Expansions have a way of making Destiny 2 feel like an entirely new game, and Lightfall appears to be no exception. Now less than a week away, the massive update will add lots of new content as well as overhaul the loot shooter in some pretty big ways. Here’s a roundup of everything to expect from Destiny 2: Lightfall when it releases on February 28.
Cyberpunk-infused story campaign
First and foremost, a new expansion means an entirely new set of story missions. Given the benchmark set by The Witch Queen, I hope Lightfall can deliver. In search of a powerful artifact, Guardians will head to Neptune where they’ll encounter new allies called Cloud Striders who protect a human colony that’s been cut off from the rest of the solar system since the Golden Age. Unfortunately, players won’t be the only ones to greet them, with Calus’ Shadow Legion army building up for an assault.
Special enemies called Tormentors
The Shadow Legion will be aided by a new type of enemy that looks like it ranks just below The Witness’ disciples. Sporting big scythes and seemingly no heads, Tormentors hail from Destiny 2’s mysterious black pyramid ships and will likely provide a whole new type of threat for players to deal with.
Cityscape patrol zone on Neptune
A lot of this action will be taking place in Neomuna, a neon-lit city on Neptune where players will be able to explore the city rooftops. Going off the existing trailers, it feels like a cross between “city pop” vibes and neo-noir intrigue. Based on previous patrol zones, it will have its own quest vendor, rank-up rewards, and secrets to uncover.
Space magic grappling hooks
Unlike previous zones, which players traversed on foot or via their sparrow hoverbikes, Neomuna’s rooftops are pitched as a playground to show off Lightfall’s new grappling hook ability. Locked behind the new Strand subclasses, the new maneuver is supposed to add a lot more verticality to the game. And honestly, what game hasn’t been improved recently by the addition of a grappling hook?
Lethal fall damage is going away
In anticipation of players bouncing around the Neomuna skyline, Bungie announced that player collision physics are getting a shakeup. Lethal fall damage will become less common when Lightfall goes live, and disappear altogether at some point in a mid-season patch. That’s music to the ears of anyone who’s ever wiped in a raid or had a nail-biting boss fight cut short because they forgot to use their thrusters before landing.
Difficulty is going way up
While lethal fall damage may soon be a thing of the past, the rest of Destiny 2 is getting harder. Going forward, even basic activities like the Vanguard strike playlist will put you at a slight Power disadvantage, no matter how over-leveled up you are. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Hero: -5 Power levels.
- Legend: -15 Power levels.
- Master: -20 Power levels.
- Grandmaster Nightfalls: -25 Power levels.
It seems like a clear evolution of the Legendary campaign difficulty first introduced in 2022’s The Witch Queen. One concern is that Bungie hasn’t yet mentioned how activity rewards will be re-scaled to take this added challenge into account. In all likelihood, the balance will continue to get fine-tuned across the upcoming season and beyond.
Three Strand-based subclasses
For the first time in two years, Destiny 2 is getting a new set of superpowers. Strand, a thread-based space magic about tethering to things, will give Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters a completely different way to play. In addition to the grappling hooks, they’ll also have access to status effects like Suspend (stuns enemy), Unravel (triggers area-of-effect damage), Sever (decreases enemy damage output), and Woven Mail (cobweb armor). Here are some more highlights:
- Warlock Broodweaver: summon and wield threadling spiders and send spikes flying with the Needlestorm super.
- Titan Berserker: carves through enemies with dual-wielding fist blades, granting allies extra armor in the process. Bladefury super grants longer access to the weapons.
- Hunter Threadrunner: flings a rope dart to debuff enemies and create extra grapple points for allies while the Silkstrike lets them go full Ninja Gaiden.
Guardian Ranks progression system
A new challenge-based ranking system is coming to Destiny 2 in Lightfall in an effort to onboard players better. Ranks 1-5 will cover the basics, while 6-10 will be season-specific and reset afterward. Rank 11, meanwhile, will be based on getting commendations from other players. “When you see a Rank 11 player in the Tower, you know that is a person who is accomplished as a player and accomplished as a leader,” creative director Tyson Green said during a recent media preview. Experienced players will start at rank 6, and unlock new mods and perks as they progress.
Tons more exotic weapons and armor
Lightfall will start with six new exotics, in addition to the Quicksilver Storm auto rifle that’s been available for months now by pre-ordering the expansion:
- Final Warning (Strand sidearm)
- Deterministic Chaos (Void machine gun)
- Winterbite (Stasis glaive)
- Abeyant Leap (Titan legs)
- Swarmers (Warlock legs)
- Cyrtararchne’s Façade (Hunter helmet)
Bungie says more will be revealed throughout the first season, including likely secret ones that will start out locked behind hidden questlines. Most will still be found in re-worked Lost Sectors to start with, but Bungie has said it plans to move exotics back into the regular loot pool later in the year.
Ability cooldowns are going up
The last 12 months of Destiny 2 have been a power trip thanks to the 3.0 re-works for the existing Solar, Arc, and Void subclasses. Bungie plans to dial that back a bit with Lightfall, in part by reducing the uptime for abilities. While certain supers will see lower cooldown times, on average you won’t be constantly throwing out grenades and charged melee abilities in the new expansion (as had been the case in recent seasons). That’s potentially a good thing considering how often players have recently complained about “power creep” in Destiny 2 making them feel too strong.
Guns are getting rebalanced
In tandem with higher cooldowns, Bungie is aiming to make guns a cornerstone of the action again in Lightfall. Rather than something to fire to trigger your abilities, the idea seems to be that you’ll be relying on inherit strengths and perks of your primary and secondary weapons a lot more. To this end, a bunch of them are also getting re-balanced. Most notably, heavy machine guns are getting more powerful while linear fusion rifles are getting weaker. Kinetic guns will also do more damage against unshielded enemies.
In-game economy is changing
The seasonal grind will be simpler. Instead of farming a bunch of new currencies to open up a chest with loot inside, you’ll just earn keys instead. Umbrals and Umbral Energies are going away too. Focusing will just require seasonal engrams and glimmer. Crafting is also getting refined. Shaping weapon perks won’t require resonant elements and alloys, and deepsight weapons will now only drop for patterns you haven’t already unlocked. TL;DR: fewer currencies and less RNG.
Mods are getting overhauled
Long one of the most indecipherable aspects of Destiny 2, mods are finally getting streamlined. Mods will now be easier to get for new players, they’ll no longer have specific elemental alignments, and you’ll have more room to play around with the most interesting ones thanks to champion artifact mods moving someplace else. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to make sense of Destiny’s esoteric buildcrafting language.
Loadout manager will make buildcrafting a cinch
Not only are mods getting overhauled, they’re also getting a handy-dandy manager just like the existing fashion loadout manager. You’ll be able to see and swap mods for all your armor on a single menu screen, while also being able to save entire loadouts of guns and armor on the fly. Obtaining higher Guardian Ranks will unlock more loadout slots. Players, especially on PC, have relied on third-party tools to essentially do the same thing for years. Now, everyone can enjoy tinkering with Destiny buildcrafting in a way that’s quick and easy and (almost) painless.
A “looking for group” tool…eventually
Back when Bungie first revealed Lightfall, it showed off a new in-game “looking for group” (LFG) tool that would make Destiny 2 more social. Instead of going into an app or third-party website to find people to play with, all of it could be done from the main menu. Unfortunately, while the LFG feature is still on the way, it’s been delayed until the last season of Lightfall. That’s a big bummer, especially since many activities are getting harder and still don’t support in-game matchmaking. But better later than never, though.