Destiny 2: Season of the Wish impressions – The end is nigh

1 month ago 61

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this retrospective, I just want to acknowledge how much I’ve enjoyed covering Destiny 2 seasonal, expansion, and miscellaneous content drops for GamingTrend. Writing about Destiny 2 is nothing short of a privilege, and I want to say thank you to everyone who reads these and to GamingTrend for letting me talk about one of my favorite games. Though this is the last official season for Destiny 2, I am most definitely not throwing in the towel – I will be covering all of the planned Episodes after the release of The Final Shape, as well as the expansion itself. Now, onto the main event.

Since the announcement of The Final Shape, I wished for one thing: a satisfying final Destiny 2 season before we (seemingly, you never know with uncle Bungie) say goodbye to the seasonal model for good. Thankfully, Season of the Wish was exactly that. A real all-rounder; a renaissance season if you will. Versatile loot to chase, a great seasonal activity, a good story to follow, and plenty of community transparency made this one of the most solid seasons to date. Destiny 2 is headed into The Final Shape in a good, if not great, spot, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Light and Darkness Saga ends.

Season of the Wish, or Season 23, was Destiny 2’s longest season to date, spanning a whopping 189 days from beginning to end. Though there were definitely some lulls over this six and a half month long period, content was introduced at a pace regular enough to keep things interesting. Per usual, let’s start with the story.

Season of the Wish was an Awoken/Dreaming City themed season that took place right where Season of the Witch left off. The Vanguard set their sights on The Wish Dragon Riven’s 15th Wish as a potential throughway to the inside of the Traveler. Mara Sov, Crow, Osiris, and the gang strike a deal with the spirit of Riven to grant the 15th Wish on the condition that the Vanguard retrieves her long-lost eggs, which are in danger of being stolen by Xivu Arath and the Witness’ forces. After a couple of egg-heists and one satisfied magic dragon, Riven agreed to help us. The Vanguard chose Crow to fulfill the 15th Wish. Crow was tasked with being the first to safely enter the Traveler and attempt to find a way to open it from the inside. At the end of the season, we find out he was successful. The Pale Heart is open, and it’s time to confront oblivion.

Story missions in Season 23 were pretty good narratively, but fairly repetitive in terms of gameplay structure. This was relatively standard fare, as we’ve come to expect a heavy-hitting, unique opening to the seasonal story, really light narrative for the bulk of the middle sections, and then a climactic end that provides a big payoff and sets up the next season or expansion. Most of the missions consisted of a few recycled encounters from the seasonal activity while characters shouted exposition. Honestly, you should’ve known what to expect. Not a bad thing, necessarily; just nothing really new. One thing that I could have gone without was the extraordinarily long downtime between the preliminary seasonal ending, which was back towards the beginning of 2024, and the true ending, which was earlier in May. This was obviously because of the delay of The Final Shape, but it just really dragged when there was no narrative reason to log on.

What pleasantly surprised me was the reinvigorated emphasis Season of the Wish placed on the Dreaming City. A few steps of the main quest involved public events, scavenger hunts, or lost sectors on the destination, and they served as a great excuse to retrace old steps and explore a familiar yet forgotten location. I honestly never thought I would complete another run of the Blind Well, but I’m glad I had a valid reason to do so, as it can be very enjoyable in controlled bursts. This is something Destiny 2’s seasons have always been good at – reinvigorating certain destinations, story beats, characters, and activities that compliment the seasonal setting. I’ve always appreciated getting to return to underutilized areas or speak with characters we haven’t checked in with in a while (like Petra Venj) as long as it is meaningful to the season. Season 23 was no exception.

I really, really liked Season of the Wish’s activities. The two main mission types were called Riven’s Lair and The Coil. I’ll start with the more complicated of the two, The Coil. This activity was a three-player gauntlet-style mission, where players load in, complete a set of encounters with relatively simple mechanics, pass through a trap room or jumping puzzle, and reach a final boss. Once the boss was defeated, this would be the end of a run. Complete four runs back-to-back, and claim the best rewards. Sounds easy, right? Well, there were a few caveats to The Coil that helped it to stand above your average seasonal mission type.

First, there was a currency called Wishing Glass dropped by breakable pots and certain enemies throughout levels. Wishing Glass was used at the end of a run to purchase upgrades from Riven that stay with you for the rest of the mission, such as bonus kinetic weapon damage, faster class ability recharge, etc. Second, at the end of each run, the difficulty increases, meaning tougher encounters and increased enemy damage. The third caveat relates to the previous two: each time you loaded into The Coil, your fireteam only had a limited pool of lives. Lives could be bought at Riven for Wishing Glass, and once they were gone, the mission ended and you were returned to orbit. This means more powerful enemies were extra dangerous, and buying extra lives was important. Having limited revives upped the ante of this activity compared to previous seasonal offerings, and encouraged teamwork even amongst matchmade fireteams. Encounters were also never in the same order, adding yet another layer of depth to one of Destiny 2’s best seasonal activities.

Riven’s Lair, the second of the two activities, was essentially just one set of encounter rooms from The Coil. Low stakes, unlimited revives, and an easier overall difficulty made it more accessible than its counterpart, and allowed for much friendlier hop-in hop-out style gameplay. A round of Riven’s Lair was also much shorter than a run in The Coil, lasting anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes whereas The Coil could sometimes take over an hour. Though Riven’s Lair was certainly not Season 23’s main attraction, it served its purpose as a more forgiving version of the season’s title event, The Coil.

These activities were certainly not where Season of the Wish’s offerings ended, though. A new exotic mission, Starcrossed, took place in the Black Garden and focused on a conflict with the Vex. An interesting door-and-key mechanic made this mission itself pretty enjoyable, and on legend difficulty, a hearty challenge. I am not a huge fan of the reward, however. The main draw to the mission is the craftable exotic strand-based bow, Wish-Keeper. Wish-Keeper’s exotic trait allows arrows to create tripwires, opening up opportunities for traps. In all honesty, I didn’t find the weapon useful in most firefights. Setting traps for your enemies is novel at first but is quickly overshadowed by weapons like Witherhoard. The exotic mission was fun and a good challenge, but I wish the reward packed a little more punch. 

Dungeons are not included with seasons outright; they must be purchased separately. Therefore, Warlord’s Ruin, the new dungeon, is not technically part of Season of the Wish. However, since it was added at the beginning of Season 23, I’ll still discuss it briefly. Warlord’s Ruin was easily one of my favorite dungeons to date. Taking place high in a snowy mountain castle, this dungeon had some spectacular scenery, and drew directly from some Destiny fantasy concept art. It felt like it would have been at home in a medieval game rather than a sci-fi shooter, but I am so glad we received it. Additionally, a simple mechanic that is easy to learn but hard to master made it very rewarding to get done right (it involved standing in a certain radius to gain a status effect and using the effect to progress). With a great loot pool, stellar dungeon-specific exotic, and bombastic encounters, I had a great time learning and eventually mastering Warlord’s Ruin.

I’ve always been satisfied with Destiny 2’s season pass and seasonal weapons, and Season of the Wish was no different. A reward track filled with meaningful currencies, cosmetics, armor, and weapons made the season pass worth completing (psst… please give us more Deepsight Resonators!). The seasonal exotic, the Dragon’s Breath solar rocket launcher, was way more useful than I originally thought, debuffing targets in ludicrous amounts and allowing for some incredible damage to be stacked.

Finally, Season of the Wish featured The Dawning and Guardian Games together in one season. I didn’t interact with these events much as the grind is a little too much to bear. They did, however, feature some great, albeit limited, loot pools that made a few logins worth my time. I refuse to believe that Guardian Games isn’t rigged as well. Nevertheless, congratulations to the Hunters. Us Titans will get you yet.

Crucible and Gambit didn’t receive any substantial updates, what a shock… wait… you’re telling me three new PvP maps were added as part of Into the Light? That’s right; though Into the Light was not technically part of Season of the Wish, it was still a part of the game during Season of the Wish. I went more in-depth on Into the Light and what was offered in a previous article, so I digress.

I really enjoyed Season of the Wish. Great activities, powerful loot, an engaging story – it really was one of the better ones. It makes me very happy that Bungie was able to provide such a satisfying season this close to the end, and it fills me with optimism for The Final Shape. Let’s get this saga done.

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