Last year’s Witch Queen expansion ended with Season of the Seraph, which is probably my favorite Destiny season to date. Everything about it was outstanding. Season of the Seraph had an exciting and unpredictable storyline that saw us work with sworn enemies to restore an AI capable of destroying worlds, only to have the rug pulled out at the 11th hour – and I loved every second of it. .
It gave us the awesome Heist Battleground mission that evolved over the course of a season as new war table upgrades were unlocked, as well as long-running, puzzle-filled operations that culminated in Operation: Seraph’s Shield – the best exotic missions ever. He also gave us the impeccably designed Spire of the Watcher, which has its enemies, but I love the theme, the story, and the cowboy-themed armor set. And it ended with the heartbreaking finale of Abhorrent Imperative. There have been many seasons full of content, but Seraph Season seems to be the richest and most impactful season yet. I was hoping that the seasons of Lightfall would reach the same level of quality, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.
It’s not entirely fair to compare the last season of the expansion to the first seasons of the next one. Season Defiance began alongside Lightfall and, like all first seasons, was short, with a single core activity. Still, the season of defiance was more limited than other debut seasons. Also, we’re only in the first week of Season of the Deep and it’s too early to know what’s going to happen. We haven’t seen the new dungeon start this season, and the triumph suggests that we’ll be diving deeper into Titan’s methane ocean throughout the season, where more secrets will be revealed. But even with these unknowns, doesn’t it seem like the seasons are getting shorter and shorter? We have the Salvage group activity and the Deep Dive mission, which are great, but I miss the sense of long-term goals to work towards. It feels like I’m only here to farm the reissued Reckoning weapons for good scrolls and wait for the next chapter of the story to be released, which just isn’t enough.
Bungie has been open about wanting to reduce the complexity of each season, and I think that streamlining is part of the reason I feel like Season of the Deep is missing something. When it was announced that this season would not have a vendor progression element, I was excited to see what new and innovative mechanic would take its place. I found that the seller progression still exists, but it is now combined with the seasonal challenges to simplify things. Layers of abstractions and overlapping game loops are reduced to simple, straightforward systems. I appreciate the desire to clear things up for everyone, but I feel like we’ve lost some of what makes the seasonal grind so interesting.
I also feel that Season of the Deep has to make up for Lightfall’s shortcomings, which isn’t necessarily fair or realistic. At the same time, Bungie has twice dismissed complaints about Lightfall, reminding us that Lightfall’s story will be stretched across seasons in a way no previous expansion has done. I’m just starting a new Neomun mission, so I can’t talk about the development of Osiris right now, but I expect a lot of narrative momentum from Season of the Deep, and if it just turns out to be a series of mysterious psychic messages from a space whale, it won’t live up to past season stories. Again, it’s too early to tell, but after Lightfall and Season of the Defiance I have to keep my expectations low.
Last year I didn’t really get into the Haunting Season or the Preying Season until Seraphim Season rolled around, and I did a great job catching up on everything I missed the last few months of the year. Each season had its own style and unique activities, and I loved jumping between them to accomplish multiple goals at once. This might be the best way for me to approach Destiny seasons to avoid feeling like I’m getting less out of them than I expected.
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