Skip to main content

Raid gear, new Strikes, and unlimited Power: Here are 10 big Destiny 2 Shadowkeep facts straight from Bungie

(Image credit: Bungie)

We had plenty of questions for Bungie after the Destiny 2 Shadowkeep reveals at Gamescom 2019. We saw new Exotics, seasonal Artifact mods, the revamped Moon complete with new activities, and the first trailer for the Vex-themed Season of the Undying which will accompany Shadowkeep. Plus we're still thinking about game director Luke Smith's big Director's Cut blog posts. So, we spoke to design lead Benjamin Wommack and community manager David "Deej" Dague at Gamescom to dig into the specifics of all this new content. Here are the 10 most important things we learned. 

1. Will any of the mods on seasonal Artifacts be added to the general mod pool?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: There are no current plans to do any of that. We're really trying to get Season of the Undying out with a lot of these changes like seasonal Artifacts and just see how players react to it. We're always trying to see what the players do, and what they think of something or if they like something will help inform decisions we're doing later in Destiny. It's not off the table, but no current plans. 

What this means for Shadowkeep:

From what we've seen, the Eye of the Gate Lord Artifact in the Season of the Undying features several unique mods, including some weapon-exclusive ones, as well as energy-neutral and/or discounted mods like cheaper versions of Enhanced Loader mods. These discounted mods may allow for more ambitious builds in the Season of the Undying, but obviously we won't have duplicate mods under Armor 2.0, so don't expect those to become available in season nine and beyond. However, it would be interesting to see some of the Finisher- and weapon-specific mods added to the general pool at the end of each season as a way to preserve certain play styles. For more on the Destiny 2 Armor 2.0 system, check out our full guide.  

2. Some players are worried about grinding for mod drops because special mods like Hive Armaments are currently very rare. How difficult will it be to get Enhanced mods and the like?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: There are mods you can only get through certain grinds and certain pursuits, but most mods are acquired very simply. First, there's a huge drop of mods that everyone can get, and mods are no longer consumable, they're collectible. Once you earn a mod, you can use it as many times as you want. The other mods that are going to be right in front of your attention are the ones that come out of seasonal Artifacts. You get those simply by leveling up the seasonal Artifact - getting XP, killing monsters, doing bounties, doing missions and activities, Crucible matches. All that will gain you XP that will level the Artifact and let you choose to unlock a new mod.  

What this means for Shadowkeep:

Players will start Shadowkeep with a supply of 11 neutral mods, and they'll be able to acquire more mods by turning in materials and spending mod components at the Gunsmith. This should give everyone a decent suite of mods to mess around with, but to get the high-end stuff, they'll need to clear pinnacle activities. There's no telling how rare those pinnacle mods will be, so hopefully, the seasonal mods that come from the Artifact will tide players over until they get the drops they want. 

3. Are you doing anything with the new raid gear to help distinguish it from normal gear? 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: Some of the sets in Shadowkeep, the raid gear being one of them, will have an extra mod slot specifically for mods for special activities. Just like on the Leviathan raids, you had special mods that dropped there. We're going to have new ones that drop in the new raid, the Garden of Salvation, that will be usable just in that raid. 

What this means for Shadowkeep:

The Season of Opulence did a good job of making end-game armor uniquely powerful without making it straight-up overpowered. Armor from the Crown of Sorrow raid and from the Menagerie could use additional and exclusive mods, and it's nice to see that system returning for the pinnacle gear in Shadowkeep and the Season of the Undying, especially now that players can swap their pinnacle mods around as much as they like. 

4. How many new Strikes are there? 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: There's two new Strikes coming in Shadowkeep. One is on the Moon and another one is on Io.

What this means for Shadowkeep:

Quite simply, it means we're finally getting new Strikes. The Io Strike is a mystery, but we know the Moon Strike is called the Scarlet Keep, presumably because it's set inside that big-old red Hive fortress. Xbox One and PC players will also receive an extra Strike once the current crop of PS4-exclusive content times out, so for them it will feel like getting three new Strikes this season. 

5. What are Nightmare Hunts? Are they the dungeons of Shadowkeep, or more like the Forsaken Baron hunts?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: Nightmare Hunts are a new activity type you'll be engaging with on the Moon through Shadowkeep, but we're not talking about them really in-depth yet.

What this means for Shadowkeep:

Nightmare Hunts were briefly shown on the Moon map during Bungie's slot at the Xbox Gamescom show, and we wanted to ask about them mainly to confirm whether they're filling the role of Shadowkeep's dungeon - that is, are Nightmare Hunts collectively acting as the Shattered Throne of Shadowkeep. It sounds like they're their own thing, and that would put the expansion's total activity count at: two Strikes, multiple Nightmare Hunts, one dungeon, and one raid. Oh, and two new Crucible maps with new playlists. 

6. What activities will support the new Adept, Hero, and Legend difficulty modes?

Wommack: Those difficulty labels you saw are part of the evolution of the Nightfall system. We're adding new difficulty tiers to challenge players. That's one small taste of what some of those extra levels will be and the activities they'll apply to in Shadowkeep. There's a lot of extra details we're not going into right now, but it is something everybody will get access to. 

What this means for Shadowkeep: 

These difficulty settings were originally shown on the Nightmare Hunt select screen, and now we know they'll be available for Nightfall Strikes and potentially other activities as well. Depending on how these modifiers affect loot and how widely they're available, they could revitalize older content while simultaneously giving Nightfalls the teeth they've been lacking.

7. Luke Smith penned the big Director's Cut posts but it feels like they must've touched a lot of hands. Was it scary putting that information out there, especially at a time when some parts of the gaming community will just seize on any negatives and hold them over dev's heads? 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: I wasn't part of Luke writing that, that's definitely his thing. But I can tell you that I think it was totally from the heart. 

Dague: One of the things that we're reinforcing this year is that we have always had a strong relationship with the player at Bungie. I can say this as somebody that came from the Halo community to go work for the company. We want the people who play our games to understand who we are, why the game is important to us, and what we think about it. Obviously, Luke has very important duties as the person leading the creative vision of the franchise, but from time to time when he can step away from that and pen 12,000 words to really invite the players into our thought process, that's valuable. 

There are going to be certain things that we will tell players about how we think about this world that they inhabit, a world that feels as real to them as anywhere else in their imagination. I think transparency is what our core fans crave. They want to know why we make the decisions that we make, and they want to know what motivates us to change the world that they're living an important portion of their lives in. So while we might be delving into topics of conversation that might become controversial, or potentially negative, overall what we sensed is that people appreciated the fact that we were being honest about how we feel about the game that we make. 

What this means for Shadowkeep:

This one's pretty clear-cut: Bungie is getting more comfortable sharing information like this with players, which should lead to improved transparency in the seasons to come. The player response to Smith's Director's Cut has been tremendous, so hopefully we see more analyses like it in the future. 

8. Luke mentioned that, going forward, there can only be one Gambit. Are you going to literally remove either Gambit or Gambit Prime so you can focus on the other?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: Gambit and Gambit Prime, which are both available to New Light players, are not going anywhere anytime soon. That's speaking to the concept that, at some point, Destiny is a finite thing. It's an evolving world we're going to have to refine, and never stop refining. At some point, just like with Crucible where we're changing the playlists, we'll have to change up how Gambit and Gambit Prime work. Don't expect that to happen around when Shadowkeep launches, though. 

Dague: Both of those activities will be available throughout Destiny 2 Year 3. 

What this means for Shadowkeep: 

Smith's comments raised some serious - but not necessarily foreboding - questions about the future of Gambit, but it sounds like Gambit and Gambit prime won't receive any dramatic changes for a while yet. 

9. Is Well of Radiance getting nerfed into the ground?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: Well, considering there were like a whole three or four paragraphs talking about it in the Director's Cut, I think it's going to be balanced a little better so it doesn't create a situation like Reckoning had at launch. But again, this is us looking at what players do and finding the right way to make sure that customization actually matters. If the choice is only to run Well of Radiance strategies and you have to focus your build around that, that's not good player choice. That's not choice at all, it's a mandate - you have to use this. If something is at the level where it feels like 'They're gonna have to nerf it,' then maybe that is what we have to do. But that doesn't mean it's the only thing we're doing. We want to make sure everything feels appealing and like a choice that actually matters. 

What this means for Shadowkeep:

With Weapons of Light coming back to Titans' Ward of Dawn, Well of Radiance will have new competition as the go-to support Super. Hopefully, Bungie can find a way to balance both classes so that Warlocks aren't forced to use Well of Radiance with Lunafaction Boots, and so that Titans can do more than just Melting Point bosses and put down Rally Barricades. 

10. What's the Power cap in Shadowkeep, and how many Power levels will Artifacts give?  

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wommack: This is actually pretty fun and still blows my mind a little bit. Artifacts have no limit on how much Power they can give you. As you get more levels, they'll cost more and more XP. So players are going to go through a similar climb that they did with Forsaken. They're going to hit the soft cap at 900, then they're going to get gear through pinnacle activities until they hit the hard cap of 960. After that, through the Artifact contributions of Power, they can get to even higher levels. Players will show us how far they can get. And at the end of the Season of the Undying, the seasonal Artifact, the Eye of the Gate Lord, will go away. Then you'll have another Artifact next season that you'll be working on, so you'll effectively be starting all over again, but you'll still have all of your gear at 960. 

What this means for Shadowkeep: 

It's nice to finally have concrete numbers for the Shadowkeep Power climb. We've got a soft cap at 900, which is when you'll start receiving Prime Engrams again, and another cap at 950. You can reach 960 by acquiring pinnacle gear that drops in end-game activities like raids and dungeons, and you can go beyond that by leveling up your Artifact, which has no Power limit. An obscure Grimoire entry about the Shattered Throne suggests the max Power level is 999, but it sounds like reaching even that cap will take some serious leveling. Players with full 960 armor could do it with a level-39 Artifact, while players kitted out in 950 gear would need a level-49 Artifact to hit this theoretical cap. That's a huge chunk of Power for an extra piece, and I've no doubt hardcore grinders will rack up dozens of levels on their Artifact. Head here more on the sweeping power changes coming this fall

Here's everything you need to know about Destiny 2 cross save and the Destiny 2 Steam transfer.