The upcoming Beyond Light expansion is going to be a sea change for Destiny 2. Four planets worth of stuff is leaving the game, an entire Destiny 1 environment is coming into the game, and a mountain of gear is being retired. And that's on top of the usual suite of new expansion stuff: a destination, a raid, and so on. But the biggest addition has got to be Stasis, a mysterious new element which will give all Guardians a new subclass branch to play with. We got new Supers and skills in Forsaken, but we've never gotten new subclasses, and we've never seen subclasses like these in Destiny 2. However, we did see subclasses like these in Destiny 1, and that's what makes Stasis so exciting.
Destiny 2's biggest evolutions have been defined by a return to tradition. Bungie has repeatedly commented on the missteps it made with the sequel, and it's routinely reverted to the way things were handled in Destiny 1, from weapons to PvP. With these Stasis subclasses, Bungie is revisiting Destiny 1's class system and breaking away from the streamlined skill nodes that were introduced when Destiny 2 launched. We've been hoping for new subclasses since Destiny 2 was first announced, and we've been whispering about Darkness powers for two years. With Stasis, Bungie's not only delivering that, but also leaning into the RPG side of its loud-and-proud action-MMORPG through robust customization.
As we've learned over the past week of subclass reveals, Stasis customization is broken into two parts. On one side, you've got your usual assortment of melee, grenade, and class ability modifiers. On the other, you've got Aspects and Fragments – two new items that have totally flipped the table on Destiny 2's subclasses.
Aspects are class-specific items that add unique effects to Stasis powers. Once you find them in the world, you can equip two Aspects at once, and each one brings true game-changers. Here are the three Aspects we've seen so far:
- Warlock Aspect - Frostpulse: placing a rift generates a shockwave that freezes nearby enemies.
- Titan Aspect - Tectonic Harvest: shattering a Stasis crystal creates a Stasis shard which grants melee energy when collected by your or allies.
- Hunter Aspect - Shatterdive: use mid-air to rapidly descend and shatter nearby frozen targets.
Aspects are bespoke modifiers that you can use to create or accentuate a play style. Frostpulse adds offensive utility to the often underutilized Warlock rift. Tectonic Harvest synergizes with several melee Exotics, not to mention the new Stasis Titan melee. And Shatterdive adds an entirely new movement ability (based on a Warlock Dawnblade ability) to Hunter's kit. These are exciting in their own right, and they're also exactly the kinds of abilities that we had access to in Destiny 1's skill trees. Back in the day, your skill tree would affect what stats you prioritized, what Exotics you wore, what abilities you favored, and even what weapons you used. In a ham-handed way, this is also true of Destiny 2's skill nodes, but with Stasis we'll have way more room to decide how we want to play.
We're not just using prefab clusters of skills anymore; we're building our own version of our class. Synergies will be less obvious but more rewarding with Stasis, and making a strong build will involve more than merely connecting the dots. We'll not only have to collect Aspects, we'll need to learn how to use them effectively. At least, that's the dream.
Stasis doesn't end with Aspects, either. By adding in Fragments, which are shared between classes, you can amp up neutral aspects of your kit or add combos to it. Here are the Fragments we know of so far:
- Whisper of Durance: slow effects from your abilities lasts longer. For abilities that linger, their duration will also increase (+10 Strength).
- Whisper of Bonds: defeating frozen targets with weapons grants you super energy (-10 Intellect, -10 Discipline).
- Whisper of Hedrons: gain a bonus to weapon damage after freezing a target with Stasis (-10 Strength).
Fragments seem to emphasize the three main uses of Stasis – slowing, freezing, and shattering – and they also create interactions between your abilities and your weapons. I always loved the kill skills in the Borderlands games – things like 'kill a dude to gain increased reload speed' – and hoped to see more abilities like them in Destiny 2, and Fragments seem to be adding just that. I love the idea of killing a dude in a specific way to temporarily boost my weapon damage output. Interactions like that add another wrinkle to the way I approach engagements. Likewise, I'm thrilled to see that some Fragments actually cost stats. Until now, stats have just been glorified cooldown timers, but Bungie's slowly starting to treat them as a proper resource that players can spend on stronger and more interesting modifiers.
I'm so used to Destiny's Arc, Solar, and Void trinity that imagining a new subclass element sometimes feels like trying to envision a new color, but I still remember what it was like to speculate about what Destiny 2 might do to subclasses. My friends and I spent hours discussing new hypothetical elements and how Guardians might wield them, and as someone who always ends up playing an ice mage in games like Torchlight, ice was always on my wish list. That's Stasis in a nutshell, so I'm over the moon about these new, customizable abilities – the moon of Jupiter, to be exact.