Destiny 2: Everything we know about the Season of Dawn
With less than a week to go before Destiny 2’s current season, the Season of the Undying, comes to a close, Bungie has shared some new details on what players can look forward to in the next season. The Season of Dawn will officially begin on December 10, bringing with it (among other things) a new six-player seasonal PvE mode, a new goodie-filled season pass, a new seasonal artifact, new Exotic weapon quests, and new story developments which involve the resurrection of a fabled Destiny character: Saint-14.
We’ve gone ahead and rounded up all the pertinent details Bungie shared via its Season of Dawn livestream so that you’ll know what to expect when Destiny 2’s newest season launches next week.
An Evolving Philosophy
Before they delved into the nitty gritty of the Season of Dawn’s new gameplay features, several members of Bungie’s staff discussed how they’re continuing to fine-tune Destiny 2’s content rollout based on player feedback. Bungie acknowledged that while this past year’s Annual Pass seasons (the Season of the Forge, Season of The Drifter, and Season of Opulence) were all good on their own, there wasn’t much cohesive tissue connecting them and that in turn made it hard for players to feel consistently engaged.
The new seasonal format which Bungie began with Season of the Undying and is continuing with Season of Dawn is more agile and is thus better able to incorporate player feedback. Bungie has long espoused how Destiny 2’s player community is instrumental in shaping the game, and with this new seasonal format it wants to prove that such statements are more than just platitudes and hype talk. From the Season of Undying onward, players will see more direct correlations between what they do in one season and how those actions affect events in future seasons.
Back to Mercury
Speaking of the future, the Season of Dawn is taking Destiny 2 players back to what is, to put it plainly, one of the least popular planetary destinations in the game: Mercury. The Vex-corrupted home of the enigmatic Warlock Osiris (former master of current Warlock Vanguard Ikora Rey) was first introduced in Destiny 2’s very first DLC expansion, the aptly named Curse of Osiris. Unfortunately, the Curse of Osiris expansion’s thin content offerings and even thinner story campaign were met with a tepid reaction from fans.
There’s undoubtedly a bit of a redemptive element to the Season of Dawn and how it’s placing such a big emphasis on Mercury (Bungie community manager David “DeeJ” Dague even joked during the livestream about the infamous “two tokens and a blue” moment from the Curse of Osiris unveiling). In many ways, Bungie is using the Season of Dawn to breathe some fresh life into Mercury and to correct some of the mistakes it made in the past (players will finally be able to ride their Sparrows on Mercury’s surface, for instance).
It is on Mercury where players will also engage with the Season of Dawn’s new six-player PvE activity, The Sundial, and complete a new series of story tasks that lead them to reviving a dear friend of Osiris’s, the dead Titan Saint-14.
A Timely Paradox
How exactly players will go about bringing Saint-14 back from the dead remains a mystery for now, but it’s clear from the Season of Dawn teaser trailer that the legendary Titan will play a big part in the season’s new story, perhaps even eclipsing the presence of Osiris himself. Saint-14’s appearance is also a big deal since, up until this point, he hasn’t actually appeared in either of the Destiny games, instead only being mentioned in lore entries or living on vicariously through the Titan Exotic Saint-14’s Helm.
Since the Season of Dawn is primarily set on Mercury, the Vex will naturally be a constant thorn in players’ sides, but the main threat of the new season is actually an entirely new faction of Cabal who, like the Vex, are working to manipulate time itself for their own nefarious ends. This new Cabal threat will factor into the new Sundial PvE activity which will serve as a cornerstone of the new season’s content offerings.
Altering the Future...And the Past
Bungie only showed off a brief gameplay demo of the new Sundial activity during its livestream, but even that brief showing conveyed the unique nature of the activity. Similar to this current season’s Vex Offensive activity, the Sundial will pit a group of six players against legions of AI enemies as they work to complete match-specific goals. The Sundial will also support matchmaking at launch, though Bungie warns that a harder ‘Legendary’ version coming later in the season will require a pre-made fireteam.
Unlike the Vex Offensive, the Sundial will also have a rotating series of different final boss encounters, giving it a little more replay value over the long term. No matter which boss they’re facing, players must first work through a series of different “timelines” where they fight more enemies and complete specific objectives to defeat the timeline’s mini-boss. The timeline Bungie showed during the livestream was called ‘Bombardment’ and involved a future where the Cabal actually won the Red War. Players had to slay certain enemies so they dropped beacons which then needed to be picked up and thrown at the mini-boss to disable his shield.
Bungie promises there will be plenty more such timeline scenarios, and that the Sundial itself (which acts as a sort of central hub between timeline encounters) will have its own surprises to unveil throughout the season. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes you can jump up into the Sundial’s spinning rotors to kill yourself and potentially elicit a few chuckles from your fireteam companions.
Mods, Artifacts, Solar Reworks, and More
F2P players and those who invest in the Season of Dawn’s paid season pass will both get plenty of value out of Destiny 2’s Season of Dawn. Returning events like The Dawning and Crimson Days will be free for all players, as will the massive reworks Bungie is prepping for all of the game’s Solar sub-classes.
All players will also get to earn the new seasonal artifact, The Lantern of Osiris, and unlock new equipment mods that fit within the season’s theme of precision long-range weaponry. Many of the new mods will utilize a unique ‘Charged with Light’ mechanic that grants special buffs to players who meet certain conditions during combat encounters. One particular mod, called ‘Guardian Angel,’ causes a player to drop helpful healing orbs whenever they score a precision kill with precision-based weapons (bows, hand cannons, scout rifles, etc.).
According to the Season of Dawn roadmap Bungie shared (pictured above), those who invest in the season pass will be able to earn two brand new Exotic weapons: a sidearm called Devil’s Ruin and what appears to be a fusion rifle called Bastion.
Thanks to a new series of finisher moves, players will be able to channel their inner Saint-14 via a powerful headbutt or dispatch enemies with a stylish flip-kick or uppercut punch (and those are just some of the new finishers included in the season). Best of all, a new ‘multi-finisher’ feature will allow players to set up to nine individual finisher moves as “favorites,” with one of those favorites being randomly selected whenever the player triggers a finisher sequence.
Lastly, fans of Destiny 2’s PvP Crucible experience will be happy to hear that Rusted Lands, one of the most iconic PvP maps from the original Destiny, will return in the Season of Dawn as a free addition for all players. Other free PvP additions will include the Elimination game mode and, naturally, additional Iron Banner events.
Destiny 2’s post-launch content rollouts haven’t always been a smooth ride (as those who played Curse of Osiris can attest), but Bungie seems to be really hitting its stride with the new format it began back when it launched the game’s Shadowkeep expansion. If anything, Bungie has proven time and again that it’s willing to learn from its mistakes (and even poke a little fun at itself) and come back all the stronger for it. With all of the new and exciting content it offers, the Season of Dawn will undoubtedly stand as a testament to everything Bungie has learned and how committed it is to building an experience that all players can enjoy.
Destiny 2’s Season of Dawn launches on Tuesday, December 10. You can find out more about the season and its new features over on Bungie’s website.