Why The Witch Queen will be make or break moment for Destiny 2

Eris Morn appears in Destiny 2 Beyond Light teaser The Witch Queen expansion.Bungie

With Destiny 2 now well and truly in the “Bungie era” of its lifespan, and Activision long gone in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the famous devs to prove they’re still worthy of that fame ⁠— The Witch Queen will be a make or break moment for the franchise.

It’s well-worn history at this point; Bungie partnered with Activision to launch their first post-Halo franchise, a huge space opera called “Destiny,” and it was a smash-hit. Fans piled into the new world in droves, gobbling up the exciting new series.

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Three years on, Bungie shuffled out a sequel, Destiny 2, and troubles began. A heavier focus on in-game transactions and reported publisher meddling overshadowed the series.

Things came to a head. Bungie split from Activision, but kept Destiny.

And, fans had hope again. A hope, years in the making, that has been slowly drained away since early 2019. Shadowkeep was interesting, but shallow, and Beyond Light teased much more than it eventually delivered. It feels like not much has really changed.

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For many, The Witch Queen is the final stop ⁠— one last ‘make or break’ moment for the Destiny 2 powerbrokers to win back jaded fans. But can Bungie deliver?

Destiny 2 Old Chicago appearing in The Witch Queen.Bungie
Destiny 2’s “The Witch Queen” is part two in Bungie’s new expansion trilogy.

What does Bungie need to do?

It would take too long to list out every complaint Destiny 2 fans have flagged about their favorite franchise since Beyond Light, but it feels like there’s three solutions to the problems that have been mounting since mid-2019 and Shadowkeep.

The first is a recent problem, but a big one: content vaulting.

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Bungie made the bold call to strip out nearly half the content in Destiny, and replace it with two new areas ⁠— Europa and a reworked Cosmodrome ⁠— the Beyond Light story, and some Empire Hunts. In theory, the “reset” was a good idea to freshen up the series.

In practice, it’s left Destiny 2 feeling pretty damn empty.

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We lost seven strikes, four full planets, a host of activities like The Reckoning and Forges, seven Crucible playlists, three full campaigns — including the game’s original “Red War” story — five Raids, and fifteen Exotic quests.

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I think Destiny 2 fans know that Bungie had the best intentions when they hoisted so much content out of the game. Right now, though, it just feels bad. Beyond Light brought very little to the table, and it’s left people already keeping one eye on the next expansion because of that.

And this is where The Witch Queen comes into play.

Savathûn is expected to finally arrive in "The Witch Queen."Bungie
Savathûn is expected to finally arrive in “The Witch Queen.”

The Witch Queen could fix Destiny 2’s emptiness

When Year 5’s expansion arrives in late 2021, it’s going to need to come chockablock full of new goodies. Players are expecting Crucible maps, Raids, another campaign; basically, all the things Beyond Light was supposed to bring in the promised — but not delivered — “reset.”

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Right now, Destiny fans are starving for things to do. Then, to boot, there’s new rumors springing up that we may have to trade EDZ and Nessus out of the game when Old Chicago and the Dreadnaught arrive. That’s just not what players want to see. Bungie promised a “living” game. Instead, we’re just watching it slowly die by losing content.

If Bungie fails to pour ⁠— and I mean pour ⁠— new content into the game with The Witch Queen, then Destiny 2 could be in big trouble. Players are already leaving forever. What’s going to happen if nothing new pops up in Year 5 either?

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Bungie has yet to confirm a release date for "The Witch Queen" expansion.Bungie
Bungie has yet to confirm a release date for “The Witch Queen” expansion.

Luckily, there’s still plenty of time until the Year 5 expansion hits shelves.

The developers can listen to community criticism ⁠— and boy is there a lot of it ⁠— and do what works best. If they do that, The Witch Queen can be another step forward for Destiny, and one that rights the leaning ship.

If not, well, maybe Destiny 2 just peters out to a slow end. Let’s hope not.