WARNING: long text post incoming. If you'd like an overall TL;DR, one will be provided at the very end of this post.
With all of the talk of Stasis, the elements of Destiny are more important than ever before. In this post, I aim to discuss exactly what these elements are, and how it will have major gameplay consequences by the time of Lightfall's release in 2022.
At first, we all believed that each element – Solar, Arc, and Void – corresponded to one of the fundamental interactions of physics – Strong, Electroweak, and Gravitational, respectively. Stasis kind of threw a wrench in that analysis, right?
I mean, we could say that the Electroweak interaction should be viewed as it was in the past, as two interactions (Electromagnetic and Weak) with Arc representing Electromagnetism, but Stasis doesn't really correlate with the Weak force at all. So, we can't use this explanation anymore, right? … right?
Instead of theorizing, for a moment, let's look at a quote from Toland's journal. This may seem random at first, but bear with me on this.
"The Void is not the Darkness. The Darkness is what it is. Void energy is like all things of this universe, it is Light seen through a prism. A fundamental force, the vacuum between the stars, the absence of everything else. Just try explaining that to someone who has never walked the Void." — Toland's Journal
Toland was probably the most knowledgeable individual on the nature of the universe of Destiny, so it's safe to say that he had a good idea of what was going on here. He discusses that what we know as "the Void" is actually the Light through the lens of empty space (AKA gravity; I won't get into the physics of it, but particles of gravity comprise empty space according to the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity).
In other words, empty space – gravity – isn't inherently Light or Dark, in the same way that heat and electricity aren't inherently Light or Dark; rather, when we examine the Light through the lenses of heat, electricity, and gravity, we get Solar, Arc, and Void, respectively.
By extension, Stasis must be viewed in the presence of the Darkness. It makes sense; the first (keep this in mind for later) Dark element must be the Darkness viewed through some primal force.
But, before I continue, what is the Darkness? As many know, the Flower Game analogy describes it perfectly: The Gardener (an allegory for the Light) creates and promotes complexity among multiple individuals, while the Winnower (an allegory for the Darkness) destroys and promotes dominance for a single individual (which we know as the Final Shape).
Stasis is shown to produce ice, and therefore, cool things down substantially. Of course, we all know that "cold" doesn't really exist; it's the absence of heat. So, it would make sense that viewing the Darkness through heat would involve taking energy away.
In the same way that Solar energy is the transfer of energy as heat, Stasis energy is the stealing of energy as heat. They can be seen as two sides of the same coin.
If we can look at Stasis as a Dark equivalent to Solar, then what about the other two elements? Why is there no equivalent to Void or Arc, and why are we just seeing Stasis now?
This brings us to the ViDoc that Bungie released yesterday, and the following image from it:
You can all see it here. This says "Select Darkness Subclasses". Subclasses Plural.
Bungie wouldn't simply push out multiple Stasis subclasses for each class. Not only would that be incredibly boring, it would also make no sense from a practical standpoint; why would Bungie make a whole new subclass for each class that utilizes Stasis when the Stasis subclass is the most customizable of all of the subclasses?
Therefore, this all but confirms that, at some point in the future, we will be getting more Darkness elements and subclasses.
Since we know that Stasis is basically the Dark version of Solar, I believe that, across the Era of Darkness, which will include Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and Lightfall, we will see all 3 Dark elements for the first time.
With Beyond Light, we will encounter Stasis, which is the deconstruction of heat, on Europa, the harshest, coldest place that we will have been to in the system thus far.
With The Witch Queen, I predict that we will encounter an element I'll coin as Decay, which is the deconstruction of electron transmission and the forces that hold things together – radioactive decay. And what would Decay look like? No other than Hive Magic. In Destiny's lore, the term "decay" is most often associated with the Hive, so I believe it's a fair assumption to make (see these Grimoire entries: Hive Champions and Ghost Fragment: Hive). Even past that, what weapon do we know of that causes the gradual decay of Light? That's right, Thorn, a Weapon of Sorrow derived from the Hive Wizard Xyor, the Unwed.
With Lightfall, I predict that we will encounter an element I'll coin as Relativity, which is the manipulation of gravity to skip through space and even time. What would it look like? Simply put, it's what the Pyramid ships exude. Every time we've seen the Pyramids, they've utilized gravity to either draw us nearer (see: the end of Shadowkeep's campaign, and the scene at the beginning of the Season of Arrivals), and even from a metaphorical perspective, throughout the entire season, nearly everything in the system has been drawn to the Pyramids upon their arrival, like how gravity draws things nearer from afar.
But why are we just seeing these Dark elements now?
Remember the post-credits scene, where the Light pulse went all the way to the outer reaches of the system and the Pyramids "woke up"? We "awoke" the Pyramids (the bringers of Darkness) when we reawakened the Traveler at the end of the Red War, and now that they're here, we're seeing these Dark versions of fundamental forces.
So, what can we take away from all of this?
I believe that we will encounter not just one, but three new elements over the course of this Era. When the Pyramids arrived, they brought with them the secrets of the Darkness and how the Darkness manipulates the fundamental forces of the universe. These elements will all be Dark versions of our current elements, and they will all have some significance to what we're doing when we acquire them.
This is both fascinating from a gameplay perspective and a lore perspective. The prospect of getting new subclasses with The Taken King and vanilla Destiny 2 and new supers with Forsaken were both impressive, so the idea of us getting three new subclasses, each with a new elemental damage, is amazing. As a lore fiend, this also interests me, because it means that we could get a new idea of how the Darkness works by acquiring these new subclasses.
And with that, we've reached the end of this admittedly long-winded post. I appreciate those of you that made it this far, even if you skipped through, just to read the TL;DR. I hope you all have enjoyed this theory, and that by Fall of 2021, we'll get to play with 6 unique subclasses!
TL;DR: Stasis is the opposite of Solar. With the Witch Queen, we'll see an opposite of Arc, and with Lightfall, we'll see an opposite of Void. All of these are aspects of the fundamental interactions of physics, simply viewed through the lens of either the Light or Darkness, and we're just now seeing these elements because the Pyramids have arrived to parts of the system. By the end of the Era of Darkness, we'll have 6 total subclasses per class; 3 Light, and 3 Dark.
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