Destiny 2 Season 11: Season of Arrivals Impressions

Coming off of, what was considered one of the worst seasons of the Destiny 2 lifecycle, Season of the Worthy, it was refreshing to experience what Season 11 (Season of Arrivals) got right and get a glimpse of where Destiny 2 is planning on heading.

The season starts off with a cutscene voiced over by Eris Morn, discussing the events of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, the increasing presence of the darkness, and a new threat from an old enemy, Savathun, the sister of Oryx. Pyramid ships eventually are shown appearing on the planets of IO, Titan, Mercury and Mars which we find out by the end of season are doomed to be destroyed, more on that later.

Pyramid Ship IO
Pyramid Ship on IO

The first mission of the season, we are dropped onto the planet IO,  and are facing a giant pyramid ship. Its stature  looms above and there is a darkness overlooking the horizon. The theme of darkness, dread, and a sliver of hope are threads throughout the season. We fight Taken enemies in The Cradle attempting to find Eris. As you move farther along the map there are large Taken orbs floating about the caverns. As you move through the mission and clear out Taken enemies you’re eventually pulled into the Court of Savathun. A similar effect to when are pulled into Ascendant Planes in the Dreaming City. You battle against a large Shrieker which is named the Eye of Savathun , failing in the fight we get pulled out by Eris to claim a seed at the white tree. Now I hope you liked that mission because…

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The mission was fun the first time, but, as I realized through the first couple weeks into the new Season, this would be a once a week Pinnacle activity, which was rightfully named Interference. The mission  grants a Powerful Engram upon completion each week, but there is a barrier to entry. It’s accessible by running the Contact Public Event a few times each week, in addition to a list of playlists you can play to unlock this weekly playthrough.  It’s a loop that goes stale by the third week. There was some mission variety, but it was on a 3 week cycle in which you would start to play the same missions again. Ultimately the reward for all of this was lore, delivered by Eris Morn which helps to greatly advance the story involving the Darkness and leading up to Beyond Light in September.

The Contact Public Event is where you can earn the Prismatic Recaster currency to decode the Season 11 embral engrams. The new engrams will drop throughout the core playlists (Strikes, Gambit and Crucible). Drop rates can be increased by upgrading the Prismatic Recaster. Upgrading the Recaster will unlock different levels of passive perks to increase loot variety. It’s much easier this season just to upgrade the one station rather than several as we did with the multiple Rasputin Bunkers and Sundial areas. It makes the grind, for someone with not a ton of time to invest, much easier and makes the overall season more enjoyable.

A point of note early in the season, was the second week of Season of Arrivals. It was clear by this time, there was a ‘cheese’/easy way to gain Umbral Engams and season currency to upgrade the Recaster. It was only available for a few days and was controversial in the sense that it wasn’t really ‘playing the game’ persay. Guardians would load into the Forge playlist and then go AFK for hours on end returning to a Postmaster filled with engrams. This was very akin to the early days of Destiny 1 (2014)  where we would sit at the Loot Cave and profit by doing no work and receiving a postmaster full of loot.  Technically not cheating but definitely not the cleanest ways to power up your character. It was soon patched, but before then I was able to get a screen capture of everyone at the tower crowded at the Prismatic Recaster, decoding engrams and levelling up their Guardians. Definitely one of those “you had to be there moments” for this Season.

The seasons pass has different weapon lockouts until you obtained a certain rank, such as the (now favourite) Falling Guillotine (Sword) and the seasons Pulse Rifle. I didn’t invest enough time to bounty farming to earn enough XP to make it far past rank 50 to enjoy the rest of the season pass offerings. Speaking of weapons, there were a handful of new weapons, but mostly reprisals of earlier season weapons, which now, have a later ‘expiry’ date on them. Bungie has said that the time has come for the last 3 years of weapon and armour to be ‘sunset’. What does this mean exactly? Well we aren’t sure quite yet, other than the majority of weapons will not be able to be infused past 1050. The next seasons maximum power is 1250 so these are essentially going to be left in the dust. We’ll have to see how this shakes out in the coming Season, but as of this time, the general consensus is that this is not good for players that have grinded countless hours for god roll perks throughout the years. More information can be found at Bungie regarding the Destiny Content Vault.

With several locations (IO, Mars, Mercury, Titan and the Leviathan ‘ship’) all disappearing/vaulted in the Fall it makes this season much more interesting as there is a deadline to complete certain activities including all Leviathan Raids and Raid Layers as they will also be ‘vaulted’ in the Fall.

One of the most unique Exotic Weapons to come out of Destiny via quest was introduced this season, Ruinous Effigy. It’s a new Void trace rifle with a twist. Defeated enemies are turned into void orbs, which then can be picked up and used as a melee weapon, or used an AOE Shield or slammed down (ground pound). This set of primary and secondary attack types for a single weapon can lead to some fun experiences with other guardians. I found it’s perks quirky but not something I would be replacing my Gnawing Hunger with!

Finally the stand out weapon (for me) this season partnered with the buffs to 600 RPM AutoRifles is hands down the Gnawing Hunger. I love auto rifles in Destiny so this most recent buff was a great thing for my play style. Using the Umbral Decoder I probably generated around 15 Gnawing Hungers before I received a “God Roll” with Rampage & Subsistence. This has been my go to weapon for PVE and PVP this season, and will plan on continuing to use this in Beyond Light!

The Umbral Decoder was a great way to farm targeted rolls though quite a bit of grinding was required to unlock all potential combinations. By the end of the season I was swimming with Umbral Engrams that needed to be decoded, after crafting a few god roll weapons it felt like it wasn’t worth the chase to to continue crafting.

This Season has all been a setup narratively to the big Fall 2020 expansion Destiny 2: Beyond Light, which I am extremely excited for! It feels like a tick/tock cycle for Seasons in Destiny (good, bad, good, etc) and this was one of those good seasons which makes me cautious that Season 12 (Season of the Hunt) will be good as well. I am definitely looking forward to the dark tone that the series is going in the next couple DLC’s, which hopefully means a bright future for the franchise.