Destiny 2 is a sci-fi fantasy open-world first-person shooter developed by Bungie (along with Vicarious Visions and High Moon) and published by Activision for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 6, 2017, with a later release for the PC on October 24, 2017 (as the first third-party title for Blizzard's Battle.net service). It was made free-to-play on October 1, 2019.
It is the sequel to the 2014 game Destiny and is set one year after the events of the Rise of Iron expansion. In the original base campaign ("The Red War"), the Cabal Red Legion, commanded by Dominus Ghaul, have invaded the Last City in an attack that stripped the Guardians of their powers. As one of the few Guardians remaining, the player must now find a new way to regain their powers, reform the Vanguard, and take back the Last City. Post-release, the game's lore was expanded further with new stories and new threats (including the invasion of mysterious force known as the Darkness).
Similar to the original game, Destiny 2 has received numerous post-release updates and expansions, including new locations, campaigns, game modes, weapons, weapon types, multiplayer maps, cosmetics, special events, and quality-of-life updates. Numerous gameplay mechanics were also altered or added, such as changing the way gear is upgraded, adding a way to track both items collected and other accomplishments, and adding animated executions. It later received a cross-platform progression system, cross-play multiplayer, a seasonal pass system, and a content vaulting system (where the game cycles out content from both Destiny and Destiny 2). When the game became free-to-play, most of the content became available from the start to new players and playing campaigns from previous expansions became optional (and for some, due to the content vaulting system, unplayable).
From 2019 onward, the game is published by Bungie themselves, with the PC version moved to Steam on October 1, 2019. It was also released as a launch title for the Google Stadia on November 18, 2019 and received dedicated releases (as launch titles) for the Xbox Series X|S (on November 10, 2020) and PlayStation 5 (on November 12, 2020).
The three main classes of Guardians (Hunter, Titan, and Warlock) return from the original Destiny, each with multiple customizable elemental-based sub-classes that grant them unique abilities. Character inventories and progression are not carried over from the original Destiny, although character appearances can be transferred if they reached level 20 and completed the original campaign.
Much of the tier-based upgrade system from the original is now replaced with a "skill tree" system, where players can specialize in multiple sub-class paths that grant special perks while changing both their Melee Ability and Super Ability. Players can still choose from multiple Movement Abilities and Grenade Abilities separate of their sub-class path and can now choose from multiple Class Abilities.
Prior to the Shadowkeep expansion, players could only unlock Abilities and progress through the skill tree by leveling up and earning "upgrade points". Certain sub-classes were only unlockable at certain character levels (where they must complete special quests), and certain activities were only available once players reached certain character levels. To keep New Light players from grinding in order to participate in endgame activities, character levels and upgrade points were removed (although some content is still locked to Power Level, and players still have to unlock and upgrade the sub-class paths introduced in the Forsaken expansion).
In the original campaign, players started with a fixed sub-class (Gunslinger, Striker, or Voidwalker) and then "lose their Light", losing most of their abilities outright until a certain point in the story (giving them Arcstrider, Sentinel, or Dawnblade).
The most agile class of the three, Hunters are former scavengers and can be recognized by their hooded capes and light, fitted armor.
Their unique ability is the Dodge, which allows them to quickly evade attacks in a daring maneuver. Players can choose from either Marksman Dodge (a short dash that automatically reloads the player's equipped weapon) or Gambler's Dodge (a combat roll that generates Melee Attack energy if done in close proximity to an enemy).
Their movement options involve quick double-jumping. These include High Jump (which upgrades the height of the second jump), Strafe Jump (which offers better directional control of the second jump), and Triple Jump (which adds a third mid-air jump).
- Arcstrider (Arc) - Their Arc Staff roaming super ability conjures a staff of pure electrical energy, allowing them to be an agile melee powerhouse. This can be upgraded either to buff attacks after dodging (Way of the Warrior) or to reduce damage while dodging (Way of the Wind). The added Way of the Current path allows the user to deflect attacks with their Arc Staff. Their Melee Ability is a pressure-point punch that either gives a temporary buff (Warrior), disorients nearby enemies (Wind), or allows the user to deliver a powerful uppercut (Current).
- Gunslinger (Solar) - Their Golden Gun roaming super ability conjures a flaming revolver with three extremely powerful shots. This can be upgraded either to increase its ammunition (Way of the Outlaw) or to increase its duration on precision hits (Way of the Sharpshooter). The added Way of a Thousand Cuts path replaces Golden Gun with Blade Barrage: a quick barrage of explosive throwing knives. Their Melee Ability is a throwing knife toss, which either detonate on impact (Outlaw), recharge on precision kills (Sharpshooter), or have multiple knives thrown at once (Thousand Cuts).
- Nightstalker (Void) - Their Shadowshot super ability conjures a bow-and-arrow shot of void energy that damages, ensnares and marks their enemies. This can be upgraded either to create long-lasting traps that ensnares additional enemies (Way of the Trapper) or to allow multiple shots in a short time (Way of the Pathfinder). The added Way of the Wraith path replaces Shadowshot with Spectral Blades: a roaming super that conjures two daggers of void energy, allowing them to remain invisible for agile stealth kills. Their Melee Ability is a smoke bomb toss, which either disorients enemies (Trapper), cloaks allies (Pathfinder), or damages enemies over time (Wraith).
- Revenant (Stasis) - Added with the Beyond Light expansion.
The most durable class of the three, Titans are known for building the Wall that protects the Last City and can be recognized by their bulky armor, swept-back helmets, and marked sashes.
Their unique class ability is the Barricade, which allows them to form a temporary barrier of light that negates weapons. Players can choose from either Towering Barricades (tall barriers that offers better protection) or Rally Barricades (short barriers that can be peeked over by aiming down-the-sight, also instantly reloading the equipped weapon of allies behind it).
Their movement options involve the mid-air "Lift", which propels the Titan to the air and use jump-jets to hover down. These include High Lift (which upgrades the overall Lift height), Strafe Lift (which offers better directional control of the Lift), and Catapult Lift (which provides a quick Lift propulsion).
- Sentinel (Void) - Their Sentinel Shield roaming super ability conjures a wielded shield of void energy that can negate enemy attacks, be used to bash enemies, and be thrown at enemies as a boomerang. This can be upgraded either to allow additional shield throws (Code of the Aggressor) or to extend a larger shield that allies can shoot through for extra damage (the newer Code of the Commander). The Code of the Protector path allows the user to instead cast the Ward of Dawn: a massive shielding dome that negates projectiles. Their Melee Ability either creates an overshield on all nearby allies after a kill (Protector), unleashes a devastating shield bash while sprinting (Aggressor), or set off void explosions from other void abilities (Commander).
- Striker (Arc) - Their Fist of Havoc roaming super ability supercharges the Titan's fists, allowing powerful melee dashes and ground slams. This can be upgraded either to allow more powerful ground slams (Code of the Earthshaker) or to extend its duration on kills (Code of the Juggernaut). The newer Code of the Missile path replaces Fist of Havoc with Thundercrash: a single guided melee strike that can controlled in the air like a missile. Their Melee Ability either unleashes a shoulder slam while sprinting (Earthshaker), automatically reloads the Striker's weapon after striking (Juggernaut), or slam into the ground after sprinting (Missile).
- Sunbreaker (Solar) - Their Hammer of Sol roaming super ability conjures flaming hammers that can be thrown at enemies. This can be upgraded either to detonate enemies killed by it (Code of the Fire-Forged) or to create a unique buffing aura on hammer impact (Code of the Siegebreaker). The newer Code of the Devastator path replaces Hammer of Sol with Burning Maul: a melee-focused roaming super focused on a single massive flaming hammer. Their Melee Ability either unleash a hammer strike while sprinting (Fire-Forged), causes an explosion that burns nearby enemies (Siegebreaker), or throws a retrievable solar hammer (Devastator).
- Behemoth (Stasis) - Added with the Beyond Light expansion.
The most arcane class of the three, Warlocks studied the Light of the Traveler through scholarly means and can be recognized by their robes, rounded helmets, and "bonds" (a special type of armband).
Their unique ability is the Rift, which allows them to conjure a temporary well of Light that continually buffs allies inside it. Players can choose from either Healing Rift (which heals them) or Empowering Rift (which increases their attack power).
Their movement options involve gliding in the air. These include Controlled Glide (which offers better directional control of the glide), Focused Burst (which provides an intial speed burst on the glide), and Balanced Glide (which provides a bonus to both speed and control of the glide). The Voidwalker sub-class is unique as it replaces the Focused Burst with Blink (allowing a quick teleportation effect).
- Dawnblade (Solar) - Their Daybreak roaming super ability conjures a flaming sword that allows them to launch Solar blasts at enemies. Players with the Attunement of Sky path can perform a mid-air dodge, while players with the Attunement of Flame path can perform a quick mid-air descent. The newer Attunement of Grace path replaces Daybreak with Well of Radiance: a larger rift that both empowers and heals allies. Their Melee Ability either recharges Class abilities on airborne kills (Sky), causes an explosion on an enemy kill (Flame), or empower nearby allies (Grace).
- Voidwalker (Void) - Their Nova Bomb super ability conjures and hurls a giant ball of energy, disintegrating all enemies that are caught within its blast. This can be upgraded either by adding a variety of devastating effects (Attunement of Chaos) or by creating a singularity effect (Attunement of Hunger). The newer Attunement of Fission path replaces Nova Bomb with Nova Warp: a roaming super that allows the user to Blink rapidly and explode with pulses of void energy. Their Melee Ability either recharges the user's grenade energy on striking an enemy (Chaos), fully restores the user's health on killing an enemy (Hunger), or grant ability energy (Fission).
- Stormcaller (Arc) - Their Stormtrance roaming super ability conjures streams of lightning from their hands. This can be upgraded either by allowing the user to Blink rapidly (Attunement of Conduction) or by creating a shockwave during casting (Attunement of Elements). The newer Attunement of Control path replaces Stormtrance with Chaos Reach: a large continuous beam of arc energy that is conjured while hovering. Their Melee Ability has extended range and either chains to an additional target (Conduction), recharges the user's abilities on striking an enemy (Elements), or release a slow-moving projectile that radiates lightning (Control).
- Shadebinder (Stasis) - Added with the Beyond Light expansion.
Weapons & Armor
Like the original Destiny, each player's loadout contains five armor pieces (Helmet, Gauntlets, Chest, Legs, and Class) and three weapon slots (one of which is reserved for a Power weapon).
All gear come in multiple color-coded rarities (including grey Basics, green Commons, blue Rares, purple Legendaries, and golden Exotics). Prior to New Light, players earn weapons and armor of a rarer variety more often as they level up (with the highest base level skipping Basics and Commons entirely). With the removal of Guardian Levels, Basics and Commons are never dropped and can only be found in rare instances.
Rarer gear include additional perks and bonuses, including the ability to upgrade their level (by "infusing" them with other weapons and armor of the same type), apply special mods to them, customize their perk choices, and customize their appearance using cosmetics (Shaders for Legendary gear and Ornaments for Exotic gear). Beginning in Season 12, Legendary gear have a maximum power level limit. Similar to the original Destiny, only one Exotic Weapon and one Exotic Armor can be equipped at a time.
Unlike the original Destiny, where the two main weapon slots are based on the weapon type (ammo-abundant Primary or ammo-limited Special), Destiny 2 splits up the slots based on elemental type: Kinetic (non-elemental) and Energy (elemental). Kinetic weapons work best against unshielded enemies while Energy weapons work best against shields of the same elemental type. Power weapons are always elemental and deal heavy damage at the cost of much limited ammunition. All weapons are replenished by picking up ammo of their weapon type (white boxes for Primary, green boxes for Special, and purple boxes for Power).
Prior to Season 4, Special weapons were instead categorized as Power weapons and both basic weapon slots were restricted to Primary weapons. Ammo boxes were also color-coded based on weapon slots (with white boxes for Kinetic and green boxes for Energy).
Unlike the original Destiny, all weapons no longer have dedicated "upgrade paths", although Exotic weapons from Season 2 onward can have rare "Catalysts" that add a progression system for unlocking a Masterwork upgrade with new perks.
From Season 2 onward, players can earn and craft rarer "Masterwork" variants of each Legendary weapon, granting stat tracking and an additional minor stat boost of a random choice (which could be re-rolled). This system was later changed to a separate upgrade system for all weapons added since Season 4.
All Season 1-3 weapons have a curated set of perks which are not randomly-generated. This was changed for weapons added since Season 4, where their perks are randomly picked from the weapon's perk pool. Regardless, rarer weapons give players the option to choose from groups of perks (such as different scopes and magazine types).
All weapons have specific Intrinsic Traits, which partly determine their base stats and play style. Some weapons have unique changes based on their Intrinsic Perk (for example, Aggressive Pulse Rifles fire four-round bursts). All Exotic weapons have their own unique Intrinsic Perk.
- Adaptive Frame - Balanced.
- Aggressive Frame - Higher continuous damage output at the cost of less stable recoil control.
- High-Impact Frame - Higher per-shot damage at the cost of a slower rate-of-fire. Improves accuracy while both stationary and aiming down the sight.
- Lightweight Frame - Increases the wielder's mobility while equipped.
- Precision Frame - Improves horizontal recoil control.
- Rapid-Fire Frame - Faster rate-of-fire at the cost of lower per-shot damage. Improves reloading speed on an empty magazine. Special and Power weapons have much larger reserves.
Primary weapons are the most common used weapons, and have infinite ammo reserves (with commonly-found Primary Ammo prior to Season 15).
- Auto Rifles - Fully-automatic.
- Combat Bows - Hand-drawn. While they can be fast to reload, each arrow must be drawn prior to firing by holding down the Primary Fire button. Pressing the Reload button cancels the current draw. Added in Season 4.
- Hand Cannons - Semi-automatic with a slow rate-of-fire.
- Pulse Rifles - Three-round burst fire. Aggressive Pulse Rifles fire in four-round bursts.
- Scout Rifles - Semi-automatic. Rapid-Fire Scout Rifles fire in full-auto.
- Sidearms - Semi-automatic with a fast rate-of-fire. Some sidearms fire in bursts (three-round bursts for Adaptive and two-round bursts for Aggressive). Rapid-Fire Sidearms fire in full-auto.
- Submachine Guns - Fully-automatic. Aggressive Submachine Guns also deal bonus damage at close range. New to the series.
Formerly part of the Power type, Special weapons are more powerful than Primary weapons and use Special Ammo that are slightly less common to find. In PvP modes, players spawn with a very limited amount of ammunition.
- Fusion Rifles - Charge-shot. Fires a barrage of bolts and is charged by holding down the Primary Fire button.
- Grenade Launchers (Breech-Load) - Single-shot. Depending on perks, grenades have a wide variety of projectile types and purposes (including proximity grenades that stick onto surfaces and grenades that blind or stun enemies). New to the series.
- Shotguns - Pump-action. Some Aggressive Shotguns include a temporary firing rate buff after each kill. Rapid-Fire Shotguns fire in full-auto. Some Precision Shotguns fire with single-slug rounds instead of pellets, significantly reducing the spread of each shot (and requiring more precise aiming for devastating impact).
- Sniper Rifles - Semi-automatic.
- Trace Rifles - Continuous. Fires a continuous beam of energy. Currently only exist as Exotic weapons. New to the series.
Power weapons are more powerful than both Primary and Special weapons and use Heavy Ammo that is the least common to find.
In PvP modes, players spawn with no ammunition at all, and can only find them in two places: as time-locked crates in specific locations or as loose crates dropped by those killed while carrying Heavy ammo. The kill feed also displays when an ammo crate is picked up, by who, and with what Power weapon type.
- Grenade Launchers (Drum-Fed) - Multi-shot. Depending on perks, grenades have a wide variety of projectile types and purposes (including proximity grenades that stick onto surfaces and grenades that blind or stun enemies). Precision Grenade Launchers sacrifice projectile speed for projectiles that bounce against hard surfaces and detonate on trigger release. New to the series.
- Linear Fusion Rifles - Charge-shot. Fires a single, powerful, precise bolt and is charged by holding down the Primary Fire button. Unlike standard Fusion Rifles, these have no alternate intristic perks.
- Machine Guns - Fully-automatic. Added in Season 5.
- Rocket Launchers - Single-shot. Precision Rocket Launchers lock onto targets when aimed at and auto-tracks. Aggressive Rocket Launchers have the fastest damage output (with the quickest reload speeds and fastest projectile velocity), while High-Impact Rocket Launchers have the slowest damage output (with larger explosions and the most stable handling).
- Swords - Melee. When equipped, the game is played in a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. In addition to light slashes, swords can be used for special heavy attacks (with some swords having vastly different attacks) and for guarding against enemy attacks. Swords have a rechargeable energy meter, which is used for stronger Heavy Attacks and guarding. Unlike other weapons, swords can be used in a weaker capacity without ammo.
Originally added on October 1, 2019 for new players, reworked on November 10, 2020.
- A Guardian Rises (Cosmodrome, Earth) - Based on the mission of the same name from the original Destiny.
- Schism (Cosmodrome, Earth)
- Cold Boot (Cosmodrome, Earth)
- Vendetta (Cosmodrome, Earth)
- Advent (The Tower, Earth)
- Strike: The Disgraced
The Red War (Prologue)
Vaulted since Season 12.
- Homecoming (The Tower, Earth)
- Adieu (The Last City, Earth)
- Spark (European Dead Zone, Earth)
The Red War
Vaulted since Season 12.
- Combustion (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Hope (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Riptide (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Utopia (New Pacific Arcology, Titan)
- Looped (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- Six (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- Sacrilege (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Fury (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Payback (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Unbroken (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Larceny (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- 1AU (The Almighty)
- Chosen (The Last City, Earth)
Curse of Osiris
Vaulted since Season 12.
- The Gateway (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- A Deadly Trial (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Beyond Infinity (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Deep Storage (Echo Mesa, Io)
- Tree of Probabilities (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Hijacked (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- A Garden World (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
- Omega (Fields of Glass, Mercury)
Vaulted since Season 12.
- Ice and Shadow (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Pilgrimage (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Off-World Recovery (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Strange Terrain (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Will of the Thousands (Hellas Basin, Mars)
- Last Call (Prison of Elders)
- High Plains Blues (Tangled Shore)
- Scorned (Tangled Shore)
- Adventures: Target: The Mad Bomber, Target: The Rider, Target: The Trickster, Target: The Hangman, Target: The Mindbender, Target: The Rifleman
- The Machinist (Tangled Shore)
- Nothing Left to Say (Tangled Shore)
- A Mysterious Disturbance (The Moon)
- Nightmare Hunt: Anguish
- Strike: The Scarlet Keep
- In the Deep (The Moon)
- Nightmare Hunts: Pride, Isolation, Fear
- Beyond (The Moon)
- Darkness's Doorstep (Europa)
- The New Kell (Europa)
- The Warrior (Europa)
- The Technocraft (Europa)
- Strike: The Glassway
- The Kell of Darkness (Europa)
The game's traditional co-operative activity pits up to three players in a single mission (similar in length to campaign missions and adventures), ending with a final confrontation against a boss. By completing Strikes, players can earn unique gear from Commander Zavala.
Prior to the Forsaken expansion, Strikes were only playable as its own matchmaking playlist. This was changed so that players can play individual Strikes by accessing them on the Map screen of each planet.
Beginning with the Curse of Osiris expansion, more difficult versions of Strikes were made available on a separate "Heroic Strikes" playlist. This later replaced the normal Strikes playlist, and can be played in multiple Power level-based difficulty settings. Along with a difficulty increase and more rewards, it adds three gameplay modifiers that change every week, one of each type (Elemental Burn, Advantage, and Disadvantage).
Since Season 15, the game included a progression system similar to the Crucible's Valor system, known as "Vanguard Rank".
A special endgame playlist, "Nightfall Strikes" are even more challenging versions of Strikes with a very large difficulty increase, special rewards, a unique scoring system, and a limited map selection that changes every week.
Teams are scored based on the performances of all three players together, which is accumulated by both killing enemies (primary) and generating Orbs of Light (secondary). Higher difficulties increase the overall score multiplier, though players earn less points after a certain amount of time (with additional delays causing the score to drain over time with no option to accumulate any more).
Prior to the Beyond Light expansion, this version cannot be played in standard matchmaking and require players to either form a fireteam themselves or opt to the Guided Games feature (with two clanmates as the "Guides" and one other player as the "Seeker"). In the Shadowkeep expansion, a special version (known as "The Ordeal") was added that included five difficulties (Adept, Hero, Legend, Master, and Grandmaster, with only Adept and Hero allowing matchmaking), higher rewards, and additional challenges (including the Champions mechanic). This version replaced the original in Beyond Light.
Lake of Shadows, The Insight Terminus, and Broodhold were originally time-exclusive to the PS4 version of the game and became available on other platforms one year after their release.
Some post-release strikes are reprisals of strikes from the original Destiny.
- The Arms Dealer (European Dead Zone, Earth) - Bracus Zahn (Cabal Legionary)
- Exodus Crash (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Thaviks, the Depraved (Fallen Marauder)
- The Inverted Spire (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Protheon, Modular Mind (Vex Minotaur)
- Lake of Shadows (European Dead Zone, Earth) - Grask, the Consumed (Taken Phalanx)
- The Insight Terminus (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Kargen, the Technocrat (Cabal Psion); Added with the Warmind expansion.
- Broodhold (Tangled Shore) - In Anânh, Brood Queen (Hive Wizard); Added with the Forsaken expansion.
- The Corrupted (The Dreaming City) - Sedia, the Corrupted (Taken Techeun); Added with the Forsaken expansion.
- The Hollowed Lair (Tangled Shore) - Fikrul, the Fanatic (Scorned Baron); Added with the Forsaken expansion and based on the mission Scorned.
- Warden of Nothing (Prison of Elders) - The Mad Warden (Fallen Servitor); Added with the Forsaken expansion.
- The Scarlet Keep (The Moon) - Hashladûn, Daughter of Crota (Hive Wizard); Added with the Shadowkeep expansion.
- The Glassway (Europa) - Belmon, Transcendent Mind (Vex Hydra); Added with the Beyond Light expansion.
- The Disgraced (Cosmodrome, Earth) - Navôta, Eir Spawn (Hive Wizard); Added with the Beyond Light expansion as part of the New Light experience.
- The Devil's Lair (Cosmodrome, Earth) - Sepiks Prime (Fallen Servitor); Reprise. Added on Season 13.
- Fallen S.A.B.E.R. (Cosmodrome, Earth) - S.A.B.E.R.-2 (Fallen Shank); Reprise. Added on Season 13.
- Proving Grounds (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Ignovan, Chosen of Caiatl (Cabal Centurion); Added on Season 13.
- The Pyramidion (Echo Mesa, Io) - Brakion, Genesis Mind (Vex Hobgoblin); Vaulted since Season 12.
- Savathûn's Song (New Pacific Arcology, Titan) - Savathûn's Song (Hive Shrieker); Vaulted since Season 12.
- A Garden World (Fields of Glass, Mercury) - Dendron, Root Mind (Vex Cyclops); Based on the mission of the same name. Added with the Curse of Osiris expansion and Vaulted since Season 12.
- Tree of Probabilities (Fields of Glass, Mercury) - Valus Thuun (Cabal Centurion); Based on the mission of the same name. Added with the Curse of Osiris expansion and Vaulted since Season 12.
- Strange Terrain (Hellas Basin, Mars) - Nokris, Herald of Xol (Hive Prince); Based on the mission of the same name. Added with the Warmind expansion and Vaulted since Season 12.
- Will of the Thousands (Hellas Basin, Mars) - Xol, Will of the Thousands (Hive Worm God); Based on the mission of the same name. Added with the Warmind expansion and Vaulted since Season 12.
- The Festering Core (Echo Mesa, Io) - Baurisk, Envoy of Savathûn (Taken Incendior); Added with the Shadowkeep expansion and Vaulted since Season 12.
Returning from the original Destiny, these unique endgame PvE events pit a fireteam of up to six Guardians against a series of challenging encounters in unique locations. Each encounter has unique objectives, mechanics, and constraints that require heavy use of strategy and communication. Completing through these stages unlock unique and powerful loot.
All raids prior to Season 4 have two difficulties: Normal and Prestige, with the Prestige version giving additional (and exclusive) rewards while increasing the difficulty of all enemies and adding new challenges to each mission. This was replaced with special Challenge triumphs/bounties and an optional "flawless run" mechanic (where players unlock a hidden version of the Raid where a team wipe returns the team to orbit and resets progress).
Each player's progress in each Raid is saved and can be returned to before the start of the next weekly rotation (where progress is reset). Players in a smaller fireteam (known as "Seekers") can use the Guided Games feature to pair up with larger fireteams (known as "Guides") to form a full team for the current year's Raid.
- Last Wish - Added in Season 4. Set in the Dreaming City after the events of the Forsaken campaign, Last Wish has players making their way to a massive tower (the Keep of Voices) while freeing two Techeuns (Kalli and Shuro Chi) from Taken corruption. Afterwards, they must defeat the tower's guard (a powerful Taken Ogre known as the Spirekeeper Morgeth), find a way to enter the Vault, and destroy the corrupted Ahamkara known as Riven of a Thousand Voices.
- Garden of Salvation - Added in Season 8. Set in the the Black Garden after the events of the Shadowkeep campaign, Garden of Salvation has players making their way through the realm to search for the endpoint of a signal from the Unknown Artifact while battling a Vex collective known as the Sol Divisive. Throughout the way, they must challenge two powerful Vex Minds: the Consecrated Mind and the Sanctified Mind.
- Deep Stone Crypt - Added in Season 12. Set in the titular Europan structure after the events of the Beyond Light campaign, Deep Stone Crypt has players infiltrating it and prevent the Fallen House of Salvation from unlocking its secrets. Along the way, they must battle two Fallen commanders: Atraks (who has uploaded herself to an Exo body) and Taniks (who was previously fought in the original Destiny strike The Shadow Thief).
- Vault of Glass - Reprise. Added in Season 14. Set on Venus, players must enter the titular virtual realm and stop the Vex's reality-bending operations (while destroying the plan's overseer: Atheon).
- Leviathan - Vaulted since Season 12. Set on the massive Cabal space vessel (of the same name) orbiting around Nessus, Leviathan has the players invited by the former Emperor of the Cabal Empire to test their strength against his Loyalist forces. Unlike other Raids, Leviathan uses a central hub area (the Castellum) to link all four encounters (as "chambers") together. Players need to clear three of these chambers (Royal Pools, Pleasure Gardens, and The Gauntlet) before facing off against Emperor Calus himself in his throne room. As progressing through the Castellum is a challenge in itself, players can optionally sneak inside a hidden part of the ship (the Underbelly) to skip the Castellum and find hidden loot.
- Leviathan, Eater of Worlds - Added in Season 2 and Vaulted since Season 12. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to venture deep inside the Vex-infested vessel to find and destroy the Planetary Core Argos.
- Leviathan, Spire of Stars - Added in Season 3 and Vaulted since Season 12. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to repel a Cabal Red Legion assault on the vessel and assassinate the fleet's leader: Val Ca'uor.
- Scourge of the Past - Added in Season 5 and Vaulted since Season 12. Set in a desolate section of the Last City (now occupied by a Fallen syndicate known as Kell's Scourge), Scourge of the Past has players navigating the city to the Black Armory Vault and preventing the massive war-mech Insurrection Prime from plundering it.
- Crown of Sorrow - Added in Season 7 and Vaulted since Season 12. Players are summoned back to the Leviathan to clear Hive infestation and retrieve the Crown of Sorrow (a Hive artifact believed to be used to command the Hive) from the corrupted Cabal Shadow Gahlran.
Similar in structure to standard Raids, Dungeons have a maximum fireteam size of three.
- The Shattered Throne - Added in Season 4. Players are summoned to Eleusinia, one of Mara Sov's "throne worlds" corrupted by the Taken King Oryx, in order to locate the source responsible for the Dreaming City's Taken corruption: the Hive Wizard Dûl Incaru.
- Pit of Heresy - Added in Season 8. Players must venture deep beneath the Scarlet Keep to slay the Hidden Swarm's champion: the Hive Knight Zulmak.
- Prophecy - Added in Season 11. Players must venture through the Realms of the Nine and fight hordes of simulated Taken (led by the Kell Echo) to learn the nature of the Darkness.
Like the original Destiny, PvP multiplayer takes place in-universe in the Crucible: a series of live-fire training exercises that doubles as gladiatorial competition.
Each Crucible match takes place in dedicated arenas (most of which use environmental assets from areas used for PvE), with Lord Shaxx as the mode's primary announcer. By completing public matches, players can earn unique Crucible-themed gear for use in any mode.
At launch, the game had no private matches, no ranking system, and a player limit of 8 (restricted to two teams of four players). Along with the addition of private matches and two ranking systems (Valor and Glory), the game later increased the player limit to 12 and added free-for-all play.
After the Forsaken update, each player has two separate rankings that reset each Season: Valor (used for all public modes to track overall progression; can never be lost and can be reset at the maximum level for additional rewards and commendations) and Glory (used for Competitive/Survival playlists to track the player's skill; can be lost by losing/disconnecting). Both versions have a win streak system, allowing more skilled players to progress faster. Since Season 15, Valor has been rebranded into "Crucible Rank".
Unlike in the original Destiny, Destiny 2 simplifies the scoring system so that bonus points (such as headshots and assists) do not count towards the team's score.
In matchmaking, single-round modes are usually played in a 6v6 format (4v4 in earlier seasons, 6-player for FFA modes). Most modes have "mercy rule" enabled in non-Competitive playlists, where a large team lead early in the game causes the game to end prematurely.
- Clash - Standard team deathmatch. Teams earn points for eliminating enemy combatants.
- Control - Teams fight over three neutral Control Zones throughout the battlefield. Neutral and enemy Zones can be captured for the team by standing on them uncontested for a short amount of time. Teams earn points both for eliminating enemy combatants (with bonus points based on how many Points they control) and for capturing a Zone. In earlier Competitive settings, each team started with one Zone controlled.
- Mayhem - Similar to Clash. All Guardian abilities and Heavy Ammo crates recharge faster and grant extra points on kills (+1 for Grenades/Melee/Heavy Weapons, +2 for Supers). Added on December 19, 2017.
- Rumble - Free-for-all deathmatch. Players earn points for eliminating enemy combatants. Added on March 27, 2018.
- Team Scorched - Similar to Clash. Players do not have access to their loadout weapons and abilities, instead having access to only one weapon: the Scorch Cannon. New for Destiny 2. Added on November 27, 2018 and was originally part of the Crucible Labs playlist. Vaulted on Seasons 12-13.
- Momentum Control - Similar to Control. Increased zone capture speed and bonus points. Increased overall weapon damage. Improved both respawn rates and drop amounts for Heavy Ammo crates. All Guardian abilities can only be regenerated by defeating enemies. Increased damage resistance against non-Power weapons and abilities while in roaming Supers. Quicker respawn timer. Motion tracker disabled. Each team starts with one point controlled. New for Destiny 2. Added on October 29, 2019. Vaulted on Seasons 12-13.
- Supremacy - Team deathmatch with a twist: killed players drop colored "crests" (blue for teammates, red for enemies) that can be collected. Teams can only earn points by picking up enemy Crests, and picking up a teammate's crest denies the opportunity for the enemy team to score with it. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Scorched - Similar to Rumble. Players do not have access to their loadout weapons and abilities, instead having access to only one weapon: the Scorch Cannon. New for Destiny 2. Added on November 27, 2018 and was originally part of the Crucible Labs playlist. Vaulted since Season 12.
In matchmaking, multi-round modes are usually played in either a 3v3 or 4v4 format (with 2v2 in some Showdown modes).
- Survival - Last team standing. Each team can only respawn a limited amount of times. Teams win rounds by depleting the enemy team of their life count and then eliminating them. If the round timer is depleted, the team with the most lives remaining wins the round. Based on Elimination mode from the original Destiny.
- Showdown - Similar to Clash. Teams win rounds by having the highest amount of kills when the round timer is depleted. New for Destiny 2. Added on November 27, 2018 and was originally part of the Crucible Labs playlist.
- Elimination - Similar to Survival. Although players only have one life per round, they can be revived by teammates. Added on December 10, 2019 and was part of the Crucible Labs playlist.
- Countdown - Asymmetrical assault mode where teams alternate between Attackers and Defenders. Attackers must arm and detonate a central charge, at one of two points, before the round timer expires. Defenders must either prevent the Attackers from arming, or defuse armed charges. Although players only have one life per round, they can be revived by teammates in a limited capacity. Teams win rounds by either eliminating all enemies or by completing their objective. New for Destiny 2. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Breakthrough - Symmetrical assault mode where teams fight to capture a central neutral Capture Zone ("deploying the Breaker"). Once a team deploys the Breaker, they must capture their enemy's Capture Zone ("hacking the Vault") to win the round. If they fail to hack the Vault in time, the other team wins the round. New for Destiny 2. Added on September 25, 2018 and is only compatible with certain maps. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Lockdown - Similar to Control. Teams slowly fill up their overall capture gauge by capturing and holding two uncontested Zones, and win the round when the gauge reaches 100%. If all Zones are captured and uncontested at once, the holding team wins the round automatically. Each team starts with one Zone controlled. New for Destiny 2. Added on November 27, 2018 and was originally part of the Crucible Labs playlist. Vaulted since Season 12.
These game modes are specific to events and are not available in Private Matches.
- Iron Banner Control - Similar to Control. Once a team captures all three Zones at once (and gains a "Power Play"), the Zones remain locked for 15 seconds before they all reset. In earlier Seasons, each team started with one Zone controlled. New for Destiny 2. Added on September 18, 2018.
- Crimson Days Doubles - Similar to Showdown. Players who are close together gain the "Reunited" buff (increasing the recharge rate of their abilities), while players who are too far apart gain the "Drifting Apart" debuff (marking them as waypoints for the enemy). When a player's teammate is defeated, they gain the "Vengeance" temporary buff (further increasing the recharge rate of their abilities while slightly healing them). New for Destiny 2. Added on February 12, 2019.
The base game included 11 playable arenas, none of them returning from the original Destiny. Post-release, new arenas were added to the game (either original or remade), bringing the total (prior to Season 12) to 31.
Retribution, Wormhaven, and Gambler's Ruin were originally time-exclusive to the PS4 version of the game and became available one year after their release.
- Altar of Flame (Caloris Basin, Mercury)
- The Dead Cliffs (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Emperor's Respite (Prison Barge, Leviathan) - Vaulted since Season 12.
- Endless Vale (Arcadian Valley, Nessus)
- Eternity (Unknown Space) - Formerly exclusive to Trials of the Nine. Vaulted since Season 12.
- The Fortress (European Dead Zone, Earth)
- Javelin-4 (Warsat Launch Facility, Io)
- Legion's Gulch (European Dead Zone, Earth) - Vaulted since Season 12.
- Midtown (The Last City, Earth)
- Retribution (Upper Startosphere, Mars) - Vaulted since Season 12.
- Vostok (Felwinter Peak, Earth) - Vaulted since Season 12.
During the games first two years, certain maps added in expansions required ownership of those expansions to play. They were later made available to all players.
The following were added on December 5, 2017 with the Curse of Osiris expansion:
- Pacifica (Tidal Anchor, Titan)
- Radiant Cliffs (Mercury's Past, Infinite Forest)
- Wormhaven (New Pacific Arcology, Titan) - Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
The following were added on May 8, 2018 with the Warmind expansion:
- Meltdown (Clovis Bray Special Projects, Mars) - Vaulted since Season 12.
- Solitude (Warmind Facility Hellas, Mars) - Vaulted since Season 12.
The following were added on September 4, 2018 with the Forsaken expansion:
- The Citadel - (The Dreaming City) - Compatible with Breakthrough mode. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Equinox (Unknown Space) - Compatible with Breakthrough mode. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Firebase Echo (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Compatible with Breakthrough mode. Vaulted since Season 12.
- Gambler's Ruin (The Tangled Shore) - Vaulted since Season 12.
Some maps were added outside of expansions:
- Fragment (Unknown, The Infinite Forest) - Added on October 1, 2019.
In addition to new maps, the game has received remakes of numerous maps from the original Destiny.
- Distant Shore (Arcadian Strand, Nessus) - Added on October 10, 2017. Remake of Shores of Time.
- The Burnout (Vex Future, Infinite Forest) - Added on February 13, 2018. Remake of Burning Shrine.
- Bannerfall (The Last City, Earth) - Added on May 23, 2018. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Convergence (Infinite Forest, Mercury) - Added on September 18, 2018. Remake of Pantheon. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Twilight Gap (Last City Parameter, Earth) - Added on October 1, 2019. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Widow's Court (European Dead Zone, Earth) - Added on October 1, 2019. Compatible with Breakthrough mode.
- Rusted Lands (European Flood Zone, Earth) - Added on December 10, 2019.
- The Anomaly (Mare Cognitum, Moon) - Added on March 10, 2020.
- Cauldron (Ocean of Storms, Moon) - Added on March 10, 2020. Remake of The Cauldron.
- Exodus Blue (Cosmodrome, Earth) - Added on March 10, 2020.
From Season 8 onwards, all 6v6 playlists have "Shared Heavy Ammo" enabled, where instead of Heavy Ammo crates being limited to one player, players instead "unlock" the crate for their team for a short amount of time.
- Control (6v6) - Casual single-round playlist using the Control mode. Prior to Season 8, this was referred to as "Quickplay" and also included the Clash mode. Seasons 8-11 also had a separate "Classic Mix" playlist, which also included Clash and Supremacy modes and had its matchmaking based on connection rather than skill level.
- Elimination (3v3) - Casual multi-round playlist using the Elimination mode. Added on Season 8.
- Rumble (6P) - Casual free-for-all playlist using the Rumble mode. Added sometime before Season 8.
- Survival (3v3) - Competitive playlist using the Survival mode, Glory ranking, and disabled mid-game joining. Players who disconnect from multiple matches in a short time-frame get a temporary suspension from the playlist. Prior to Season 8, this was referred to as "Competitive" and also included the Clash, Control, and Countdown modes. Since Season 8, the game also includes a separate "Freelance" playlist that only allows matchmaking with solo players.
- Weekly Rotator - Playlist that rotates between the game's active game modes (other than Control, Elimination, Rumble, and Survival) each week. Between Seasons 8-11, two playlists were given: one for single-round 6v6 and one for multi-round 4v4.
Returning from the original Destiny, Iron Banner is a special monthly endgame event hosted by Lord Saladin where, for one week a month, players can participate in a special "Iron Banner" playlist that grants unique themed gear. In addition, Saladin replaces Shaxx as the mode's announcer.
Prior to Season 4, the playlist was restricted to one gametype that rotates every month (Clash, Control, or Supremacy). This was later changed to a special variation of Control (known as "Iron Banner Control") and introduced the return of Power level advantages (where players with higher Power levels have increased damage and resistance). Since Season 5, certain medals received their own Iron Banner counterpart that is earned exclusively in that mode. Season 12 added an alternate "Freelance" playlist that only allows matchmaking with solo players.
The "Trials of Osiris" PVP endgame event from the original Destiny returned in two forms: first with "Trials of the Nine" (from Seasons 1-4) and then with an updated "Trials of Osiris" (from Seasons 10+). Both versions are special weekend events where players participate in a series of highly-competitive matches on a specific rotating map.
Trials of the Nine was a 4v4 mode that used either Survival or Countdown, while Trials of Osiris is a 3v3 Elimination mode with Power level advantages. Unlike standard playlists, players must form their full fireteam before entering matchmaking and cannot modify their chosen loadout while in the playlist. Each match's introduction is extended and shows the loadout of all players individually (allowing teams to coordinate on countering their foes).
Once the player's character reached either 7 wins or 3 losses, that character could no longer participate in the event for that week (Nine) or must purchase a new "Trials card" (Osiris). Depending on the amount of wins and losses, the player could enter parts of an exclusive location ("The Third Spire" in Trials of the Nine and "The Lighthouse" in Trials of Osiris) to earn unique themed gear.
Added in Season 4, Gambit is a unique "competitive PvE" game mode that pits two groups of four-player fireteams against each other to summon and destroy a powerful boss enemy (the "Primeval"). While it have elements of PvP multiplayer, it is outside of the scope of the Crucible and does not count towards Crucible bounties and challenges. It was formerly exclusive to owners of the Forsaken expansion and received multiple updates throughout the years.
In-universe, Gambit is a secret competition hosted by a mysterious Lightbearer, known as the Drifter, in order to generate and harness the Darkness (as portable "Motes"). It takes place at locations near the Drifter's ship (the Derelict, which tows a gigantic mysterious object throughout the solar system). Further lore behind Gambit and the Drifter's intentions are explained through lore books and some expansions (namely Joker's Wild).
Similar to Crucible, Gambit has a progression ranking system that tracks their public Gambit experience throughout each season. It was originally "Infamy", but was later rebranded to "Gambit Rank".
For each match of Gambit, the enemy faction, Primeval boss, and game map are randomly determined. Both teams spawn in the spawn area of their battlefield, with the battlefields of both teams being both completely identical and separate from each-other. Each battlefield has a central area (where a "Mote Bank" and an "Invasion Portal" are located) and three enemy spawn areas (each of which are named by the Drifter when enemies spawn, such as "the Cavern" and "the Base").
Enemies of the chosen faction then spawn in one of these areas, with enemies dropping anywhere from 1-5 "Motes of Dark" based on their difficulty. Once all enemies are cleared from that area, they begin spawning in one of the two other spawn areas. Although Motes disappear after a short amount of time, players can collect them to keep them in their possession (up to 15 at a time). Players can then deposit their current stack of Motes to their team's Bank, provided there are no enemy Blockers alive. If a player dies while holding a stack of Motes, that stack is "lost" and removed from the game.
Once a team deposits 100 or more Motes in their Bank, they begin their Primeval Phase, which removes all faction enemies from their battlefield, locks the Bank, and begins spawning unique Taken enemies near the Bank. The objective of this phase is to eliminate the boss "Primeval" (who is both lethal and very tanky). To help hasten the death of the Primeval, a stacking "Primeval Slayer" buff is applied by eliminating the Primeval's lieutenants (the Taken Wizards known as "Primeval Envoys"). The game ends once the timer expires (in which the furthest progressing team wins) or a Primeval is defeated (in which the team that defeated theirs first wins).
Prior to Season 12, Gambit was round-based, with a best-of-three system and 75 motes to summon the Primeval. After the Gambit Prime update, the tie-breaking round is changed to immediately start at the Primeval Phase with all players getting faster Super regeneration. Earlier changes also included automatic "Primeval Slayer" buff stacks (first after 30 seconds of the phase, then after every 12 seconds).
At certain times of the match, a more powerful "High-Value Target" can spawn in a random location and roams throughout the battlefield. Damaging HVTs causes it to drop Motes, while defeating HVTs drop a large amount of Motes (up to 15 total).
In addition, teams that are behind in score can find glowing "Catch Up Targets" with spawned enemies, each of which drop additional Motes on death.
Both HVTs and CUTs can be disabled in Private Matches.
When a player deposits 5 or more Motes at a time, they send a "Blocker" to the enemy battlefield near their Bank. As long as an enemy Blocker is alive, that team's Bank is "blocked" and cannot be used. If multiple Blockers are alive and the team is not in its Primeval Phase, the Bank begins draining Motes.
- For 5-9 Motes, Taken Goblins are deployed as Small Blockers, whose ability to shield other Taken from all damage makes them annoying in groups. Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Phalanxes.
- For 10-14 Motes, Taken Phalanxes are deployed as Medium Blockers, whose defensive shield armor makes them tougher to dispatch. Prior to Beyond Light, these were Taken Captains. Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Knights.
- For 15 Motes, Taken Knights are deployed as Large Blockers, whose lethality and tankiness makes them dangerous to deal with. Prior to the Gambit Prime update, these were Taken Ogres.
During Gambit Prime, players were able to acquire the High-Yield Savings perk, which allowed them to collect up to 20 Motes at a time (with 15-19 for Large Blockers) and deposit 20 Motes to deploy a Giant Blocker (a boss Taken Phalanx). While risky to obtain, these blockers were dangerous due to their tankiness, large shield, lethal stomp attack, and ability to summon tethers that weaken nearby players.
Players can still send Blockers to the enemy's side when their enemies are in the Primeval Phase, which can be detrimental to that team (as distractions and shields).
Reminiscent of the Invader Phantom system in the Souls series, players can "invade" the opposing team's battlefield once their Portal is active (which happens after each 25 motes deposited as a team, or at regular intervals during the enemy's Primeval Phase).
Invaders are transported to the furthest spawn area from the opposing players, are highlighted in red, have all enemy Guardians marked on their HUD, and cannot be targeted or damaged by PvE enemies. Their goal is simply to eliminate enemy Guardians while avoid being killed themselves. After either 30 seconds have passed or four enemy Guardians are eliminated, the Invader is automatically transported back to their battlefield. If they are killed, they drop 3 Motes around them, lose their current stack of Motes, and must wait to respawn at their battlefield.
Teams who are being invaded are notified (with heavy aural and visual cues) and have an incentive to hunt the Invader down:
- If the Invader kills an enemy Guardian prior to the Primeval Phase, that Guardian loses their stack of Motes. This can be detrimental for those carrying large stacks.
- If the Invader kills an enemy Guardian during the Primeval Phase, the Primeval gets healed for a small amount.
Added in Season 6 (formerly exclusive to owners of the Forsaken Annual Pass) and removed in Season 12, Gambit Prime was a unique version of Gambit with some major changes:
- Single-round instead of best-of-three, with some enemy spawn changes and mote distribution changes to quicken the pace. This change was later brought into standard Gambit on Season 12.
- The number of banked motes that were required to summon a Primeval was increased from 75 to 100, and can be drained over time in two ways: when multiple Blockers are near the Bank, and when invaders with a certain Invader perk are standing near the Bank. This change (minus invader draining) was later brought into standard Gambit on Season 12.
- During the Primeval Phase, the Primeval was shielded and could only be damaged for a short time after all three Envoys are defeated, similar to a "damage phase" of a raid encounter boss, with a Well of Light available for buffing.
- Players were able to earn special armor pieces from the Reckoning activity that gave them points towards special perks. Perks were split into four combat roles: Reaper (green, focusing on clearing waves of enemies and defeating powerful enemies), Invader (red, focusing on invading enemy teams), Collector (white, focusing on gathering motes and sending Blockers), and Sentry (yellow, focusing on defending against both Blockers and Invaders).
- Emerald Coast (European Dead Zone, Earth) - Enemies are either Cabal, Fallen, or Hive. Added on September 4, 2018 (Gambit) and March 26, 2019 (Gambit Prime).
- Legion's Folly (Arcadian Valley, Nessus) - Enemies are either Cabal, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018 (Gambit) and added on March 19, 2019 (Gambit Prime).
- New Arcadia (Hellas Basin, Mars) - Enemies are either Cabal, Hive, or Vex. Added on March 5, 2019 (Gambit Prime) and April 2, 2019 (Gambit).
- Deep Six (New Pacific Anthology, Titan) - Enemies are either Fallen, Scorn, or Hive. Added on March 12, 2019 (Gambit Prime) and April 2, 2019 (Gambit).
- Cathedral of Scars (The Dreaming City, The Vestian Web) - Enemies are either Cabal, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018 and did not receive a Gambit Prime variant. Vaulted on Season 12.
- Kell's Grave (Tangled Shore, The Reef) - Enemies are either Fallen, Scorn, or Vex. Added on September 4, 2018 and did not receive a Gambit Prime variant. Vaulted on Season 12.
The game received two beta testing periods: one for consoles (from July 18, 2017 to July 25, 2017) and one for PC (from August 28, 2017 to August 31, 2017). Those who pre-ordered received exclusive early access to the beta.