We’ve gone over this quite a bit in the five years of Destiny, but story and world building was never the franchise’s strong suit. It’s been particularly disappointing for many considering how much effort Bungie put into creating this interesting and beautiful new IP. With so many things to take in, I wanted to know more about the things and characters I was interacting with. Vanilla Destiny never lived up to that as the campaign felt disjointed and chaotic, no doubt a result of the turbulent development cycle.
The destinations in-game, places like Venus and Mars, were beautiful to look at and compelling in their own right but felt more like shooting galleries than actual fleshed out worlds. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the majority of this problem was with the unlockable Grimoire Cards, lore and story beats from the game that were actually housed on the Bungie website and forced players to leave the game to read them rather than experience them first hand.
Thankfully, things improved dramatically with The Taken King expansion, which went on to fix a lot of the core game’s issues as well as present a much more interesting and self-contained story. While the cards continued to be a thorn in the side of those wanting more details in the actual game, Destiny 2 finally ditched them and proved that Bungie learned from their past mistakes.
Instead of the unlockable cards, the game was packed with fully fleshed out lore (previously available on items, now located within the Triumphs menu screen) as well as actual cutscenes to tell an interesting story of the Cabal nearly wiping out the Traveler and Last City. With the Forsaken expansion having released last month, many players would agree that this is Bungie’s finest work to date and takes everything they’ve learned to craft something even better.
Without getting into spoilers, Forsaken crafts a compelling narrative which is clearly inspired by classic Westerns and revenge tales. Players had to track down boss characters called Barons, each with their own themes and personalities, before going after the supposed big bad, Prince Uldren Sov. With the campaign at an end, Forsaken isn’t over and actually opens The Dreaming City, an expansive and evolving end-game destination that seems to get more and more interesting with each passing week.
After Clan Redeem was the first to finish the Last Wish raid, a curse descended over the destination, opening up new quests, switching out enemy factions within certain events, and revealing new content like the Shattered Throne dungeon. However, this content isn’t around forever, as the zone is on a three-week cycle, where new content rotates in and out. This week marks the first reset of the zone, following the initial three week Taken Curse affliction. Unlike the game’s weekly content reset on Tuesday, it seems Bungie is adding some interesting details and justification for this new three-week cycle.
Interestingly enough, characters in this zone are reacting to the reset. For example, Petra Venj, one of the stars of the expansion and returning character from the first game, has ventured back to the location where she was in the first week of the curse. She’s confused as to what’s going on, commenting that everything that had happened over the past three weeks should have worked to clear the zone, and yet, things have returned to the first week. Not only that, the first week’s quest called Broken Courier is back and has players attempting to save an NPC character. The NPC involved with that mission has new dialogue this time, remarking that she was well aware as to what was going to happen, and yet, she couldn’t prevent any of it from happening again.
It’s kinda like that classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, where each day when he wakes up, he has to relive the previous day over and over again. Not only that, he’s fully aware that the situation isn’t right and has to figure out how to stop it. Man, describing it like that gives it a sort of horror like vibe, doesn’t it?
I find all this self-awareness to be really fascinating and a breath of fresh air when it comes to resetting content. As we’ve seen, Bungie is more than willing to unlock content over time (The Whisper quest, Malfeasance, Wish Ender, etc) so I have no doubt that something will come of this at some point.
Why is this happening?
Minor Dreaming City/Last Wish Raid spoilers follow.
Well, the long and short of it is: Savathun. Yes, the creature that has a strike named after her is technically behind everything wrong with The Dreaming City. As it turns out, our old pal Oryx took control of Queen Mara Sov’s pet dragon Riven (who is actually the final boss of the Last Wish raid). Oryx’s Hive Goddess sister, Savathun, made a deal with Riven that in exchange for its freedom, Riven would reset the Dreaming City every three weeks. The ‘freedom’ in this case is Riven’s death at our hands. Whoops.
Hive are empowered by death and destruction, so keeping this city in a perpetual state of chaos is basically turning it into a battery of power and empowering Savathun. Should Guardians stop fighting, the battery dies, but Savathun ultimately takes total control. On the other hand, continuing the fight means the city will continue to reset and supercharge her. It’s really a no-win situation.
So what does this mean?
Well, it’s an interesting question. Clearly, Bungie has more plans for The Dreaming City. We’ve seen them unlock new quests and content before. They’ve already confirmed that the annual pass won’t feature much, if any story content, so a massive enemy like Savathun likely won’t be saved for that. Does this mean that a new raid will be launching for free at some point with Savathun as the last boss? Defeat her to reclaim the city once and for all? Knowing Activision’s track record, I can’t see a big thing like this simply being added for free.
Could Bungie be developing another big-time expansion for September 2019? While that does seem to be the easy answer, wasn’t the Annual Pass established to focus less on story-based updates? With the last part of the annual pass, Penumbra, launching in the summer of 2019, perhaps a “Rise of Iron” style expansion is set to launch later next year which ties a bow on this situation.
Things appear to be heating up and I’m thrilled that Bungie has taken this approach with the latest DLC. Taking something so ordinary like a content reset, and turning it into an interesting plot device is a great idea. It certainly piques my curiosity and makes me want to continue logging in to find out more about what’s going on.