In the realm of Destiny expansions, it’s customary to withhold judgment until three or even four weeks post-release. Typically, there’s an impending raid, content locked behind a temporal gateway, and a myriad of power-enhancing pursuits that demand a considerable time investment. However, Bungie defied tradition with “The Witch Queen,” allowing us to pass judgment after just one week.
Even with a new raid looming less than a week away, I feel Bungie has delivered something that surpasses anything seen before. A solid 10/10 campaign (finally!), Void 3.0 is a monumental success, turning the power grind into a far more enjoyable endeavor. The Witch Queen is the Destiny game we’ve been eagerly anticipating for almost eight years.
A Tale Worth Telling
When delving into The Witch Queen’s campaign, there are two aspects to discuss: the story and missions, and the introduction of a new Legendary difficulty, catering to seasoned players seeking a challenge.
The narrative plunges deep into the lore of Destiny, providing a richer understanding of Savathûn and her familial lineage, beyond mere story segments or YouTube videos. The plot twists and turns until we reach an unexpected conclusion. What’s better is that the campaign’s ending seems to seamlessly lead into the upcoming raid next week. We’re treated to a spectacular finale in the campaign, with even more story awaiting us in the raid. Spoiled? Absolutely.
The missions themselves are exceptional. I’ve never enjoyed story missions in Destiny as much as those in The Witch Queen. They are lengthier than ever before, consisting of several stages. It genuinely feels like 3 or 4 missions rolled into one, and that’s precisely what I’ve been yearning for. We encounter grand, mechanically challenging encounters and some epic boss battles. The Hive Guardians are deadly, tearing me to shreds with their favorite abilities. Even though I know we should feel remorseful when we shatter their Ghosts, the visual effect of our Guardians obliterating them is undeniably cool.
When tackling the campaign on the new Legendary difficulty, not only are story missions genuinely challenging, demanding strategy, but you also reap rich rewards for your efforts. Double chests filled with loot and upgrade modules allow you to progress while playing, rather than having to grind through potentially disinteresting content. Upon completing the campaign, you earn a new Exotic armor piece for your class and receive a badge to flaunt.
The campaign has truly exceeded my expectations. Kudos and well done to the Bungie team.
Diving into the Void 3.0
Void 3.0 marks the first step in transforming our Light subclasses into the Stasis format. Choose your aspect and fragments to further customize your armor and weapon loadouts. What was excellent then is excellent now, but this time our Void abilities take the spotlight.
All three classes undergo some incredibly cool and fun improvements. The Hunter’s Mobius Quiver super left the most lasting impression on me, standing out as the best among them. The Warlock’s grenade ability boasts serious damage potential, and witnessing my Titan hurl their shield into a group of enemies with the new melee ability made me feel like a mix of Captain America and Kratos. Though that particular ability would be slightly better if we could retrieve it (my squad is very enthusiastic about this idea).
Naturally, my Void subclass has become the preferred choice this season. The seasonal mods are evidently designed for it, resulting in some powerful and entertaining builds. It will be interesting to see how the subclass fares in the next season when we witness upgrades for Solar or Arc and their seasonal mods.
This year, Bungie introduced a brand-new weapon type, proudly welcoming the Glaive into our arsenal. This spear/blast device quickly became one of my favorite tools. It boasts three key features: short-to-medium-range explosions, melee without the need for any ammo, and a shield function in emergencies. It can handle a multitude of tasks, and when combined with this season’s custom mods, it becomes a beast. We crafted our first one as part of an early campaign mission, and after completing certain late-game tasks, there will be a Legendary and three Exotic variants—one for each class—available for us to use in the coming weeks.
We’re also introduced to four new Exotics: Osteo Striga, Dead Messenger, Parasite, and Grand Overture. The latter is a free gift from the season pass, while the rest are acquired post-campaign. All of them prove to be fun to use, but Osteo Striga stands out for its crazy ability to easily clear ads. With the catalyst added, it becomes even more potent.
Then there are plenty of new Legendary weapons to collect and refine, along with several sets of new armor, including my favorite, an ornament set in the season pass. In terms of loot, Bungie has once again hit it out of the park.
Weapon Crafting Quirks
For a long time, weapon crafting has been one of the most intriguing systems in Destiny 2. Essentially, it works as expected—you can craft the weapon you desire, but it comes with some noticeable drawbacks. You need to ensure the weapon actually has the perks you want from the pool. If so, you can embark on the long journey of perfection.
Unlocking weapon blueprints is a must, hoping you get a random drop called Deepsight Resonance, surrounded by a red border on a weapon. Once you have it, you need to use it and complete activities until the percentage bar on the weapon is filled. Then, you can extract Deepsight Resonance from the weapon and blueprint. Some weapons require this process only once, but I’ve seen others that need up to five times.
Once the blueprint is unlocked, you can craft your dream weapon—almost. You craft it with base perks, which might not be the ones you desire. Then, you need to upgrade the weapon’s tier to unlock more perks, including enhanced versions of our familiar and beloved perks. But of course, you need to make sure you have enough different currencies to place these perks on your weapon.
While all of the above feels a bit cumbersome to me personally, it’s understandable. Bungie wants you to genuinely work for that perfect weapon, even fostering an emotional connection to it. You’ll see the date you initially crafted it on the weapon inspection page, so you know when your “child” was born. However, once you’ve built it, if you decide later to change it to fit a different playstyle, you’ll have to pay for those changes and again if you want to switch back. This severely discourages any experimentation with different perks unless you’re willing to constantly grind for these materials, something I believe some people will do. For me, the game already has enough grind, and this additional layer isn’t necessary. I’ve reserved weapon crafting for genuinely special weapons and likely won’t experiment too much to ensure I have enough materials when I do want to craft.
Love for Rituals, Mostly
Gambit underwent some mechanical changes to refresh its vitality. I didn’t have much time to play, but from the little I experienced, it does feel different. I spend less time dealing with invaders and more effort is focused on the Primeval phase. Only time will tell if these changes are for the better or if it indeed needs a complete overhaul.
Strikes in the playlist added several new, highly enjoyable entries, along with all the battleground missions from the “Season of the Undying.” However, fundamentally, strikes are still just strikes, so either you enjoy them, or you don’t, and any existing opinions won’t change.
Crucible remains the least favored mode in Destiny. We know attention is coming, but in this iteration, we only see the return of two previously removed maps—Eternity and Vostok. It adds some variety to a rotation that looks a bit dated.
In conclusion, The Witch Queen is a resounding success for Destiny 2, offering a captivating story, challenging and rewarding content, and a plethora of exciting loot. The new Void 3.0 changes breathe fresh life into subclasses, and while the weapon crafting system adds a layer of complexity, it caters to those who seek a truly unique and cherished arsenal. Bungie has once again demonstrated their commitment to delivering engaging experiences for both new and veteran players alike.