Destiny 2 Fans Upset The Final Shape Didn’t Fix The Tired Seasonal Model

A screenshot of players fighting Vex Hydras in the Breach Executable activity available in Echoes. - Image: Bungie / Sony
A screenshot of players fighting Vex Hydras in the Breach Executable activity available in Echoes. - Image: Bungie / Sony

It’s a strange time for Destiny 2 at the moment. The game is coming off of a surprising victory lap with The Final Shape. The latest expansion culminated the game’s ten-year story and set our beloved cast of Guardians on new journeys, which will be explored in “episodes” rather than the seasons that Destiny 2 players are used to. Except, Bungie seems to have promised more significant changes than have actually been delivered, and fans are quickly taking notice.

Last year, Bungie announced that it would be moving away from Destiny 2’s seasonal model. As it stood, every three months, Bungie would launch a new season of content, including new storylines, activities, and new gear. Narrative moments would be delivered piecemeal via weekly missions, radio chatter, and the occasionally rousing conclusion, but for the most part, seasons boiled down to the same repetition of events with different dialogue. Sometimes there wouldn’t even be new story content for weeks on end, leaving players to wonder when the narrative would pick back up.

By comparison, Destiny 2’s first episode, Echoes, concluded its first of three acts this week, and fans aren’t exactly thrilled with what they got. The bulk of Echoes content right now is a repeatable few activities, some new gear themed after the Vex enemy faction (who seem to be the focus right now), and the occasional cutscene or bit of dialogue. Now that the act has concluded, there’s nothing to really do but wait till the next one unlocks in a matter of weeks, meaning there’s basically a built-in down period now due to timegating. Sound familiar?

Suffice to say, seasons in Destiny 2 were often tiring, mind-numbing, and occasionally confusing to have to keep up with, and to make matters worse, every feature or mechanic introduced within them has been ripped out of the game once a new expansion launched. This approach has needed a change for a long time, and the new episodes should’ve been that. We’re off to a poor start if that’s the case, though, because things seem fundamentally the same as ever, if not a little worse.

Destiny players have spent the past few weeks voicing these exact sentiments and hoping that the best is still to come. One post on the official Destiny subreddit called the structure of the first episode “a let down so far,” suggesting that “Echoes so far has just been an extended seasonal model with more time gating.” Another called episodes “worse dripfed content than seasons.” The assumption that some are running with is that since Echoes is wrapped up in the release of a new expansion, it’s also starting slow to not overwhelm players. If that just so happens to be the case, there’s now a lot of pressure on the rest of the episode to drum up some excitement.

Part of the problem is that Bungie never explicitly detailed what the difference here was going to be. While the studio touted episodes as a major shift that’d change the way it delivered content, it never broke down the model outside of a rough roadmap. Players understand that the three episodes following The Final Shape are going to be more standalone stories, rather than the connective seasonal narratives fans are used to, but what they really wanted to know was what to expect and when to expect it.

Instead, Bungie waited forever to follow up, and even when they did detail the subjects of the episodes, they still offered little in the way of a breakdown as to what players should expect to be doing. By offering little in the way of communication—a problem Bungie keeps running into and then amending for—expectations were allowed to build, and now many are disappointed to see that they’re seemingly getting even shorter bursts of content in their favorite ongoing game. And now, rather than enjoying their time with Destiny 2, there’s a whole community wondering what’s going on in its immediate future.

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