I resisted as long as I could, not that it was difficult. For years, the siren song of Destiny had never managed to capture my attention long enough to crash me into the rocks of grinding seasonal content and raising my Power level. Sure, I’d made my way through the campaigns of both games and played some Crucible when they launched, but playing the same content over and over again to earn incrementally better gauntlets or hand cannons never appealed to me because, really, what was the point?
Yet, with the beginning of the Season of the Chosen this week, I have to admit that, God help me, I’m a Destiny 2 player now.
This didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not entirely due to the merits of the game. Several things had to fall into place for me to become a full-blown Destiny devotee.
The main motivator was that my brother plays Destiny 2 religiously. He and I never gamed together much because he was on PlayStation and I was on Xbox, but when I landed a PlayStation 5, considering we haven’t seen each other in over a year thanks to COVID, I thought this was a good opportunity to find a game for us to play. It just so happens that Destiny 2 was one of the games that had gotten next-gen upgrades.
I started giving Destiny 2 the old college try in the waning month of the previous season. My brother, who by then had maxed out his Power level, tried to walk me through the game as best he could, and I learned a lot, but after completing all the Beyond Light content, I also almost completely missed out on the actual hunts that were the main aspect of Season of the Hunt. In the end, I only filled out maybe half of the season pass.
But it wasn’t entirely a waste. First off, I had at least made some gaming memories with my brother, which was the whole point. But, as a result of stumbling through the last season like a wobbly-legged newborn giraffe, I also learned a lot of lessons the hard way. When the new season began, I was ready for it.
Where I might have been confused about what the heck I was supposed to do with the Season of the Chosen’s Hammer of Proving, figuring out how Season of the Hunt’s lures worked prepared me to grind for that sweet, sweet Cabal gold. Instead of completely forgetting to equip bounties, I started gobbling them up at the tower right from the get-go. I even downloaded the Destiny companion app, for crying out loud.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, was just how much more engaging I was going to find Season of the Chosen’s content compared to last season’s.
Let’s start with the Exotic weapon from this season’s pass. Ticuu’s Divination, the new Exotic bow, is one of the most fun weapons I’ve ever used in any first-person shooter. I was already a huge fan of the bows in Destiny 2, but they all felt the same. Ticuu’s Divination is different. The rhythm of alternating between shooting off the tracking arrows and then detonating them with a well-placed precision shot is satisfying in a way that seems circadian. The fact that you can even make it work in Crucible is a bonus.
Thankfully, this season’s main content, Battlegrounds, gives you plenty of opportunities to use Ticuu’s Divination to its fullest extent. Unlike the glorified yet stilted boss fights from last season’s hunts with their various steps and immune phases, Season of the Chosen’s Battlegrounds feel more like actual missions that also capitalize on what’s always been Destiny’s best feature: its gunplay. The multistep battles don’t just have you fighting a few enemies; you take on entire platoons of Cabal in the most chaotic and invigorating PvE battles I’ve yet to experience in the series. Using Ticuu’s Divination to explode huge clumps of Legionaries and Psions is a perfect pairing of tool and implementation.
There are smaller changes that have made Destiny 2 my go-to multiplayer shooter (at least until the next Battlefield arrives). Nixing weekly bounties and introducing weekly challenges is a convenient way for players to track their progress and earn additional season XP. It also opens up more opportunity for varied challenges that can motivate players to try content they might not have otherwise. I finally played my first Gambit match after having avoided what seemed like an overly confusing and intimidating mode, and it’s probably my favorite thing to do in Destiny 2 at the moment.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I would continue to play Destiny 2 if it wasn’t for my brother. Logging on daily to knock out a few bounties and Battlegrounds out of FOMO still makes me feel too much like I’m being forced to play, and Crucible remains incredibly frustrating thanks to the Stasis and shotgun meta. But Destiny 2 has proven to be a great way to stay connected and make memories from a distance, and the content in Season of the Chosen has made the process of transforming into a Destiny 2 player slightly less painful. I’m not proud about selling my soul to the grindy hamster wheel that is the looter shooter genre, but at least I’m having fun.