Season of the Drifter

March 5th marks a new three month season in Destiny 2, though it’s no longer called Joker’s Wild. Instead, it’s Season of the Drifter, based around our favorite back alley cretin sleuthing about in the shadows.

First thing that’s going to happen as soon as you log into Destiny 2 is that you’ll be speaking with the Drifter in a cutscene, though the context is not revealed just yet. We will also be able to access his ship, the Derelict, with that big ole ice ball he’s been lugging around and a giant teleport gate, but more on that later.

Before we dive into all the details to come I must point out one major thing that Bungie has never done in the history of Destiny. We will get to choose a side; Vanguard or Drifter. This is a huge step in the storytelling and letting the player control the destiny of their character, allowing us to decide who we fight for. What I’m curious about is how it will affect the story, more than alternate voice lines and such, but in the long run. Will these choices affect our in-character relationship with the opposing side? Will it bleed into seasons further on? What if I’m feeling particularly Dredgen-y and try to eat Zavala’s Ghost? It all remains to be seen.

That’s not it for all the lore lovers out there, not only are we going to learn more about the Drifter but the Nine as well since they seem to be in cahoots. So much has yet to be seen.

Let’s dig deep into the meat of this new season.

Gambit Prime

“Gambit is a chance at salvation.” – Drifter

With the new season there’s new armor, new weapons, new clan stuff, and exotic weapon quests. These are all things we’ve heard before with each new content drop, but this time they’re unique and centered around Gambit itself and the roles players will assume.

Gambit Prime is the sweatier version of its predecessor. Standard Gambit was just practice for what Prime is going to throw at us. The mode transforms as the rounds go on, unlocking new perks for the team to obtain victory. The games are meant to be “short, intense”, and “high octane” as the devs put it. We’ve seen what they can do when they want to pose a challenge, this right here is for all the PvE slayers who have been shrieking their battle cries for more.

A couple new mechanics mentioned are critical, the first being that motes can be drained from the opposing team’s bank when invading. And the Primevals? Better start understanding mechanics because they’re all being treated like a raid boss, each with their own triggers and damage phases. It might be a bit more complicated than the shielding tethers the Angry Meatball brought us, it may be just as simple, but after Riven and Niobe Labs I can hardly believe any of it will be simple.

The original unspoken roles we saw emerge from Gambit are now emphasized in Gambit Prime:

  • Reaper: In charge of killing the enemies, recommended weaponry: Medium range & heavy splash damage for faster clearing
  • Collector: Pick up motes, deposit as fast as possible, recommended weaponry: Close range & fast reload
  • Sentry: Keep the bank clear of blockers & invasion counter, recommended weaponry: shotgun for blockers & long range for Invaders
  • Invader: We all know this one, recommended weaponry: Anything that kills Guardians fast

Each role will have an accompanying gear set, emblazoned with Drifter’s iconic snakes and set with specific chroma colors per the role. The perks on said armor haven’t been revealed although we can speculate that they will likely elevate each role’s efficiency in their set duties. Figure out your place on your team, that way you know what to grind for right off the bat. I want to note that there are colorblind versions for the chroma right on the armor, not a screen filter, to accommodate everyone and help maintain high accessibility. This forward thinking will always get a standing ovation out of me.

In addition to the armor we have three new weapons mentioned in the vidoc; a handcannon called Spare Rations, a sniper called Sole Survivor, and a grenade launcher called Doomsday. To be quite frank, it looks like a dev was thrown into Puget Sound to retrieve a forgotten chest from Davey Jones and sprinkled some space magic on them. Now you can be a true space pirate.

With all of this comes Gambit private matches, no doubt we’ll start seeing tournaments as well which I’m stoked for. A couple new maps we’ll see is New Arcadia on Mars which comes on week one, and then Deep Six on Titan coming in week two. I cannot recommend enough going into the new private matches to look over the maps, check out lines of sight, and memorize where the Invader spawns are. Go alone, go with friends, learn what you need to in order to slay faster and better.

Now, the Thorn quest. It’s not going to be easy and this is where you choose between the Vanguard and Drifter. Your choice of allegiance is character specific, not account, so your Hunter could keep with the Vanguard while your Warlock sides with Drifter. What matters is that you get a choice which we have never had before. I can only hope we get more of such in the future.

One last thing to note. The new narrative between Drifter and Joxer leads me to believe that there will be no reviving in the Primeval stage of Gambit Prime. Dead by Invader or Primeval, there might not be an option to come back. Yet, I cannot confirm or deny that little tidbit.

The Reckoning

After your first Gambit Prime match you will have access to a new activity called The Reckoning, which is a pinnacle PvE experience. One thing the devs kept repeating was “it’s not easy” and I hope to the Traveler and all the Hive gods it’s true, because we need a PvE activity that makes our palms sweat and our hearts race. It’s going to be chaotic, so move fast, kill fast, because your back is going to be against the wall the entire time. It’s akin to the lamp abyss in Crota, though the dial had been turned up and ripped off.

This new heart pounding endgame activity is hosted by the Nine, and accessed through a portal on Drifter’s ship. That little thing alone brings all new kinds of connotations to their agreement, whatever it may be. It starts with Tier 1, with 2 and 3 unlocking later though it’s not said how. Just know that the entire time you’re in there, battling it out, a timer is ticking down. You must be perfect. And the rewards? More Gambit Prime armor, with those selective stats and perks for your role in the team, to make you a better and more efficient killer.

Catch Up, Access, & More

Haven’t been able to grind up to Power Level cap? There’s a new set of bounties to help you out. Power Surge Bounties will become available through Drifter, guaranteed to drop the armor or weapon stated in the description at 640 Power Level. All of them can be done in an hour if you’re fast enough.

Along with all this there are new pinnacle weapons for Crucible, the Vanguard, and Gambit. Weapon changes are also on the way, which Nem explains wonderfully in this video.

We can also look forward to new additions and changes to Eververse. At least six new exotic emotes are coming our way, including one of pouring tea and rocking out with a hologram guitar. The changes coming are for the better! Unique bundles can be directly purchase in Silver so you know exactly what you’re getting, plus some bundles will have an exclusive vanity item only in that specific bundle. No more lottery, no more mystery lootboxes, you know what you’re buying. Bright engrams will still exist but will still have the lottery effective like any other engram.

And before anyone starts complaining that Eververse still exists, remember that Bungie has to make money to keep their employees paid and studio running. I’m happy to do a full on breakdown why stores are so prominent in games these days, but the bottom line is that Bungie has a bottom line. Your gametime doesn’t pay their bills and your virtual items are forever for as long as the game has living servers.

“Bungie Controlled Destiny”

This is the quote from the ViDoc of Season of the Drifter that I want everyone to know. Morale is high in the studio, you can see it in their faces, you can hear it in their excited voices; Bungie is doing what they want when they want. Season of the Drifter will still have some residual from Activision, there wasn’t enough time to make any major changes. The next one, Season of Opulence, will be all of Bungie, unbridled in passion and effort.

I, for one, am excited to see what they can do when no parameters constrain their passion.

The Golden Age of Destiny 2 is coming. Get ready.