When Beyond Light launches next month, kicking off a new trilogy of expansions over the next three years, the Destiny 2 new player experience is getting an overhaul that should help onboard new players better. Destiny 1’s original full Cosmodrome patrol location is returning—minus the Plaguelands addition from Rise of Iron—and will serve as a place for new Guardians to grasp the fundamentals of the game before ever stepping foot in the Tower.
Joining a living game years into its life is tough. There are systems in place that have evolved and been built on years of updates and additions. When Destiny 2 went free-to-play alongside the launch of the Shadowkeep expansion last year, its new player experience was criticized as dumping players a bit too unceremoniously into the Tower with no real sense of direction or tutelage on where to go or what to do. Destiny 2 felt like a game for the “in crowd;” you either had been playing the game for a while, or knew people who could help out. But without that guidance, being a new player in Destiny’s world is currently confusing.
One of the biggest elements of that confusion comes in Destiny’s ongoing storyline. The state of the world is “now,” meaning the various campaign and story elements technically take place in real time. The very existence of the current Tower is Destiny 2’s social hub is contingent on the completion of the Red War campaign, which new players do not automatically have to do. The current onboarding takes a portion of the opening of the original Destiny—a Ghost finding a Guardian outside the walls of the Cosmodrome—teaching them the very basics of using weapons and abilities, but then sends them to the Tower with little explanation of the state of the world and who these characters are. Bungie summed up the rapid onboarding process while explaining the revamp:
Currently, players are given a single mission to become acquainted with some basic gameplay, and then let loose in the Tower without much direction on where to go or what to do next. This led to some confusion, as many players didn’t exactly know where to start. Who’s that robot that’s meticulously cleaning an Auto Rifle? What do I do with these engrams? And what’s a Zavala?
On November 10th, that experience is being expanded. Players will still start the same way, waking on the outskirts of the Cosmodrome to their Ghost. Heading in and fighting off the Fallen. However, now the full Cosmodrome will be used for an onboarding questline. Instead of finding a ship and immediately flying to the confusing Tower, players encounter another Guardian NPC named Shaw Han (that has to be a Fast and Furious reference, right Bungie?).
Shaw (or is it Han?) and their Fireteam or trying to find out what the Hive are up to in the Cosmodrome, and new players will accompany them while learning Destiny 2 a bit better than the original opening sequence allowed. “As a new player, you’ll spend your first few missions getting acquainted with the state of the world in Destiny 2.” Bungie says. Interestingly, this raises questions about if this questline will be updated in the future to reflect things as the state of the in-game world changes…
This quest also provides the opportunity for players to learn a bit about the progression and systems within Destiny 2, hopefully giving them a better grasp of things before entering the Tower and being set loose to tackle (and wield) the Darkness on their own. “Our hope is that this refreshed New Light experience will give a much warmer welcome to Guardians as they play Destiny 2 for the first time. ”
If you’re a longtime player looking to experience this new piece of Destiny content, don’t worry. Existing players can also go through the New Light quest as well to follow Shaw Han’s story and see just how new players are introduced to the world of Destiny. The Cosmodrome will also open as a patrol space, full of memories and secrets to discover. Just looking at that image of the Forgotten Shore above has me feeling all nostalgic. If and how it will further factor into Destiny 2’s story remains to be seen just yet.
To its credit, Destiny 2 will always be a game with a big community hook, and many elements still benefit from actively participating in the Destiny community both in and out of the game. But this new player onboarding should help provide a more clear path into the complexity of the game’s systems before diving down crazy rabbit holes with the rest of us. With much of Destiny 2’s original free-to-play content being vaulted, including the Red War campaign and all year 1 expansions, this expanded onboarding experience seems to be replacing that.
Does this revamped Destiny 2 new player onboarding sound enticing enough to convince you to play the looter shooter? If you’re an existing player, are you eager to experience this new questline? Let us know in the comments!
Destiny 2: Beyond Light releases on November 10th (available launch day on PS5).