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Destiny 2 Season of Defiance: How it Works

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Season of Defiance in Destiny 2. The latest piece of seasonal content to join the game is running in tandem with the latest big expansion, Lightfall. There are a bunch of new weapons, gear, terminology and activities which this guide will explain and break down.

Destiny 2 Season of Defiance: How it Works Cover

Season of Defiance has begun in Destiny 2This season runs in parallel with the game’s latest expansion, Lightfall, and it is the first of a new year of seasonal content. In Season of Defiance, you’ll be tasked with aiding the troops at home on Earth as they try to battle against the forces of the Shadow Legion. 

Compared to seasons past, Season of Defiance is a lot more streamlined and focused. Bungie has stripped back a lot of the unnecessary currencies and objectives, focusing more on giving an experience that players want to engage with. That doesn’t mean everything is straightforward, though, and there are still a few hurdles to overcome. 

Here’s how Season of Defiance works in Destiny 2.

Want more Destiny 2 content and articles? You can find more here on KeenGamer:

  1. How to Get the Deterministic Chaos Exotic Machine Gun | Destiny 2: Lightfall
  2. How to Get the Winterbite Exotic Heavy Glaive | Destiny 2: Lightfall
  3. 10 Best Weapons You Need to Prepare for Destiny 2 Lightfall
  4. Destiny 2: Lightfall Release Sees Highest Player Count in Game’s History
  5. Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Seasons Ranked By Story
Destiny 2: Lightfall - Season of Defiance Trailer

How to Start

You begin the Season of Defiance by completing the first mission of the Lightfall campaign. This introduced you to Strand, Neomuna, the Cloud Striders and more. Once you’ve completed it and set foot on Neomuna’s soil (or more accurately, Neouma’s skyscrapers) Nimbus will give you the first part of the Seasonal Quest from Mara called We Stand Unbroken


Season of Defiance is the other side of the coin to Lightfall, with it focusing on the way the Witness’ war on Humanity occurs on Earth rather than on the neon-drenched streets of Neomuna. As such, you’ll be instructed to revisit the Farm on the EDZ, a relic that has since been laid to ruin. This is where you’ll meet the principal cast for the Season – Mara, Misraaks, Devrim, Amanda and Crow – as you go through your first Defiant Battleground. 

Continue through this quest and you’ll end up visiting the newly refurbished (and thoroughly deep-cleaned) H.E.L.M. From here on, just follow the We Stand Unbroken quest to take you through the rest of the introductory elements for the season. 

The Gang's All Here

The Gang’s All Here

Seasonal Activities

Defiant Battlegrounds

The main activity for Season of Defiance is another set of Battlegrounds similar to those seen in Chosen, Risen and Seraph. Specifically, these are Defiant Battlegrounds. In these, you will be fighting against the forces of Calus’ Shadow Legion as they try to occupy various regions of Earth. In their conquest, they are capturing various peoples from around the planet and it’s your job to free them.

On the gameplay side, Defiant Battlegrounds are relatively similar to their regular and Heist counterparts, with a few key differences. You’ll be shuttled from location to location, battling against waves of Shadow Legion and Taken as you try to reach the hostages at the end of the mission. The big mechanic for Defiant Battlegrounds is that part way through the mission, you’ll enter the Ascendant Plane to effectively infiltrate the Pyramid Facilities. In these areas, you’ll erect Balefires to keep you safe from the realm’s corroding presence and create weapons to pierce the shields of your foes.

You can enter the Defiant Battlegrounds Playlist from a node in the H.E.L.M. which awards Pinnacle and Powerful gear. If you want to maximise your experience, you will want to bring in another resource that we will discuss momentarily, but one of the biggest changes from previous seasonal Battlegrounds is in the rewards economy. There aren’t a bunch of currencies to keep track of, nor is there a bunch of convoluted things to do for rewards. Just play the activity and you should get something worthwhile. 

The Ascendant Plane

The Ascendant Plane

Defiant Keys

If you want to make the experience extra worthwhile, you’ll want to be bringing in some Defiant Keys. These can be likened to currencies like Seraph Keys or Vestiges of Dread but are far simpler.

At the end of each Defiant Battleground, alongside your regular suite of loot and rewards, will be a Defiant Chest. If you have a Defiant Key you can open this chest to earn bonus Season of Defiance weapons and armour. You still have a chance of getting Defiance gear at the end of a Battleground without the key, but opening this chest will guarantee it.

Defiant Keys are earned by… well, simply playing the game. They have a chance to drop from any activity in the game, whether that be playlist activities, Neomuna’s new Terminal Overload activity or even Defiant Battlegrounds themselves can drop Defiant Keys. You can only hold a maximum of 5 Keys at one time, though, so be sure to head back into the Defiant Playlist often so that you can spend them.

Defiant Keys are earned by doing activities around the system | Destiny 2 Season of Defiance

Defiant Keys

Seasonal Loop

Compared to the seasons of yesteryear, Bungie has stripped back a lot of the fat and redundancy this time around. There aren’t as many currencies to keep track of, nor are there a bunch of specific activities you have to play to earn them. For Season of Defiance, there is a much more understandable loop that should fit nicely into how most people play the game.

Here’s how the seasonal loop for Season of Defiance is going to go: 

  1. Play the Defiant Battlegrounds Playlist to earn Season of Defiance Loot.
  2. Collect Defiant Keys from doing activities anywhere in the system.
  3. Return to the Defiant Battlegrounds Playlist to use those keys on bonus loot chests at the end of the mission.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

It’s honestly as easy as that. Alongside that, Guardians will be progressing the We Stand Unbroken Seasonal Quest (which looks to be running for about 5 weeks according to triumphs) to help fight back the Shadow Legion from Earth’s doorstep.

The Queensguard

The Queensguard

The War Table

Bungie has promised some significant changes to the seasonal model coming in Season of the Deep. For Season of Defiance, though, it’s back to H.E.L.M. 

This time, you’ll be once again interacting with the War Table, just like we did back in Season of the Chosen. Like with the seasonal loop, a lot of the War Table vendor upgrades and focusing paths have been heavily streamlined so that they are more approachable and understandable. 

That being said, the core seasonal DNA is still here and anybody who was around for last year’s seasons will certainly feel at home.

War Table Reputation

First up is War Table Reputation. This is the reputation system tied to Season of Defiance and you will earn more of it by completing Defiant Battlegrounds. 

Each level of War Table Reputation you earn will give you one Defiant Engram to use on decoding. You will also gain a Powerful Defiant Weapon engram at each major rank-up (Brave, Heroic, Fable, etc.) to help seed along the levelling process. The reward track for the War Table offers several Season of Defiance weapons alongside some free Defiance Keys and an Ascendant Shard should you reach the end of the path. 

Keep checking back here now and again to see how high your level is. 

War Table Overview

War Table Overview

War Table Upgrades

Under the Focusing and Upgrades tab of the War Table, you can access the Upgrades menu. Here, you can buy a whole suite of upgrades that will improve everything from your ability to focus Defiant Engrams to granting you bonuses and boons during Battlegrounds and more. 

There are significantly fewer upgrades to keep track of compared to last year, with a total of 11 unique upgrades. You can unlock these using War Table Upgrades that you earn through completing specific seasonal challenges. Do keep in mind that some of these are time gated until a specific week, so only a few upgrades are available to you now.

There are three rows of upgrades to mull over: Favour Attunement, Defiant Vestments and Queensguard Vows

Favour Attunement upgrades grant you bonuses during Defiant Battlegrounds. Depending on which upgrade you pick, kills with abilities or certain types of weapons have a chance to spawn a Favor. These are glowing pickups similar to those found in Dares of Eternity and they will boost one of your stats such as Mobility or grenade recharge rate significantly for a short duration. 

The Defiant Vestments upgrades, on the other hand, focus on giving you more access to things in the Defiant Engram Focusing section of the War Table. The most important upgrades here are the ability to decode Engrams into specific armour and weapons, and the ability to have the first decoded Season of Defiance weapon each week be one with Deepsight Resonance. 

Lastly, the Queensguard Vows section relates to the use and acquisition of Defiant Keys. These upgrades are all about increasing your chance of earning Defiant Keys or increasing the amount of loot you earn upon turning one in. 

War Table Upgrades

War Table Upgrades

Defiant Engram Focusing

As you play through the game and earn levels in your War Table Reputation, you will accrue Defiant Engrams. These are new types of Seasonal Enrgam that have replaced Umbral Engrams. They are stored on their specific vendor instead of in your inventory. 

In the Defiant Engram Decoding section of the War Table, you can choose whether to decrypt your Engrams into one of four different things:

  • Defiant Engram Decoding: contains a random piece of Season of Defiance Gear
  • Defiant Weapons: contains a random Season of Defiance weapon
  • Defiant Armour: contains a random piece of Season of Defiance armour 
  • Recovered Leviathan Weapons
Defiant Engram Decoding

Defiant Engram Decoding

The most important one to many people will be the opportunity to decode Engrams into the new Defiant Weapons. To do this, you’ll need to have unlocked the Defiant Weapon Focusing upgrade and have access to at least one Defiant Engram (if you want to focus on a specific weapon, you’ll need 4 Engrams instead). The weapons that show up this season include:

  • Raconteur Stasis Bow (Precision Frame)
  • Perpetualis Strand Auto Rifle (Adaptive Frame)
  • Royal Executioner Solar Fusion Rifle (Adaptive Frame)
  • Prodigal Return Arc Breech Grenade Launcher (Lightweight Frame)
  • Regnant Void Heavy Grenade Launcher (Adaptive Frame)
  • Caretaker Solar Sword (Adaptive Frame)

Interestingly, there are some other weapons that you can decode Engrams into. On the top row of the decoder, you’ll find the Recovered Leviathan Weapons engram. This costs 2 Defiant Engrams to open and will give you either the Imperial Decree Shotgun from Season of Opulence, or one of the three class-specific swords, either Goldtusk (Hunters), Throne-Cleaver (Titans) or Death’s Razor (Warlocks).

Familiar Faces

Familiar Faces

And that was everything you needed to know about Season of Defiance in Destiny 2

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