The annual Destiny 2 winter event, The Dawning, wrapped up its event quest as players finally contributed a total of 1,000,000,000 Dawning Spirit. Many players were hoping for some sort of unique Exotic reward at the end of the 10-step community event quest, however it seems that we all received different rewards that were not exactly “worth it.” I got a purple Sparrow, the Jubilant emote, the elusive Dragonfly Cold Front SMG (that will be patched eventually), 68 base-stat Geomag Stabilizers, and an Ascendant Shard. So what was the point of this whole quest? Why did we grind mindlessly for hours on end to generate Dawning Spirit for rewards that we could have just gotten from running a couple of Nightfall: The Ordeals and a Legend Lost Sector? How can Bungie fix this going forward so that players actually enjoy these events? What could this mean for the future of Destiny 2’s major seasonal events like Festival of the Lost and The Dawning going forward?
So let’s get started with perhaps the most important aspect of these seasonal events in Destiny 2 – the rewards. Destiny has almost always had an issue with the game not feeling rewarding enough for the effort put forth by the community and it has been especially (Heir) apparent in Destiny 2 with the new community events that Bungie is testing out. These community events allow players to combine their efforts and work towards a common goal of what seems to be just collecting “x” amount of “x” thing (which usually ends up being 1,000,000,000 of said thing. This ends up almost always being impossible for the community to complete within the given time frame, because no one actually wants to go out and bounty farm to collect Dawning Spirit or in the Season of the Dawn’s case, Fractaline. Since Destiny 2 players have been conditioned to believe that whatever reward we could possibly get from these community events is of either little to no use – or is incredibly underwhelming – no one wants to participate. Most players tend to sit back and let some of the hardcore invested players like Chevy grind for them, collecting over 3000% Dawning Spirit in 5 days. This is not ideal for a community event that is supposed to bring the community together.
To be perfectly clear, I don’t think that the rewards for most of this event were actually all that bad, we’ve got 3 weapons to grind for, even if one of them is bugged. I think that a lot of people, including myself, over-hyped the actual community quest and were inevitably disappointed when it gave us less than what we expected. That isn’t on Bungie. Personally, I could have gone without the community quest at all, I would have preferred it if they went back to the daily or weekly presents that Destiny 1 gave us for the few Dawning events we got. Unfortunately, I think that we – as a community – expect way too much from these events that are supposed to just be a fun and light-hearted way to spread holiday cheer throughout the community and we end up turning it into more than it is meant to be.
Let me take you back to 2015. Destiny: The Taken King has been out for a couple months now and Bungie just released the new holiday event, The Dawning. You hop on your Sparrow and become a racing Legend in the brand new Sparrow Racing League activity. You get tired of mopping the floor with the rest of the lobby and decide to run a couple of strikes, but what’s this? Strike scoring? An incentive to run Strikes that have been in the game since launch? Yes, please. This isn’t me begging Bungie to give us SRL back (but Bungie please I’m begging you), but I do think that Bungie needs to do something with these events more than just collect Dawning Spirit for The Dawning or Candy for Festival of the Lost. More than just killing enemies across the system for ingredients to bake some cookies in an oven to get rewards from Eva Levante. I don’t think I’m alone here when I say it’s a tired gameplay loop. While we do have a version of Strike scoring with the Nightfall: The Ordeal playlist added in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, it would be nice to see something else done with Strikes to incentivize players to go back and do the older content in the game. What about some activities that are reprised with holiday themes? How about updating some of the player abilities to change the way we play for the duration of the event? I would love to shoot a snowstorm out of my hands with Chaos Reach! Yes, I do understand that Stasis is in the game now, but still. Especially with the massive “Content Vault” of Destiny 2: Beyond Light removing a vast majority of content like four entire destinations (IO, Mars, Mercury, and Titan) and the activities connected to these destinations like Raids such as Scourge of the Past and all of the Leviathan Raids, Strikes, and Campaign missions. While it was necessary to remove this content to improve the game, the content that replaced it is nowhere near good enough in the state that it’s in right now.
So, what now?
It seems like I see this question all the time and I’ve found myself constantly asking “What now?” At this point in Destiny 2, it seems like quite a few players, including myself, are burnt out of the game. With so much content being removed to make room for new content and to improve performance across all systems, there really isn’t a whole lot to do right now. What is left offers little to no incentive to actually complete, leaving players stranded in a void of activities. With about a month left in Season of the Hunt, how long can players keep stretching out what little content we have to play? I, for one, am taking this time to branch out and play different games in hopes of limiting my Destiny burnout in the future, but this isn’t ideal. I want to want to play Destiny all the time. Destiny has been my main game since its launch in 2014 and the launch of Destiny 2 in 2017. While I have taken breaks from the game before, it always pulls me back and I’ve invested too much time and money into the game to just walk away from it, but it seems like many players are in the same boat where they feel obligated to continue to play the game rather than wanting to play the game. This needs to change. Soon.
I really hope that Bungie addresses the incredibly lackluster rewards from this year’s Dawning community quest and address the changes that they have planned for future Destiny 2 major seasonal events such as Festival of the Lost and The Dawning. We can’t keep playing the same copy-and-paste events year after year.