Gamer Guides

Destiny 2: How to start playing in 2022

Destiny 2 is arguably one of the most popular online multiplayer games of today.
With the release of its fifth expansion, The Witch Queen, it can be overwhelming for new players. To help you on your way, we’ve assembled a new player guide to help you buy the right content and get you up to speed with all the ins and outs of Destiny 2. So suit up Guardian, and let’s get started!

Published on: 29-08-2022

First of all, if you’re wondering if Destiny 2 is worth playing: we can only say that one million players can’t be wrong! Destiny 2 has an incredibly healthy player base and most players agree that Destiny 2 is one of the most rewarding games they’ve ever played. That is, once you get into it.

And that’s one of the biggest hurdles of getting into Destiny 2, because where do you begin? The fact that the game has a long and confusing history of alternating between free to play and paid models doesn’t help either. Let’s start off by looking at which content is available at what price.

Infographic showing all Destiny 2 expansions and dlcs in order

What Destiny 2 content is free to play?

Destiny 2 has been free to play since October 2019, when the New Light version of the game was released. You can create your own character, play certain missions and complete activities in the many different locations in the game, without having to spend any money.

You don’t have to worry about a level cap or time limit when playing the free to play version of Destiny 2, but if you want to experience the story campaign and some of the meatier game activities, you have to pay up. That said, the free to play version of Destiny 2 gives you plenty of opportunities to get a taste of the gameplay loop and see if this is a game that you want to sink more time into.

Some of the legacy campaigns of previous expansions used to be free to play as well, but since the release of the Beyond Light expansion in 2020, more and more free content has been taken offline in a process which developer Bungie calls “vaulting”. This means that even if you want to experience the Destiny 2 story from the very beginning, you won’t be able to, as some content has already been vaulted.

These are all the Destiny 2 story campaigns released so far:

  • Red War (part of Destiny 2 base game) (vaulted)
  • Curse of Osiris (expansion, 2017) (vaulted)
  • Warmind (expansion, 2018) (vaulted)
  • Forsaken (expansion, 2018) (vaulted)
  • Shadowkeep (expansion, 2018)
  • Beyond Light (expansion, 2020)
  • The Witch Queen (expansion, 2022)

Furthermore, a new Destiny 2 expansion and campaign called Lightfall will be released on February 28 2023.

The original story campaign The Red War, as well the first three main expansions Curse of Osiris, Warmind and Forsaken, have been vaulted, which means that this content is inaccessible until Bungie decides to reintroduce it. There are currently no plans to bring these campaigns back to the game, but never say never!

Thankfully, there's no need to worry about more expansions entering the Vault. In the Destiny 2 Showcase 2022, Bungie announced to the delight of many players that they will no longer remove expansion campaigns. This means that Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, The Witch Queen and future expansions will always stay playable. Seasonal content will enter the Destiny 2 Content Vault once a new Expansion launches.

The three currently available campaigns Shadowkeep, Beyond Light and The Witch Queen, are all paid expansions and their campaigns are not free-to-play. You can however, play the first one or two missions for free to get a taste of them, but if you want to continue playing, you'll need the full paid version.

What are Destiny 2 seasons?

With the release of Forsaken in 2018, Bungie also introduced seasonal content with additional story content and activities. A season spans around four months, with every year seeing four different seasons that build up the story towards the next expansion and campaign. They essentially fill in the narrative gaps between the major campaigns, so to fully understand the Destiny 2 story, the seasonal content cannot be missed.

That is why even if all the campaigns were still playable, you’d still miss out on the story, because a lot of it unfolds between the campaigns during these seasons. And seasonal content is always time-limited: it can’t be replayed once the season is over!

What is the current Destiny 2 season?

Destiny 2 is currently in Year 5, which began with the release of the newest expansion The Witch Queen in February 2022. At the same time, the sixteenth season called Season of the Risen started, which is the first of four total seasons that make up Destiny Year 5. On May 24 2022 the seventeenth season of Destiny 2 began, called Season of the Haunted, which ended on August 23. The next season, which is the current running season, is called Season of Plunder and will be active until December 6 2022, after which the fourth and final season of Year 5 will start. Once that season has concluded, Destiny will kickstart Year 6, with the release of its next expansion: Lightfall.

How to catch up with the Destiny 2 story?

Because the first three major expansions have been vaulted, and the seasonal content isn’t replayable at all, catching up with the Destiny 2 story in its original form (by playing it) is impossible. But don’t fret, as there are many resources that can help you understand the story so far.

Of course, it isn’t required to be completely up to speed with all the story beats in order to enjoy the story. You can also easily jump into one of the available expansions as they all serve as an adequate starting point and are more or less standalone!

Here are some useful resources for catching up with the Destiny 2 story:

  • Destiny History, a beautifully illustrated website that retells the story of all expansions and seasonal content of Destiny 2
  • Previously on Destiny, another website that provides a more condensed recap of the Destiny 2 story so far.
  • (YouTube) Dynasty, a cinematic fan video spanning almost two hours which details the lore and story specific to The Witch Queen expansion.
  • (YouTube) The Complete Story of Destiny, if you want a full recap of the entire Destiny 2 story up to Shadowkeep. Be warned, it’s a 3 hour ride! (bring popcorn!)
  • The Ishtar Collective, a collection of all the lore materials found in Destiny 2.

And finally, there’s also a timeline in the game itself that has a very condensed summary of all the main events. You can access the timeline by going to the Director screen, and clicking on the emblem in the top right corner.

Screenshot of the in-game timeline in Destiny 2
The in-game Destiny 2 timeline | Source: Bungie

Where to start playing Destiny 2 in 2022?

Now that you know how Destiny 2’s campaigns and seasons relate to each other, you might be wondering where you should start.

It doesn’t hurt to try the free to play content first to see if you enjoy Destiny’s gameplay, before you start investing in additional paid content.

The base game will give you access to the New Light campaign, which serves as a jumping board and introduces new players to the main mechanics, story and characters of Destiny 2. In addition, you can freely explore all the currently available planets and complete bounties and simple tasks to gain experience and new gear.

When you start Destiny 2 for the first time, you’ll automatically be dropped into the New Light questline. It’s actually the same starting quest as in the first Destiny game, so if you’ve had some prior Destiny experience, you’ll recognize it right away!

Just be sure to keep checking your quest objectives to follow along the New Light questline.

Destiny 2 New Light quest artwork featuring Cayde-6, Ikora and Zavala

Which Destiny 2 expansions should you buy?

Once you’re ready for more adventure, you can choose between buying Shadowkeep, Beyond Light and The Witch Queen, which are the three currently available expansions. Additionally, there’s the season pass which will give you access to the seasonal activities.

Generally, we advise to start with one of the expansions, and save the seasonal content for last. We’ll cover your options so you can decide which expansion has your preference.

  • Shadowkeep

    Shadowkeep is the least substantial expansion of your three choices, but if you’re adamant on playing all available content, this should be your starting point. This expansion also regularly goes on sale, so in terms of bangs for bucks, you can’t go wrong here.

    Buying the Shadowkeep expansion gives you access to roughly ten story missions, two strikes, a raid and a dungeon, so that’s plenty of content to keep you entertained. Shadowkeep centers around The Moon, so that’s where you’ll mostly be running and flying around in this expansion.

    That said, compared to the other two expansions, Shadowkeep doesn’t add any new gameplay features. If you are interested in playing a new subclass or gaining new abilities, you might want to get Beyond Light or The Witch Queen instead.

    Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

  • Beyond Light

    This expansion added Europe as a new explorable region, as well as a subset of the Cosmodrome on Earth, a location you might remember if you’ve played the original Destiny.

    The most notable feature of Beyond Light however, is the addition of a fourth damage element called Stasis, which is born from Darkness instead of Light, and causes ice damage. Each player class (Hunter, Warlock or Titan) also gets a new subclass based on Stasis, with new abilities to unlock.

    Without Beyond Light, players can only use the first three damage types: Solar, Void and Arc, and they won’t be able to choose the Stasis subclass. So if you want access to all available subclasses, you can’t skip Beyond Light.

    Naturally, Beyond Light also features a hefty story campaign, as well as strikes, dungeons and a raid for players to complete.

    This all makes Beyond Light a very nice starting point for new players. You will gain access to a pretty exciting new player class and abilities, and playing through the campaign gives you a chance to immerse yourself in the Destiny 2 universe before you eventually jump into The Witch Queen.

    Destiny 2: Beyond Light

  • The Witch Queen

    We can imagine that you want to jump right into the newest content, and therefore it makes perfect sense to start with The Witch Queen. You might be a little lost in terms of story and characters, but this won’t prevent you from enjoying the incredible story campaign, which is heralded by the community as one of Bungie’s finest.

    Just like Beyond Light, The Witch Queen gives access to new gameplay features, such as the new Glaive weapons, which are part gun, part sword and part shield. The new expansion also changes the way the Void subclass works, similar to how Beyond Light added the new Stasis subclasses.

    On top of that, you gain access to a whole bunch of activities, including a brand-new six-player activity called the Wellspring, and a slew of exotic weapons.

    You can buy The Witch Queen from the PlayStation Store with our PlayStation Store Cards.

    Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Deluxe Edition

How to buy the Destiny 2 season pass?

If you search for the season pass in the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store or Steam store, you won’t find it. That is because the season pass has to be bought within the game, with the in-game currency Silver. Each season pass costs 1000 Silver, which amounts to $10/€10/£10.

Silver has to be bought through the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store or Steam store. The more Silver you buy, the more ‘free’ Silver you get as an added bonus. Spend more, get more!

These are the Destiny 2 Silver quantities that you can buy:

  • 500 Silver ($5/€5/£5)
  • 1000 Silver + 100 bonus Silver ($10/€10/£10)
  • 2000 Silver + 300 bonus Silver ($20/€20/£20)

You can buy your Destiny 2 Silver with PlayStation Store Cards and Xbox Store Cards bought from Startselect using your prefered payment method and you will receive the code instantly. We are official partners of PlayStation and Xbox, so you can buy with confidence!

Once you’ve topped up your wallet with Silver, you can proceed into the Destiny 2 shop to buy the season pass for 1000 Silver.

Silver Buying Tip: you can always check under the Season tab in the menu how many days the current season has left. If there’s only a few days left, you might want to hold onto your Silver a bit longer and wait for the next season to start before you buy the Season Pass.

You should now have all the information you need to start your own cosmic adventure in Destiny 2 as a full-fledged Guardian. It might still be a bit intimidating, but once you start blasting aliens in the face and zoom across the galactic landscapes on your speedy Sparrow, everything will naturally fall into place. Stick with it, and Destiny 2 could become the most fun and rewarding game you’ve ever experienced, thanks to the helpful and dense community and the continuously evolving story. See you among the stars!

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