It has been a while since Destiny 2: Witch Queen launched, and we are finally nearing the end of Destiny’s Light and Darkness storyline with Destiny 2: Lightfall. However, I cannot help but feel that Destiny 2: Lightfall; is one of the weakest, if; not the weakest, storyline. That Bungie has released in the last several years. But before I get into its narrative problems. I want to break down all the other areas of Destiny: Lightfall, as this DLC came with a lot of updates.
When Destiny 2: Beyond Light was released, it came with an entirely new subclass that we could unlock called stasis. In simple terms, its space ice. Although it is not ice at all, it is more like entropy; and there is probably a scientific and philosophical aspect that the developers at Bungie want you to consider, but for the sake of argument, it is space ice. Stasis; was well received outside of the competitive scene of Destiny 2, where you could freeze enemies and shatter them, and it helped lead the way to void, solar, and arc 3.0 that we gained from Destiny 2: Witch Queen. It also gave us a bit of insight into what types of powers we could expect from the Darkness in Destiny 2.
Well, Destiny 2: Lightfall launched with an entirely new subclass called Strand, and if you are a cultured individual such as myself, it can be described best as green Spider-Man webs. Does Bungie call it the fabric of the universe? Yes, but let us be realistic here. When you can string up enemies with it, use it to fly across rooftops, fling yourself across the air, and grapple punch enemies by pulling yourself closer to them. It is not the fabric of the universe; it is green Spider-Man webs. But with Bungie now being owned by Sony and Sony publishes Spider-Man. I am calling it how I see it.
But, let us be real here, Strand as a subclass brings so many new and unique features with it as it gives us a new way to navigate the fantastic and beautiful worlds that Bungie has created with Destiny 2: Lightfall, and it also gives us a new way to experience older content. However, it does come with some issues, as Bungie has stated that they will not be, going back to fix content, and it will remain unchanged. Naturally, this has led to. So many bugs and exploits with Strand; being added to Destiny 2. The problem with this is they are starting to pile up, some game-breaking bad, some hilarious like shooting a rocket and grappling onto it with Strand. But, with Destiny 2: The Final Shape on the horizon, we have to wonder what that will be like in a year’s time with how much of a buggy Destiny 2: Lightfall is.
Bungie did away with the old armor mod system, so that means no more Warmind Cells and Elemental Wells; what Bungie has done instead is revamped the armor modding system to have increased functionality with the player Subclasses.
When it; has come to functionality and cohesiveness, Bungie never really thought ahead, which is surprising that they implemented a more cohesive armor modding system in place of the complexity of having to balance well armor mods, Warmind cell mods, Orb of light armor mods, stat modifiers, etc.
In the new armor modding system, Bungie took a lot of the pre-existing mods that were in Destiny 2 and revamped them. They wanted the armor modifiers to be more focused on class abilities, weapon types, and play styles now. Whereas before, Bungie stated they wanted Destiny 2 to be more about the gunplay.
That was statement has been thrown out the window in favor of abilities, the various types of subclasses, and how they interplay with the gunplay.
The new armor modding system brings a unique feel in which Destiny 2 feels more unified now with the rest of the game. And it does not feel like it is favoring; gunplay or abilities over the other but instead balancing between the two. However, I still won’t forgive Bungie for murdering my Powerful Friends and Radiant Light mods. I just wanted to get triple 100 stats, and they just outright murdered my boy’s shame, Bungie, shame.
The new modding system is pretty straightforward, and a lot of the mods are still the same overall. They kept basic stat-increasing modifiers so players could increase their stats with the standard +5 or +10 stat modifiers. And they even lowered the cost on several of the big ones, such as intelligence modifiers; while increasing others, as resilience now plays heavily into the flinch resistance for the gunplay.
Bungie also separated the armor mods into two separate categories, and now they are either powered by orbs of light or regeneration through damage.
The orbs of light mods can generate from kills after using class abilities, weapon kills, and ability kills. These new mods can temporarily charge your armor up, referred to as; armor charges. When you collect these orbs of light, these mods can increase your resilience, intelligence, and other stats temporarily. At the base of three times with a max of five times, each stack of armor charge can last upwards to ten seconds.
Alternatively, you use armor mods where dealing damage generates ability energy; or picking up orbs of light. Bungie also kept; a few original mods, such as ammo finders.
The mods don’t give too much range to what a player can do with equipment anymore, but it’s not a bad change, and honestly, once you get used to the change, it feels a lot more fluid than what it once was, it feels surprised fluid and cohesive considering that Bungie developed it.
Okay, let’s talk about this for a moment; as a person who has written a book before, albeit a small book. That I do plan on re-writing; I have to say that the story is by far the most disappointing part of Destiny 2: Lightfall; it is bad. It is so bad, in fact, that the individual who has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to the lore of Destiny 2; does not know what to make of this.
If; you are unfamiliar with the term MacGuffin, it is a plot trigger device used to advance the story, and that is inherently what Destiny 2: Lightfall is just a simple story with a MacGuffin to advance the plot and nothing more.
When Bungie released Destiny in September of 2014, there was a plotline; that was abandoned and eventually reintroduced back in Destiny 2: Lightfall, with Elsie Bray and differing timelines.
Between the nine writers who worked on it and leading into Destiny 2 and the numerous writing changes at Bungie, the story has become convoluted and full of dead ends and abandoned plot devices. It is so bad that they even had to post a job listing that they were looking for individuals familiar with Destiny lore to keep track of everything.
All of these; small; problems have come to a head in Destiny 2: Lightfall; this leads, of course, to a major; problem in Destiny 2: Lightfall. There is no way to write about how to end the Light and Darkness saga, so the only conclusion is to write a new story element that had never existed up until this point to connect everything together, and that paracausal MacGuffin is the Veil.
In the lore Destiny, there have always been two separate entities. Both play a game of life and death, the Gardner and the Winnower. These two figures are always enigmatic, one representing the Traveler. The major plot device of Destiny and the other is Darkness. In this approach, Destiny had become a game; that is more; philosophical in its approach to storytelling, leading players into Destiny 2 upon launch, which introduced us to the Darkness.
It is not until Destiny 2: Witch Queen that we; are introduced to the character known as The Witness, who, instead of there a Gardener and the Winnower. It was instead someone pretending to be Winnower, taking away from this philosophical approach to two paracasual forces playing a game about life and death.
However, I suspect The Witness was never; a planned enemy but was instead created to tie together all the plotlines into a more simplistic approach to the storytelling, but I digress; that is speculation.
In Destiny 2: Lightfall, the enemy of the Traveler is approaching Earth, and the Traveler has risen to meet the challenge head-on. Instead of this being a battle of Light vs Dark to the bitter end to stop humanity’s second collapse, we are instead treated to the Witness killing several Guardians in space by quite literally a flick of their finger and slicing both their Ghost and their jump ships into pieces. As the Witness approaches the Traveler, it receives a vision of an artifact; with no; hesitation, it dispatches Emperor Calus of the Cabal and his fleet to jump to Neptune, knowing exactly where they need to go to find this narrative element.
While Calus and his Shadow Legion jump to Neptune, our Guardian jumps into the fray and stows away on one of their ships with Osiris. While we fight through the Cabal ship, we encounter all manner of new heavily armored enemies and the new Tormentor, who was pretty disappointing after all the buildup Bungie gave him in the trailers and documentaries they released on YouTube.
After vanquishing the new foe, we; are treated to a light-hearted and comedic moment where Osiris rides in a Cabal drop pod down to Neumuna, where we land on several detachments of the Cabal. Tacking our sweet vengeance for all the times, they crashed-landed on our Guardians.
While we make our way to Osiris, we are introduced to Strand at us as an introductory lesson, which becomes commonplace throughout the entire story, albeit; completely optional.
Shortly; thereafter we are met; by Rohan and Nimbus, who naturally believe that we are the good guys and are worthy of their trust. So, we plan to stop the assault on Neomuna together. Orisis recommends a head-on assault on Emperor Calus’s ship, which fails. Then as we experiment with the Strand subclass and become exhausted, we soon find ourselves surrounded and about to be taken out until Empress Caital comes to our rescue.
Because we made it back alive, Rohan and Nimbus trust us even more! Then right after, our Ghost is shown a projection about how Calus is ready to connect the Veil to the Traveler and bring this entire story to a close.
The only way to stop them is to destroy a device that Calus has, so being the tenacious little Guardians that we are. We decide to try another assault to stop his plan and discover another Strand point on the way, and it helps us destroy artifacts immune to all manner of Light and Dark energy.
That is until we get to the point where it stops; being useful. And we become exhausted. So now, the only way to stop Calus’s plan is for Rohan to turn himself into a bomb and blow himself up because we could not get the job done.
Then, things go from bad to worse when they learn that Calus; is going to attack the facility where the Veil is stored, simply because the Witnessed is getting upset at him and because of how often and how frequently he is failing. It leaves us with only one option; to use Caitals troops to hold the line while Nimbus does recon, and Osiris teaches us how to use Strand to the style of the movie Rocky with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background, which up until this point. He was more hard-focused on winning while lashing out angrily, quite literally, at everyone for suggesting he does this from the beginning.
All leads to the inevitable confrontation with Calus attacking; the front door of the facility where the Veil; is housed. And us having to confront him in one on one combat, which we naturally cheesed by hiding under the steps and shooting at him for forty minutes on Legend mode before we reach the climax of the entire story in which the Witness possesses our Ghost and opens a gateway up into the Traveler where the Witness and the Pyramid ships disappear into.
That’s right, the entirety of Destiny 2: Lightfall; was going to happen whether we stopped Calus or not! If; I am to be fair, with a title called Lightfall, we knew that heading into this DLC, we; were going to fail somewhere.
Now, the biggest problem with Destiny 2: Lightfall, the Veil, is never mentioned in lore, story, or anything up until this DLC and storyline and until this story dropped. It had never existed at all. It is a MacGuffin; it exists solely to advance the story because it is needed to advance the story. After all these years and how often the writers have changed since Destiny launched on the PlayStation. Bungie has written itself into a corner.
All of this is because Bungie did not have a plan for the series the same way they wrote Halo; in the beginning, they did not have a full-on several-year plan for the Destiny series.
Where Marvel Studios had a ten-year plan leading up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bungie did not think that far ahead. Because of that, it ended up creating one of the worst stories Destiny has seen to date, with little to no payoff at the end, and their only response to criticisms was to tell fans that the seasonal content shall answer everyone’s questions.
Rohan’s introduction and subsequent death in Destiny 2: Lightfall had little to no emotional payoff, and dare I say it. It had; if not the same, degree of emotional payoff. That we got from watching Zack Synder’s kill-off Superman in Batman vs Superman, giving Rohan the same level of investment that we saw from the first Superman movie.
There was no way to get emotionally invested in the story; in any way. It felt so forced, and even the introduction of Nimbus felt more like they were trying to find a way to introduce a new funny character to replace Cayde-6.
The worst part and I do mean the worst part, of Destiny 2: Lightfall is that it was not cohesive with the main plot of Destiny. If; we look at the past expansions of Destiny 2 with the previous DLC expansions of Warmind, Curse of Osiris, Forsaken, and Shadowkeep. Bungie continued to build onto those stories adding to the pre-existing narrative and giving it substance. In Curse of Osiris, we are reintroduced to Ikora’s mentor Osiris and learn he is in trouble; in Warmind, we meet Rasputin we gain him as an ally to defend humanity. In Destiny 2: Forsaken, we hunt down and kill Cayde-6’s killer Uldren Sov, and find out he; was being manipulated by an entity in the Darkness. Then, in Shadowkeep, we come face-to-face with the enigmatic figure of the Darkness with callbacks to Cayde-6’s killers, the Red War that Destiny 2 launched with, and other enemies through Destiny to Destiny 2.
Then leading up until Destiny 2: Beyond Light, we are met, yet again, by the enigmatic paracasual figure of the Darkness that teaches us the powers it possesses and gifts us Stasis as a means to help understand it.
Each expansion Bungie released subsequently subtly built upon the previous story by slowly introducing new story elements, characters, and abilities that are important for the entire story, as a whole.
Then Destiny 2: Witch Queen DLC expansion dropped, and the story paints Savathun, one of humanity’s worst and greatest enemies, as a manipulative tyrant, but when you look at her character and what she has done. She is not evil and is, in fact, a heroic guy. During the story of the Witch Queen, we learn that she saved humanity from the first collapse by tricking the Witness into leaving the Earth alone long before the Guardians came about. But, in the Red War story, we paint her as a villain because she was taking the Light away from Guardians to study it, albeit killing them in the process.
So, in both stories from the Red War and Destiny 2: Witch Queen, her story is convoluted, not filled with lies and manipulation, but instead, it boils down to bad writing.
All of this; brings us to Destiny 2: Lightfall, the biggest offender to date in stories that Bungie has butchered. We; are introduced to several new characters, such as Rohan, Nimbus, and the archivist. We watch as one dies to protect an artifact of the Traveler that no one knows about, has heard about, has heard rumors about, and is not; even mentioned in lore. Not even Byf, the man who runs a YouTube channel dedicated to Destiny lore, knows what it is, and he nitpicks every single detail of Destiny’s lore.
To ensure; that they can end the Light and Darkness saga, they introduced the Witness to be a Villain who controls the Darkness and the brand new Paracasual MacGuffin, the Veil. Then as a coupe grace to add insult to injury, bringing Eramis Kell back from her Icy Prison, try and strike down the Traveler and reintroduce Rasputin to kill him off again during Season of the Seraph, knowing; that the seasonal story now had little to no significance after once Destiny 2: Lightfall dropped.
We knew Neomuna existed after it, but we already knew that from trailers, lore, and story details; having Rasputin reveal that information to us had no narrative bearing as we never got to Neomuna with help from Rasputin; instead, we got there because we became Stowaways on one of Calus’s ships, not to mention the other unexplained plot device of Osiris knowing about the Veil upon landing on Neumuna.
Root of Nightmares
Not even two weeks after the campaign for Destiny 2: Lightfall. We get a new end-game activity in the form of Root of Nightmare; the new raid comes with another unexplained plot point, which is why did the Traveler resurrect Nezrac, the God of Pain while being attacked by the Darkness?
The Root of Nightmares raid takes place aboard Darkness ship that housed the Witness, and at least one of the encounters takes place in an area showcased at the end of Destiny 2: Witch Queen, but again, I digress.
When the raid dropped, it was in contest mode, and I was fortunate enough to find a moment to try both contest mode and the normalized version of the raid. The Root of Nightmares; is broken up into four segments. Each segment teaches you a mechanic that will; be used throughout the Root of Nightmares. Except for the third encounter, which has its own stand-alone mechanics and is the area shown in Destiny 2: Witch Queen once you beat the campaign.
The Cataclysm; encounter; has mechanics that; were never used nor repeated later in the raid, looking back on their previous raids. Such as the Vow of the Discipline and the Deep Stone Crypt; this is a first for Bungie. In the past Destiny 2 raids; taught you the mechanics that; will be needed; all the way until the very end, which is something Root of Nightmares didn’t do, although looking back, every single raid in the Leviathan did not have this design feature.
The first encounter starts by introducing the core mechanic of lighting up balls sitting on top of flowers with the Travelers light; all the while your raid team is clearing ads and killing Psions, which spawn the Tormentor. Once the Tormentor has spawned in, players must kill it to extend the timer, so the player lighting up the balls on the flowers can continue without the entire team dying.
The second encounter is more or less the same as the first encounter, except now there are two areas to light up. The first is the ball on the flower of Light, and the second is a brownish hue acorn; it looks like an Acorn, so I’m calling it an Acorn.
The raid team I had; was broken up into; teams of two, each with three people in them; our team; had two of the individuals killing ads, and the third was lighting their respective balls/acorns up, all within a set time limit. If the time runs out, everyone will be; thrown into space. Not going to lie; it happened to us a lot.
The issue in this encounter is that some enemies will now spawn with an aura around them similar to the Light or Brownish hue that the ball of Light and the Acorn possess. These enemies; can only be killed by someone on your team influenced by the buff that comes from shooting the balls of Light or the Acorns. Once all the enemies are dead and all the balls of Light and Acorns; are lit up, after going up three floors doing this; the encounter will end.
Then as we made our way to the third encounter, we learned that the only way to get there is to mix the light and darkness buffs from the ball of Light and the Acorn to create a refuge buff. It is; important; to know that you need to get the right; refuge buff. If; for example, you shoot the ball of Light first and while under the influence of the ball of Light, you shoot the Acorn, you will get Darkness Refuge.
The same can be said; in reverse, if; you shoot the Acorn first and subsequently, while under the influence of the Acorn, you shoot the ball of Light, you will get the Light Refuge.
After making it through the kill zone, where you need the Darkness Refuge, you will undoubtedly arrive at the hardest; encounter in the entire Root of Nightmares raid.
Cataclysm, and to put simply, it is Pizza Hut meets Sephiroths Super Nova from Final Fantasy VII. The entire encounter revolves around moving planets from on top of four triangles or Pizza slices if you prefer.
Now Cataclysm is difficult because you were not; taught these mechanics anywhere in the raid, and it was a learn-as-you-go; experience.
There are four Pizza slices; each slice has three planets on top of it. We found it best to give the planets; a number corresponding to their slices of pizza. The bottom slices had numbers 1, 2, and 3, while the top slices of pizza had 4, 5, and 6, respectively. Then the pizza slices were divided up into the Left and Right sides.
When the encounter started, we found that by killing the solar-shielded Centurions spawned in the Cabal Lieutenants. Then once we have killed the Cabal Lieutenants. We were able to see what to do next. Essentially, you are playing one of these things is not like the other; one of these things; does not belong on all four of the Pizza Slices.
We then had to grab an orb under the planets on each corresponding Pizza slice that did not belong and run it over to the other side. It is easy to tell what planet does not belong by looking at the color of the planet. The planets on the left side are white like the Traveler, and the planets on the right side are on fire, so you must take the Dark planets from the Left to the Right side, and the Right side must take the Light Planets to the Left.
That is why it is good to have the planets; numbered as stated above. In my runs, we found. It is easy for a single team member to run the bottom slices alone as long as someone on the opposite side calls out what planet does not belong. However, when it came down to the top pizza slices, we needed two team members swapping with each other, or else we would run out of time.
After all the Planets; were, moved, it will give a pop-up that informs you, the Planets have indexed, and then there will be three planets in the center of the room. Your team must repeat the first step. Again by killing the Cabal Centurions and then the Lieutenants, and upon looking up, you will see the three planets in the middle of the room will be a mix of Light or Dark.
Now your team must grab planets from their respective sides and place them in the center of the room on platforms underneath corresponding to their color.
Once we placed the planets on the platforms, the damage phase began. We learned that, in order to damage the boss; players had to stand on the platforms in a corresponding order. This way, we did not receive the same buff twice.
Therefore, if the planets you see above when placing them are Light, Dark, and Light, then the players must pass through the Light Platform first, then the Dark Platform second, and then lastly, the Light Platform that remained unused. The same if the planets are Dark, Light, Dark; then, the players must stand on the platforms in the order of Dark, Light, and Dark until the boss damage says immune or until the platforms buff vanishes. Then once the damage phase ends, you start the entire process over again.
Then finally, we come to the final encounter in the Root of Nightmares raid, Nezrac, the God of Pain; you can now completely ignore all the steps you learned from the third encounter. Because Nezrac, the God of Pain relies on the mechanics from the first two encounters; Light up the ball in the flowers and the acorns; within the allotted time, or you die.
If; you manage to do it before Nezrac begins to glow white, you can start the damage phase!
However, if you have trouble surviving, and most people will. Then it is a good idea to break up your team as we did. Have two people working on Lighting up the balls of Light and Acorns. There should be two people killing enemies, and then lastly, the last two swap places making Nezrac, the God of Pain, angry by destroying his shoulder blades and shooting him in the chest.
It; is important to note that for the two focusing on Nezrac, the God of Pain, when you destroy his shoulder blades; he will blow up a certain color, either the brownish hue that the Acorn possesses or a Light aura that the balls of Light possess.
If; you cannot survive and keep wiping during the encounter, you can have the players light the ball of Light, and Acorn makes a refuge that matches the color Nezrac, the God of Pain, irradiates upon taking out his shoulder blades. If; the Aura was a brownish hue. Then you need a Darkness refuge; if it was a Light aura, you need the Light Refuge. When he starts to glow a bright white color which is his wipe mechanic, have the players doing the ball of Light and Acorns make the refuge based on the color of Nezrac, the God of Pains explosion that; was called out by the two players making Nezrac the God of Pain angry, then just close to these players, and you will survive the wipe mechanic.
Repeat this process, and you’ve defeated Nezrac, the God of Pain.
Now, with all of that said and done, there is a lot of debate on this raid, with people feeling that Bungie is making end-game activities like raids too easy and that when compared to other raids like Kings Fall, Deep Stone Crypt, and the rest that Root of Nightmares is too simple and to easy.
However, the ones saying this are the players who typically make streaming Destiny 2 a 9-5 job and are creating content non-stop over a game that they play far more obsessively than I ever would, although I do have 3,252 hours in this game. My point is that they have gotten so good at the game that; it just isn’t challenging for them anymore, and Bungie wants to focus more on accessibility to bring in new players and support their growing community.
The issue; is that from these players, the company takes a lot of heat, and I, for one, am not a fan of their attitude because they never take the time to consider players such as myself who want to play a game for fun.
I found both contest mode and normal mode enjoyable yet challenging. I could go back and do both if I wanted to. But if; I had to make a choice, I would prefer to play the normal mode. I like having fun with other players who are more like me, who are in it, to laugh and have a good time.
I enjoyed Destiny 2: Lightfall and the changes it brought. However, as I stated, my largest grievance is that the story feels forced, with the introduction of new characters, story elements, and everything.
When they had Crow talk about the Cabal being in or around Neptunes all last year, it did little to build me up for visiting Neomuna. If; Bungie was trying to make me think that it was part of the story, it felt like they were pushing it in there, and I was right.
I did not enjoy the story, and I really did not enjoy how they handled Osiris’s character as a character who is historically known for being level-headed and rational in difficult situations having his character; turned into an irritating and boorish old man.
It sounds like the writers over at Bungie ignored the character’s source material. They took a character who, during Season of the Seraph, truly felt more humanized, with his regrets about how he treated the man that he loves. They portrayed him as; a caring, compassionate, gentle, thoughtful, and genuinely a loving person.
“If; you won’t help, then leave me alone.”
Then to have him aggressively belittling you for failing felt wrong. Even with him being historically argumentative. The narrative; makes him out to be a doddering old fool instead of the wise man we have come to know. Bungie really butchered his character.
The new sub-class Stand; I absolutely enjoyed playing with it. The new modding system gave Destiny 2 what it desperately needed; a balance between abilities and gunplay. The gameplay is perfection itself, despite its numerous bugs. Then lastly, I found the entire Root of Nightmares ends game experience perfectly balanced. I feel that Bungie could have done better with the narrative point of things.
It was just God-awful.
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