Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted Review: New Content & First Impressions

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Things get spooky in Destiny 2’s newly dropped Season 17. And we like it!

Shrouded in complete mystery, Season of the Haunted is finally live to treat Guardians to fantastic new content and a husk of promised groundbreaking changes. Bungie’s well-known for playing their cards really close to the chest, but this time they’ve outdone themselves in spades, keeping the season so tightly under wraps that basically nothing was known up until the unintentional ahead-of-schedule trailer leak the night before the official launch. But was it worth all the hype and near-total secrecy? Judging by how it feels only a few days into the season, the answer is a solid, definite ‘yes.’

Source: Bungie

If you still haven’t set foot on the corrupted Leviathan, we highly recommend you stop whatever you’re doing and venture abroad as fast as you can. And if that’s not convincing enough, here’s our spoiler-free Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted review to give you all the more reasons to dive into it right away.

Story

Calus and his infamous ship are back with new activities and a new big secret to unravel.

Source: Bungie

Last seen right before Beyond Light, the exiled Cabal emperor returns all of a sudden with a sinister plan to serve the Darkness. Controlled by Calus, the Nightmares are let loose on the derelict Leviathan, anchored off the Moon, infested with strange flora, and swarming with vicious phantoms. It’s somehow tied to the dormant Pyramid, and we all know that nothing good has ever come from those things, so it’s a warning sign we don’t have the luxury of ignoring. Once again, the fate of the entire world hinges on us Guardians, but it doesn’t make the adventure any less thrilling – actually, quite the opposite.

The story taps into the topics of regret and battling the ghosts of our past… and that’s all we have to say without spoiling anything away. Just go there and start that Season of the Haunted campaign to experience it first-hand. But you might wanna leave some light on in the house, you know, just in case, because things are about to get really creepy sometimes. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Loot

Season of the Haunted turns out to be extremely rich in loot, with both brand-new and returning items for Guardians to chase.

Seasonal Weapons

Source: Bungie

Described as “hauntingly beautiful” in Bungie’s official reveal, Season of the Haunted weapons do look fantastic, matching perfectly with the season-wide Haunted item design. A total of six weapons drop from seasonal activities and can be crafted at the relic, provided you’re lucky enough to get a Deepsight drop. Here they are:

Exotics

In the Exotic department, Season 17 has two new weapons up for grabs.

Source: Bungie

Trespasser is an Arc Exotic sidearm, which once belonged to Shiro-4 and was featured in the Rise of Iron DLC. Packing some hefty superburst perks, it’s unlocked via Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted Battle Pass at Level 1 on Premium or level 35 on the free track.

The other Exotic is the Heartshadow sword that makes you invisible and provides a nice damage buff. It hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but the sword is listed in the upcoming dungeon’s loot pool, so this is most likely the place to grind it out.

Opulent Weapons

Source: Bungie

Previously vaulted as part of the massive Beyond Light content purge, some of the best Destiny 2 weapons have now made a tremendous comeback. Six Menagerie classics have returned to the loot pool with new perks and an origin trait to boot:

How to get Season of the Haunted Opulent arsenal? Available through crafting, these guns also drop from Engrams that can be found in special chests aboard the Leviathan, unlocked with Opulent Keys.

Seasonal Armor

Source: Bungie

Halloween arrives early this year with the eerie Eidolon Pursuant armor set and absolutely sick-looking Season Pass ornaments. From nighthawk and skull masks to a fully-fledged Ghost Rider outfit – there’s plenty to choose from, so if you don’t quite like the original new Haunted armor design, you’re very welcome to make fashionable adjustments.

Trials of Osiris Loot

The Burden Of Guilt fusion rifle and Forgiveness sidearm will drop as Trials of Osiris rewards, along with the Falcon’s Chase Sparrow and some fresh Trials-themed armor. The weekend-only Crucible event will return on June 10, so you have plenty of time to put together your meta PvP loadout and jump into the Trials with all guns blazing to hunt down that sweet loot.

Wanna unlock those Season of the Haunted Exotics fast and easily? Hire WowVendor’s pro players and let them handle the grind!

New Activities

Most of the season is set on the Moon, much like the Shadowkeep expansion back in 2019, but for now, you don’t actually get to explore anything apart from the Leviathan itself. And that’s more than enough, considering how much the ship has changed since we last saw it.

The Leviathan is in the free-roam mode, so you can patrol it as an open-world zone to kill Nightmares and check out the ship’s terrific Darkness-infused design. There’s a season-based activity and a Presage-style weekly mission to take on, plus a new dungeon in the pipeline, which makes Season of the Haunted pretty darn eventful and really juicy in terms of content.

Down below you can find a brief breakdown of everything newly-added and playable in Season 17.

Nightmare Containment

Tied closely to the Season of the Haunted story, Nightmare Containment is a free-for-all farmable public event at the Derelict Leviathan location. This three-tier scalable activity has you venture into the ship’s Castellum area to attract Nightmares to the Harvester artifact and set them free from Calus’s control. As for now, the activity is Castellum-only, but it’s very likely to rotate to other parts of the Leviathan in weeks to come.

Source: Bungie

How to start Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted main activity? You have two options here: a more exploration-focused Castellum mode or a straight-away Containment that throws you right into the action. No matter what you choose, you are not locked out of any content, meaning you’re free to roam away mid-fight or start the event at any moment of your casual stroll around the Leviathan.

Once the event is triggered, you start at Tier 1 and make your way up to Tier 3, so you have three massive encounters to face in a row. Tier 1 and Tier 2 are mainly enemy waves spiked with mini-bosses and some shard and orb collecting, while Tier 3 is just a full-on three-phase boss fight. Tiers get a bit more difficult to handle as you progress: the enemies are slightly tougher and there’s more of them for you to kill, but core objectives remain more or less the same.

Source: Bungie

When you finish off the final boss, the chest will spawn for you to reap your guaranteed rewards. Dunking 500 Vestiges of Dread into the Harvester gives you much better seasonal loot, and an Opulent Key unlocks a hidden chest that might drop Opulent weapons.

Sever

A Season of the Haunted Destiny 2 Season Pass exclusive, Sever is a set of weekly missions that send you to the Leviathan’s Underbelly and dole out story pieces as you progress with the objectives.

Source: Bungie

The current mission is called Shame, and it’s a third part of the Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted questline called Bound in Sorrow. The first two steps revolve around gathering Vestiges of Dread and completing Nightmare Containment, so they’re pretty easy and don’t take much time.

Sever-Shame requires you to place amplifiers all around the area and get into the Severance Site to perform a ritual that will cut off Calus’s connection to the Pyramid. There’ll be a bunch of low- and mid-tier enemies to kill, and eventually, you’ll end up in the Gauntlet Room from the Leviathan raid with Nightmare of Fikrul as your final boss.

Source: Bungie

On this mission, you’ll be accompanied by Crow, who’s haunted by his former self, Uldren Sov, so expect dialog bits along the way and stick around for the final post-battle conversation as there’s some lore you definitely want to hear.

Dungeon: Duality

Duality is the Season of the Haunted new dungeon waiting for Guardians to sink their teeth into on Friday, May 27. Those who want to access the content will need a dungeon key, which is already available to all Witch Queen Deluxe players, or can be purchased for Silver at the Store.

We don’t yet know much about Duality, but it sure will offer a variety of new challenges and a slew of rewards to grab. Here are some of them:

The recommended level on Normal is reportedly 1550, and while Bungie’s still keeping their lips zipped about Master, it’s safe to suggest that it’ll be set at around 1600-ish Power, so yeah, we all have some serious powerleveling to do.

And since we are on the PvE endgame subject, there’ve been rumors about the new Haunted raid, which is nowhere to be seen on the official Season 17 roadmap, so unless Bungie’s planning another top-secret release, for now we’ll have to settle for just the dungeon.

New Features & Content Changes

Packed heavily with new content, Season of the Haunted also rolls out loads of changes, including slight tweaks, huge buffs and nerfs, and absolutely massive reworks that leave some of the game’s most notable parts in a totally different shape.

For starters, Power Bands are traditionally increased, with the 1350 floor cap untouched and everything else having a +10 raise. The Vault, surprisingly, gets an increase as well. As Destiny 2’s roster of unlockable items has grown sufficiently bigger over the years, in Season of the Haunted Bungie has finally decided to expand the player’s Vault for the first time since the Forsaken expansion. Now the Vault can house up to 600 items, which is great news, because you can grind out all that new loot and have plenty of room to stash your older gear away.

Big Exotic changes that Bungie announced in their TWAB back in April have come into effect, adding more balance to all weapon types and improving glaives a ton, especially compared to their poor state in the previous season.

As for more notable additions and changes, here’s a quick rundown for you below.

Solar 3.0

The next subclass revamped, following Void in Season of the Risen, Destiny 2 Solar 3.0 now works with the Aspect and Fragment system, giving you tons of options to make powerful custom-tailored builds.

Source: Bungie

We’re not going to go into much detail here, because such a huge overhaul deserves a standalone guide, but let’s just say that there’s a lot of wild stuff with these new Solar abilities for you to play around with. It would be wrong to call Solar 3.0 a heal-only subclass, but it does offer a lot in terms of health restoration, so you can spec more into healing, which is what so many players were looking for. Damage output is not neglected, either: your targets can be inflicted with the stacking Scorch debuff and burst into a huge explosion, hitting everyone nearby. The weapons you use can also get buffed to dish out more damage to your foes.

As the system goes, you now have three class-bound Aspects and a series of universal stat-affecting Fragments to choose from. New abilities showcased in the trailer include explosive finger-snapping for Warlocks, a two-hammer ground slam for Titans, and Hunters’ grenades that can be shot in mid-air to cause a big boom. Of course, there’s much more to discover and use, so give us a shout if you guys want a thorough class-specific build guide, and we’ll be happy to deliver.

Solstice Event

Bound to arrive on July 19, Solstice is a revamped version of the well-familiar Solstice of Heroes event, now with the new Event Card mechanic and a special event Title and Seal. We’ll let you in on all the details as soon as we learn more closer to launch day, so stay tuned.

Iron Banner

In the PvP department, the most expected and talked-about change is the Iron Banner massive overhaul.

Drifting completely away from the original concept, Bungie has the power level advantage disabled for the activity, making it more accessible to new players. With Tokens no longer a thing, there’s a new reputation system, similar to the one with Shaxx or the Drifter, having you earn points for playing matches.

Control used to be the only Iron Banner mode available, but now more modes are about to come on rotation, including the well-familiar rugby-like Rift. Loot-wise, the long-awaited engram focusing system has finally arrived, allowing players to target specific gear, instead of just getting random drops from the pool. Speaking of drops, the list of possible rewards has got two additions: the Wizened Rebuke fusion rifle and Hero’s Burden SMG. Apart from that, we also have minor Crucible mode tweaks focused mostly on points, time limits, and round score targets.

To help players learn new rules and settle into all the changes, there’s an introductory quest offered by Lord Saladin.

What’s more, Bungie’s turned Iron Banner into a more exclusive experience, cutting down its arrivals to only two per season, with the first one slated for May 31. The second Iron Banner in D2 Season of the Haunted is expected to launch on July 12.

Final Word

All in all, the approach that Bungie’s taking with seasonal activities seems to be working really nicely. Even though the Containment event does not offer anything we haven’t seen before in terms of gameplay, it doesn’t feel stale, as everything fits extremely well to the season, both story- and mechanics-wise. The same goes for pretty much every new playable content out there: it’s exciting, not even remotely far-fetched, and you really enjoy playing it.

The overall aesthetics of the season would be right at home in a horror movie: stunning visuals and creepy background sounds literally send shivers down your spine when you make your way through Leviathan’s desolate rooms. That’s a definite A+ for the design team – like, the guys certainly need a pay rise. You hear us, Bungie? Oh, and there’s a doggo charity emote, so whoever came up with that, needs a pay rise, too.

As for weapons, it’s really great to see old favs coming back. A lot of Menagerie guns used to be god-tier back in the days, so now they have every chance of becoming a new wrinkle in the meta. New weapons don’t lag behind, either. Trespasser feels awesome – so awesome that it may actually make you take to sidearms, even if you’re not a big fan of the type. And we won’t even start with Solar 3.0. You should just go and try it out yourself. In fact, you should try out everything Destiny 2 Season 17 has to offer: it’s super fun and super exciting, and if you happen to stumble upon anything at all, we at WowVendor have loads of new season services to help you out.

Happy Haunting, Guardians!

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