This week, Destiny 2 hit a milestone that is…not exactly one worth celebrating. The game has reached a point where the missions and expansions and DLCs Bungie put in the “content vault” have been in there longer than they were in the game in the first place.
As in, there have been 1611 days where the content was out of the Destiny 2 vault to the Beyond Light expansion, which was now released 1162 days ago as of yesterday, as tallied by DestinyBulletin.
The removal was actually written into the story, with Pyramid ships arriving and erasing four planets/moons from existence. Though temporarily in some cases, as Mars and Titan have both returned in bits and pieces as per the storyline, but not as full patrol spaces. As a refresher, here’s the grand total of what was put into the content vault during this time, as it’s far more than four Pyramid abductions:
- 4 Campaigns (base game, DLC and expansions)
- 9 Strikes
- 5 Raids (and Lairs)
- 8 Crucible Maps
- 2 Gambit Maps
- 6 Destinations
- 15 Seasonal Storylines
- 2 Events
- 17 Seasonal Activities
- 3 Exotic Missions
- 27 Unique Exotic Questlines
- 1 Tribute Hall
A small handful of things have returned, like a couple of the Crucible maps, but generally, the list stands. Bungie has indicated they will bring a few other things back like at least one of the Gambit maps and a couple of the exotic missions for the rotator. There’s also some guessing about Bungie maybe bringing back some of the Destiny 2 raids as there’s just one more Destiny 1 raid to put in Destiny 2 at this point, Wrath of the Machine. But we don’t know for sure if Bungie has plans to keep reprising raids after that, or even after The Final Shape period.
I’ve previously said that the content vault was a turning point for the game. Probably its biggest. The two main issues were that it A) removed content that players had explicitly paid for, including when they bought a box copy of the game at launch and B) it erased the vast majority of substantive content that could onboard new players during the game’s switch to being free-to-play.
It’s true that technically in Bungie’s terms of service they said they can remove content at any time, so there isn’t exactly some class action lawsuit to file for this. But it’s also the case that it’s hard to think of any other game that has done something like this, removing this much paid content from the game. Literally years worth. Even in events like WoW’s Cataclysm, it’s not the same situation as less was cut and much of it was just reshuffled elsewhere. Here in Destiny 2, this stuff was just gone gone, and later they tried to split the difference by doing things like only deleting half the Forsaken expansion (and continuing to sell the other half). Now, they’ve promised they wouldn’t delete any more expansion content from here.
Bungie of course has said repeatedly that this was technically necessary for the game. That behind the scenes, managing this much content while trying to update things like the engine and lighting and other changes was not sustainable. And players have said that much of this content wouldn’t be played much now anyway.
But I just think a lot of this is the principle. We know Bungie can bring things back. We’ve seen them reinstate pieces of Mars and Titan with old assets. They essentially brought back every piece of the original Leviathan raid for content in Season of the Haunted (which was then deleted again).
I do understand that sure, seasonal content can probably be rotated out (though I think some of the best content should stay, albeit Bungie has only done that with Battlegrounds). But the base campaign? The first two DLCs? Forsaken? Five raids and lairs? Some of the most classic exotic missions in the game’s history?
The goal here should have been that if there was a technical reason to remove this stuff, then there should have been some focus on bringing it back over time, even in bits and pieces. Instead, Bungie has focused on either new content or reprised Destiny 1 content only, which in some sense I understand but again, it’s the principle. Many players have never forgiven Bungie for deleting all this, and from the outside perspective, it’s a truly bizarre turn of events that again, has really not been seen in any other game like this.
Even if it is obviously true that it would have been a lot of work and perhaps that content wouldn’t be played as much as newer offerings, I would view this as a loyalty-building exercise the way we’ve seen with other “redemption” stories across gaming, from FFXIV to No Man’s Sky to most recently, Cyberpunk. It’s an altered situation, sure, as Cyberpunk wasn’t…deleting its base campaign, but rather doing other fixes, but it’s the same mission. Get players back on your side. And I think it’s pretty clear that has not happened when it comes to the justification for the vault and the fact that all that content remains rotting inside.
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