounters, including the post-campaign ones. The new enemies, “don’t talk to me or my Insurrection Prime son ever again” and Cursed Harpy were also great additions to the game, I really enjoy those new enemy types as mini-boss or high priority targets because they can be very lethal and overall have really cool design, good job on that. Would love to see more enemy variant types. Cutscenes were heavy at the start, which I also loved to see, but slowed down towards the end. I was really hoping for a bit more back and forth with Eris and the Drifter considering how much they felt like they’ve been a part of this mysterious Darkness plotline over the past year. They fought some stuff, had a couple of lines and then just sort of peaced out.

I realize that this is the Exo Stranger’s show, but a bit more insight from both of them would’ve really been nice. That being said, most of my friends who are more in tune with the lore than I am have said that this expansion has been a dream for them. There have been some awesome reveals in the Born in Darkness quest chain, little pieces of backstory, learn about the history of Clovis Bray. It’s so nice to learn about things in game and have them be part of the main story experience, even if it is just NPCs talking to each other, it felt like I was actually experiencing a lore card. I will say that the Ghost felt pretty whiny for most of the experience, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got an apology randomly walking into a Braytech Lab. Apology accepted, ghost. Bungie definitely made the most strides in this department and I hope it keeps up. Some other minor things include faster load times, the new lighting and the revised UI. These are all really good. The new lighting really hit me when I first loaded into the Scarlet Keep strike, I really noticed its effects there and it looks fantastic.

The dark UI and tweaks there are all great. Also, team Lost Sector? I know people are gonna just be like “lol Lost Sectors,” but Bungie did a great job on Lost Sectors again in this expansion, much like Shadowkeep. I’ll probably do a video for Season 12 when that finally gets rolling as well. I wanted to focus on Beyond Light because you don’t get Season 12 bundled with it, they are individual things. Beyond Light’s major sandbox update includes the addition of Stasis, a new subclass. However, you don’t get access to it until you finish the campaign and you don’t get access to Aspects and Fragments until you start completing Born to Darkness, a quest from The Stranger. You’ll unlock more as the season goes on. As a result, some of my starting feedback was that Stasis felt a little weak, but that’s because we don’t have all of the tools at our disposal yet.

I’ve only played with Titan and Warlock thus far and Titan’s Stasis felt much weaker than Warlock at base, but as soon as I unlocked an Aspect for Titan, things felt better, especially combined with Salvation’s Grip, the Stasis shooting grenade launcher. The verdict is still out on how good Stasis as a whole will end up being in PvE since we don’t have its full potential unlocked yet and because I’m waiting for higher gear levels to mess around in higher level content. I do think it’ll have some value for more difficult content, but lower level content doesn’t “need” Stasis in that it doesn’t feel stronger than other subclasses, not that I think it was supposed to. But in PvP…, well, it took me a couple of days before I played PvP, so I only heard stories. On my 3rd day, I entered competitive to get some gear. And uhh… thanks, but I hate it. First off, anyone ever hear of diminishing returns, like literally ever? I was blown away how much better Warlock is than the other two classes when it comes to the Stasis part of the subclass, the freeze aspect.

Titan is easily bottom tier when it comes to actually freezing things, but, with the first Aspect available, Titans have some of the most insane movement capabilities the game has to offer. If you hated slide shotgun before, lemme tell you, it’s about to be way, way worse. The Warlock melee is one of the most busted, broken things I’ve ever seen in this game. I’m almost impressed by it.

Nearly every class has something infuriating to die to, whether it’s Titans slide shotgunning you from 15 meters out, a Warlock 180 or cross map melee freeze or Hunter flicking their little dinkers at you and having them ricochet off of random surfaces and kill you. We’re not even at full power yet when it comes to Stasis and I know everyone is trying it out right now, but if I didn’t have to grind competitive for powerful drops, I’d be staying away from it until Bungie makes some adjustments because I think it came into the game overtuned.. My eyeballs are gonna tear away from their optic nerve at the rate I roll my eyes whenever I get frozen.

Memories of Mountaintop: Fun to use, infuriating to die to. The gameplay loop of Beyond Light is… I’m not sure? We’ll have the raid, but Beyond Light itself doesn’t seem to have much besides Empire Hunts, which ultimately seem like they’ll end up being Nightmare Hunt adjacent. There are also Legend Lost Sectors, where you’ll be getting most exotics and I kind of like the concept of having to go to some moderately difficult content in order to get high level gear, who woulda thought. I know solo players have been begging for some more solo content, this is basically end game level solo content. It looks like you’ll be able to farm some exotics in there, which I think is nice for those players. I was able to solo the Legend Lost Sector at 1225 for the Icefall Mantle on my Titan in case you wanna get a head start on getting those exotics. It looks like there may be 1 or 2 more things waiting for us in the wing. Beyond Light has kinda felt like a season in that it feels like the launch didn’t have everything it has to offer right off the bat.

Of course, the leveling grind is more or less unchanged and this is where the removal of a lot of content really hurts. Lots of strikes removed, lots of PvP maps removed, even Gambit had some reductions. When Season 12 really begins, we’ll have a bit more stuff to do there, but in terms of Beyond Light itself, the majority of powerful drops are Vanguard, Crucible and Gambit. The leveling grind doesn’t really do much for me, it hasn’t for a while, especially since it’s been unchanged for so long. Still going back to D2 Y1 strikes. Still grinding bounty kills. Gearing up just doesn’t really scratch any sort of itch other than “I need to hit 1250 because that’s the number.” And lemme tell you, competitive PvP being one of the best ways to level up is not a vibe. Also, really random, but I would like to propose a new strike playlist. Whoever was the enemy density designer for Beyond Light did a good job with supplying a lot of enemies for me to kill during the game.

And guess what, I’m promoting you to Senior Enemy Density Designer. Yeah. You’re promoted. You get dental and your first job is to make a strike playlist that has triple the amount of enemies in it. Same power scaling, keep all that, but my god, put some more enemies in strikes. I’m so tired of fighting for kills with my teammates, I’m so tired of fighting to have fun. We’re so powerful, we’re so lethal, at least gimme a ton of enemies to absolutely destroy if we’re gonna be this way. Grab the Lost Sector team while you’re at it. As for the weapon sunsetting situation… well, as soon as I saw myself get a Long Shadow, a gun that is NOT new to the game, as a reward for Europa based content, I knew we were going to be in for a bumpy ride. I dunno who thought that no one would be pissed off at that, but…

Reality check. Well, at least we got 3 new armor sets from each of the vendors… well… hm, it’s more like 1 actually if we take any sort of look at the armor. That is just not a good look. Now, I was a rather significant supporter of weapon sunsetting, still am. But, I was a supporter based on the concept of Bungie being able to bring some heat with Beyond Light. And it’s pretty obvious that so far, we’ve fallen flat. Insert power creep conversation that we’ve had 1000 times here. Did I think Bungie was going to replace every single sunset gun with another? No. Did I think there would be more than what we got? Yeah. Over the next few seasons, the loot pool will slowly be replenished via seasonal drops and weapons and all that and eventually we’ll get to an equilibrium, where the same amount of stuff that rotates out will be replaced.

It will be better over time, it is a long term play. The problem is that literally no one wants to hear that right now because dozens of weapons from multiple years just got sunset from the game and were replaced with guns that barely have any damage perks on them and the seasonal ritual weapon is a sniper that uses the same model of one we already had, but it has a cloth on it now. Yeah, I know Beloved and Adored are very similar names and that’s probably very intentional. We’ve done enough waiting, no one wants to hear that it’s going to take another few seasons to hit equilibrium because it feels like we are constantly waiting. What might’ve worked out better is retiring only 1 or 2 season’s worth of stuff as opposed to 4 or 5 of them and have a more gradual approach. We had Forsaken stuff, that’s Season 4, through Season 8, all retire at once, including Shadowkeep items. Season 9, 10, and 11 stuff is not accessible to earn. We lost of a LOT of archetype and element combos at once.

I’ve seen a lot of frustration at the game asking you for HMG kills on a bounty, despite there only being 1 earnable HMG which you probably don’t have yet. While I’m still on the sunset train, perhaps the pacing could’ve be done a bit better. I think making Shadowkeep weapons available again in terms of infusion wouldn’t be the worst idea, the same for Dreaming City when Season 12 starts to ramp up because otherwise, both of THESE destinations are also worthless outside of their campaigns.

If we’re gonna be spending time in the DC, bring back some guns from there and revise their perk pools the way you want. We need to release some pressure. However, another reason that I think sunsetting was done as aggressively as it was is because of perk combinations. It’s very obvious that Bungie wants to move away from your standard Outlaw/Rampage perk combo on primary weapons.

I base this on two things: 1) they’re introducing more situational reload and damage perks and 2) they’re just straight up not putting those powerhouse perks on primary weapons together anymore. So, for those of you with Gnawing Hungers or the like with top tier perks, you’re probably going to be using it until that rotates out of the game in a year from now. Bungie introduced some new perks: Surplus, Thresh, Chain Reaction, Wellspring, Dual Loader for shotguns, One For All for specials. There is only 1 gun that I’ve seen, Stars in Shadow, that can get Outlaw/Kill Clip and that’s in a perk pool of about 12 perks PER SLOT. I imagine wiping out a LOT of guns with these perk combinations was part of the intent of the giant purge of weaponry, to get people to try new perk combinations and to get people very quickly used to the mindset that the past 6 years of Outlaw/Rampage will eventually come to a close.

Personally, another thing is that I haven’t been infusing too much stuff so it feels like I’m barely using any of my old arsenal. I haven’t broken out any of the things that I’ve saved in my vault. Once I start to do that, I think I and others might feel a little bit better about the whole situation. Is it time for Bungie to ditch locked elements on weapons? It would certainly help alleviate a lot of pressure right now with people missing certain elemental archetypes if guns could roll with a random element on it, although of course you now have to throw in another layer of RNG. I’ll also put out the idea of random rate of fire as well, the same hand cannon being able to roll 120, 140, 180 RPM. Anything to alleviate the pressure. I also played New Light 2.0, took about an hour to an hour and a half. Great introduction for new Destiny players. It actually gives you some guidance, it teaches you about the world, actually gives some context on the Fallen and Hive, something I don’t feel like we ever got in Destiny 1, which I appreciated.

It does exist because of the removal of the Red War campaign though, Bungie needed to replace that as the new player experience because it’s gone. But, I think Bungie also needed a better “I don’t have friends, but I wanna play Destiny,” intro to the game and I think they succeeded there. So, story, gameplay loop, Stasis, weapon sunsetting, and New Light 2.0, those are the big things I wanted to hit.

I also wanted to hit some takes from the community that I’ve been seeing. I’ve seen some comments that Beyond Light should’ve just been Destiny 3 and/or people saying that this is what Destiny 3 would’ve been, which is, imo, a really stupid take? Making a Destiny 3 would be a 3 year process. Bungie would never get away with launching Beyond Light as a full sequel to Destiny 2, what kind of a take is this? Or that the next 3 expansions were going to be Destiny 3, but instead they split them into individual expansions? What are these conspiracy theories? It feels like Bungie is just barely able to supply us with the things we get and y’all think they’re secretly hiding a full sequel? Where? Next, the comparisons to Forsaken. I don’t think comparing Forsaken and Beyond Light is an apt comparison, it’s just not. They were not built under the same circumstances. Bungie had Activision publishing and other studios also helping them build Forsaken.

For Beyond Light, Bungie did not have extra studios, no Activision publishing and they were working from home for 10 months for it. But you’re gonna hit me with the “but they’re both 40 dollars,” I can hear it right now. I don’t know why Beyond Light is 40 dollars, I don’t. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have much of an argument here because regardless of what I say, it’s always going to come back to “both were 40 dollars, Forsaken had X amount of content, Beyond Light did not, therefore, sucks at this price point.” I get it.

Overall, I like Beyond Light itself. In a vacuum, I think it’s not too bad. It just comes with a lot of baggage from the rest of the game itself that can take away from the experience. I think one of the issues is that… things didn’t feel like they changed enough. After getting to experience Beyond Light and its offerings, things just went back to the way they were and I think that people were hoping that something else would happen, even if it was never said that anything was going to change. Systems like leveling, bounties, they feel outdated. But, as I’m writing this, we’re 5 days in and it’s tough to judge an entire expansion and season that technically hasn’t really started yet based on the first 5 days. My hope is things take a turn for the better over the next little while.

My fear is that they don’t. I think Bungie’s made some BIG strides in story and lore. And I wonder what a Destiny world looks like where it’s not a game as a service, where it’s just Bungie making more chapters of story gameplay every so often. I dunno where we’re going from here. People are not happy and at this point, I’m really not sure what Bungie can do to make people happy besides bringing back everything they took out of the game and that’s just for starters. Bungie has built so much stuff with this removal in mind and I think it’s probably impossible to go back and hit the reset button. Powerful and Pinnacle drops are mainly core content, like we’ve seen before. The removal of old content wasn’t purely because Bungie was just saying “screw it.” They literally have said that they simply can’t keep inflating the game’s file size. Part of it is absolutely a technical issue. Seen some “that sounds like a Bungie problem” takes from the community, not the biggest fan of that one, I know people are upset about content removal, but I’d rather have a working Destiny than one that can’t be updated anymore because it’s too big for a Playstation 4.

Not a huge fan of the Bungie is stupid and lazy takes I’ve seen either, pretty terrible take there as well from you armchair devs out there who apparently know everything. Disagreeing with design philosophies is fine, name calling just makes you look like a child and no one will ever take your feedback seriously. I feel the same way about Beyond Light as I did with Borderlands 3 in that it’s just more Destiny. And if you like Destiny, great, here’s some more. But things have become formulaic, too formulaic for that hardcore crowd. We’re becoming jaded over the experience. The fact of the matter is: Bungie will never be able to produce enough content for what people expect with an expansion. They just won’t. To address the “leveling in old content” situation: I don’t think we ever get to a spot where you can level by only playing new content because there just won’t ever be enough to make that happen. For example, if you could only level through Beyond Light and Season 12 content, you’d have 3-5 powerful sites and the raid.

All previous content would become useless. It won’t ever be enough, which is a good and bad problem to have. I want to see how Beyond Light shapes up over the next few weeks, what the daily and weekly cadence will look like before giving any ultimatums. Obviously gotta wait for Season 12 to roll out as well. I’m not anticipating any grand changes though, this is still going to be the Destiny that you’ve known and my guess is that this next year will feel similar to the previous when it comes to content offerings. I think story offerings will be better over the year, but if you’re hoping for sweeping adjustments, I don’t think they’re here just yet, if they do show up at all. Those are my first impressions of Beyond Light. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

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