Destiny 2

My Ranking of Destiny’s Expansions

destiny2 2 - My Ranking of Destiny's Expansions
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So, after playing Beyond Light extensively, I thought I'd give my ranking to every Destiny Expansion along with some brief thoughts as to why certain Expansions are ranked the way they are. The criteria is based off how cinematic and engaging the story is, as well as the systems that come with the Expansion (Forsakens weapon system, for instance). Lets go worst to best. And of course, this is all opinion.

9. The Dark Below

The Dark Below was certainly a dry time for Destiny. It lands itself at the bottom because the offering of content was simply not substantial enough to even call this an Expansion. The bad press from Destiny's initial launch was still ongoing, and the cons of the core game still hadn't been addressed. On a positive note, I personally enjoyed the Nechrocasm quest, even if the reward was lacklustre. We have catalysts now, but the idea of continually using a gun to transform it into an exotic was something very cool to me. However, PvP still had no balance, Crota's end was fun, for the first three times, and the levelling was still grindy and monotonous coupled with the exotic upgrade system.

8. Curse of Osiris

With as much production value and style that this Expansion had, Destiny 2 at launch had eradicated a lot of what made the original game so great. The story was still cookie-cutter and uninteresting with one of the most puzzling and embarrassing cutscenes I have witnessed from Bungie. The double primary system had slowed combat to the point of not resembling the fast paced destructive combat Destiny had been known for and this Expansion only permeated and extended that feeling of dissatisfaction. Bungie at that time also seemed to miss the fine line between grindy and rewarding; The Prophecy Weapons acquired from Brother Vance were extremely grindy that it contrasted with the "handout" style of Destiny 2's launch. The raid team however always delivers, even if only the boss fight was memorable. Argos, the boss of Destiny's first raid lair was excellent, and is still missed as it is now in the Destiny Content Vault.

7. House of Wolves

I believe many hold HoW in high regard as this expansion debuted The Trials of Osiris, an endgame PvP activity which still exists to this day and is touted as the truest test of skill within the community. While the debut of Trials was well met, the rest of Expansion was again, not substantial in its offering. The main story was better than the Dark Below and the new areas such as Venus' citadel was very cool the first time through. I actually enjoyed the Prison of Elders and I still feel that Skolas remains one of the best three-man encounters, beat out only by The Kell Echo and Phalanx Echo. I do feel that a raid would have been more welcome, but for what it is, The PoE is a decent endgame PvE activity. This Expansion finds itself towards the bottom, because of the gear changes. Ascension was the best and worst thing to happen, because I was happy I could run my Fatebringer, Black Hammer and Gjallarhorn at max level but I was also bored because I thought I would be running those weapons for the rest of Destiny's life cycle.

6. Warmind

This is a hot take, but Warmind is probably my least favourite piece of story content for Destiny. This Expansion finds itself in the middle because of behind-scenes-changes, a better progression system and of course a new raid lair, but the campaign, oh man. Not only does it change established lore, but it actively goes against it in order to raise the scale of what we were doing. Xol should not be killed in a campaign, at least not like that. I don't care if the javelin in the apex of Rasputins technology, I don't care is Xol is the weakest of the worm gods, he is still a worm god, emphasis on 'god'. We needed ascendancy to even challenge Oryx and that was before his full power was even manifested in Kings Fall. Chapters of the expansion also felt skipped over; after meeting Rasputin, suddenly we're taking down Xol?

5. Shadowkeep

Shadowkeep was actually a fun but brief experience. The Pyramid on the Moon is still one of Destiny's most terrifying and beautiful environmental reveals. The usual people who are praised at Bungie, art team etc. absolutely knocked it out of the park with the return to the moon. Of course the problems are the cliff-hanger ending campaign and the more interesting aspects of Destiny being hidden in lore cards. This has become they way Destiny tells it story now with a generic shooter campaign on the forefront and the real story buried within. This isn't a bad thing but Destiny has managed to create an entire novella (The Books of Sorrow) as well as a memorable campaign alongside it and that was when the lore wasn't even in the game. Unveiling remains one of the best lore books to this day and really puts the Destiny universe into context. The campaign was mostly an MMO fetch quest with the first and last missions being the main experience. This expansion also brought Armour 2.0, an amazing overhaul that has allowed for distinct builds and possibilities; this is the best thing about Shadowkeep. Garden of Salvation was indeed excellent if not a little monotonous on repeat runs but ultimately one of Destiny's best looking raids ever, beat out only by Wrath of the Machine and Last Wish on an aesthetic basis. Another dungeon is always welcome and Shadowkeep delievered, however it would have been better released when players were underleveled.

4. Rise of Iron

I feel this Expansion is slept on. The SIVA Fallen are a welcome addition on actually require different strategies such as not shooting a Vandals head off. While this Expansion didn't bring any new subclasses or game systems it was just more Destiny, and that was very welcome. The Plaguelands and the addition of a wintery aesthetic was cool. It felt like the Cosmodrome had changed. The story was… Okay. It wasn't bad but it wasn't anything spectacular. The final mission was very enjoyable, descending further and further towards something you've seen destroy Iron Lords firsthand. My initial impression was that the SIVA mites would be new enemies and it kind of irked me when we didn't see these "combat frames" or anything that Saladin mentions, but the SIVA-infested Iron Lords were very cool and the battle with the axe was the peak of the campaign. Wrath of the Machine was amazing. The perfect blend of mechanics and action with an insane raid exotic puzzle that still hasn't been replicated (Divinity comes close). Even if it was beat fairly shortly, that was a levelling problem not a raid design problem. Siege Engine is still one of my favourite set pieces. Of course, the return of Gjallarhorn. A shame to see it not at its full power but very much expected and understood. A fun quest and overall just a really solid Expansion.

3. Beyond Light

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Now, not everything in this Expansion has been explored to the most minute detail, but I feel its fair to place it here. The story was good. A lot of people have criticised it but I enjoy these gauntlet style campaigns where we take down a rogues gallery of villains and work our way towards the final boss. The problem was the boss herself: Eramis had been hyped since Season of the Drifter, and in her first on-screen appearance, she just walks into the frame. No cool introduction. Not even a musical cue. Damn. The story tries to show Eramis' hate and flesh her out, but her motivations are the exact same as the entire Fallen race we have been fighting for six years. She's even a hypocrite for using Stasis considering it was the Darkness that destroyed her home world in the first place. The more interesting story here is the Exo Strangers time-loop and the reunion of the Bray family. The origin of Exo's is a fascinating prospect and the reveals about certain characters such as Banshee are wonderful. The Deep Stone Crypt is also fun even if it is one Destiny's easier raids, which is not a bad thing at all. The true difficulty is getting the timing and mechanics down but once those are done, the encounters become substantially easier. Another addition of Beyond Light is weapon sunsetting. I will only say that sunsetting is a good idea but a poor implementation. It cannot be this difficult to make weapons and armour, unless the game engine is made of spaghetti and everyone's currently working from home, oh, wait.

2. The Taken King

A pinnacle of Destiny content. This is the bar Bungie have set for themselves and in my opinion they have only surpassed it once with the help of two other studios and the backing of a high profile publisher. Oryx is still Destiny's best villain and his arrival in the system is still in effect to this day, (The Taking of the Dreaming City). The Dreadnought is one of the most striking real estates and its not the only place; The campaign begins on Phobos with a Taken invasion that really sets the tone for what we are about to face. Its a while before we actually get on the Dreadnought and fight Oryx. It lets us see what has happened to places we know. Oryx is imposing and threatening but its not just the villains who have come into the spotlight. Lets forget about Cayde before the Taken King. He said nothing did nothing and was nothing, until now. Nathan Fillions depiction of the coolest character in Destiny is spot on. He makes this story work and the infiltration of the Dreadnought would not be the same without his charm and character. The interplay between Ghost and the Vanguard as well as the interjection from Oryx throughout really sell this as a risky mission with a lot riding on whether we win or lose. The mission design as well; running from an ambush and stealthily sneaking through the ascendant realm. All of it culminates in a satisfying boss battle where player skill is actually put to the test. The music. The Taken King soundtrack remains my favourite soundtrack to this day with 'Last Stand' and 'Regicide' as my favourite tracks. The new quests and missions are amazing. The Black Spindle time trial was a precursor for timed missions we get in Destiny 2 today. The No Time To Explain secret mission was excellent, with the Gardener fight being really underrated. The Sword quest was excellent, but the grind for materials was mind-numbing and soul crushing. The strikes and changes to existing strikes made the world feel lived in and evolving. Kings Fall remains one of Bungies best raids, with Golgoroth being one of my favourites. The mechanics and complexity are brilliant and the length is what Destiny raids should strive to be. This Expansion is in my opinion perfect Destiny.

1. Forsaken

Forsaken remains the height of what Destiny can be, and unfortunately what Destiny never will be again. I don't doubt the quality of what Bungie can make but the game director Luke Smith has explicitly stated they won't make another Forsaken "sized" expansion again. What makes that statement so sad is because the size of Forsaken is its best feature. The destinations, bigger. The campaign length, bigger. The raid, bigger. The amount of activities, the quests, everything was bigger and better. What makes this expansion the best, is the way it saved Destiny. I personally dropped off playing Destiny a couple of months after Warmind released and I wasn't interested when Forsaken was announced but I played at launch because this franchise is an important part of my life and I was ready for something new. Forsaken blew me away. The weapon changes alone were a godsend, making combat more diverse and how it should have been. The addition of Titles is the greatest way to show prestige and the fact that you can show off and recognise people who have also completed those seals gives the game a true aspiration to climb for; whether you want to show you have mastered a raid by doing it flawlessly or by climbing season after season to legend in competitive Crucible, seals are one of the best additions to the game and they started here. The campaign is also one of Destiny's best if not the best, as the story extends beyond the Tangled Shore and finishes with the Shattered Throne; that in my opinion, is Forsakens campaign. The villain is good, even if he isn't present throughout the campaign, we still get enough cutscenes and enough motivation for what he did. Drifter is a welcome addition to the cast and has sort of replaced Cayde-6 in a way (The new light intro says Drifter leads the hunters now). I really wish player choices were a thing in Destiny, I would have liked to have spared Uldren, but it is left to interpretation as to whether you or Petra shot him. The final boss works but I wish the design was more 'Ahamkara' than weird meatball monster. The twist is great though and the way we discover an entirely new area is the best feeling in all of Destiny. Knowing we have an entire area to explore with its own secrets and lore was great, and it all culminates in the best raid Bungie have ever produced. Last Wish is something I feel any gamer, even those who don't even like Destiny should experience. Before the clusters and Falling Guillotine and all the cheesy nonsense, Last Wish was a true test of teamwork and the perfect balance of action of puzzle with mechanics and damage test to push raiders to their limits. Riven legit takes everything you've learned an puts it to the most absolute test I have ever seen in gaming, and the day one experience of watching the best of the best take on this test for a minimum 18 hours was actually magical. This is Destiny at its peak and it has never been beat nor will be.

Thank you for reading.

On a side note, seasons are difficult to rank but if I had to it would go like this: (Worst to best).

  1. Undying (based off the content on the roadmap)

  2. Worthy

  3. Dawn

  4. Drifter

  5. Arrivals

  6. Forge

1.Opulence

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