We headed to the icy world of Europa to check out a little bit of the Destiny 2 expansion, as well as having a chat with Bungie's Gautier Ormancey.
Anyone who is a fan of Destiny 2 will know that the annual big expansion release is the main event in the Destiny calendar year - nothing else compares to it. Since the launch of Destiny 2, we have been through the brilliant Forsaken and the more mediocre Shadowkeep. Now, we are on Beyond Light, the first of a trilogy of expansions that will teach us more than ever before about our Guardians, the Light, and the Darkness.
To really get to grips with this expansion, I've spoken with Gautier Ormancey, the Marketing Director for EMEA at Bungie, alongside spending a bunch of time playing Destiny 2: Beyond Light, working through the storyline, and exploring the new locations: At least up until the point when I couldn't tackle foes anymore due to being too weak in power level. From what I have seen so far, this expansion has set the bar for the future, very high.
The story of Beyond Light takes the Guardians to the icy moon of Jupiter, Europa, following a distress call sent from former ally Variks. Upon reaching the source of the call, you discover that a branch of the fallen, the House of Salvation, led by Eramis, Kell of Darkness has begun using the powers of the Darkness to enforce their will. Working with Variks, your Guardian will hunt down Eramis - a character described by Ormancey as; "A villain with a vision," learning the new tricks of the power Stasis from the mysterious, ominous pyramids along the way.
Immediately upon logging into Beyond Light, one of the areas that caught my attention was the revamped user interface. The old one you know has been completely upgraded to look cleaner, higher quality, and much less cluttered. This seems to be part of the plans Bungie has set forward to make Destiny a more approachable title, including the rebuilt New Light experience for new players, which we have yet to try out. Ormancey described these plans saying; "It was sort of overwhelming because it was a lot of content, a lot of in-game mechanics to digest. So, we just decided to change that from A-Z, from scratch. We're pretty sure it's going to give a good taste of what Destiny is and what Destiny has to offer."
After gawking over the new menus for a while, I dove into the new storyline, which conveniently took me straight to Europa, the new frosty location. Europa is unlike anywhere else in Destiny 2 as it features dynamic weather (i.e. a blizzard rolling in) that changes how you approach combat. On top of that, the location feels packed with content, including a few new enemy types (such as the ostrich-looking Vex Valkyries and the water-boiler-looking Fallen Brigs), to the point where you always seem to have something to do there. The best part is that it's not just about what's on the surface, as Ormancey stated; "It's not all about what you see above the ice, it's about what you discover beneath the ice," and he isn't wrong as Europa is bursting with mystery.
Europa isn't the only new location in Beyond Light, as a Destiny 1 favourite in the Cosmodrome is back. This iconic location has been rebuilt to suit the more modern game that is Destiny 2, but it still looks like the original, packed with all kinds of memories. Here, you can meet Shaw Han, the Guardian who will guide new players through the ropes of the game, but for most of us, he's just a new vendor.
Looking back toward the Beyond Light storyline, this expansion weaves three well-known figures together, in The Drifter, Eris Morn, and The Exo Stranger. These characters are crucial to the development of the plot, something you will discover as you progress through it. Ormancey described their involvements saying; "They are not the good - good guys," referring to how they will ask your Guardian to stray from the Traveller's Light to overcome new foes. "We want players to go out of their comfort zone, and to ask questions. We want players to think who is bad, who is good? It's in the title, Beyond Light. We want you to explore that grey area and to seek the truth."
Being an avid Hunter player, I have only spent time using this one Guardian class in Beyond Light. So, for the time being, I'm only going to focus on the new Revenant Stasis sub-class, leaving the Behemoth Titan and Shadebinder Warlock for another day. From my admittedly limited playtime with the new Super and abilities, I can say that it caught me by surprise, as I assumed it was more of a damage heavy class, rather than a supportive, area control one - of which it seems to be.
That's not to say that the Hunter's Stasis abilities don't pack a punch, because they do, but, rather they excel in controlling the battlefield, freezing enemies, shattering them, and even walling them away from one another. Ormancey describes Stasis perfectly saying; "Offering that new power is not just about new Supers, it's about enhancing your Guardian and upgrading your skills and capacities." The best part about it all as Ormancey led onto is; "This is only the start, as in Beyond Light, we're going to expand on Stasis."
Looking toward the future of Beyond Light and what this expansion is set to offer, there is plenty to be excited about. Starting today, November 13, the long-desired Adept Weapons are coming to Trials of Osiris. Next week, the new, mysterious season quests begin, alongside the Wrathborn Hunts (whatever they may be). Then, shortly after that, on November 21, the Deepstone Crypt Raid is opening, providing the ultimate endgame activity for players to try their hands at.
Bungie's aim with this upcoming Raid is to provide an experience all players feel comfortable having a go at. Of course, it won't be easy, but the developer wants people to give it a try. "Our ambition is for players who have never completed a Raid for whatever reason, for them to try this time," said Ormancey. "This is pinnacle activity, this is what makes Destiny very different. We'd like players who have never done a Raid before in their life to watch first, and then try and play."
Whichever way you enjoy playing Destiny 2, Beyond Light looks to have something that will cater to your needs. Sometime down the line, I will prepare a deeper review, after more of the expansion's content has been released but for now, you can sleep sound knowing this experience is looking "to change the perception of Destiny," as Ormancey stated. And, if that is the case, well I'm all in on Beyond Light.