Destiny 2's Season of the Plunder - The Good, The Bad, And The Spider
Destiny 2’s seasonal model has always resulted in hit-or-miss seasons. Some of the greatest seasons have players hooked into the game's various progression and loot systems, with fantastic and momentous storytelling to boot. While others are Season of the Hunt, which offered practically nothing of interest and was dubbed easily one of the worst seasons ever to grace Destiny 2.
The Season of the Plunder is well underway now, with its story content finished until the epilogue, and all of the other content is released. The Season of the Plunder was definitely near the middle of the pack when it came to seasonal content in Destiny 2- it wasn’t the greatest by any means (we're looking at you, Festival of the Lost), but it didn’t crash and burn the way other seasons had.
Now that it’s nearing the end of our time in Season of the Plunder, it’s a good time to look back at the season before we head into the penultimate season before Destiny 2 season 19 - Lightfall. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of Destiny 2 season 18.
The Season of the Plunder story was exactly what it needed to be. Coming away from the rather dark and gloomy Season of the Haunted, it was a light-hearted adventure about pirates, treasure, old friends and enemies. Plunder's story hit the right beats of maintaining a rather comical atmosphere with the likes of Spider and Drifter, whilst expanding on the more serious story of Mithrax and Eramis.
Mithrax was first seen in the original Destiny 2 campaign and was reprised throughout the Zero Hour quest and Season of the Splicer. He returns as a sort of father figure for our newest character Eido, who is an Eliksni Scribe for the House of Light. The three together are pivotal characters throughout the season's story and have the most character exploration and expansion here.
King’s Fall is arguably one of the most iconic raids in all of Destiny's history. Fighting the taken king himself, Oryx, King’s Fall is the second raid to be transferred over from the first Destiny, with Vault of Glass arriving in Season of the Splicer.
As someone who didn’t play the first Destiny, King’s Fall felt like a solid raid considering when it was originally released. The encounter designs were great (albeit a bit easy at times), the boss enemies looked fantastic, and the atmosphere that the Dreadnaught created was *chef's kiss*, beautiful. Finally, the weapons are all around pretty damn good, with the scout rifle Doom of Chelchis being a real standout.
It’s hard to tell if Bungie will be able to top King’s Fall with the other reprisal raids, but we won’t be able to tell until they release another one in Season 22, which will be in at least a year from now.
Ketchcrash was one of the season activities brought in with the Destiny 2 Season of the Plunder. Most players would compare this content to the Menagerie, a 6-player activity that had a fireteam complete randomised various activities, fight a boss and collect loot.
Ketchcrash is similar to this, just without as much variety. There are 3 possible activities that a group can get, and 2 of them must be completed before reaching the final boss. This results in a total combination of 3 different versions of the activity. This is a far cry from the Menagerie’s replayability but wasn’t a bad activity overall.
Master Ketchcrash also made for a decent time farming and grinding out loot for this season, and was pretty challenging and fun for the most part.
On the flip side of Ketchcrash, we were given expeditions.
Expeditions were a 3-player activity that saw Guardians defend a point while collecting motes and treasure, tossing them into a Treasure Cart (which is basically a glorified payload). Repeat this twice, and rewards await.
While being a good way for players to focus on what sort of reward they wanted via the Captain’s Atlas, this is by far one of the worst gameplay loops in Destiny 2. Each expedition wouldn’t take too long, but it was deeply uninteresting and disengaging as a form of content. Guardians could simply sit there AFK, and get away with it as long as one other player did the dirty work.
Place this alongside the fact that expeditions spawned a rare mob called a Ruffian, which was needed for completing the Seasonal Seal. This is a title that most hardcore players are likely to grab. Ruffians would only spawn intermittently based on a timer, meaning the game actively de-incentivised players to complete the content. It wasn’t rare to see hardcore Destiny players actively throwing away the treasure just to stall out for the Ruffian to spawn in.
The Loot/ Grind
Destiny 2 is, of course, a game about two things - grinding and looting. As such, players are constantly looking for an enjoyable grind for rewarding loot, and yet, Season of the Plunder failed on both of those fronts.
The weapons in Season of the Plunder weren’t anything fantastic, with most of them being merely average besides the sidearm Brigand’s Law, which comes with the new Voltshot perk to make it worthwhile. The playerbase didn’t see any real game-changers from these new weapons, so there wasn’t much incentive to use the weapons that were released. The incentive to grind just wasn’t there, and hence, the grind wasn’t as enjoyable. Not a good look when grinding is practically the basis the game is built on.
Pirate Hideouts were Season of the Plunder's story missions, and they were underwhelming in comparison to Season of the Haunted’s Sever missions, which had far more intricate storytelling with characters players already recognised. They were essentially 3-minute drudges into Lost Sectors for murdering a mini-boss and grabbing a relic. They were arbitrary and incredibly repetitive, as the game asks players to rinse and repeat them multiple times for sake of the story.
Festival of the Lost
Destiny 2 isn’t known for coming up with the greatest of events - and yet, Festival of the Lost was easily one of the biggest disappointments in Season of the Plunder.
This year’s Festival of the Lost felt deeply unpolished. The new activity, Haunted Sectors, was just a redecorated version of Lost Sectors, with peppered minibosses. Defeat 10 of these minibosses, and the game will spawn the big boss to fight at the end - but the issue is that if players defeat them too quickly, nothing happens. The boss doesn’t spawn until the timer runs out, so the game forces good players into a time-out zone until the boss was spawned. This is a huge letdown in comparison to the Haunted Forest, which at least pushed on infinitely so hardcore players could flex their skills.
Festival of the Lost really highlights the dire need for Destiny 2’s event revamps in general. Most events in Destiny 2 are treated as a novelty rather than anything monumental being released and rehashed, reused content feels dull to play through year after year as a dedicated Destiny 2 player.
Season of the Plunder Wasn't What Destiny Deserved
Overall, this season wasn’t fantastic. The story was everything it needed to be, but besides that, it lacked any compelling or exciting content outside of the raid, and with poor loot to boot, it didn’t seem like a season that had much on offer.
Season of the Plunder definitely felt like a step down from the offerings we were given in Season of the Haunted. It wasn’t the absolute worst season Bungie has ever released, but it felt like it was one of the weaker seasons Destiny 2 has received - a mediocre piece of filler.
It’s hard to say right now how it’ll stack up with Season 19, which releases on December 6th, but the playerbase seems to look to it with high hopes. With a new dungeon and the penultimate story leading up to Lightfall, it’s definitely on everyone’s mind as one of the more exciting seasons to come. All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope for better.