Destiny 2 is a sci-fi open-world first-person shooter developed by Bungie (in conjunction with Vicarious Visions and High Moon) and published by Activision for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 6, 2017. It was later released for the PC on October 24, 2017 as the first third-party title for Blizzard’s Battle.net service. From 2019 onward, the game is published by Bungie themselves, with the PC version moving to Steam on October 1, 2019 and a Google Stadia version in development as a launch title.
It is the sequel to the 2014 game Destiny and is set one year after the events of the Rise of Iron expansion. In the base campaign (“The Red War”), the Cabal Red Legion, commanded by Dominus Ghaul, have invaded the Last City in an attack that stripped the Guardians of their powers. As one of the few Guardians remaining, the player must now find a new way to regain their powers, reform the Vanguard, and take back the Last City.
Similar to the original game, Destiny 2 has received numerous post-release updates and expansions, including new campaigns, multiplayer maps, game modes, weapons (including new weapon types), cosmetics, and special events. Numerous gameplay mechanics were also altered post-release, including the “Masterwork” system for upgrading gear. A free-to-play version of the game (called “Destiny 2: New Light”), along with cross-save support, is in development.
The game received two beta testing periods: one for consoles (from July 18, 2017 to July 25, 2017) and one for PC (from August 28, 2017 to August 31, 2017). Those who pre-ordered received exclusive early access to the beta.
The three main classes of Guardians return from the original Destiny. However, their upgrade and sub-class systems have changed significantly. Instead of a sub-class with eight tiers of modifiers, players instead start with an upgrade for the Movement Ability, Grenade Type, and new Class Ability (with most options locked with an “upgrade point” system and/or level lock) and can use upgrade points to specialize in one of two sets of abilities (each providing different series of buffs and unique Melee Abilities). Unlike the original Destiny, there are no modifiers for the player’s main stats (Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery) and no separate modifier for the super ability.
The game’s prologue has players start with either the Gunslinger, Striker, or Voidwalker sub-class. Once the player’s Guardian “loses their Light”, they lose their class-specific abilities (including mid-air movement and the ability to throw grenades) until a certain point in the story (which gives them the Arcstrider, Sentinel, or Dawnblade sub-class). By playing through the game, players can unlock additional sub-classes through special quests that can only be reached at certain player levels.
Character inventories and progression are not carried over from the original Destiny, although character appearances can be transferred if they reached level 20 and completed the Black Garden mission.
The most agile class of the three, Hunters are former scavengers and can be recognized by their hooded capes and light, fitted armor.
Their unique ability is the Dodge, which allows them to quickly evade attacks in a daring roll or dash maneuver. Players can choose from either Marksman Dodge (which also automatically reloads the player’s equipped weapon) or Gambler’s Dodge (which can also generate Melee Attack energy if done in close proximity to an enemy).
Their movement options involve double-jumping. These include High Jump (which upgrades the height of the second jump), Strafe Jump (which offers better directional control of the second jump), and Triple Jump (which adds a third mid-air jump).
- Arcstrider (Arc) – Their Arc Staff super ability conjures a staff of pure electrical energy, allowing them to be an agile melee powerhouse. Can path into either Way of the Warrior (which creates an aftershock on Arc Staff attacks) or Way of the Wind (which increases the player’s general agility). Since Season 4, players can unlock Way of the Current, which allows them to deflect projectiles with the Arc Staff. Their Melee Ability is a pressure-point punch that either gives a temporary buff (Warrior), disorients nearby enemies (Wind), or allows the user to deliver a powerful uppercut (Current).
- Gunslinger (Solar, unlocked after level 5+) – Their Golden Gun super ability conjures a flaming revolver with three extremely powerful shots. Can path into either Way of the Outlaw (which increases the Golden Gun ammunition) or Way of the Sharpshooter (which increases the Golden Gun duration on precision hits). Since Season 4, players can unlock Way of a Thousand Cuts, which replaces the Golden Gun with Blade Barrage (conjuring a barrage of explosive throwing knives). Their Melee Ability is a throwing knife toss, which either detonate on impact (Outlaw), recharge on precision kills (Sharpshooter), or have multiple knives thrown at once (Thousand Cuts).
- Nightstalker (Void, unlocked after level 15+) – Their Shadowshot super ability conjures a bow-and-arrow shot of void energy that damages, ensnares and marks their enemies. Can path into either Way of the Trapper (which allow Shadowshot attacks to create ensnaring traps) or Way of the Pathfinder (which allows multiple Shadowshot attacks). Since Season 4, players can unlock Way of the Wraith, which replaces the Shadowshot with Spectral Blades (which conjures two daggers of void energy and allows them to roam invisible for stealth kills). Their Melee Ability is a smoke bomb toss, which either ensnares enemies (Trapper), cloaks all nearby allies (Pathfinder), or damages them over time (Wraith).
The most durable class of the three, Titans are known for building the Wall that protects the Last City and can be recognized by their bulky armor, swept-back helmets, and marked sashes.
Their unique class ability is the Barricade, which allows them to form a temporary barrier of light that negates weapons. Players can choose from either Towering Barricades (tall barriers that offers better protection) or Rally Barricades (short barriers that can be peeked over by aiming down-the-sight, also instantly reloading the equipped weapon of allies behind it).
Their movement options involve the mid-air “Lift”, which propels the Titan to the air and use jump-jets to hover down. These include High Lift (which upgrades the overall Lift height), Strafe Lift (which offers better directional control of the Lift), and Catapult Lift (which provides a quick Lift propulsion).
- Sentinel (Void) – Their Sentinel Shield super ability conjures a wielded shield of void energy that can negate enemy attacks, be used to bash enemies, and be thrown at enemies as a boomerang. Can path into either Code of the Protector (which gives an option to create an impenetrable shielding dome instead) or Code of the Aggressor (which allows additional Sentinel Shield throws). Since Season 4, players can unlock Code of the Commander, which improves the Sentinel Shield’s barrier. Their Melee Ability either creates an overshield on all nearby allies after a kill (Protector), unleashes a devastating shield bash while sprinting (Aggressor), or set off void explosions from other void abilities (Commander).
- Striker (Arc, unlocked after level 5+) – Their Fist of Havoc super ability supercharges the Titan’s fists, allowing powerful melee dashes and ground slams. Can path into either Code of the Earthshaker (which allows more powerful Fist of Havoc ground slams) or Code of the Juggernaut (which extends the Fist of Havoc duration on kills). Since Season 4, players can unlock Code of the Missile, which replaces the Fist of Havoc with Thundercrash (allowing them to fly around in a single guided strike). Their Melee Ability either unleashes a shoulder slam while sprinting (Earthshaker), automatically reloads the Striker’s weapon after striking (Juggernaut), or slam into the ground after sprinting (Missile).
- Sunbreaker (Solar, unlocked after level 15+) – Their Hammer of Sol super ability conjures flaming hammers that can be thrown at enemies. Can path into either Code of the Fire-Forged (which cause enemies to explode after being killed by the Hammer of Sol) or Code of the Siegebreaker (which create a unique aura on Hammer of Sol impacts that buff its user). Since Season 4, players can unlock Code of the Devastator, which replaces the Hammer of Sol with Burning Maul (conjuring a massive flaming hammer for both quick strikes and powerful slams). Their Melee Ability either unleash a hammer strike while sprinting (Fire-Forged), causes an explosion that burns nearby enemies (Siegebreaker), or throws a retrievable solar hammer (Devastator).
The most arcane class of the three, Warlocks studied the Light of the Traveler through scholarly means and can be recognized by their robes, rounded helmets, and “bonds” (a special type of armband).
Their unique ability is the Rift, which allows them to conjure a temporary well of Light that continually buffs allies inside it. Players can choose from either Healing Rift (which heals them) or Empowering Rift (which increases their attack power).
Their movement options involve gliding in the air. These include Controlled Glide (which offers better directional control of the glide), Focused Burst (which provides an intial speed burst on the glide), and Balanced Glide (which provides a bonus to both speed and control of the glide). The Voidwalker sub-class is unique as it replaces the Focused Burst with Blink (allowing a quick teleportation effect).
- Dawnblade (Solar) – Their Daybreak super ability conjures flaming swords that can be thrown at enemies. Can path into either Attunement of Sky (which give the ability to dodge in mid-air) or Attunement of Flame (which give the ability to dive down, causing a ground slam with Daybreak active). Since Season 4, players can unlock Attunement of Grace, which replaces the Daybreak with Well of Radiance (creating a large rift that both empowers and heals allies). Their Melee Ability either recharges Class abilities on airborne kills (Sky), causes an explosion on an enemy kill (Flame), or empower nearby allies (Grace).
- Voidwalker (Void, unlocked after level 5+) – Their Nova Bomb super ability conjures and hurls a giant ball of energy, disintegrating all enemies that are caught within its blast. Can path into either Attunement of Chaos (which adds a variety of devastating effects on the Nova Bomb and allows the user to consume super ability energy to empower their next grenade toss) or Attunement of Hunger (which adds a singularity effect to the Nova Bomb and allows the user to consume grenade energy for health). Since Season 4, players can unlock Attunement of Fission, which replaces the Nova Bomb with Nova Warp (allowing them to roam, Blink rapidly, and explode with pulses of void energy). Their Melee Ability either recharges the user’s grenade energy on striking an enemy (Chaos), fully restores the user’s health on killing an enemy (Hunger), or grant ability energy (Fission).
- Stormcaller (Arc, unlocked after level 15+) – Their Stormtrance super ability conjures streams of lightning from their hands. Can path into either Attunement of Conduction (which allows the user to teleport during Stormtrance) or Attunement of Elements (which creates a devastating shockwave when casting Stormtrance and improves the user’s Rift). Since Season 4, players can unlock Attunement of Control, which replaces the Stormtrance with Chaos Reach (allowing them to hover and conjure a large continuous beam of arc energy). Their Melee Ability has extended range and either chains to an additional target (Conduction), recharges the user’s abilities on striking an enemy (Elements), or release a slow-moving projectile that radiates lightning (Control).
Each player can equip three weapons on their loadout: two Primary/Special weapons and one Power weapon. Unlike the original Destiny, where the two main weapon slots are based on the weapon type (Primary or Special), Destiny 2 splits up the slots based on elemental type: Kinetic (non-elemental) and Energy (either Arc, Solar, or Void). Kinetic weapons work best against unshielded enemies while Energy weapons work best against shields of the same elemental type. Power weapons are always elemental and deal heavy damage at the cost of limited ammunition. All weapons are replenished by picking up ammo of their weapon type (white boxes for Primary, green boxes for Special, and purple boxes for Power).
Prior to the Forsaken update, Special weapons were instead categorized as Power weapons and both basic weapon slots were restricted to Primary weapons. Ammo boxes were also color-coded based on weapon slots (with white boxes for Kinetic and green boxes for Energy).
Rarities & Perks
Like the original Destiny, weapons come in multiple color-coded rarities (including grey Basics, green Commons, blue Rares, purple Legendaries, and golden Exotics). As players level up, they earn weapons of a rarer variety more often (with the highest level skipping Basics and Commons entirely).
Rarer weapons include additional perks and bonuses, including the ability to upgrade their level (by “infusing” them with other weapons of the same type), apply weapon mods to them, customize their perk choices, and customize their appearance (using Shaders for Legendary weapons and rare Ornaments for Exotic weapons). Unlike the original Destiny, all weapons no longer have dedicated “upgrade paths”.
Beginning with the Curse of Osiris expansion, players can earn and craft rarer “Masterwork” variants of each Legendary weapon, granting stat tracking and an additional minor stat boost of a random choice (which could be re-rolled). This system was later changed to a separate upgrade system for all weapons added since the Forsaken expansion. For Exotic weapons, players can find rare “Catalysts” that add a progression system, with a fully-progressed Catalyst unlocking a more powerful Masterwork upgrade.
All pre-Forsaken weapons have a curated set of perks which are not randomly-generated. This was changed for weapons added since the Forsaken expansion, where their perks are randomly picked. Regardless, rarer weapons give players the option to choose from groups of perks (such as different scopes and magazine types).
All weapons have Intrinsic Perks, which partly determine their base stats and play style. Some weapons have unique changes based on their Intrinsic Perk (for example, Aggressive Pulse Rifles fire four-round bursts). All Exotic weapons have their own unique Intrinsic Perk.
- Adaptive Frame – Balanced.
- Aggressive Frame – Sacrifices recoil control for higher damage output.
- High-Impact Frame – Sacrifices firing/projectile speed for higher damage output. Improves accuracy while both stationary and aiming down the sight.
- Lightweight Frame – Increases the wielder’s mobility while equipped.
- Precision Frame – Improves horizontal recoil control.
- Rapid-Fire Frame – Increases ammo reserves. Improves reloading speed on an empty magazine. Semi-automatic weapons fire in full-auto.
Primary weapons are the most common used weapons, and use standard Primary Ammo that is common to find. In PvP, players spawn with a large amount of ammunition.
- Auto Rifles – Fully-automatic.
- Combat Bows – Hand-drawn. While they can be fast to reload, each arrow must be drawn prior to firing by holding down the Primary Fire button. Pressing the Reload button cancels the current draw. Added in Season 4.
- Hand Cannons – Semi-automatic with a slow rate-of-fire.
- Pulse Rifles – Three-round burst fire. Aggressive Pulse Rifles fire in four-round bursts.
- Scout Rifles – Semi-automatic.
- Sidearms – Semi-automatic with a fast rate-of-fire. Some Adaptive Sidearms fire in three-round bursts.
- Submachine Guns – Fully-automatic. Aggressive Submachine Guns also deal bonus damage at close range. New to the series.
Formerly part of the Power type, Special weapons are more powerful than Primary weapons and use Special Ammo that is slightly less common to find. In PvP modes, players spawn with a very limited amount of ammunition.
Some Exotic Special Weapons are instead treated as Power Weapons and use that slot and the Power ammo type. In addition, the Fighting Lion Grenade Launcher is instead treated as a Primary Weapon and use the Primary ammo type.
- Fusion Rifles – Charge-shot. Fires a barrage of bolts and is charged by holding down the Primary Fire button.
- Grenade Launchers (Breech-Load) – Single-shot. Depending on perks, grenades have a wide variety of projectile types and purposes (including proximity grenades that stick onto surfaces and grenades that blind or stun enemies). Unlike drum-fed Grenade Launchers, these have no alternate intristic perks. New to the series.
- Shotguns – Pump-action. Some shotguns with Aggressive Frame include a temporary firing rate buff after each kill. Some Precision Shotguns fire with single-slug rounds instead of pellets, significantly reducing the spread of each shot (and requiring more precise aiming for devastating impact).
- Sniper Rifles – Semi-automatic.
- Trace Rifles – Continuous. Fires a continuous beam of energy. Currently only exist as Exotic weapons. New to the series.
Power weapons are more powerful than both Primary and Special weapons and use Power Ammo (sometimes known in-game as Heavy Ammo) that is less common to find. In PvP modes, players spawn with no ammunition at all, and can only find them in two places: as time-locked crates in specific locations or as loose crates dropped by those killed while carrying Power ammo. The kill feed also displays when an ammo is picked up, by who, and with what Power weapon type.
- Grenade Launchers (Drum-Fed) – Multi-shot. Depending on perks, grenades have a wide variety of projectile types and purposes (including proximity grenades that stick onto surfaces and grenades that blind or stun enemies). Precision Grenade Launchers sacrifice projectile speed for projectiles that bounce against hard surfaces and detonate on trigger release. New to the series.
- Linear Fusion Rifles – Charge-shot. Fires a single, powerful, precise bolt and is charged by holding down the Primary Fire button. Unlike standard Fusion Rifles, these have no alternate intristic perks.
- Machine Guns – Fully-automatic. Added in Season 5.
- Rocket Launchers – Single-shot. Precision Rocket Launchers lock onto targets when aimed at, auto-tracking.
- Swords – Melee. When equipped, the game is played in a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. Unlike other weapons, swords can be used in a weaker capacity without ammo. Heavy ammo gives special powered attacks (either Uppercut, Dash, or Slam, depending on the intristic perk) and Sword Guards (which allow players to use Heavy Ammo to guard against enemy attacks, both melee and ranged).
- Homecoming (The Tower, Earth)
- Adieu (The Last City, Earth)
- Spark (European Dead Zone, Earth)
The Red War
- Combustion (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Hope (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Riptide (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Utopia (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Looped (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- Six (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- Sacrilege (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Fury (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Payback (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Unbroken (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Larceny (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- 1AU (The Almighty)
- Chosen (The Last City, Earth)
Curse of Osiris
- The Gateway (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- A Deadly Trial (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Beyond Infinity (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Deep Storage (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Tree of Probabilities (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Hijacked (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- A Garden World (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Omega (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Ice and Shadow (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Pilgrimage (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Off-World Recovery (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Strange Terrain (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Will of the Thousands (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Last Call (Prison of Elders)
- High Plains Blues (Tangled Shore)
- Scorned (Tangled Shore)
- The Machinist (Tangled Shore)
- Nothing Left to Say (Tangled Shore)
The game’s traditional co-operative activity pits up to three players in a single mission (similar in length to campaign missions and adventures), ending with a final confrontation against a boss. By completing Strikes, players can earn unique gear from Commander Zavala.
Prior to the Forsaken expansion, Strikes were only playable as its own matchmaking playlist. This was changed so that players can play individual Strikes by accessing them on the Map screen of each planet.
Beginning with the Curse of Osiris expansion, more difficult versions of Strikes were made available on a separate “Heroic Strikes” playlist. This later replaced the normal Strikes playlist, and can be played in multiple Power level-based difficulty settings. Along with a difficulty increase and more rewards, it adds three gameplay modifiers that change every week, one of each type (Burn, Advantage, and Disadvantage).
The Red War
- The Arms Dealer (European Dead Zone, Earth) – Bracus Zahn (Cabal Legionary)
- Exodus Crash (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) – Thaviks, the Depraved (Fallen Marauder)
- The Inverted Spire (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) – Protheon, Modular Mind (Vex Minotaur)
- Lake of Shadows (European Dead Zone, Earth; timed exclusive to the PS4 version) – Grask, the Consumed (Taken Phalanx)
- The Pyramidion (Echo Mesa, Io) – Brakion, Genesis Mind (Vex Hobgoblin)
- Savathûn’s Song (New Pacific Arcology, Titan) – Savathûn’s Song (Hive Shrieker)
Curse of Osiris
- A Garden World (Fields of Glass, Mercury; based on the mission of the same name) – Dendron, Root Mind (Vex Cyclops)
- Tree of Probabilities (Fields of Glass, Mercury; based on the mission of the same name) – Valus Thuun (Cabal Centurion)
- The Insight Terminus (Arcadian Valley, Nessus; timed exclusive to the PS4 version) – Kargen, the Technocrat (Cabal Psion)
- Strange Terrain (Hellas Basin, Mars; based on the mission of the same name) – Nokris, Herald of Xol (Hive Prince)
- Will of the Thousands (Hellas Basin, Mars; based on the mission of the same name) – Xol, Will of the Thousands (Hive Worm God)
- Broodhold (Tangled Shore; timed exclusive to the PS4 version) – In Anânh, Brood Queen (Hive Wizard)
- The Corrupted (The Dreaming City) – Sedia, the Corrupted (Taken Techeun)
- The Hollowed Lair (Tangled Shore; based on the mission Scorned) – Fikrul, the Fanatic (Scorned Baron)
- Warden of Nothing (Prison of Elders) – The Mad Warden (Fallen Servitor)
A special endgame playlist, “Nightfall Strikes” are even more challenging versions of Strikes with a very large difficulty increase, special rewards, a unique scoring system, and a limited map selection that changes every week. Unlike other Strike playlists, these cannot be played in standard matchmaking and require players to form pre-made fireteams. Players can opt to use the Guided Games feature to form three-man fireteams (with two clanmates as the “Guides” and one other player as the “Seeker”).
Prior to the Forsaken expansion, these came in Normal and Prestige variants (with Prestige playlists disabling the Guided Games functionality and further increasing the game’s difficulty to the game’s then-maximum Power level), have limited mission timers (failing the mission entirely when it reaches zero), and used special modifiers (including “time warps” that allow players to extend the mission timer in special ways).
Beginning with the Warmind expansion, teams are scored based on the performances of all three players together. Scoring is gained by both killing enemies (primary) and generating Orbs of Light (secondary) and is lost gradually over time. After 15 minutes, players earn less points. After 18 minutes, players can no longer earn points. Players can also use special Challenge Card items to further increase the difficulty and apply a set of modifiers (one Burn, one Advantage/Disadvantage, and two Disadvantage), all of which add a multiplier to the scoring system.
Along with Heroic Strikes and Challenge Cards, these modifiers are also applied to Heroic Adventures, the Heroic Story Mission playlist, and certain Activities (including the Reckoning and the Managerie).
- Arc Singe – +25% damage with/from Arc weapons and abilities.
- Solar Singe – +25% damage with/from Solar weapons and abilities.
- Void Singe – +25% damage with/from Void weapons and abilities.
- Brawler – 2x melee damage and recharge speed.
- Grenadier – 2x grenade damage and recharge speed.
- Heavyweight – 2x Power weapon damage, 3x Power ammo drop rate.
- Attrition – Challenge Card only. Drastically slower health/shield regeneration. Killed enemies drop wells of light that restores health and shields.
- Blackout – 20x enemy melee damage. Radar is disabled.
- Extinguish – Challenge Card only. Teams who are wiped fail the mission and are immediately returned to orbit.
- Famine – Challenge Card only. 50% ammo drop rate.
- Glass – Strikes / Story / Adventures only. 50% player health/shield. 2x player health/shield recharge rate.
- Grounded – Players take 5x damage while airborne.
- Iron – 2x enemy health. Enemies no longer stagger.
- Match Game – Challenge Card only. Energy shields are highly resistant to all unmatched elemental damage.
- Momentum – Challenge Card only. Automatic health/shield regeneration is disabled unless the player is moving. Faster health/shield regeneration while sprinting.
Returning from the original Destiny, these unique endgame PvE events pit a fireteam of up to six Guardians against a series of challenging stages in unique locations. Each stage has unique objectives and constraints that require heavy use of teamwork, strategy, puzzle-solving, and communication. Completing through these stages unlock unique and powerful loot.
All raids prior to Season 4 have two difficulties: Normal and Prestige, with the Prestige version giving additional (and exclusive) rewards while increasing the difficulty of all enemies and adding new challenges to each mission. This was replaced with special Challenge triumphs/bounties and an optional “flawless run” mechanic (where players unlock a hidden version of the Raid where a team wipe returns the team to orbit and resets progress).
Each player’s progress in each Raid is saved and can be returned to before the start of the next weekly rotation (where progress is reset). Players in a smaller fireteam (known as “Seekers”) can use the Guided Games feature to pair up with larger fireteams (known as “Guides”) to form a full team for the current year’s Raid.
- Leviathan – Set on the massive Cabal space vessel (of the same name) orbiting around Nessus, Leviathan has the players invited by the former Emperor of the Cabal Empire to test their strength against his Loyalist forces. Unlike previous Raids, Leviathan uses a central hub area (the Castellum) to link all four chambers together. Players need to clear three of these chambers (Royal Pools, Pleasure Gardens, and The Gauntlet) before facing off against Emperor Calus himself in his throne room. As progressing through the Castellum is a challenge in itself, players can optionally sneak inside a hidden part of the ship (the Underbelly) to skip the Castellum and find hidden loot.
- Last Wish – Added in Season 4. Set in the Dreaming City, Last Wish has players making their way to a massive tower (the Keep of Voices) while freeing two Techeuns (Kalli and Shuro Chi) from Taken corruption. Afterwards, they must defeat the tower’s guard (a powerful Taken Ogre known as the Spirekeeper Morgeth), find a way to enter the Vault, and destroy the corrupted Ahamkara known as Riven of a Thousand Voices.
- Leviathan, Eater of Worlds – Added in Season 2. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to venture deep inside the Vex-infested vessel to find and destroy the Planetary Core Argos.
- Leviathan, Spire of Stars – Added in Season 3. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to repel a Cabal Red Legion assault on the vessel and assassinate the fleet’s leader: Val Ca’uor.
- Scourge of the Past – Added in Season 5. Set in a desolate section of the Last City (now occupied by a Fallen syndicate known as Kell’s Scourge), Scourge of the Past has players navigating the city to the Black Armory Vault and preventing the massive war-mech Insurrection Prime from plundering it.
- Crown of Sorrow – Added in Season 7. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to clear Hive infestation and retrieve the Crown of Sorrow (a Hive artifact believed to be used to command the Hive) from the corrupted Cabal Gahlran.
Like the original Destiny, PvP multiplayer takes place in-universe in the Crucible: a series of live-fire training exercises that doubles as gladiatorial competition.
Each Crucible match takes place in dedicated arenas (most of which use environmental assets from areas used for PvE), with Lord Shaxx as the mode’s primary announcer. By completing public matches, players can earn unique Crucible-themed gear for use in any mode.
At launch, the game had no private matches, no ranking system, and a player limit of 8 (restricted to two teams of four players). Along with the addition of private matches and two ranking systems (Valor and Glory), the game later increased the player limit to 12 and added free-for-all play.
As of the Forsaken update, each player has two separate rankings that reset each Season:
- Valor – Used for all public modes, Valor tracks the player’s overall Crucible experience for a particular Season. While players can earn additional Valor by winning consecutive matches, they can never lose Valor. When players reach the maximum Valor Rank (Legend), they can choose to reset it back to zero to gain additional rewards and commendations.
- Glory – Used solely for the Competitive playlist, Glory tracks the player’s skill in the playlist in relation to other players. Players can earn additional Glory by winning consecutive matches, and lose Glory by losing matches and disconnecting from games.
Unlike in the original Destiny, Destiny 2 simplifies the scoring system so that bonus points (such as headshots and assists) do not count towards the team’s score.
- Clash – Standard team deathmatch. Teams earn points for eliminating enemy combatants.
- Control – Objective-based “conquest” mode, where teams fight over three neutral Points throughout the battlefield. Neutral and enemy Points can be captured for the team by standing on them uncontested for a short amount of time. Teams earn points both for eliminating enemy combatants (with bonus points based on how many Points they control) and for capturing a Point. In Competitive settings, each team starts with one Point controlled.
- Supremacy – Team deathmatch with a twist: killed players drop colored “crests” (blue for teammates, red for enemies) that can be collected. Teams can only earn points by picking up enemy Crests, and picking up a teammate’s crest denies the opportunity for the enemy team to score with it.
- Survival – Team deathmatch with a twist: games are played in rounds and teams only have a limited amount of lives. Teams win rounds by depleting the enemy team of their life count and then eliminating them. If the round timer is depleted, the team with the most lives remaining wins the round. Based on Elimination mode from the original Destiny.
- Countdown – Round-based asymmetrical assault mode where the Attacking team must prevent the Defending team from arming and detonating a central charge at one of two points in a specific time limit. Although players only have one life per round, they can be revived by teammates. Teams win rounds by either by eliminating the enemy team or by completing their objective. New for Destiny 2.
- Mayhem Clash – Similar to Clash. All Guardian abilities and Heavy ammunition crates recharge faster. Added on December 19, 2017.
- Showdown – Team deathmatch with a twist: games are played in two-minute rounds. Teams win rounds by having the highest amount of kills when the round timer is depleted. New for Destiny 2. Added on February 13, 2018.
- Rumble – Free-for-all deathmatch. Players earn points for eliminating enemy combatants. Added on March 27, 2018.
- Iron Banner Control – Similar to Control. Once a team captures all three points at once (and gains a “Power Play”), the points remain locked for 15 seconds before they all reset. New for Destiny 2. Added on September 18, 2018 and not available in Private Matches.
- Breakthrough – Round-based symmetrical assault mode where teams fight to capture a central neutral control point (or “deploying the Breaker”). Once a team deploys the Breaker, they must capture their enemy’s control point (or “hacking the Vault”) to win the round. If they fail to hack the Vault, the other team wins the round. New for Destiny 2. Added on September 25, 2018 and requires the Forsaken expansion for use in Private Matches.
- Lockdown – Similar to Control. However, the game is now a round-based system where kills no longer contribute to the score. Teams slowly earn points by capturing and holding two uncontested zones. If all zones are captured and uncontested, the holding team wins the round automatically. New for Destiny 2. Added on November 27, 2018 (formerly a Crucible Labs playlist since July 26, 2018).
- Crimson Days Doubles – Similar to Showdown. Players who are close together gain the “Reunited” buff (increasing the recharge rate of their abilities), while players who are too far apart gain the “Drifting Apart” debuff (marking them as waypoints for the enemy). When a player’s teammate is defeated, they gain the “Vengeance” temporary buff (further increasing the recharge rate of their abilities while slightly healing them). New for Destiny 2. Added on February 12, 2019 and not available in Private Matches.
- Scorched / Team Scorched – Similar to Rumble / Clash. All loadouts are replaced with one weapon with very high ammo: the Scorch Cannon. New for Destiny 2. Added on August 21, 2018 and are available in Private Matches.
- Altar of Flame (Caloris Basin, Mercury)
- The Dead Cliffs (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Endless Vale (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- The Fortress (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Javelin-4 (Warsat Launch Facility, Io)
- Legion’s Gulch (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Midtown (The Last City, Earth)
- Vostok (Felwinter Peak, Earth)
- Retribution (Upper Startosphere, Mars) – Timed-exclusive to the PS4 version.
- Emperor’s Respite (Prison Barge, Leviathan) – Added on September 13, 2017.
- Eternity (Unknown Space) – Added on September 15, 2017. Formerly exclusive to Trials of the Nine.
- Distant Shore (Arcadian Strand, Nessus) – Added on October 10, 2017. Remake of Shores of Time from the original Destiny.
- The Burnout (Vex Future, Infinite Forest) – Added on February 13, 2018. Remake of Burning Shrine from the original Destiny.
- Bannerfall (The Last City, Earth) – Added on May 23, 2018. Remake of the map of the same name from the original Destiny. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Convergence (Infinite Forest, Mercury) – Added on September 18, 2018. Remake of Pantheon from the original Destiny. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Pacifica (Tidal Anchor, Titan) – Added with the Curse of Osiris expansion.
- Radiant Cliffs (Mercury’s Past, Infinite Forest) – Added with the Curse of Osiris expansion.
- Wormhaven (New Pacific Arcology, Titan) – Added with the Curse of Osiris expansion. Timed-exclusive to the PS4 version. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Meltdown (Clovis Bray Special Projects, Mars) – Added with the Warmind expansion.
- Solitude (Warmind Facility Hellas, Mars) – Added with the Warmind expansion.
- The Citadel – (The Dreaming City) – Added with the Forsaken expansion. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Firebase Echo (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) – Added with the Forsaken expansion. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Equinox (Unknown Space) – Added with the Forsaken expansion. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Gambler’s Ruin (The Tangled Shore) – Added with the Forsaken expansion. Timed-exclusive to the PS4 version.
- Quickplay (Valor) – Low-intensity playlist. Uses the Clash and Control modes and is played with two teams of six (formerly two teams of four). Mercy rule enabled.
- Competitive (Glory) – High-intensity playlist with mid-game joining disabled. Uses the Clash, Control, Survival, and Countdown modes and is played with two teams of four. Players who disconnect from multiple Competitive matches in a short time frame get a temporary suspension from the playlist.
- Rumble (Valor) – Low-intensity no-team playlist. Uses the Rumble mode and is played with six players (formerly eight players). Formerly a rotating playlist.
Added on March 27, 2018, one bonus playlist in the Crucible mode features one of the following in a weekly rotation:
- Doubles (Valor) – Uses the Showdown mode and is played with two teams of two.
- Mayhem (Valor) – Uses the Mayhem Clash mode and is played with two teams of six.
- Supremacy (Valor) – Uses the Supremacy mode and is played with two teams of six.
- Breakthrough (Valor) – Uses the Breakthrough mode and is played with two teams of four.
- Lockdown (Valor) – Uses the Lockdown mode and is played with two teams of four.
- Showdown (Valor) – Uses the Showdown mode and is played with two teams of four.
Returning from the original Destiny, Iron Banner is a special monthly endgame event hosted by Lord Saladin where, for one week a month, the Weekly playlist is replaced with a special “Iron Banner” playlist that grants unique themed gear. In addition, Saladin replaces Shaxx as the mode’s announcer.
Prior to Season 4, the playlist was restricted to one gametype that rotates every month (Clash, Control, or Supremacy). This was later changed to a special variation of Control (known as “Iron Banner Control”) and introduced the return of Power level advantages (where players with higher Power levels have increased damage and resistance).
Since Season 5, certain medals received their own Iron Banner counterpart that is earned exclusively in that mode. Season 6 added two new consumables: the Iron Burden (which gives a handicap of -100 Power in the Iron Banner for 30 minutes, available for purchase) and the Wolf’s Favor (which gives a handicap of +100 Power in the Iron Banner for 30 minutes, earned by completing Daily/Weekly Challenges).
Trials of the Nine
The sequel to the “Trials of Osiris” event in the original Destiny, Trials of the Nine was a special weekly endgame event where players participate in a series of highly-competitive matches on a specific map and gametype (either Survival or Countdown) that cycles each week. It was later discontinued in Season 4.
Unlike standard playlists, players must form their full four-player fireteam before entering matchmaking and cannot modify their chosen loadout while in the playlist. Each match’s introduction is extended and shows the loadout of all players individually (allowing teams to coordinate on countering their foes).
Each event duration starts on Friday and ends at the weekly reset. Once the player’s character reaches either 7 wins or 3 losses, that character can no longer participate in the event for that week. Depending on the amount of wins, the player can enter parts of an exclusive location (The Third Spire) to spend on unique themed gear.
Added in Season 4, Gambit is a unique “competitive PvE” game mode that pits two groups of four-man fireteams against each other to summon and destroy a powerful boss enemy (the Taken Primeval). While it have elements of PvP multiplayer, it is outside of the scope of the Crucible and does not count towards Crucible bounties and challenges.
In-universe, Gambit is a secret competition hosted by a mysterious Lightbearer , known as the Drifter, in order to generate and harness the Darkness (as portable “Motes”). It takes place at locations near the Drifter’s ship (the Derelict, which tows a gigantic mysterious object throughout the solar system), with the beginning of each round taking place inside the ship. Further lore behind Gambit and the Drifter’s intentions are explained in both Forsaken (through lore books) and Joker’s Wild expansions.
Similar to the Crucible’s Valor ranking system, Gambit has Infamy ranks which tracks their public Gambit experience throughout the season. While players can earn additional Infamy by winning consecutive matches, they can never lose Infamy (although at the highest Rank, they gain no Infamy by losing). When players reach the maximum Infamy Rank (Legend), they can choose to reset it back to zero to gain additional rewards and commendations.
In Gambit, games are played in rounds, with the first team to win two rounds winning the match. At the beginning of the match, an enemy faction is randomly determined, which will spawn naturally for the entirety of the match (outside of the Primeval phase).
When each round begins, both teams spawn in the spawn area of their battlefield, with the battlefields of both teams being both completely identical and separate. Each battlefield has a central area (where a “Mote Bank” and an “Invasion Portal” are located) and three enemy spawn areas (each of which are named by the Drifter when enemies spawn, such as “the Cavern” and “the Base”).
Enemies of the chosen faction then spawn in one of these areas, with enemies dropping anywhere from 1-5 “Motes of Dark” based on their difficulty. Once all enemies are cleared from that area, they begin spawning in one of the two other spawn areas. Although Motes disappear after a short amount of time, players can collect them to keep them in their possession (up to 15 at a time). Players can then deposit their current stack of Motes to their team’s Bank, provided there are no enemy Blockers alive. If a player dies while holding a stack of Motes, that stack is “lost” and removed from the game.
Once a team deposits 75 or more Motes in their Bank, they begin their Primeval Phase, which removes all faction enemies from their battlefield, locks the Bank, and begins spawning unique Taken enemies near the Bank. The objective of this phase is to eliminate the boss “Primeval” (who is both lethal and very tanky). To help hasten the death of the Primeval, a stacking “Primeval Slayer” buff is applied automatically to the team (first after 30 seconds, then after every 12 seconds). In addition, eliminating both of the Primeval’s lieutenants (the Taken Wizards known as “Primeval Envoys”) grant an additional “Primeval Slayer” buff.
Once the Primeval is defeated, the round ends and the team who defeated their Primeval first wins the round. In normal Gambit matches after the Gambit Prime update, the final tie-breaking round (when more than one round is needed to win) is changed to immediately start at the Primeval Phase.
At certain times of the match, a more powerful “High-Value Target” can spawn in a random location and roams throughout the battlefield. Damaging HVTs causes it to drop Motes, while defeating HVTs drop a large amount of Motes (up to 15 total).
In addition, teams that are behind in score can find glowing “Catch Up Targets” with spawned enemies, each of which drop additional Motes on death.
Both HVTs and CUTs can be disabled in Private Matches.
When a player deposits 5 or more Motes at a time, they send a “Blocker” to the enemy battlefield near their Bank. As long as an enemy Blocker is alive, that team’s Bank is “blocked” and cannot be used.
- For 5-9 Motes, Taken Goblins are deployed as Small Blockers, whose ability to shield other Taken from all damage made them annoying in groups. Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Phalanxes.
- For 10-14 Motes, Taken Captains are deployed as Medium Blockers, whose lethality made them dangerous for players holding onto motes . Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Knights.
- For the maximum amount of Motes (or 15-19 Motes in Gambit Prime), Taken Knights are deployed as Large Blockers, whose tankiness made them tougher to dispatch. Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Ogres.
With the addition of the High-Yield Savings perk in Gambit Prime (and exclusive to that mode), Collectors can deposit 20 Motes to send a Giant Blocker (a boss Taken Phalanx) to the other side. Giant Blockers are risky to obtain, but are very dangerous to dispose of (due to their large shields, their tankiness, and their lethal stomp attack).
Players can still send Blockers to the enemy’s side when their enemies are in the Primeval Phase, which can be detrimental to that team (as distractions and shields).
Reminiscent of the Invader Phantom system in the Souls series, players can “invade” the opposing team’s battlefield once their Portal is active (which happens after each 25 motes deposited as a team, or at regular intervals during the enemy’s Primeval Phase).
Invaders are transported to the furthest spawn area from the opposing players, are highlighted in red, have all enemy Guardians marked on their HUD, and cannot be targeted or damaged by PvE enemies. Their goal is simply to eliminate enemy Guardians while avoid being killed themselves. After either 30 seconds have passed or four enemy Guardians are eliminated, the Invader is automatically transported back to their battlefield. If they are killed, they drop 3 Motes around them, lose their current stack of Motes, and must wait to respawn at their battlefield.
Teams who are being invaded are notified (with heavy aural and visual cues) and have an incentive to hunt the Invader down:
- If the Invader kills an enemy Guardian prior to the Primeval Phase, that Guardian loses their stack of Motes. This can be detrimental for those carrying large stacks.
- If the Invader kills an enemy Guardian during the Primeval Phase, the Primeval gets healed for a small amount.
Added in Season 6 and only available to owners of the Annual Pass, Gambit Prime is a unique single-round version of Gambit with numerous changes:
- Players can earn special armor pieces from the Reckoning activity that gives them points towards special perks for Gambit Prime. Perks are split into four combat roles: Reaper (green, focusing on clearing waves of enemies and defeating powerful enemies), Invader (red, focusing on invading enemy teams), Collector (white, focusing on gathering motes and sending Blockers), and Sentry (yellow, focusing on defending against both Blockers and Invaders).
- The number of banked motes that are required to summon a Primeval is increased from 75 to 100, and can be drained over time in two ways: when multiple Blockers are near the Bank, and when invaders with a certain Invader perk are standing near the Bank.
- The Primeval can only be damaged for a short time after all three Envoys are defeated. The third Envoy spawns after the other two is defeated and leaves a Well of Light once defeated (granting temporary buffs to those standing in it). After a short time, the Primeval is shielded and more Envoys spawn.
Gambit + Gambit Prime
- Emerald Coast (European Dead Zone, Earth) – Enemies are either Cabal, Fallen, or Hive. Added on September 4, 2018 (Gambit) and March 26, 2019 (Gambit Prime).
- Legion’s Folly (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) – Enemies are either Cabal, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018 (Gambit) and added on March 19, 2019 (Gambit Prime).
- New Arcadia (Hellas Basin, Mars) – Enemies are either Cabal, Hive, or Vex. Added on March 5, 2019 (Gambit Prime) and April 2, 2019 (Gambit). Later added in classic Gambit on April 2, 2019.
- Deep Six (New Pacific Anthology, Titan) – Enemies are either Fallen, Scorn, or Hive. Added on March 12, 2019 (Gambit Prime) and April 2, 2019 (Gambit).
- Cathedral of Scars (The Dreaming City, The Vestian Web) – Enemies are either Cabal, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018.
- Kell’s Grave (Tangled Shore, The Reef) – Enemies are either Fallen, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018.