Ahead of Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie drops new details on the annual pass and the return of heavy machine guns

All around the Tower Guardians are downloading a whopping 35BG patch for Destiny 2, which will make crucial changes to the way weapons and gear work in the game, and prepare the ground for the release of the Forsaken expansion on September 4. Destiny 2 is currently down for maintenance as part of the process, but should be back up by 2pm PDT. 

Whether or not you've dropped $39.99 on Forsaken (or $69.99 for Forsaken and an Annual Pass) the patch brings about substantial changes that should help decide whether you want to dive back in or not.. 

One of the biggest will be to your loadout, because the patch switches up the weapon slot system, returning it to a more flexible system that will be familiar to D1 veterans. Most fusion rifles, sniper rifles and - my personal favorite - shotguns will move from the power slot into the kinetic and energy slot. (A few Exotic snipers and shotguns are staying in power, including the boss-melting Whisper of the Worm, which means you could even run an impractical triple-sniper combo.)

Because players will be able to have more 'uptime' with special weapons now, as a trade off they'll be a little weaker. Bungie has reduced the damage of all shotguns, snipers and fusion rifles which switched slots, though trace rifles have been improved. The patch notes also detail a ton of buffs and (booo!) nerfs made to the game's exotic gear. The most notable of these will likely be the change to the Box Breathing perk, which will make the Whisper slightly less OP. Elsewhere, the Sleeper Simulant Exotic linear fusion Rifle has seen its magazine size increased but its base damage reduced. 

This patch also makes big changes to the way mods work too. Say goodbye to your current mods, because on September 4 you'll need to get new ones. "Year 1 mods can no longer be inserted into gear or weapons. You will no longer be able to insert any mods into Year 1 gear or change the elemental damage type come next week," warns our benevolent Bungie overlords. 

Your Destiny 2 shopping habits will be different too, because those tokens you've been earning will be gone post-patch. Instead, you'll find "destination materials." Your favorite merchant, Xur, just got a lot shyer too, he'll no longer appear on the map so finding him will be like a goth Where's Waldo. "He has a clear purpose but cannot explain it - forgive him," says Bungie in the patch notes. 

With Forsaken being just a week away, Bungie has doubled down on fuel for the hype train in the form of the new cinematic trailer above, in which a Guardian actually speaks (it's been a while) and also released a vidoc explaining further changes coming in the year ahead. 

That video also delivered more details about what you can expect from the new Annual Pass, which costs $69.99. 

"Annual Pass content will release throughout the year, working in concert with our free Seasons to help keep the world alive and fresh. Black Armory, Joker’s Wild, and Penumbra each deliver multiple beats that span the length of a given Season," says Bungie. 

You'll get new Raid Lairs with Black Armory and Penumbra, but not Joker's Wild. Instead Joker's Wild we see the new Gambit mode change in a substantial, but unannounced way. The aim, says Bungie, is to ensure a constant flow of content, something that could call back Destiny 2 players that tired of grinding for grindings' sake. 

"The main thing we want to change with Year 2 of Destiny is that there's never a content drought," explains design director Justin Truman. 

"The annual pass is a result of our learning and looking over the past year of how people have responded to Osiris and Warmind," says project lead Scott Taylor. He adds the Escalations Protocols, hidden quests and the recent Whisper quest really stood out. 

"A lot of the things we're doing in Forsaken that we haven't even spoken about, those types of things are really exciting and we think are going to excite players more," continues game director Steve Cotton. 

Black Armory is about getting access to the greatest weapons created in the Golden Age - did it get hot in here or is just me? - and then Joker's Wild will give you more information about the unnamed new character who is the face of Gambit. Penumbra is all about secrets and a "mystery box that players uncover collaboratively." From the looks of things, it may wrap up the Emperor Calus storyline which has dominated the game's raids so far, and maybe, just maybe, usher in the arrival of those mysterious pyramid ships spotted after the credits rolled in the main campaign.

Bungie also provided the handy infographic below that will help you fill out your Destiny 2 year planner, and one of the interesting details to note is that December's update will see the return of heavy machine guns. While they appeared in the original Destiny, Bungie dropped them for Destiny 2, leaving them out of the new Power Weapons category, seemingly because they were a ballache to balance in PvP. I say: balance, schmalance.

Destiny 2: Forsaken will be released on September 4 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and over the next few days we'll bring you everything you need to know, whether you're returning after a long break from space or you've already started prepping your inventory.