One of the first things Bungie did when they separated themselves from Activision to go independent was start crafting a plan to take Destiny 2 free-to-play, something that was apparently not allowed under their old deal.
When Destiny 2 launched that new format, it was actually pretty awesome, and I know a lot of people where that was their jumping off point for getting into the game for the first time. Free-to-play meant that the first two years of content were indeed free. The vanilla Red War campaign, the Curse of Osiris and Warmind DLCs, the first three seasons, Forge, Drifter and Opulence. It was a ton of content.
Then, Beyond Light hit, and that all went away. Literally almost everything that made up the F2P experience was shoved into the content vault, outside of the base playlists and basic access to planets as patrol spaces. That left Bungie to scramble with a new player onboarding system that was reduced to a very basic Shaw Han-driven questline, but since then? The F2P experience has felt positively anemic, and might as well almost not exist at all.
The problem is that what’s added to as F2P content is just so sporadic and random that it doesn’t really follow any sort of coherent pattern for players. The old system was a full campaign, structured DLCs and a taste of what the seasonal model was like. The new one is this intro quest and then a bunch of random activities, a free dungeon here and there, two free raids that were pulled from Destiny 1. Something called “Dares of Eternity.” But it’s not a coherent package.
I’ve previously made the case that Bungie should work to unvault the Red War campaign, you know, the thing that players first paid $60 for, that later served as an appropriate intro to the game. But that seems like a pipe dream now, and I’m left trying to think of alternatives.
I know that Bungie is planning to introduce a big new “Guardian Rank” system with Lightfall that’s meant to take new players through certain milestones and teach them aspects of the game. But that’s just a progression model, that is not actual content.
I always thought the idea with Destiny 2 going free-to-play would be that over time, that meant they’d start phasing in old expansions to be part of the F2P model. I was pretty stunned when instead of making the Forsaken DLC free after three years, Bungie content vaulted the campaign and continues selling the remaining scraps as a “Forsaken Pack” to this day. Now, in an era when it seems like Shadowkeep should probably be free now with Beyond Light, Witch Queen and now Lightfall in the game, it almost certainly will not be.
Destiny 2 is way too overmonetized at this point, and keeping the game broken up into all these paid expansions is exhausting. This is a game that sells all old expansions, even the half-vaulted ones, despite being years old. They have a full microtransaction shop. They have paid seasonal content four times a year. They now have a dungeon pass where those activities are sold separately. It’s too much.
My advice remains phasing out old DLC and letting that become part of the F2P experience in time. Forsaken should not have been vaulted, and Shadowkeep should be free when Lightfall hits. Past that, I fully believe that F2P players should also have access to Stasis by this point, as keeping that locked into a singular two year-old expansion is pretty absurd.
Guardians Ranks could be fine, but that’s not the main problem with F2P now. It’s the content, or lack thereof, and what has changed since F2P was first introduced due to everything that was taken away.
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Destiny 2, one of the most popular first-person shooter video games, has had a dedicated and passionate fan base since its launch back in 2017. Despite its continuing success, the game has been criticised for its lack of free-to-play content. Now more than ever, it is time for the game developer Bungie to start offering more free-to-play offerings to keep the game fresh, exciting and enjoyable for players.
Many other popular video games have adopted a free-to-play model and have been immensely successful. Already Destiny 2 has moved further towards a piecemeal model with a full rollout of seasons, providing content in regular chunks. However, this is still not enough. It is now time for Bungie to take it to the next level, and provide players with more content for free.
Incentives such as bonus experience points, additional weapons and abilities, story missions, or time-limited events would all be fantastic additions to the game. These would help to increase engagement and create more incentive for new players to join the community. Furthermore, it could encourage existing players to stay for longer, as well as rekindle interest in the game.
In the coming months and years, it is sure to be imperative that Destiny 2 continues to evolve in line with the ever-changing trends of the gaming world. As such, it is time for Bungie to beef up their free-to-play offerings and provide more content to keep the game alive and vibrant. With more content such as bonus experience points, additional weapons and abilities, story missions, and timed events, Destiny 2 will be sure to remain at the pinnacle of first-person shooter video games.