Destiny 2’s newest season, Season of Plunder, has been out for a little under a week now. This is the 18th Season in Destiny 2 and comes in the wake of a lot of critique and outcry about seasons. People are becoming tired of the same-old same-old and want something a bit fresher.
Does Season of Plunder deliver? In most ways, certainly. You may be disappointed if you expected a radical shift in the seasonal rhythm. However, if you keep your attention focused, then Season of Plunder seems like it’s shaping up to be one of Destiny 2’s best Seasons in a while.
Let’s talk about the week 1 impression of Season of Plunder.
Want more Destiny 2 content and articles? You can find more here on KeenGamer:
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- Destiny 2 Arc 3.0 Explained: Keywords, Builds and Exotics
- Destiny Community Faces Difficult Conversations About Toxicity
The story in Season of Plunder in Destiny 2 focuses on the resurfacing (or more accurately the thawing out) of a familiar face. Eramis, the Ship-Stealer, the Fallen leader of House Salvation who we faced down in Beyond Light is back. She is free from her icy prison at the command of The Witness. Now she must seek out certain relics of Darkness for The Witness’ own nefarious needs.
To achieve this goal, Eramis has rallied many Fallen scavenger crews and sell-swords to her banner. Together with Drifter, Mithrax, a newly rescued Spider and Eido (Mithrax’s daughter) we will form our crew of Eliksni pirates. We will raid enemy vessels, steal their knowledge, hunt for treasure and take back these relics from Eramis.
On the surface, this season seems very much like a break season – in the best way. It is most certainly still tied into the main narrative of Destiny 2, what with the involvement of The Witness and the return of Eramis. However, compared to the totality of the Leviathan’s corruption last season in Haunted, the sea-shanty singing adventurers of Drifter’s pirate crew definitely seem a lot lighter. That’s a good thing, too, as it is likely that the final season of the year will lead straight into the dark, neon-soaked depths of Lightfall so something more free-spirited is certainly welcome.
The story itself is an intriguing one. Eramis is the main facet here as despite being an interesting character in the lore, she ultimately missed the mark big time in Beyond Light. She had a lot of missed potential. Now that she is back, there’s a chance for redemption – not that she needs a literal redemption. However, some more depth to her character would be very much appreciated. If Eramis gets even half of what Caiatl has gotten over the past year, we should be golden.
The cast of characters this season is also superb. Drifter hasn’t been a mainstay for a couple of seasons now and his performance always manages to put a smile on people’s faces. Mithrax quickly became a fan favourite in Season of the Splicer and Spider has re-emerged after his extended holiday in The Witch Queen. We also finally get to place an Eliksni to the voice in the form of Eido, a character we heard back in Splicer but have only met in Plunder. Together, they make for a rag-tag group of adventurers and wannabe pirates galivanting through the system. Add in a bit of Saint-14 and we’re off to the races.
Overall, the season is looking very promising in terms of story. Destiny 2 has been hitting its stride recently, with the last year of story content being the best that the game has ever produced. If Season of Plunder can replicate that (which I believe it will) then we are in for a treat.
The Seasonal Loop
What about the seasonal loop? Well, one complaint that has been rising recently throughout the Destiny community is about the seasonal model and the seasonal structure. Many are growing tired of the same formula: 6-man matchmade activity, H.E.L.M, story mission, back to the H.E.L.M, get upgrades through the grid. None of these ideas is bad per-say, but if Destiny fans are one thing it is voracious and we need a bit of new blood.
While Season of Plunder doesn’t fix this problem, it’s one of the best versions of this loop. The main loop is split into 3 different activities: Ketchcrash, Expeditions and Pirate Hideouts. Ketchcrash and Expeditions are what you will be spending most of your time. Pirate Hideouts are a once-a-week venture.
Ketchcrash is the most bombastic six-man activity we have had in a while. You and 5 other Guardians pile aboard your newly earned Ketch and storm an enemy pirate ship piloted by a different captain. You clear off the deck, you blow up supplies within the hold, and you sneak around and hack parts of the security before making your way up to the boss and killing them. While nothing extraordinary, the presentation and variety in what you are doing are enough to keep people engaged. At least for far longer than something like Containment ever did (even if I had a soft spot for that mode). Ketchcrash is dumb, ridiculous, wacky pirate fun that makes a very good seasonal activity. It even has a Master mode, too.
Expeditions are a bit more of what we are used to. Using a special device known as a Captain’s Atlas, you can create a special treasure map. By taking one of these maps into an Expedition, you can earn bonus loot and rewards at the end of it. The actual activity itself is what we have come to expect. Throw a ball (or Engram) at a thing, stand by the thing, defend the thing, kill things trying to get your thing. If this was the only seasonal activity, it would be very weak but having it supplement another one in Ketchcrash manages to make both stand out more.
The final component to this is the Pirate Hideouts. These are activities that you will undertake in the main story of Season of Plunder where you venture into an enemy Pirate Lord’s abode to steal back a relic of Darkness. Mechanically they are like unique Lost Sectors or slices of larger missions. Structurally they feel a lot like last season’s Severance missions (without the trauma, though). They cap off a week and make it feel a bit more memorable, as you have this unique mission to run through instead of just another Ketchcrash or Expedition. These are relatively simple, at least so far. Yet, once again, the fact that this is aided by 2 other good activities makes it shine ever brighter.
The seasonal loop this season, while not adapting much outside of what we are used to, is looking really solid. There is a good variety of activities for Guardians to complete and the sheer number of them means that it is less likely for us to get burned out as many did with Containment. If this keeps up, Season of Plunder will probably keep players hooked for a bit longer than some may anticipate in Destiny 2.
The gear we get this season is equally compelling, although some may find it compelling for a different reason. Weapons and weapon perks have slowly become more and more interesting as seasons have gone on. This culminated last season with the introduction of the insanity that was Incandescent. Season of Plunder has bought more interesting perks, including its own Arc variant of Incandescent.
One of the first things to note about the new guns is how distinct they all look. Each one is so finely crafted that they look nothing else, down to some very unique reticules. These are small, mostly visual only touches, but they make a world of difference in identifying and getting into a new gun. My personal favourite new weapons are the Stasis Shotgun No Reprieve which can roll with Headstone as a Slug shotgun and the Arc sidearm Brigand’s Law which can roll with the new perk Voltshot, essentially a Jolt variant of Incandescent. Honestly, all of the weapons feel pretty good and the ones which feel great feel really great.
As for the new Exotics, Delicate Tomb is a new Exotic Fusion Rifle. This is a very nice weapon which synergises very well with Arc 3.0, especially with Warlocks. Delicate Tomb has two different bolt patterns, one wider if you hip fire and one that is tighter in a line when aiming down sights. Add on to that the ability to generate Ionic Traces on every kill and it suddenly becomes an ability-generating machine, something that becomes heightened with the addition of Warlock Aspects and Exotics. If you want to see more on this build, in particular, check out our Arc 3.0 overview.
The new suite of Exotic armour we received has all been good too. Warlocks have the Fallen Sunstar which improves Ionic Traces significantly. This ties excellently into the new speciality of the Warlock Arc 3.0 kit. Meanwhile, Hunters got a chest piece called Gyrfalcons Hauberk, a somewhat complicated Exotic built around doing bonus damage when you come out of Invisibility. Both of these have been successful so far. The Titan Exotic? It was disabled before the season began so, unfortunately, we still don’t know how well it performs.
The Legendary armour is hit or miss as usual. The final set of seasonal ornaments are all old-school pirate themed and they look mighty flashy. They went all in on the theme this time around and while it may not be to some people’s taste, I applaud the effort and the guts to go for something more out-there than generic cool.
On the gear front, Season of Plunder has some great offerings on display. From the new guns to the new Exotics, everything feels like it has been amped up compared to previous seasons. The Haunted weapons were cool looking, sure, but most people focused on the free Opulent weapons all season. This season, the Plunder weapons have a certain charm and mystique to them: I love the unique animation for ejecting a slug on the shotgun for example. They feel special and I will certainly be chasing the patterns for the weapons I enjoy feverishly.
Perhaps the most long-lasting impact Season of Plunder will have on Destiny 2 is the revision of the Arc subclasses. Arc is the final Light subclass to get the 3.0 treatment, with Void and Solar receiving theirs in previous seasons. Whether every revision was a success is up for debate. On the whole, though, these changes have been nothing but great for the game. Arc continues that streak.
Arc Hunters got a brand new Super in the form of Gathering Storm as well as the return of Blink. Titans have a new anime-styled punch called Thunderclap alongside a new dodge bound to their class ability known as Thruster. While Warlocks didn’t get as many brand new toys, what they did get in Lightning Surge has been a game changer, for me anyway.
I’ve played most of this season on my Warlock and I have been loving it. Building for Ionic Traces alongside Lightning Surge has been some of the most fun I have had in a long time. The new melee is just so much fun and you get it back so often with Ionic Traces. From the time I have spent on Hunter and Titan, both of these feel just as good.
If there is one complaint it is that the Fragments feel a tad weak on Arc. For Solar and Void, the Fragments are what shaped a lot of the build and what made it take shape. With Arc, however, I tend to just pick the same 5 Fragments on all of my classes. The others are too situational or too weak to warrant my use. Perhaps with a bit more time and experimentation, something will stand out. Right now they feel like the weakest part of a pretty strong core kit.
All the new buffs and debuffs feel great too, especially Amplify. This buff is addictive to use, especially the speed boost, making it hard to go back to either Solar or Void without it. Blind and Jolt are both good debuffs, even if Blind can feel a bit too situational at times, and Ionic Traces are God’s gift (to Warlocks).
Overall, Arc 3.0 is a huge success and honestly probably my favourite so far. Arc was the element that needed the most revisions before now and Arc Warlock specifically was my least favourite. Perhaps it is just recency bias but Stormtrance is quickly shooting up my list of favourite subclasses and I am loving nearly everything about Arc 3.0. Bravo Bungie, bravo.
To close, let’s discuss the one and only: King’s Fall. This returning Destiny 1 Raid came back on Friday after Season of Plunder launched and it is just spectacular.
As someone who never got to experience King’s Fall in D1, getting to explore the Dreadnought again and venture through the hallowed halls of this legendary Raid was magical. On day 1 it was challenging and rewarding (except maybe for Warpriest) and when we had to come back the next day to finish it, it still felt great then.
It looks incredible in the Destiny 2 engine, with everything polished to a shine. Encounters have been adjusted to match our current power while still keeping the essence of what made them so special. For those who got to experience it back in the original Destiny, this felt like a great coming home moment. For those like myself who were experiencing it fully for the first time, it was one of my favourite raiding experiences to date.
Every class got some incredible-looking armour and weapons. There are some interesting perk combinations and a really good Origin Trait in Runneth Over. Touch of Malice has also returned with some new shine in the form of an alternative fire mode, bringing back the weapon in the best way it could have been.
Overall, King’s Fall was just such a great experience. The encounters, the gear, the atmosphere and the experience are all just spectacular and I’m so glad that so many people get to experience it again in Destiny 2 for either the first time or for the 50th. And it’s free! Free!
Season of Plunder has its share of complaints. It is still a seasonal structure that we have come to merely tolerate, some parts of Arc 3.0 are a bit of a letdown, and perhaps some of the activities are a bit dull. These are all fair criticisms.
However, when you compare that to the highs that this season seems to be reaching for, they feel pretty small. The new gear is all pretty great on all fronts, the numerous activities that we have to trounce through are all fun and engaging enough to keep us hooked for a little while, the majority of Arc 3.0 rules and King’s Fall is… well, king. Add onto that numerous small changes and tweaks such as Deepsight deletion counting towards pattern progress or the newly reprised Cathedral of Dusk map to Crucible, and a lot of Season of Plunder is looking pretty great.
There are still many weeks ahead, with this season overstaying its welcome by a few more weeks than normal. We have a new Iron Banner mode to try out, we have Trials to go through once more, we have Festival of the Lost again, and we have a lot that could go wrong in Destiny 2. For right now, though, Season of Plunder is shaping up to be a pretty great season all things considered and a good look at what’s to come in the future of Destiny 2.
You can play Season of Plunder from now until the 6th of December 2022 in Destiny 2.