How Destiny 2 can solve its cost issue ahead of Witch Queen

Lloyd Coombes

Destiny 2’s next expansion, The Witch Queen, will not come with upcoming dungeon content – and it won’t be included in Season Passes, either.

It’s a great time to be a Destiny 2 fan as Season of the Lost rumbles on ahead of the Witch Queen expansion, arguably the franchise’s most anticipated to date, but the contentious topic of how much the game costs has reared its head again.

Bungie’s lead community manager Chris Shannon responded to a post on the game’s subreddit, noting that layers will need to buy the more expensive Digital Deluxe Edition of the expansion in order to gain access to upcoming dungeons in Year 5, as well as the Bungie 30th Anniversary bundle. As you can imagine, fans aren’t happy.

Destiny 2 Witch Queen
Witch Queen will be a starting point for many players – but it’s not easy to get up to speed

It’s time for Destiny 2 to move to a monthly subscription

When Witch Queen was revealed earlier this year, I was asked countless times how best to get into Destiny 2. It’s a game with great PvE and PvP content, exotic locations to visit, and some of the best shooting mechanics in gaming – why wouldn’t you want to check it out?

The good news, I’d tell people, is that you can play a free version. The bad news, though, is that the free version’s content has been gutted by a pretty aggressive vaulting process, and you’ll need to buy expansions to fill in many of the gaps – oh, and one of those (the best one) is being vaulted in February, but Bungie will still let you buy it for the next few months.

For a game that continually reinvents itself in both bigger and smaller ways with each expansion, Destiny 2 is a nightmare to keep up with if you’re a newcomer or a lapsed player. It’s part of my actual job, and it’s tough to get my head around what’s here and what’s been locked away. One Redditor put it perfectly – “I feel like I’m buying health insurance, not a game anymore.”

Bungie has tried various things to make Destiny more accessible. The base game going free-to-play was a huge win until much of its content was cut out, while the season pass model of story-based content and activities for three-month stints has been excellent.

Still, though, it feels Bungie needs to look to the likes of Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft and really consider adding a monthly subscription option for Destiny 2. Both of those games charge money for access ($12.99 or $14.99, respectively). No season passes, no paying extra for a dungeon or two.

FFXIV Alphinaud and his sister stand beside warrior of light in a fiery battle
Final Fantasy XIV maintains a constant content pipeline through a monthly fee

I’m not entirely sure what fee Bungie could charge, but considering Destiny 2 is approaching free-to-play game levels of monetization options, it’s perhaps time for an introspective look. The game can be played for free, sure, but there are expansions, seasons, and an ever-present microtransaction store that’s always happy to sell you cosmetics.

Bungie is an independent developer, though, and that comes with its own challenges. There’s no Activision footing the bill anymore, but ahead of Witch Queen, even an optional one. Imagine if, as a new player, you could spend $10 a month after you’ve finished the short New Light campaign, knowing you can then dip into Forsaken, Shadowkeep, or Beyond Light.

Things could get dicey if your subscription lapses, sure (do you strip away the Stasis subclass? Probably not, but it’s a thought). Given the only way to get every piece of Year 5 Destiny 2 content is to pay $99.99 for the Digital Deluxe edition of Witch Queen, hardcore fans may prefer to pay $10 per month – actually giving Bungie a little more cash, and helping fund development.

After all, one of Destiny 2’s best missions, Zero Hour, was funded by the game’s microtransactions – although it too has been vaulted since. If players don’t want to subscribe? They can stick to the content they’ve purchased a la carte, or just the New Light base game if they’re yet to spend anything.

With so many eyes on Bungie ahead of the Witch Queen, it just feels like a perfect opportunity to offer up some kind of catch-up option, especially given that the Legendary Edition remains $79.99 and includes an expansion that’s not long for this world.

Let’s hope the developer does something, though – otherwise players may leave and not return for Savathun’s big party.

For everything we know about the Witch Queen expansion, be sure to check our dedicated page – as well as our guide for Season 16, which lands on the same day.