New Destiny 2 players should start with Beyond Light and skip older expansions

Destiny 2 Beyond Light
(Image credit: Bungie)

Rather than the death of a main character or the return of a long-forgotten villain, the most contentious part of Destiny 2: Beyond Light is the content sunsetting that began alongside it. Simply put, a lot of old gear now has a Power cap that's well below the level of new content, so only the newest stuff is viable in the long run. Most of the affected gear is tied to activities or destinations that are no longer available, but the activities from the 2018 Forsaken and 2019 Shadowkeep expansions are still accessible in-game, and they're still dropping the same, now-defunct gear. Thanks to the new Power level floor, you can always just buy Beyond Light and immediately start the new content, and that's definitely what I'd advise. But for new players this can be as confusing as it is counterintuitive, and it's undervalued older expansions to the point that I can't recommend buying them. 

The main activities in Forsaken were the campaign, the Shattered Throne dungeon, Last Wish raid, Blind Well horde mode, and the other challenges tied to the Tangled Shore and Dreaming City. Shadowkeep, meanwhile, had its own campaign, the Pit of Heresy dungeon, Garden of Salvation raid, Moon challenges, and Nightmare Hunts. Looking at the loot from all of these activities, only raid gear and Exotics have escaped sunsetting, and even then you'll have to infuse old raid gear up to current levels since those raids are no longer powerful challenges. In other words, the majority of content from these expansions no longer contributes to your progression, but this isn't reflected in the price of Forsaken and Shadowkeep.

Cayde-6 in Destiny 2: Forsaken

(Image credit: Bungie)

My concern is that new players who are just getting into Destiny 2 with Beyond Light – which Bungie has called the best jumping-on point yet – won't realize what they're getting should they buy older expansions. Combined, Forsaken and Shadowkeep cost $50, just as they did before Beyond Light came out. With the new season pass included, Beyond Light is also $50. They're the same price, but you can't even compare the amount of relevant content you're getting for your purchase. 

At this point, Forsaken and Shadowkeep will get you two campaigns (that have handy YouTube recaps), a couple of Exotics (that are far from irreplaceable), and a few endgame activities (that you'll have a hard time finding groups for). These raids, dungeons, and stories are fun to play through, but Destiny 2 expansions are sold on the idea that you'll want to keep playing them, and in a world where time and money are limited, Forsaken and Shadowkeep simply aren't worth playing anymore. This is why I find it so baffling that they've been sunset, but not really, but also totally.

The twilight gap  

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep

(Image credit: Bungie)

Apart from the smaller loot pool, the current issue with sunsetting is that many activities that are still in the game are now dropping worthless gear. This includes things like Nightmare Hunts, which for some godforsaken reason had their Power level raised to match the current expansion with no changes to their loot pool. Think about that: the gear that comes from Nightmare Hunts, which are tied to a $25 expansion, is worse than the gear you need to attempt them.

I can't imagine how frustrating it would be for new players to fall in love with Destiny 2 through Beyond Light, buy up all the previous expansions because they want more Destiny, and then realize that the vast majority of what they just bought is way past its expiration date. For clarity's sake, I'd like to see the price of Forsaken and Shadowkeep updated to reflect the amount of relevant content that's still in them, and for Bungie to call out what that content is. To balance this, irrelevant content like Nightmare Hunts and old dungeons could be made free to all players as part of Destiny 2: New Light. That would give New Light a shot in the arm, which it could really use now that half the solar system is missing, and it would bring the price of Forsaken and Shadowkeep in line with their reduced value, and without labeling them as totally worthless (which they aren't, for the record). 

Whatever Bungie does, I do feel it needs to do something, and ideally sooner rather than later. This whole mess doesn't really affect me since I played these expansions at launch and have long since moved on from them, but if Bungie's going to push sunsetting this hard all while inviting new players, it needs to ensure that sunset content doesn't turn those players off. I still think sunsetting gear is fine as a way to get the loot pool to change and evolve, but beyond adding enough new and exciting gear to keep that pool healthy, Destiny 2 also needs to do a much better job of communicating what content actually matters, especially when it's behind a paywall. As of right now, Forsaken and Shadowkeep ain't it. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.