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"Welcome to a world without Light."
— Dominus Ghaul

Destiny 2 is the first sequel to the Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying First-Person Shooter game Destiny, developed by Bungie and releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One on September 6, 2017 and PC on October 24, 2017.

Following an invasion by the Red Legion of the Cabal, the Tower and Last City have fallen, and everybody's stuff has been destroyed. Now Guardians, new and old alike, must unite to take back their home from the Cabal and their leader Ghaul. And so a new fight for survival and tons of loot begins.

So far, the game has released the following expansions:


Year One

  • Curse of Osiris: Ikora Rey tasks the Guardian with infiltrating the Infinite Forest, a massive probability engine built within Mercury, in order to find Osiris, the exiled Warlock Vanguard and former teacher of Ikora. The forest explores trillions of simulations and is on the verge of discovering a "dark future" of Vex superiority, which they must avert using the power of the Forest itself.
  • Warmind: An ancient Clovis Bray facility is unearthed from below the ice shelves of Mars. With Warsats falling from the sky, the Guardian teams up with the famed Gunslinger Ana Bray in order to secure the greatest and most dangerous weapon of the Golden Age: Rasputin, the Last Warmind. But with Rasputin's return, so also emerges a long-forgotten Hive cult.


Year Two

  • Forsaken: When called in to quell a riot erupting within the Prison of Elders, Cayde-6 meets his end at the hands of Prince Uldren Sov of the Reefborn Awoken and the Scorned Barons, the ruthless leaders of the Scorn. Working together with Petra Venj and the Fallen mob boss known as the Spider, the Guardian begins the hunt for vengeance against the Barons and Prince Uldren. They scour the lawless lands of the Tangled Shore, and eventually find a greater threat in the hidden Dreaming City of the Awoken.
  • Season Pass: The expansions for Year Two past Forsaken was handled differently. All were sold in a bundle pack and released over several months. Rather than being massive campaigns with world-changing threats and brand new worlds to explore, each is centered more around Lore building, investigating existing locations and Slice of Life adventures. There was still plenty of new armor, weapons and multiplayer modes to keep you busy.
    • The Black Armory: For eons, Ada-1 has protected the eponymous Armory and the Forge within, keeping it out of sight from any and all third parties. However, the offsite Forges and the secrets of the three families she worked to preserve have been lost to the wilderness. Faced with no other choice (and with the Spider implicitly egging her on), she calls upon the Guardians to reclaim the Forges, offering the spoils of the Armory in return.
    • Joker's Wild: Ready to up the ante and move his plan along, the rogue Lightbearer known as The Drifter invites the Guardians to play the next evolution of his game, Gambit Prime, where the stakes, rewards, and dangers are higher than they were before. Onboard his ship The Derelict, his secrets are brought to light and thrown into question when the contents of the ship's "cargo", the hunk of ice it tows behind it, are revealed to be part of a pact made with the rulers of the Jovians: The Nine.
    • Penumbra: Emperor Calus, the exiled ruler of the Cabal, reaches out to the Guardians once more to offer the bounties of the Leviathan, this time for taking part in the gauntlet of the Menagerie. A dark, ancient deck of the Eater of Worlds long since abandoned, the Cabal Emperor wishes to not only show where the Loyalists' exile began, but to also make his dream of crowning his next Shadow of Calus a reality.

Year Three

  • Shadowkeep: After an extended period of absence, Eris Morn has returned and calls the Guardians to the long-neglected Moon in order to put an end to a threat that she claims to have unwittingly unleashed. From a new scarlet fortress that has torn out of the Sea of Storms, the Hive have renewed their campaign on the lunar surface, but so has a new menace in the form of Nightmares, shadowy phantoms resembling the Guardians' greatest foes.
  • Season Pass: Year Three handles the story direction in a similar manner to Year Two, though the seasons are events that are happening in parallel to Shadowkeep's as a result of the discoveries on the Moon. Seasonal activities, items and triumphs are also restricted to their respective seasons, and will be replaced by a different theme in the following season.
    • Season of the Undying: Emboldened by the discovery of an ancient evil on the Moon and the signal call from an artifact found deep within it, the Vex Minds of the Black Garden begin their invasion of the Moon, determined to secure the artifact at all costs. Ikora takes notice of the incursions and works together with Eris to thwart the Vex's endeavours.
    • Season of Dawn: In the wake of the Vex Offensive against the Undying Mind, a group of Red Legion Psions seek to use the Infinite Forest to rewrite history so that Dominus Ghaul and Val Ca'uor were not defeated and the Legion wins the Red War. To stop them, Osiris uses his Sundial to track down an old friend through time and resurrect him: Saint-14, one of the mightiest Titans in the Guardians' history.
    • Season of the Worthy: With their campaign to undo their past defeats thwarted, the Red Legion have nothing left to lose and have turned to one last act of desperation: steering the Almighty towards Earth and crashing it into the Last City. Commander Zavala and Ana Bray decide that in order to avert this calamity, they must turn to Rasputin for aid and re-arm the last Warmind.

The game originally launched on PC under the Battle.Net client but, after splitting from Activision, in Year Three Bungie released a free-to-play model on Steam called New Light concurrently with Shadowkeep. It has all of the base game's content (both story and multiplayer modes), along with both Year One expansions Curse of Osiris and Warmind. Forsaken and Shadowkeep still needed to be purchased separately.


Destiny 2 contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Zavala thinks this of Rasputin of the eponymous Warmind expansion, and while Ana Bray seems to think she can work with it to defend the Solar System, it really remains to be seen. Between intentionally crashing satellites and short-circuiting Vex with classical music for target practice, Rasputin's allegiance is murky at best.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • While trying to remember Ghaul's name, Cayde-6 suggests several very normal sounding alternatives like Gary, Gill and Glenn.
    • NPCs have common names like Amanda, the Spanish Zavala and the Arabic/Persian Suraya, as well as RPG names like Ikora, Cayde and Uldren.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The entire plot of Forsaken, including Cayde's murder, was because Prince Uldren was deceived by an Eldritch Abomination into thinking he was going to the rescue of his missing sister, the Awoken Queen Mara Sov.
    Uldren: Everything I did, I did for her. Funny. The line between light and dark is so very thin. Do you know which side you're on?
  • All Your Powers Combined: When Ghaul finally steals the Traveler's light, he gains Void, Arc, and Solar supers all at the same time, and spams them at the player character endlessly.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The game as a whole became free to play on the release of Shadowkeep/New Light, but the console versions still require their respective premium subscriptions for matchmade activities. A lack of one locks you out of a majority of the game's content.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The end of Forsaken makes clear that Uldren was killed, but it cuts to black moments before the kill shot is fired. It's not clear if you, Petra, or even both of you pulled the trigger. Although Petra eventually gifts you her Vestian Dynasty sidearm with a line that seems to imply she did the deed.
  • Anachronic Order: An adventure quest in the EDZ called "Anti-Anti-Air" becomes available right before the final missions to stop Ghaul. The quest plays out under the assumption that you've already defeated him.
  • An Aesop: Forsaken talks a lot about revenge, and dishes out the two following ones: first, revenge is not always an empty, selfish pursuit if it's done in the name of justice. The player character sets out to not only avenge Cayde, but to try and bring Uldren to justice for the crimes he's committed. They also go after Riven and try so save the Dreaming City after putting him down, showing that they won't leave evil unchecked. The second is that your actions carry serious consequences no matter who you are- killing Uldren will make an enemy of the Awoken, and in order to get to him you side with some unsavory characters and pull a lot of nasty favors.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Cabal manage to blast one of Cayde's arms off during the final battle leaving him able to work on the Vex teleporter or shoot, but not both. By the time the player reaches him he's lost a leg too. Though, because he's an Exo and/or Guardian and/or Cayde, he's not terribly distressed about it and is none the worse for wear after the game is over. If you stick around a little longer instead of jumping through straight away, Cayde may remark that he never liked that arm anyway, and that he'll have an integrated rocket launcher installed in the next one.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A large amount of content is cosmetic modifications to your gear associated with the Eververse vendor and their leveling engrams (also the source of most ghost shells, the only equipment that does not impact your light level, but different shells do have some passive bonuses). Most exotic weapons and armor have at least one "ornament" available to discover, given its own slot in the detail screen, as well as many legendary weapons. There is also an entire inventory page centered around shaders, color and texture modifications that can be applied to all non-exotic legendary gear and exotic armor for maximum personal styling. Lastly, there are transmat effects you can apply to your jumpship that changes the way you teleport into a space, ghost visual markers that are displayed when you bring out your ghost and banners that change the heading of your character screen interface and fireteam roster. A lot of these are given as special items for completing certain quests and milestones (each raid has a special banner for completion and Harder Than Hard) making it something of a Bragging Rights Reward too.
  • Animal Motifs: The updated icons now incorporate this for the three classes: the Titan icon has a lion, the Hunter icon a snake, and the Warlock one a bird of prey.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Destiny 2 focuses on fixing a number of Scrappy Mechanics that previously plagued its predecessor, even after its many improvements.
    • A small, hard-to-notice change is the addition of climbing, fixing the problem of falling off a cliff after you screw up a jump and hit your shins instead. Rather than die embarrassingly without making any effort to reach for the edge, your character will mount over if they're just high enough.
    • Bungie has stated having plans to change the Power Ammo economy in PvE. Enemy Majors (enemies with orange or yellow health bars) will be guaranteed to drop power ammo when killed, helping to fix the frequent problem of Destiny 1's "Heavy Ammo Droughts".
    • Lord Shaxx's Crucible callouts have been subtitled, allowing everyone to experience his glorious exhortations.
    • Previously in the Crucible, Sniper Rifles were the only weapons to have a scope glare, giving themselves away to attentive players, but still surprising them if a player's packing a shotgun. Now, with the new weapon system, all power weapons possess a glow at the end of their barrel that's been Color-Coded for Your Convenience to tell what that enemy player is using.
    • In addition, enemy grenades have a red glow to them so that you know to avoid them, rather than last time where you couldn't tell of that Lightning Grenade was friendly or hostile.
    • The "Director" allows player to bring up a map of the patrol zone, allowing them to more easily navigate the area rather than by memory. This screen also include most the area's missions and points of interest.
    • Players no longer need to go to orbit every time they want to start a new activity or go to a different planet. Instead, they can bring up the Director screen immediately and choose where they want to go from where they stand. In addition, patrol zones can have multiple drop-off zones, allowing them to basically Warp Whistle to different points of the planet.
    • "Public Events" show up on the Director as well, telling you where the event will take place along with a countdown timer for player to tell how much time they have at most. However, players already in the area can also quickly refill all of their weapons and powers by interacting with the Public Event banner, so that they can face it at full strength.
    • Weapons needed to complete exotic quests, such as Drang, MIDA Mini-Tool and the Legend of Acrius, can be bought from certain NPCs if the player accidentally dismantled them beforehand.
    • After the Season 2 update, identical copies of gear in your vault are located next to one another, so you can find and compare instantly if you only want to keep the higher-powered one.
    • Weapon ornaments, once acquired, can be used on any exotic weapon of that type, rather than duplicate ornaments having to be bought for each different character's weapons.
    • Instead of having to visit different kiosks scattered around the Tower, all your banners, emblems, exotic weapons and so on are available under the Collections tab in the menu. The same applies for legendary and lower rarity weapons and armor that doesn't have randomized perk rolls, i.e. pre-Forsaken content.
    • During Year Three, if you missed out on a particular season's armour set, you can still find a vendor that sells a set that includes the same seasonal mod slot. For example, Brother Vance sells armour pieces that can accept mods from Season of Dawn, though the mods themselves had to be unlocked during that season. Additionally, starting with Season of the Worthy, you can get seasonal armour pieces from previous seasons, such as the Substitutional Alloy set, as a world drop, particularly with Prime Engrams.
    • Season of the Worthy also allowed seasonal armour to accept mods from the season it was acquired in as well as the immediate prior and next seasons' mods. For example, armour sets from Shadowkeep will be able to accept mods from Opulence, Undying and Dawn, but not from Worthy; the sole excceptions are Forsaken and Black Armory mods, which are lumped together and excluded from Opulence and onwards. This gives players a fairly large time window to acquire armour pieces that satisfy their playstyle, while also granting them a large repertoire of mods throughout the seasons. Additionally, Season of the Worthy added the ability to change the element of your armour piece, though with a cost that's proportional to the amount of upgrades you have on it.
  • Anti-Grinding: Opening loot chests or picking up planetary resources in quick succession will grant diminishing returns until you are rewarded with almost nothing (usually after looting 4 or 5 objects within a couple of minutes). The only way to reset the unspoken timer is by eliminating the area's High Value Target, completing a Public Event, or simply returning to orbit.
    • In the grind for maximum light level, the most effective way is to find bounties, quests, strike/crucible/gambit daily and weekly rewards and planetary flashpoint missions, all of which give give Powerful rewards. Random "Legendary" engram drops tend to set their max light level 20 points below seasonal max, as well as armor and weapons offered by vendors. Prime Engrams are random drops and all other daily/weekly missions are limited to that time period, so once you reach those rewards you run out of easy level improving gear.
  • Apocalypse How: The Almighty tears apart Mercury as fuel for its energy beam, which links it to the Sun on a quantum level to slowly sap its power and make it collapse into a supernova. Because destroying the Almighty while it is still linked to the Sun would still wipe out the entire system, the Vanguard opts to disable the Almighty's beam instead.
  • Apocalyptic Log: One of Failsafe's assignments has you recover some radio coms dating from the time when the Exodus Black crashed on Nessus, with its survivors slowly dying out until its captain, Jacobson, is the only one left. Throughout the quest, you investigate in hopes of finding clues on whether or not Captain Jacobson is alive. Things get complicated when the Vex are thrown in, having recorded part of Jacobson's memories and transferred it to a non-hostile Harpy, which in turn leads to a wild goose chase that ends in discovering Jacobson's corpse.
  • The Artifact: The level advantages system in the Crucible. In Destiny, it was enabled for Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris, meaning higher powered players would have a strength advantage over lower powered players. In the first few seasons of Destiny 2, level advantages were not present in Iron Banner, though later seasons included them in again.
  • Arms and Armor Theme Naming: Several examples;
    • SUROS goes for musical elements followed by a number (e.g. Resonance-42).
    • VEIST weapons are (typically) named after venomous creatures (e.g. Valakadyn, Copperhead).
    • Hakke weapons are Named After Somebody Famous, more exactly historical leaders (Athelflad, Eystein, Pribina) and mythical figures (Antiope, Atalanta, Morrigan), followed by a letter indicating ingame rarity (from A to D).
  • Ascended Glitch: Prior to a certain patch, Hawthorne's falcon Louis would frequently spazz out intensely for an unknown reason. In the Dawning, your gift for Hawthorne is a package of sedatives meant to curb Louis's "occasional bouts of high energy."
  • Asteroids Monster: One of the European Aerial Zone Fallen bosses is a Servitor that splits into four smaller Servitors on death. Each of these then splits into four more smaller servitors. Fortunately this is the maximum number of times they split.
  • Bag of Spilling: While you can transfer the aesthetics of your characters from the first gamenote , all your weapons and abilities are gone. The weapon loss is explained in-game as the Tower's armory and vaults being destroyed in Ghaul's attack. As for your character levels, they were stolen when your connection to the Traveler was severed by its imprisonment.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The Chronicon is written as an entirely true timeline stretching into the far future of Calus's exploits throughout the universe after the Young Wolf joins the Shadows, and it isn't pretty. Footnotes, however, indicate that the real future is completely different and unfavorable for Calus, and that the future entries are entirely made up by his Psions to appease him (though not without a ton of research to ensure Calus would actually believe such a thing.)
  • Battle Intro: The pre-match intro in Quickplay Crucible matches consists of a shot of the arena, followed by your team's composition, with your Guardian as its main focus. Competitive matches instead have the two opposing teams stare each other down. The Trials of the Nine takes it a little further by giving all eight contestants a small cutscene where they perform their assigned emote, along with showing their loadout.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Failsafe, the half-formal, half-snarky AI of the ship Exodus Black, and pretty much the only good thing about it for the Guardians, as it was also carrying a large amount of SIVA that the Fallen happened to bump into once they discovered the crash site.
    • Played With in regards to Rasputin as of the end of Warmind; his motivations have always been something of a mystery, but that was mostly due to the fact that we've only been interacting with fragments of his vast consciousness before now as his main core in the Hellas Basin has been busy keeping Xol and Nokris in check. Once he is free to reassert control over his disparate parts and start launching new Warsats, he states that he does have humanity's preservation in heart, but is sick of both the Bray family and the Vanguard trying to force him into a role he doesn't want. He is dedicated to protecting mankind, but by his terms and following his morals.
  • BFS: More than half of the swords are nearly as long as your Guardian's height and boast a really broad blade. The Titan-exclusive Crown Splitter is unique in that it's a massive claymore that swings really slowly, emphasizing the impact in each mighty blow.
  • Big "NO!": Ghaul lets out two during the story's climax: one when the Young Wolf strikes him down, then another when the Traveler annihilates his immortal form.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The main story: The Guardians manage to defeat Ghaul and retake the Last City from the Cabal, while the Traveler has finally awakened and unleashes a wave of Light that spreads throughout the galaxy, re-empowers the remaining Guardians, disperses Ghaul's essence, and ushers in a second Golden Age. However, the Speaker and dozens or hundreds of Guardians are permanently dead, along with Traveler only knows how many civilians, while the remaining Guardians have to rebuild the City from the damage caused by the Cabal occupation while still being surrounded by threats. There are also a number of rising threats, including the previously unknown Fallen House of Dusk with its mysterious intentions. Additionally, events on Titan and Io indicate that Savathûn has succeeded Oryx as the new God-Queen of the Hive and mistress of the Taken, and that she's coming for Earth. Finally, The Stinger reveals an armada of black pyramid shaped ships, presumed to be either the Darkness or its agents, awoken by the Traveler's Light making their way towards Earth.
    • In Warmind the Young Wolf and Ana Bray managed to destroy Xol and keep Rasputin intact. However, the Clovis Bray Corporation is revealed to be a corrupt institution which killed thousands of people creating their wonders. Rasputin asserts itself as the most powerful force in the solar system, but as Zavala feared it operates on its own moral standing and it's not certain Ana can keep it in line.
    • In Forsaken you defeat the Taken entity manipulating Uldren, reclaim the Ace of Spades as your own, and Uldren is killed for what he's done. However, this doesn't change the fact that Cayde is dead, the Vanguard is weaker for it, and Zavala is certain that Uldren's death will carry consequences someday. In addition, its heavily implied that the Young Wolf's obsession with revenge on Uldren and their increasingly brutal actions throughout the campaign have formed a rift between them and Ghost, and a growing division among guardians in the Vanguard itself (strongly hinted by The Drifter taking up shop in the tower).
  • Blatant Lies: The flavor text for the Lucky Pants exotic armor quotes Cayde-6 protesting, "What? No, I didn't illegally modify the holster. These are just really lucky pants!" Of course, the main perk is Illegally Modded Holster.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Any weapon from the Leviathan or Last Wish raids or the New Monarchy faction, coming in white-and-gold or red-and-gold respectively. The raid and faction shaders let you bling out most any weapon. Most exotic weapons could qualify as this, even the plainer ones tend to have impressive detail or something to make them stand out compared to the common stuff too. Some standout weapons include:
  • Blood-Stained Glass Windows:
    • The player contact for the EDZ is a soldier named Devrim Kay VIII, who has set up a sniper nest in an old abandoned church to wage a one man war against the Fallen in the area.
    • Much of the Dreaming City, especially in the last act of Forsaken, resembles Catholic churches - wide arches, stained glass windows, and contemplative buildings. Here, you fight tons of Taken trying to carry out their evil deeds, and where you fight the Voice of Riven and kill Uldred in Forsaken is underneath a massive stained glassed window.
  • Bonus Dungeon:
    • The Leviathan, home to the exiled Cabal Emperor Calus. It's only accessible after clearing the story mode and reaching a high enough Power Level. Made available to eligible players one week after the game's release, the Leviathan features the sequel's first raid, but is also a Hub Level of sorts, having an elaborate underground maze that connects the ordeals together and entices the players to take shortcuts, unlocking hidden treasure chests with loot keys along the way. Additionally, the Leviathan hosts the first two expansions' raid lairs (essentially shorter but more intense variations of raids) and Penumbra brings another full-sized raid also aboard the Leviathan.
    • The Shattered Throne, taking place in Mara Sov's abandoned Ascendant Realm, is the first secret mission that's classified as a dungeon by Bungie, and is only accessible through exploring the Dreaming City when the curse is at its strongest (i.e., it's only available one week out of three). Said dungeon is quite expansive, requiring a fair amount of dungeon crawling and preparation against powerful endgame enemies. It's also the only way to acquire Sjur Eido's exotic bow Wish-Ender; one of two exotic bows, it can see enemies through walls when fully charged and is absurdly powerful against Taken enemies.
      • Pit of Heresy is a follow up dungeon in the same vein as The Shattered Throne, taking place underneath the Hive's Scarlet Keep on the Moon. It is perhaps a little more linear, but similarly has a side-quest to locate the exotic machine gun Xenophage that behaves more like a heavy, overpowered scout rifle.
    • The Menagerie, added in the Season of Opulence, sees Guardians returning to the Leviathan once again. This time they face the trials of Calus in search for better weapons and armour; it can essentially be considered a 'lite' raid, as it has simpler mechanics and more lenient punishments, as revives are unlimited and encounters do not start over if the team wipes. It even rehashes the Gauntlet from the original Leviathan.
  • Book-Ends: The opening mission sees you defending the city alongside other players before losing your powers and having to escape the ruins. The last mission sees you charging in to retake the city alongside other players through the ruins.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Forsaken added bows as a new weapon class, so now Guardians can wield a bow and a sword simultaneously, together with a third weapon. Even two bows and one sword are possible if a Guardian wants to.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Being Taken does nothing for one's hold on sanity, but it's never much mattered before, because all the Taken a Guardian would fight were already out to kill them before Oryx took them. Imagine now what happens when a sympathetic character is Taken. For example, Queen Mara Sov's Techeun servants, who are quite well-mannered and soft-spoken while in their right minds but cackle like The Wicked Witch of the West when you fight them as Taken bosses during the Last Wish raid. One could also say Uldren became this when he fell under the sway of Mara Sov's pet Ahamkara, Riven.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Without the Traveler's Light the Guardians are rendered powerless, losing all their abilities, Healing Factor and Resurrective Immortality. That doesn't stop them from continuing the war and eventually retaking the City from Ghaul.
    • In the brief interval at the beginning of the game when you, the player, are without the Traveler's Light, you beat two packs of Red Legion War Beasts (one led by a Legionary) escaping from the fallen Last City, and then a couple dozen Fallen making your way to the Shard of the Traveler. All done by yourself alone, aside from having your Ghost there to heal you.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Red War starts with Ghaul setting up a net around the Traveler, blocking off its power from the Guardians. For the player character, after the first level, the only lightbearer ability provided by your Ghost is mild healing and you're forced to fend off enemies with baseline weapons. You need to connect with a shard of the Traveler in order to start the level grind again, while all other Guardians have to do without. In more specific instances, there are suppression fields that temporarily negate all Guardian powers (except resurrection), forcing you to use exclusively your weapons and no supers, grenades or even a double jump. Some void powers explicitly do so (Titan grenades and Hunter shadowshot), while enemies like Fallen Berserkers in "Scourge of the Past" emit a suppression field while exposing their weak point.
  • Brutal Bonus Level:
    • The Raids are designed to be this way, long missions with complex mechanics requiring verbal coordination. It's for that reason there is no traditional matchmaking, players either have to gather six friends or use external fireteam gathering methods to get a decent group together.
      • The Leviathan raid is an invitation from Emperor Calus, the exiled Cabal ruler, to Guardians following the main story's conclusion. As expected, its difficulty is unlike anything faced before, with vast amounts of tough enemies and complex puzzles requiring an entire fireteam to pull through. Communication is a crucial factor to victory in this grueling series of trials, moreso than the previous game's raids. Additionally, the three main tasks (the Royal Baths, the Pleasure Gardens & the Gauntlet) rotate in order each week, so getting good at every one of them is essential, lest your fireteam stall on the very first encounter.
      • The Raid Lairs introduced in Curse of Osiris and Warmind also take place ON the Leviathan, but are shorter in length while noticeably more intensive at the boss checkpoint, taking the mechanics introduced in each phase and taking them up a notch.
      • The Last Wish introduced in Forsaken is an especially long raid, having six distinct encounters that leads you to the Greater-Scope Villain of the expansion (a standard run still takes about an hour to complete). Whereas previous Raids offered a prestige mode that made enemies tougher and add new mechanics to deal with, Last Wish has "Petra's Run" that forces you to restart the entire raid if anyone dies.
    • "The Whisper", a secret mission that's time-gated and hidden behind a specific public event, pushes the boundaries of platforming through a series of jumping puzzles ladden with Malevolent Architecture, and caps off with several fights against overleveled Taken enemies. Taken Up to Eleven in the Heroic version of this mission where the enemies are even tougher and having a well-oiled fireteam is critical to success.
    • "Zero Hour", a secret mission that's only accessible by gathering Fallen transponder nodes, one ups "The Whisper" with tougher shielded enemies, several jumping puzzles, and a maze of all things, all of which must be done alongside an intense boss fight under 20 minutes. The reward is a returning Destiny 1 Exotic, and the Heroic version of the mission rewards you with its catalyst. However, Heroic "Zero Hour" has you take a very wide detour from the normal route midway through, into even more jumping puzzles that highlight the Tower's No OSHA Compliance.
    • Some Quests involve you having to do a Nightfall Strike, which is already an upgraded version of a standard playlist Strike, but with a diversion into an especially difficult battle.
  • The Bus Came Back: In the Red War, a lot of Guardians, members of the city and other allies were scattered, leaving a lot of characters from Destiny 1 unaccounted for. Some were revealed or implied to be killed, but over the course of the DLC others show up. Uldren Sov shows up in Forsaken after having not been seen since the opening cutscene of The Taken King in Destiny 1. Likewise Mara Sov is revealed to have survived the same events by hiding in a pocket dimension in the Dreaming City. And Eris Morn returns in Shadowkeep after having been entirely from the game until then.
  • Call-Back:
    • Ever wondered where the bottom pieces of the Traveller went? Turns out it's in European Dead Zone where the Guardians went to recover themselves after losing the Last City.
    • In one EDZ mission, you set up a Frame-Up between the Fallen and the Cabal, with Ghost adding that he called Ghaul a Fallen swear word that he'd rather not translate. It's probably the same word that the Silent Fang leader used to describe the player back in the first game, which, if it means "Traveler-thief" like many fans predicted, would be both scathing and accurate.
    • The final battle against Ghaul features the original "Cabal Stomp" theme that first played when the player encountered the Cabal on Mars.
    • Also in the final battle,Ghaul boasts "I have become legend" when he gets his powers. The motto of the first Destiny was "Become Legend". Ghaul essentially proclaims himself a Guardian.
    • On a less serious note, players patrolling the Sunken Isle section of the European Dead Zone can sometimes encounter a Fallen Vandal with an abnormally high amount of health, enough to require a fireteam of 3 to take down. Perhaps Randall survived in-between games...
    • A comedic example: The Exo Stranger's infamous "I don't even have time to explain why I don't have time to explain", is referenced with Cayde's hilarious line "Don't ask how this happened! I don't have time to explain what I don't have time to understand!"
    • And a tragic example comes in Forsaken, in the Memory of Cayde class items:
    Cayde: "Hey... take me with you."
  • Catchphrase: Most SUROS weapons feature variations of a tagline. For example;
    Pentatonic-48 Rocket Launcher: SUROS invites you to light it up.
    Galliard-42 Auto Rifle: SUROS invites you to kick up your heels.
    Resonance-42 SMG: SUROS invites you to strike a chord.
  • Color Motif: In their icons and armor designs, Hunters are now associated with blue, Warlocks with yellow, and Titans with red. Likewise, each Foundry has their trademark colour scheme.
  • Colony Drop: The Red Legion's final contingency plan is to pilot the Almighty directly into the Last City, and forms the main dilemma you have to stop in the Season of the Worthy.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Live-Action trailer, the list of things that have been destroyed depends on which language you're watching the video in. The North American and Commonwealth English versions are slightly different as well.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In the main campaign, each Vanguard leader separated to different planets and featured unique subplots that befit their character and Guardian class (an improvement over Destiny 1 where they had little involvement with the story and largely just a class vendor). Zavala looked to regroup on Titan and take the city by force, Cayde tried to use Vex tech on Nessus to teleport behind enemy lines for an assassination, Ikora went into exile on Io trying to understand how to live without the light from the Traveler.
    • The first three DLC also feature the individual Vanguard leaders in major supporting roles: Warmind has Zavala cautioning Ana and your Guardian on trying to control Rasputin, Osiris has Ikora get involved to find her long-missing mentor and Forsaken has Cayde-6 die in the opening level but his legacy remains and he has left hidden secrets all around the solar system.
  • Deconstruction: Forsaken offers two:
    • The behavior of Real Life players is revealed to be how Guardians actually act, seeking out loot simply to have it, constantly being on the search for power, and being bored by just about any task that comes at no real immediate benefit to them. It's implied that the Traveler is intentionally inflicting this as a mental Restraining Bolt against doing anything that isn't training to fight the Darkness, given how it's treated the other races it blessed in the past.
    • The timeloop affecting the Dreaming City is a deconstruction of events in traditional MMORPG games that repeat indefinitely for either no real in-universe reason or an arbitrary one, lore-wise. Whereas repeating events in other games tend to simply repeat with no real consequence, the curse on the Dreaming City is looping, and it's raising hell on the Awoken who are forced to live out cruel fates, unable to change them, all for a gambit of unclear ends.
    • In Jokers Wild conversations with the Drifter starts poking apart some of the core facets of the games setting. He is actually one of the oldest guardians revived after the collapse, and didn't see the Iron Lords note  or even the modern Vanguard as any better than the warlords of the Collapse note , whereas those like Saladin, Savala, Ikora and Osiris tended to glorify that period. The Drifter also despised their functional immortality, saying he once died of starvation only to be revived by his ghost and still hungry, and sees the ghosts as not being loyal to you but the abstract will of the Traveler.
  • Despair Speech: Parodied in the "Rally the Troops" teaser, where Cayde-6's speech highlights that they've lost everything, and they might not die if they fight, whereas if they don't, he'll personally kill them. He only manages to turn it into a Rousing Speech at the last minute by mentioning loot.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • The very big one is that a surprisingly large amount of dialogue will change if the player doesn't import a Guardian from the first Destiny. In that case instead of the Young Wolf, the player Guardian and Ghost are all but explicitly stated to be a different pair with little knowledge of the finer points of the events of Destiny 1. For example: the player's Ghost has to ask for an explanation on exactly what the Taken and Warminds are. Though according to Zavala during the Inverted Spire strike, all surviving Guardians have fought in the heart of the Black Garden.
      • As ofNew Light, new Guardians are implied to have been resurrected post-Red War.
    • In one Adventure in the European Dead Zone, you lure the Cabal into a ambush by having your Ghost impersonate the Fallen and insult the Cabal. What insult he says depends on whenever or not you completed the Main Campaign or not.
    • In several Adventures on Io, you'll see Vex frozen inside Taken Blights, particularly as you investigate potential collusion between the Vex and Taken. If you're quick enough you can Mercy Kill the helpless Vex before they get Taken, meaning you won't have to fight them. Especially notable when you do the final mission of a quest chain, as one of the first rooms has almost a dozen Blights with three or four Vex to each. If you don't mercy-kill them at the start, you'll have to fight them on the way out!
    • Doing enough Public Events (or doing the same Public Event enough times) on a Planet will change the starting dialogue between your Ghost and whoever is the Planet Vendor.
    • In the new Tower, in the hangar there's a sign saying "Days without accidents", followed by a random number. If you decide to jump off the tower (therefore dying), the number resets back to zero when you respawn.
    • The Truth to Power lore book has an intentionally unavailable entry, which calls out the reader for either hacking or datamining the game in order to view it.
  • Doomed Hometown: The City, the Guardians' headquarters and primary hub zone of the original game, is destroyed by Ghaul's attack.
  • Downer Beginning: The City and the Tower are lost to the Cabal at the beginning of the game. The opening mission will have the player fight in the defense of the Tower, but not even the Guardian who took down Oryx is a match for a Cabal attack of this size. The rest of the game is about picking up the pieces, rebuilding, and (naturally) revenge.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cayde-6 has a touch of this in the trailer with his "If I don't see you out there, I'll kill you myself!" Watching Guardians are visibly taken aback.
  • Dual Boss:
    • The "Weapons Exchange" Public Event (available on Titan primarily, and the EDZ more rarely) has you trying to destroy a Fallen Walker. If you take the time unlock all 3 Scorch Cannon caches, however, another Fallen Walker will be deployed as part of the Heroic difficulty version of the Public Event. If the weekly Flashpoint focus is on Titan, an additional Repair Shank will spawn to assist the Walker, and there's also a possibility that the Hive on Siren's Watch will interfere in the fight, led by a Fissure Knight. Defeating that Fissure Knight also spawns Naktal, Fury of Savathûn, who also leads a posse of Hive, adding to the chaos.
    • The other Public event type on Titan, the Witches' Ritual, has you try to take the shields down of two extra tough Wizards by standing on pressure plates. While taking them out without any further output only leads to a fight with an even beefier Wizard, triggering the Heroic version while Flashpoint is active spawns not only the Abyssal Champion, a carbon copy of Alak-Hul from The Taken King, but also another tanky Knight, Vanbaluk, Trusted of Savathûn.
  • Dug Too Deep:
    • The Cabal on Nessus inadvertently re-activated the powerful Vex Mind, Protheon, during one of their routine excavations.
    • On Io, the Cabal, once again, excavated the moon for traces of the Traveler's energy, only to attract the attention of a massive Taken army.
  • Dummied Out: Many early Exotics were set up to accept shaders, although it's currently impossible to apply one to the weapon. You can see how a shader would look on a kinetic Exotic by inspecting the Shader with that weapon equipped.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The series of jumps in the Agonarch Abyss's Ascendant Challenge can be easily skipped altogether if you use the Striker's Ballistic Slam (Code of the Missile) and aim it towards the temple at the very bottom of the challenge, saving you a considerable amount of time if you're going for the time trial triumph.
    • When going through The Whisper quest for the exotic sniper rifle "Whisper of the Worm," a room near the end of platforming part features a bypass as soon as you enter next to a light-bar, negating the troubling "grass room" altogether.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The Raid Lairs are designed to take less time to run through most encounters... until you get to the boss, which requires optimal communication and very tight gameplay to root out the smallest errors. To give you a perspective at how hard it is, within one week of the introduction of the "Spire of Stars" Raid Lair, 1 million players on all 3 platforms attempted it, and only a little over 3,000 individuals have beaten the boss.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Breaking an enemy shield with the corresponding element (e.g. Void for a Purple shield) causes it to explode, inflicting additional damage on the enemy and those nearby. Then there's the Match Game modifier, which massively reduces the effectiveness of non-corresponding elements against a shield - this is either an opt-in mechanic for Nightfalls, or mandatory in certain special missions like Zero Hour.
  • Enemy Civil War: Calus, the Cabal Emperor who was displaced by Ghaul before the Red War. He arrives in the Leviathan capital ship but denounces the actions of the Red Legion and invites the Guardians to various challenges with rewards, all with an air of hostility but in an Affably Evil and Friendly Enemy way. There are also some Fallen Houses that are semi-friendly with people of the Last City or the Awoken, with Forsaken introducing The Spider, an overweight Fallen Mob Boss who is the destination vendor of the Tangled Shore, Information Broker and occasionally dispatches his own troops to assist you against other Fallen. The Scorn in particular are technically Fallen who use dark ether and have no allegiance to other Fallen.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The Iron Banner armour sets have an oriental theme to them this time around (without forgetting the wolf motif of the Iron Lords), with scaled chainmail armour fashioned like feudal-era Japan samurai; the Hunter's helmet even has the mouth of a snarling oni.
  • Fantastic Drug: The lore for the Jade Rabbit heavily implies that some of the Guardians' weirder behaviors (namely, constant dancing, toxic personalities, and "hero moments," which are of course derived from real-life player behavior as the lore has done in the past) are the side effects of one of these, originally created by Daito as a form of antidepressant to deal with the crippling existential horror of being a resurrected warrior with no memory of their past life and the fear of death that arises from being conditionally immortal.
  • Fearless Fool: Dominus Ghaul accuses the Player Character of being one of these.
    Dominus Ghaul: You're not brave. You've merely forgotten the fear of death. Allow me to reacquaint you.
  • Flaming Sword: The Warlock's new Dawn Blade subclass, with a bit of flaming Sword Beam. Ghaul has these after stealing the Light; he throws Dawnblade swords like Hunter Knives/the Hammer of Sol.
    • Forsaken introduced the Way of a Thousand Cuts super for Hunters, which Cayde-6 shows off during the mob fight cinematic in the Prison of Elders. Hunters can fling six solar-infused knives at a mob of enemies or one big boss. The melee ability also uses this, though the number of knives is reduced by half.
  • Flipping the Table: One exotic emote has your Guardian spontaneously create a table made of Light, then flip it up.
  • Foreshadowing
    • In the opening mission Amanda implores the Traveler to do something to stop the Red Legion. During the final mission when it looks like the Vanguard is too late and Ghaul has achieved immortality the Traveler wakes up and personally destroys Ghaul.
    • The tagline: New Legends Will Rise. Ghaul proclaims, "I have become Legend." after gaining the power of the Light.
    • During the first assault on Ghaul, Cayde-6 can be heard complaining that his Golden Gun power (the super for the Hunter class) seems to be fizzling. This foreshadows the loss of Light that all Guardians will shortly be facing.
    • One of the letter fragments found in Cayde's stashes expresses his distrust of the Awoken of the Reef. Prince Uldren kills Cayde in the trailer for the "Forsaken" expansion.
    • Some of the Adventures in the base game would hint towards events to come in Curse of Osiris and Warmind, such as Osiris sending his regards after tapping into the Vex network on Nessus and Rasputin hacking Ghost to deliver a message while investigating some caches playing classical music around the area.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Oh yes. Available in just about every flavor and color. A preorder weapon even shoots a sustained laser that causes lightning damage. Strangely, the dying effect of this causes enemies to burst into flame.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": The clue to one of Cayde's caches on Io recalls how, while attending a long and boring memorial service for a dead Warlock, he made a bet with Banshee-44 that he could make a few tricky jumps on a high mesa. Cayde won the bet despite breaking both his legs.
  • Gambit Roulette: Queen Mara Sov seems to have been engaged in this with someone from as far back as the opening to The Taken King. Players are not sure who, but it's hinted in several pieces of lore that said someone is Savathûn, resident Trickster Goddess of the Hive and Taken, and if true, this means that Mara has known or at least suspected for some time that the events of Forsaken would come to pass regardless of how many secrets she keeps.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: After a massive revamp into "New Light", playing a new character will make the recently-awakened Guardian already highly empowered (Power Level 750) thanks to the Light, and the Tower is already there as the first destination for said Guardian. The completed campaigns are available instead as an (implied) separate Framing Device presented by Amanda Holliday as you play the completed campaigns through her.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: There's nothing stopping you from going back to the Farm or EDZ after answering Zavala's Call to rendezvous at Titan, and Hawthorne behaves as if you never left.
    • The player character is supposed to be the only Guardian to have regained their Light, thus their immortality and powers. This doesn't stop you from teaming up with other players well before the finale, who likewise have their powers and immortality intact.
    • Once the main campaign is beaten you have access to all of the supplementary game modes, including the Strikes which are framed as specialized missions directed by the Vanguard. The thing is, all the Strikes are based on campaign, DLC campaigns and side missions that you may or may not have played already. So even though some locations can only be accessed through these story modes like the Dreaming City you may find yourself doing adventures in these places you shouldn't have access to yet.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Pleasure Gardens section of The Leviathan Raid is prone to several glitches which can induce lots of frustration since it's supposed to be a Stealth-Based Mission. Sometimes, a War Beast will run up to you for no explicable reason, instantly getting you detected. Other times, a War Beast can detect players through walls, hear the jumping of the players guiding the other players through the maze, and in one specific case, can spawn inside the safe room at the very beginning of the encounter.
    • In general, creating too many orbs and ammo bricks in one instance likely causes the server side to overload, resulting in a "guitar" error code and booting all players in the instance back to orbit. This is prevalent in activities where your fireteam can spam Supers and kill a great amount of enemies in a short time, such as raids and the Reckoning.
  • Genius Loci: Taken Up to Eleven. The book "Dust," obtained in Joker's Wild, reveals that the entire solar system is this, one for each planet. Their name? The Nine.
  • Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Cayde-6 tries to give a Rousing Speech that amounts to: I'm pissed all my stuff was blown up, I'm awesome, I totally forgot the Big Bad's name, but if you don't go out there I will kill you, and also we're probably all going to die. It's only when the others point out it was a terrible speech, forcing him to promise "tons of loot", that anyone even cheers.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Turning Public Events into Heroic Events (which nets you more clan XP and better loot) sometimes involves an unorthodox method to activate that's easily missed while you go around completing the event:
      • For the Cabal Excavation, you need to destroy the Thresher that flies in from time to time while capturing the drill, which can throw you off if you were expecting it to be just an intermittent hazard. It's no easy task to down it, either, due to its high health and damage output.
      • For the Fallen Glimmer excavation, you need to destroy the machine powering the drill on all 3 drill sites. It doesn't spawn immediately and looks like just another event prop at first glance, so it can be easy to miss.
      • For the Taken Blight event, you are given the objective to clear out the Blight fields that spawn, but it's only when you quickly step in and out of said fields that you can acquire the "Receding Blight" buff, which is what allows you to inflict damage on the otherwise invulnerable main Blight (the very first floating sphere that spawns in the event). Inflicting enough damage on the main Blight is what triggers the Heroic Event, though you may have an easier time getting the required damage by progressing all the way to the last wave of smaller Blights, which weakens the main Blight to where a few good shots from your Power weapon will do the trick.
      • For the Cabal Injection Rig, you need to destroy the large glowing vents on the structure after killing each Psion instead of backing out during the Evacuation phase as the game tells you to. This means that you have to stay inside the Rig's force field and destroy the vents as you quickly lose your health.
      • For the Vex Crossroads event added in Curse of Osiris, you need to reach the upper levels of the first 'island' you go to, by shooting floating diamonds that appear after you deposit said island' charge (this also means that you have to do this before the second island's charge is deposited). This is easily missed if you go straight to the other island, moreso with the game's objective prompt.
      • The Rift Generator event in the Strand section of the Dreaming City has you defend the eponymous generator from Scorn waves for 5 minutes, and you can kill an Abomination that drops a charge that repairs the generator in case it's damaged. What the game doesn't tell you, however, is that you have to destroy the large Blights that randomly appear in one of the three venues; not only do they disappear rather quickly, but you'd be hard pressed to look for them on your own while you're busy defending the generator, moreso if you're carrying a repair charge.
    • You'll need the Wish-Ender bow found in the Shattered Throne, itself only accessible one week out of the three in the Dreaming City, if you mean to hunt the forty Taken eggs scattered across the city and the Ascendant Realm in pursuit of the "Cursebreaker" seal from the Reefborn Awoken. Oh, and you'll need to complete the Throne at least once and then do a second partial completion in order to actually get the bow.
    • The Wishes that you can input in the "Last Wish" raid. There is absolutely no way a normal player would come across the plates depicting the various wishes in the wild, as only the most observant completionists would explore every map's boundaries to finally find these plates and decode the symbols into something that can be put in the Wall of Wishes. The Wall is a 4x5 grid and there are 16 possible symbols for each panel (plus one for the option of being blank), the math there speaks for itself.
    • A number of Quests, especially exotic quests, have no specific instructions on how to accomplish it.
      • The Rat King quest comes with vague riddles in place of directions. Overall it is not that complicated, as most of it is simply playing the game via doing patrols, public events, crucible, etc, but every step needs to be done while in a fireteam who also has the quest.
      • The quest for Izanagi's Burden does offer some instructions on where to locate specific items, but many parts are left unexplained, particularly when it comes to the keys to open the mysterious box.
      • Playing through the Joker's Wild campaign to learn more about the Drifter involves finding 7 audio recordings he left scattered around the EDZ. They give a little bit of information on the region they are at, but it's functionally looking for a handheld radio in the middle of a city.
      • The Fallen Transponder that leads you to Outbreak Perfected simply has seven nodes with a bunch of random code. They all correspond to different Lost Sectors, but the information provided is gibberish computer code. The final mission Zero Hour is similar to The Whisper but ramps up the puzzle portions in conjunction with the limited time, making it even less likely for anyone to figure it out intuitively.
    • Raids are traditionally not given any official instructions by Bungie despite having the most complicated mechanics in the entire game. For that reason traditional matchmaking is not available, and other than online guides the forums used to find fireteams will sometimes offer a "sherpa" to teach them how to do it in gameplay.
  • The Hero: The player's Guardian from the first game has achieved this status in universe over the course of the last game and it is holding here. When speaking to Zavala, Amanda refers to them as 'that guardian you never shut up about.'
  • Heroic Mime:
    • In contrast to how the original story mode of Destiny had the Player Character Guardian sometimes speak in cutscenes (but not in any subsequent expansions), the same Guardian says nothing at all in the story mode of Destiny 2, with the Ghost handling all dialogue.
    • The character's Heroic Mime status is sometimes lampshaded by the designers, especially with the Titan relic "Mask of the Quiet One".
    • Your Guardian finally decides to speak up after the opening cinematic of Forsaken just long enough to swear vengeance on Uldren Sov for killing Cayde-6. Afterwards, it's right back to stoic silence and letting your Ghost do all the talking.
    • Shadowkeep inverts all of this by having your character become a practical chatterbox, speaking more than all the other times in the franchise to date.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The characters in the live-action promo shot and generic Guardians in the Rally the Troops trailer are all helmetless. This is notable as the first game had no options to remove helmets while on missions.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In Shadowkeep, the first time you encounter the Nightmare of Crota, you manage to deal some damage to him, only for him to turn himself immune, regenerate his health and summon the Nightmares of Ghaul and the Fanatic. If it wasn't for Eris teleporting you to safety, you would've been butchered right then and there.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The game seems to be doing a downright meta take on this trope, with the following evidence:
    • The lore for the Skull of Ahamkara helmet and Claws of Ahamkara gauntlets direct speak to the player.
      • On a similar note, the hidden "Truth of Power" grimoire card does this as well.
    • The Otherside exotic Sparrow directly refers to a "player" that all Guardians have that serve as their complete equal in all things.
    • Perhaps most recently, the latest invitation from the Nine has us walking in on a conversation between them and the Emissary, with the latter talking about the player and even referring to their world as "a game" with the former, of all beings, genuinely struggling to comprehend what she's saying.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: One of Ghaul's big reasons for attacking the tower is that he believes that the Traveler chose wrong when it gave its Light to humanity. The opening attack on the tower is his way of showing it.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • Unless by some miraculous streak of luck you come across an Exotic engram before journeying to Io, Asher Mir will be there providing you with a selection of 3 Exotic weapons by simply progressing through the story; you'll have to choose between the Sunshot, the Graviton Lance or the Riskrunner (though subsequent playthroughs won't reward you with any of the guns if you already unlocked them through Exotic engrams). All three weapons are impressive in their own right, and though they face competition with more practical Legendary guns, are much more accessible than some of the Exotics requiring convoluted quest lines.
    • Most exotic quests that are easily accessible with only a couple clearly defined steps tend to be interesting, possible really powerful with the right situation and armor perks, but ultimately not as powerful as the longer steps or hidden weapons.
      • Sturm is an exotic hand cannon you acquire by getting kills with the Drang sidearm, and together can utilize Bottomless Magazines when switching between them and getting a kill.
      • Mida Multi-Tool is a scout rifle that increases movement speed and has an accelerate rate of fire. The quest simply involves getting kills with different weapons under different circumstances.
      • Worldline Zero is found simply by searching for specific nodes around Mars and using the right weapon type to destroy it (white for kinetic, purple for void, orange for solar, blue for arc, red for the javelin warmind weapon), but the kicker was searching for 45 of them. The weapon itself isn't notable as far as damage is concerned, but using a bug in the Flash Step perk has made it vital for Speed Run challenges.
      • Devils Ruin showed up as a quest you could complete in 20 minutes, with the lore tied in to Saint-14 and Shaxx, along with a fusion rifle-like Secondary Fire that can disrupt overload champions.
      • Death Bringer is a void rocket launcher found by rooting out various lost sectors on the moon. The exotic trait is that it's explosion rains down tracking orbs on the enemy and gives a damage bonus for the longer they fall. It's a fun, esoteric weapon utilizing Death from Above, but the guesswork involved makes it less practical than a traditional rocket launcher.
      • With the launch of New Light and Shadowkeep, several exotic weapons that were originally random drops instead became tied in to exotic quests. Jotunn and Le Monarque were acquired doing Black Armory weapon forges, while Risk Runner involved a special mission that took you back to the Cosmodrome of Destiny 1.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Legend of Acrius. It's the only shotgun to have maximum impact and range, meaning it'll hit like a truck on any poor sap at a fair amount of distance (at least by shotgun standards), on top of overpenetrating enemies; by all means, it's a nightmare against tightly grouped Guardians and Supers in the Crucible. It's also acquired by completing a very long and hard quest chain that initially involves clearing the Leviathan raid and a Nightfall Strike on Prestige difficulty; all for an incomplete version of the Exotic shotgun . If you want to unlock the weapon's full potential, however, you'll have to complete a few challenges with the incomplete shotgun, then enter the Leviathan again to gather collectibles that drop at every encounter, and you may potentially need to do it twice to get enough. The icing on the cake is that if you want the ornament, you have to complete the raid once more, this time on Prestige Mode.
    • The Sleeper Simulant, returning from Destiny for the Warmind expansion. After completing the expansion's main story, you have to complete additional missions to receive an unique IKELOS Handcannon which you will then have to use to score kills on enemies, have it equipped while doing Heroic Strikes, then beat at least 3 boss rounds in Escalation Protocol (which is no easy feat given the steep power level requirement and the generally slow power progression that comes with this expansion), along with collecting nodes that are hidden on Mars, themselves requiring keys that you create by completing various activities. Finally, you'll have to complete the expansion's final mission again, this time at a power level difficulty of 360. In exchange for this excruciatingly long grind, you are rewarded with the single most powerful Linear Fusion Rifle in the game (in fact, the highest damage in a single hit, excluding a Gunslinger's Golden Gun equipped with the Celestial Nighthawk helmet), coming with the ridiculous ability to refract a shot into multiple lasers should the shot bounce off a hard surface.
    • The Rat King is a versatile sidearm that gets a damage bonus when allied players are also using Rat King, meaning it can stack up to x6 damage. The quest is only figured out through a special playthrough of a particular mission, and the individual steps are not explained but only given a riddle, and require you to do various activities with fireteam members. The catalyst involves playing crucible with fireteam members, where only allied Rat King kills progress the catalyst.
    • On the Crucible side of things, Redrix's Claymore, a Legendary Pulse Rifle introduced in Season 3, requires players to attain a fairly good standing in Competitive matches, translating to dozens of victories, made easier with consecutive wins streaks. The reward is a very potent weapon with two perks that synergize really well with each other, making it similar to the raid weapons from Destiny 1's "Wrath of the Machine" raid.
    • Warmind also introduces a trio of Legendary weapons only attainable through the grueling 7-wave Escalation Protocol, and even then, they have a mere 5% drop chance from defeating the final boss. The reward is an IKELOS-themed shotgun/submachine gun/sniper rifle that possesses unique perks made to damage tough enemies even faster. The shotgun in particular is famous for encouraging aggressive boss debuffs followed by close-range slugging.
    • The Whisper of the Worm, being subtly introduced shortly before the Solstice of Heroes and during the first week of the Prestige raid lairs, is an elusive sniper rifle whose stopping power and perks make the D.A.R.C.I. look like a gnat, and is obtained by completing a timed mission that's only accessible through a public event on Io. The secret mission consists of a very complex series of jumping puzzles, followed by several brutal fights against swarms of Taken enemies, all of which must be completed under 20 minutes.
    • The Wish-Ender, a Kinetic Bow that can reveal enemies through walls while aiming down its sights, is obtained through a questline in the Dreaming City while the Taken curse is at its highest and you can access Mara Sov's Throne World, Eleusinia. The missions you must partake in are some of the longest and most grueling, and borrow a few mechanics from the "Last Wish" raid. After defeating Dûl Incaru, you must find a hidden mission in the Tangled Shore, complete it then head back to Erebus, where you have to redo the puzzles up until Sjur Eido's statue before the fight with Dûl Incaru, with the added tasks of coaxing out those same Taken bosses from the Tangled Shore mission and beating them again to charge the tokens you have to give to Sjur's statue.
    • Season 4's pinnacle Crucible rewards program sidelines Season 3's Redrix's Claymore in exchange for two questlines that lead to either the Claymore's companion weapon, Redrix's Broadsword (nearly identical to the Claymore except for randomized barrel and magazine perks), or the handcannon Luna's Howl, possessing an unique perk that turns it into one of the, if not the, deadliest PvP weapons should you keep scoring headshots. Both weapons require a chain of objectives that can only be completed in the Crucible, with the Howl being exclusively tied to the Competitive playlist and requiring a fairly inordinate amount of dedication to reach Fabled rank. Both weapons, while extremely potent in the hands of a skilled player, face solid competition from more common weapons, doing little to justify the draconian effort in acquiring them.
      • As if to put icing on the cake, the Luna's Howl can be succeeded by the Not Forgotten, another fast-firing handcannon that has even more range than the former. To get this one, you really have to go all out in Competitive with your freshly-acquired Luna's Howl, score kills with it, then reach the maximum rank. By the end of it all, you might as well consider yourself in the top percent of Crucible players, with the Not Forgotten being a Bragging Rights Reward.
    • The Malfeasance handcannon is more myth than reality to most Guardians, mainly because it involves an insane amount of luck in Gambit to even start the quest. You have to rely on RNG to spawn the eyegougingly rare Taken Servitor primeval, and then you have to beat it, which is no mean feat in itself, and made even worse if you don't. What follows is an agonizing series of quests to complete, including defeating multiple Taken bosses with Raid-level health, completing a 580-level version of The Corrupted strike, winning ten matches of Gambit while banking 400 motes with the caveat that if you die with motes, your progress will decrease by double the amount you lost, and finally killing twenty-five enemy Guardians in Gambit, AND wiping all four opposing Guardians in one invasion or having a teammate wipe the opposing team 3 times, whichever is easier. After all that work, you will receive one of the quickest ways to kill both Taken and other Guardians in Gambit. Taken Predator ensures your status as The Dreaded both against Taken and invading Guardians, and the intrinsic perk Explosive Shadow makes short work of even the beefiest bosses.
    • Izanagi's Burden is the signature weapon of the Black Armory group and part of a long exotic quest line. The sniper rifle is even designed to look like a sword in a sheath. Its major feature is the ability to condense multiple rounds in the magazine into one shot that does exponential damage (up to four rounds, each adding about 110 percent damage), which makes is a risk/reward maneuver. In terms of single-shot damage it is only outclassed by the likes of supers such as Golden Gun with Celestial Nighthawk.
    • Leviathan's Breath is a heavy weapon bow with a long draw time and very concussive explosions that can stop unstoppable champions. The interesting part of this quest is locating Banshee's workshop, which involved a lot of players discovering that the tower itself always had a hidden series of tunnels that take you to different rooms you never thought you could access before. The rest of the quest is pretty standard between getting kills and running unique strikes.
    • Divinity is found through a series of steps you have to accomplish while in the Garden of Salvation raid, which only a handful of players actually engage in. The weapon is a trace rifle, making it already rare, but has a debuff effect on enemies while being damaged by this weapon, in addition to making all damage against the enemy critical damage.
    • The Xenophage is an Exotic Machine Gun whose quest involves a long chain of puzzles tied to the Lost Sectors and leads you into the Pit of Heresy dungeon. There, you have to deviate from the normal path in the Tunnels of Despair to fight a 980 Power Wizard whose shield can only be dispelled by matching buffs. Once you're done with that grueling fight, Eris awaits you with the Xenophage, which is an oddity among Machine Guns due to its high damage per shot and low reserves, making it more akin to a fully automatic Grenade Launcher.
  • Ironic Name: There is absolutely zero evidence that the lore book "Truth to Power" contains anything factual or useful due to the large amount of contradictory information within the book. It's also told by an Unreliable Narrator.
  • It's All About Me: As Cayde-6 says, the most important thing about the loss of the City is "my stuff". And his tale of the fighting, contrasted to Zavala's, features only his own exploits. It's all Played for Laughs.
    Cayde-6: They kept comin', I kept firin'. Not gonna lie; I was magnificent.
    • Later, Cayde-6 solely helps Failsafe and a fireteam from getting torn apart by Fallen scavengers, simply because he heard there was loot he could take in Failsafe's cargo. One of the possible lines of dialogue has him explaining away managing to hack into Failsafe's (blocked) comms by proclaiming he's the best.
  • It Has Been an Honor: The last mission features the powerless Vanguard and Guardians launching an attack to retake the city from Ghaul, stop him from stealing the Light, and achieving godhood. As Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde are being slowly overrun they start saying their goodbyes just in case... except Cayde, who's... well...
    Zavala: Ikora. Cayde. If we don't make is out of this alive... know that I have never been prouder to be part of your fireteam.
    Ikora: If we have to die, at least we'll die in the shadow of the Traveler, old friend.
    Cayde-6: We're about to die, and you're still making speeches!?
  • Kaizo Trap: Almost. At the end of the Savathûn's Song strike, the shell and parts of the end boss still have physics and collision damage enabled. As the boss explodes on death, it's quite possible to get flattened by a flying chunk of Shrieker. Fortunately, the mission is marked as completed the instant the boss dies.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Bungie decided to take a page from its roots to complement Destiny 2's new weapon setup. Kinetic Weapons (i.e. element-less weapons) deal more damage especially against unshielded opponents. Energy Weapons are closer to proper Secondary weapons, dealing less damage than kinetics, but more damage against shields than kinetic weapons.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Completing the first Forge for Ada-1 has her sarcastically congratulate the player in the manner of most questgivers - an overstatement of the Guardian's importance, praise of the Guardian's skills, an overly hopeful tone, forgiveness of any past sins, and a reward. Ada-1 follows that with another lampshade by saying she might've been too harsh.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Certain exotic armor pieces associated with Ahamkara seem to imply that Ahamkara know they are in a video game, referring not to a bearer or a reader but to the player themselves.
    Claws of Ahamkara: We are not the photons on your screen, or the voice in your head, or the words you read. Shut your eyes — tightly — and you may see us.
    Skull of Dire Ahamkara: I came to find you, only you, because you're special. You're from somewhere real. And together we can burn our way back there. Can't we, o player mine?
    • The further you get into the Invitations of the Nine, the more the Nine talks of the Guardians being 'mediums' for something powerful, beyond reality, and who can never be truly killed - in other words, the player.
    • One of the lore books for the Dreaming City has a particularly damning description of Guardians that is basically aimed at players themselves.
    Savin the Guardian showed a tremendous fondness for doing things; he had a pathologically task-oriented nature, which made him very useful to the Reef. [...] And Savin was most of all greedy — not in the grasping manner of the petty, but in an enormous, all-consuming way, for he desired materials and experiences that would temper him into a better Guardian, and he was always experimenting with his strange powers in foolish ways that left him briefly dead, seeking "a new Super ability" or "some way to make my grenades faster." He grew tired of performing trivial tasks about the Reef, complaining that the dangerous repairs he made were endless and boring, and that he wanted to move on to new worlds. He leapt into space, repeatedly and without reason, as if his death were no more traumatic than a hop off a curb. Obsessed with reward and efficiency, he would rather do one profitable thing a thousand times than waste his efforts on a less beneficial novelty.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Speaker's disappearance sends Ikora into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that displays never-before-seen levels of Warlock powernote .
    Ikora Rey: Red Legion, you will take no more from us, and you will find no mercy in me!!
    • Turned Up to Eleven after Uldren kills Cayde. She calls for a full-on invasion of the Reef by the Guardians.
      We will take the Reef by storm. All of us. Every Titan, every Warlock, Every Hunter. If he thinks what he's done is the end... it's not. It's the beginning.
  • Level Grinding: The game has a maximum light level dictated by the current DLC that is in play, and your light level is determined as an average of the light level of your individual gear (three weapons and five armor pieces). Shadowkeep introduced a new method of grinding where once you reach the max level you have the option of earning "pinnacle" gear in Harder Than Hard modes that is above your current average, making a theoretical infinite light level beyond the base max. It was originally just one level above and you had to get weapons and armor in every slot in order to advance to the next level but was quickly changed due to rarity of pinnacle gear and likelihood of repeat pieces making the grind extra obnoxious. The system was reworked so that pinnacle gear is two levels above so that once you get four pieces your average level will tab up and your standard Powerful Engrams will drop at one higher. There are limited amounts of pinnacle gear available to acquire, so even the most dedicated player can only advance 2 levels every other week.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Shard of the Traveler occupying the European Dead Zone somehow transformed its surroundings into a twisted forest not unlike a Taken infestation (the portals that take you deeper into the forest look especially Taken-esque). In spite of this, the Shard is still potent enough to bless your Guardian and Ghost with Light, regaining the powers that were lost with Ghaul's attack, and some more.
  • Limit Break: Guardian super abilities all play similarly this way, defeating enemies and simple time regeneration eventually builds to a full meter which lets the player unleash a power wholly unique to their class and subclass. For some it is a single, high damage attack like Nova Bomb or Blade Barrage , while others are called roaming supers specializing in clearing smaller enemies in the arena, such as Arc Staff or Hammer of Sol.
    • Wendigo GL 3 is a grenade launcher that can gather orbs of light to unleash with greater damage.
    • The Riskrunner is a modest submachine gun at first, but if the player takes even a small bit of arc damage it triggers a regenerating overshield against arc damage, the gun's ammo has Chain Lightning and auto-reloads the magazine, which lasts a long as you get a kill every few seconds.
  • Living Ship: Calus constantly refers to his flagship, the Leviathan, with feminine pronouns, stating how she's hungry for planets and sometimes ends up eating the wrong thing. The first Raid Lair, "Eater of Worlds", is basically your fireteam entering the Leviathan's "stomach" to get rid of a troublesome Vex infestation.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The Wardcliff Coil shoots out a large barrage of elemental missiles. While mostly different from its time as a canned exotic in Destiny, it still focuses on getting many of these missiles out as quick as possible.
    • The Drake's main weapon is its cannon, but it also features a large complement of guided missiles that can be launched by holding the left bumper button (which lets you lock on to targets), then releasing it.
    • The game itself opens with a huge barrage of Cabal missiles launched against the Tower.
    • Cabal Colossi retain their barrage of missiles from the first game, except now those missiles split into several more smaller missiles that double as flashbangs. Fortunately, they're also Destructible Projectiles prior to splitting.
  • Magikarp Power: The Legend of Acrius is a power weapon shotgun that involves an exotic quest line. Upon initially getting the weapon, it does modest damage at even middle range and overpenetrates to hit multiple enemies but has a single shot clip, functionally no perks, really long reload and limited reserves, putting it as nearly useless compared to even casual legendary weapons. Leveling it up by getting the catalyst, though, increases the clip, reserves and general handling, turning it into a mid-tier exotic weapon that will shred at close distances.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Cabal bring out some of their largest weaponry in this game. First, they field a cage device that's easily five times as long as the standard Cabal warship and can deploy a net that spans the entirety of the Traveler's size. Then, there's the Almighty, a colossal sun destroyer whose wingspan is only slightly smaller than Mercury's diameter. Finally, Calus and his Loyalists come to the Sol system in the Leviathan, a massive planet-eating ship that completely dwarfs Nessus.
  • Mind Screw: The Truth to Power lorebook, of which you can gather the pages every time you present an offering to the Oracle engine in the Dreaming City. It is a confusing collection of messages that make little sense, and by the time you finish reading it, you are left suspicious of the book's veracity. The first few entries are messages written by what would seem to be a familiar character, who then turns out to be an impersonator; who is then revealed to be an creation of another character, before said character is revealed to be an illusion cast by another character, too. A couple of chapters even read themselves like a gamebook!
  • More Dakka: So so many sources.
    • Sweet Business, an exotic auto rifle taking the form of a compact minigun. It automatically pulls ammo pickups into the magazine whilst spun up, and its damage and rate of fire ramp up over time.
    • Thunderlord returns in Festival of the Lost. It's a Light Machine Gun that fires Arc-enhanced projectiles, its rate of fire increases the longer it's fired, and to top it off, while firing at any speed, it will call down a bolt from the blue to burn your enemies to ash, be they Cabal, Hive, Taken, or opposing Guardian.
    • Submachine guns in design, being faster but weaker than auto rifles. The Peacekeepers, exotic boots for Titans, are designed to turn SMG dakka Up to Eleven by automatically reloading holstered SMGs and allowing them to readied instantly.
      • Most SMG's have a high output to low magazine ratio. The Huckleberry includes a perk that allows it to reload part of the magazine upon a kill. But Riskrunner takes it further, as taking any degree of arc damage creates a superconductor perk that not only reloads the magazine while in use but creates Chain Lightning damage, lasting until you are unable to kill something within five seconds or run out of ammo.
    • The Actium War Rig also helps to deliver this to all auto rifles by slowly siphoning reserve ammo into the magazine; 10% of its maximum capacity (rounded up) every second or so. Since Sweet Business is an auto rifle, there's more than a little synergy.
    • 21% Delirium is a Light Machine Gun with an absolutely massive clip to begin with, but will reload from reserves if you manage to pick up special or heavy ammo while using it, furthering how long it can fire.
    • Rally Barricade skill for Titan class allows all Guardians to reload ammunition instantly every time they stand near the cover.
  • My Death Is Only The Beginning: After a seeming conclusive victory against Xol it is strongly suggested in later adventures to still be alive, taking another form by crafting the Whisper of the Worm for it's own purposes. Forsaken takes it further by implying through dialogue with Toland that the Xol fought in Warmind's climax was never the real Xol to begin with.
  • Nerf: The transition from Destiny to Destiny 2 has seen some weapons and abilities be reduced in effectiveness due to their overpowered nature in the previous game.
    • Ward of Dawn is relegated to one branch of the Sentinel's abilities set, and is limited to only Armor of Light, eschewing buffs like Weapons of Light or Blessing of Light that made the Defender's Super practically mandatory in the first game. Instead, the Defender's Super is now split into two different types, one for mobile, aggressive defense and one for static defense.
    • Some Exotic weapons and armor pieces that are returning from the first game, such as the Telesto fusion rifle, for example, no longer generates orbs for your fireteam upon a multikill, instead reloading your kinetic and energy weapons while they're holstered. Another example is the Sunbracers gauntlets for the Warlock, which loses its extra grenade charge.
    • Shadowkeep reworked the auto-reload function of both the Titan rally barricade ability and the Warlock Lunafaction Boots exotic armor, now maximizing reload speed rather than allowing players to fire rockets repeatedly. This resulted in a significant drop of potential DPS in damage phases for raids.
  • Never Found the Body: The Speaker disappears during the attack on the Tower in the opening mission. He's never outright stated to be dead, though, and given Ghaul's interest in the Traveler, there's a good chance he may be simply kidnapped instead of dead. Ikora doesn't take it well either way. It turns out he's been kidnapped by Ghaul, and ultimately dies of his wounds.
  • Never Say "Die": Extremely zigzagged. Story-wise generally averted, but for the weapon bounties you got "calibration" for kills, "precision" for One-Hit Kill attacks (headshots or [[AttackItsWeakPoint destroying weak points), but "Multikill" is spelled that way.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • All Crucible-related trailers (as well as snippets of event trailers) omit the fact that players cannot kill other Guardians as fast as demonstrated in the trailers; the reality is that actual gameplay is a lot slower in pace than suggested.
    • The trailers for Curse of Osiris hyped up Khartion, another Vex Mind similar to Atheon in design, as a primary antagonist. Cut to the corresponding story mission where Khartion appears, and it spends a grand total of less than ten seconds before Valus Thuun crushes Khartion into the ground.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The secret mission "Zero Hour" takes you back to the ruined Tower from this game's prologue, backtracking all the way to where you first landed. Beyond that, however, is a series of jumping puzzles and obstacles that no sane Guardian would ever try getting past, including: ledges that crumble a mere second after you step on them; large fan blades that will instantly kill you if you so much as graze them (and give out a sickening slicing sound each time your falling corpse gets hit by them); a sweeper automaton that patrols a series of corridors sporadically blocked by electric walls, equipped with a grinder to cut down any Guardian it sees; and a booby-trapped chamber that vaporizes you if you step on the wrong sequence of tiles.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • One Crucible map takes place in the original game's Iron Temple from Rise of Iron. The Crimson Days event from Curse of Osiris brings back Mercury's Burning Shrine in the form of The Burnout, while Warmind re-adds Bannerfall to the rotation. Two more Forsaken Crucible maps copy Pantheon and Shores of Time, similarly.
    • Your quest for avenging Ives' death and ultimately gaining the Thunderlord brings you back to the Cosmodrome, exactly how it looked like in Rise of Iron. Holliday warns you that it's gonna be the only time you get to visit it before Zavala, who put the area on lockdown, takes notice.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: To justify the new acquisition of gear and subclasses, Ghaul's attack has the double effect of both destroying the Guardians stockpile of gear and cutting them off from the Traveler's Light, forcing them to search the system for new equipment and powers.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Zavala's face when he sees the Cabal fleet pull out of the storm right in front of the tower oozes not only this but stunned disbelief.
    • In Shadowkeep, Ghost gets one during the first mission, when the Guardian rounds the corner and beholds the Pyramid for the first time. In a meta sense, many players had the same reaction to seeing it.
  • Old Save Bonus: Upon starting up the game for the first time, returning players are reminded of the various feats they've achieved in the first game. These feats also reward players with exclusive Emblems based on their respective feats. Veteran Guardians from the first game will retain their appearance, minus their gear, and some in-game dialogue will change to reflect thisnote .
  • One Bullet Clips: Absent on weapons with the "Drop Mag" mod, which grants users much higher reload speed, but at the cost of losing all bullets previously in the magazine, encouraging them to empty their guns first.
  • Out of Focus: The Hive are significantly less important in Destiny 2 compared to Destiny 1, where they were the focus behind two of the first games' expansions. This time around, the Cabal, who were the Out of Focus faction in the first game, are now the main antagonists showing up just about everywhere. In the Destiny 2 base game the Hive are only encountered on one major world, Titan.
    • That said, the Savathûn's Song strike establishes that the Hive are regrouping, with Warmind featuring a Hive cult on Mars as the main antagonistic force. The Taken are also technically an offshoot of Hive dark magic, and they end up sharing the spotlight as antagonists of the endgame of Forsaken along with the Scorn, who are Fallen corrupted by impure ether. Also, Savathûn, newly crowned queen of the Taken and the Hive seems to be behind the trouble plaguing the Dreaming City of the Awoken, while also factoring into the Drifter's story.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Once you have the Catalyst for the Cerberus+1 auto rifle, swapping the fire mode from rapid fire to tight spread is accomplished by giving the power cell on the side of the weapon a solid thump.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Quite a few locations stand out as perfect places to farm faction tokens, kills and the likes.
    • Cargo Bay 3, a Lost Sector in Titan, is generally regarded as the fastest Lost Sector to clear and obtain faction tokens during a Faction Rally thanks to the arena's simplicity; you can just kill the Ogre boss and loot the treasure chest, while completely ignoring the surrounding Hive mobs.
    • Within the secret mission "The Whisper", the floor underneath the grassy chamber is littered with infinitely respawning Shadow Thralls, making it a perfect location for grinding kills for Exotic Masterwork catalysts. The only downside is accessing the mission in the first place, as well as the time limit within that mission.
  • Planet Destroyer: The Almighty, Ghaul's lifework and the Red Legion's pride; it's a moon-sized ship that tears apart planets, turning them into fuel for its energy beam, which in turn is aimed at stars, sapping their power until they go supernova and destroy the entire system. Destroying it directly is not an option, as Asher points out, since it would take out the Sun with it, still resulting in The End of the World as We Know It. It's the second alien superstructure that entered the Sol system that's too dangerous to be destroyed, with the first being Oryx's Dreadnaught (still floating around Saturn's ring), and it's Cabal policy to use it on any rival species that pose a threat to the Cabal (read: all of them).
  • Planet Eater:
    • The Almighty is Ghauls personal superweapon, a massive sun destroyer that using a nearby planet for food, in this was picking apart much of Mercury for the job.
    • The Leviathan, Calus's personal flagship, is a massive ship several times larger than even the Almighty or the Dreadnaught, capable of devouring planets to sustain itself. It's also implied to be sentient, given the Cabal gather geological data on how to best grind the planets into food for it. Upon finishing the game's main story and reaching the Power requirement for the raid, the Leviathan enters the Sol system and begins consuming Nessus. The game's first raid takes place on the city-like palace located on the ship's "head".
  • Planet Spaceship: The Dreadnaught from Destiny 1 makes a few background appearances, but this game adds the Almighty, a Planet Eater that, tip to tip, is about the same diameter as Mercury. There is also the Cabal capital ship the Leviathan, another Planet Eater that in terms of sheer mass dwarfs both the Dreadnaught and Almighty and is the setting for half the Raids in the game.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Uldren Sov nearly wiped out the Awoken, broke the Scorn Barons out of prison, and killed Cayde-6 all because Mara Sov didn't tell him about her plan.
  • Precursor Killers: In the games lore, the Traveler fought off something called "the darkness" and only barely managed to survive, which caused the collapse but at least the darkness was pushed away. We only get hints of what this is or what it looks like, at least until The Stinger of the base game where the Traveler waking up attracts the attention of massive pyramid ships beyond the galaxy. In Shadowkeep it's revealed that one ship was buried beneath the surface of the moon.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Multiple guardians were killed in the Cabal's initial assault, leaving only what Cayde-6 calls "a bunch of dirty misfits" left to take their home back.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ghaul gives a rather brutal one when the player Guardian's Light begins to fade:
    Ghaul: You are weak. Undisciplined. Cowering behind walls. I command legions, conquered worlds, waged war across the galaxy to prove my worth. I alone am worthy of the Traveler's Light. You're not brave, you've merely forgotten the fear of death.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: The European Dead Zone has long been abandoned since the end of the Golden Age, so the area has overgrowth of grass, moss, and other vegetation slowly taking over the rusted and decayed buildings, vehicles, and roads. The fallen shard of the Traveler is causing strange phenomena that may be accelerating the growth as well.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • A solemn violin riff from the track "Journey" that plays as the player escapes the Last City in the mission "Adieu" reappears in a few other places on the soundtrack - most notably the final mission where they return to take the City back.
    • The oppressive drums from "Cabal Stomp" from the first game show up again in some other Cabal-related themes, including Ghaul's final boss theme.
  • Recursive Ammo: The Deathbringer Exotic rocket launcher fires a single rocket that detonates into smaller Void seekers the moment you let go of the trigger.
  • Retool: With the split from Activision, Shadowkeep and year three content in general went in a different direction. The initial campaign was very short and open-ended, but the format involved regular updates with new story developments, game modes and quest lines to accomplish. The Garden of Salvation raid was released several days in, with the Vex Offensive gametype available upon completion. Several weeks later the dungeon Pit of Heresy was opened. This made for more continuous content rather than beating the basics in a few days and waiting a few months for another DLC drop. This was preluded in the approach used in Joker's Wild, with the Invitation of the Nine quests doing a similar thing showing more of an overarching story week by week.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Forsaken seems to be shaping up to be this.
  • Rousing Speech: Commander Zavala gives a speech to surviving Guardians to rally them into launching an attack on the Cabal and retake the City. Cayde tries this, with less success. To contrast the two, here they are, spliced together by character.
    Zavala: Times may be dark, but we are Earth's greatest hope! Look around you. A noble gathering of Guardians new and old. Our home was attacked! I was there and fought against the endless onslaught. Despite the sacrifice of many brave Guardians, we lost everything: the Tower, the City, our home. Today, we know our enemy. His name is Ghaul. I know you look to me in times of peril, but this is not my battle alone. It is time to avenge this injustice, for that is the duty of all Guardians! So I ask you! WHO. WILL. STAND. WITH ME?!
    Cayde: Okay, listen up. You're a buncha dirty misfits! But you're all that's left so you'll have to do. (...) They kept coming, so I kept firin'. Not gonna lie, I was magnificent. So, everything is gone: Your stuff, my stuff, and most importantly, MY STUFF. (...) GARY! Or Gil. Glen? Is it... I don't know, SOMETHING WITH A "G"! (...) Which means if I don't see you out there, I'll kill you myself. Worst case scenario: you die, but who knows? Maybe you won't. (...) YEAH! Uh, really guys? Also, THERE WILL BE A TON OF LOOT!
  • Rule of Three : Big time. Three classes, three subclasses per class, three races, three elements, three factions, three Vanguard leaders. Of course, the three faction leaders as well as the three Vanguard leaders are one of each race, each subclass is attuned to one of the three elements, and so on. There are also three weapon slots, three encounters in the Raid before the boss, three guardians in a Strike fireteam, etc.
  • Schmuck Bait: Go on, try provoking the dozens of Colossi standing guard on the Leviathan's entrance.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Depending on cutscene or situation, the Traveler is either big enough to see from space or small enough to fit within the walls of the Last City and viewable in its entirety from the walls.
  • Secondary Fire:
    • The Titan Sentinel super normally has you running around to Shield Bash enemies, but can be deployed separately as a Ward of Dawn bubble barrier (Zavala's Signature Move, but in the first game was the entirety of the super).
    • Izanagi's Burden lets you condense your four shot sniper clip into one powerful shot that does exponential precision damage.
    • Lord of Wolves lets you switch from a close range burst fire into a more precise shot and a longer burst.
    • Symmetry has a fast firing primary mode and a slower firing arc burst mode, but the design was that landing precision shots in the primary mode builds energy reserves that will allow increased damage for a short period when you switch to the arc firing mode.
  • Shield Bash: The Sentinel Subclass' super summons a Void shield that on top of providing protection can be used offensively, turning the Titan into an intergalactic Captain America.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted; they called in the cavalry. The first Destiny took itself very seriously in tone and dialogue, with much of its humor coming from pieces of lore and later DLC. In Destiny 2's case, not only does the snarky and lackadaisical Cayde-6 take center stage in much of the marketing, the commercials themselves make light of the otherwise grim situation. In-game, new and returning characters both are generally more cheerful and expressive than the first game right out the gate, with Cayde making a lot more quips and jokes that take up a lot of the dialogue.
    • And then, Uldren killed him, Zavala refused to leave the City for fear of their other enemies making use of their absence to wreak havoc, and a devastated Ikora, furious at Uldren's actions, only sided with Zavala to give the illusion of a united front.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A sidearm named Drang looks almost exactly like the other well known Golden Gun.
    • Several Overwatch Ones:
      • One Grenade Launcher you can get from Lord Shaxx's Engrams is called Play of the Game. The flavor text even says "Show no Mercy."
      • During Iron Banner matches, Saladin may shout "DIE! DIE! DIE!" at achieving certain medals. note 
    • An Adventure on Nessus involving Failsafe hacking into the Vex Mind Network on Nessus is called Hack The Planet.
    • Hard Light's exotic ornament is called The Future Is Chrome (for bonus points, it paints most of the gun chrome).
    • A pair of Exotic Hunter Gauntlets has a pair of hidden knives mounted underneath the wrists
    • The "Confused" emote obtainable from Eververse has your character look around in confusion a la John Travolta.
    • The "Bureaucratic Walk" emote has the guardian perfom a certain silly walk.
    • The boss of the Leviathan Raid, Emperor Calus, feels like one massive reference to Emperor Nero of Rome. Both are exceptionally hedonistic rulers of an empire, both were quite popular with the common people but despised by the higher echelons of their governments and societies, both committed terrible deeds as part of their rule, both had a massive palace decorated with gold and jewels, and both were ousted in rebellions led by the aforementioned disgruntled parts of society.
    • There's a legendary scout rifle named "Seven-Six-Five," a reference to 765 Productions. The description is "There's a rhythm to it," a reference to the series' Rhythm Game titles.
    • The ‘Timely Dance’ emote has your Guardian do the Time Warp.
    • The Black Armory shotgun "Threat Level" and its flavor text "Hold on 'til midnight" are a collective reference to Michael Scott's attempt at film-making in The Office.
    • The Season 5 emote Let's Chat is a reference to the very cheesy tape Peter Parker has to watch in detention in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
    • The "Nothing is Wrong" emote is a reference to the "This is Fine" meme, where your character sits at a table and drinks from a mug before it ignites on fire.
    • The "Mirror Mirror" emote references the "Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man" meme wherein a duplicate of your Guardian is created and you both give the pointer finger at each other. Additionally, the message that pops up when you perform the emote next to another player is you "bamboozling" them.
    • The "Linked Up" emote is Dragon Ball Z's Fusion Dance, albeit with the performers' fists clenched.
  • Silliness Switch: Emotes are more varied this time around, and the rarer ones tend to slide towards the goofy side of things. Indeed, you can enter the Trials of the Nine, a fairly serious and competitive PvP arena, and have your character introduce themselves by galloping, whereas everyone else uses their Ass-Kicking Pose or even sillier dance emotes. As the game's life cycle goes on, even sillier emotes of all rarities get added, including one that has you simulate eating popcorn or even mimicking Calus's opulent mannerisms.
    • Winter holidays add snowball piles everywhere, and can be picked up and thrown. They do quite a bit of damage if they're used on an enemy.
  • Simple Staff: The Hunter's new Arcstrider subclass. A staff made from and/or charged with (presumably) Arc energy, but still used as a Simple Staff. Despite being relatively lackluster, the Raiden Flux exotic picks up the slack by allowing damage to ramp up during the super.
  • Situational Sword: Exotics for the most part function like this. It is rare that an Exotic will be good in both PvP and PvE. For example, the Thunderlord Exotic Machine Gun power weapon is an excellent PvE tool for add clearing and powerful aoe DPS, but is lackluster in PvP due to it's limited ammo from being a power weapon. Conversely, the Last Word is one of the strongest PvP weapons in the game and is a serious nightmare to use in Crucible, but is simply okay in PvE. Thus, picking the right option for each mode is crucial for doing well.
  • Sniper Pistol: The Exotic Hand Cannon Eriana's Vow has a rate of fire, accuracy, effective range, and damage of a high-impact Sniper Rifle but with an even bigger kickback, and is the only Hand Cannon in the game with a built-in short-zoom scope mounted on top. This makes it harder to handle than a more traditional Sniper Rifle, but it has an inherent unique quality that allows it to bypass enemy defenses.
  • Status Quo Is God: The game seeks to shake up the established story from the first game, and does manage a full story arc for the main campaign, but that ends up largely resetting the same situation we had before the game started. Notably, even though the Traveler wakes up to defeat Ghaul this has very little impact on really anything when it comes to the setting, even though people do say it is a big deal. Likewise, most DLC features isolated enemies and problems that have little impact on later stories. Forsaken does manage to buck the trend, starting with Caydes murder. Shadowkeep continues the trend, showing that one of the Black Pyramids from the ending sequence has been on the moon for hundreds of years.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Pleasure Gardens section of the Leviathan raid. You have to navigate around the garden in search of power buffs in order to deal enough damage to the 6 Royal Beasts on patrol, and must not be detected by any of them while doing so, otherwise you go straight to the damage phase, buffed or not, with the additional threat of a Total Party Wipe. Prestige Mode adds 2 more Royal Beasts (i.e., one for each spore) and changes their patrol pattern completely.
  • The Stinger: True to Bungie, an additional scene plays post-credits. The Traveler's defeat of Ghaul created a shockwave of Light that extends out of the system and even beyond the galaxy, but it catches the attention of a fleet of black, pyramidal ships that light up and start to move towards its origin.
  • Stylistic Suck: The later chapters of the Chronicon are total BS, made up by Calus's scribes to keep him happy. The entries are all snippets of fanfiction about how you'll pull a Face–Heel Turn, slaughter all your old friends, and help Calus Take Over the World. Copious amounts of Canon Defilement are included, with such details as Failsafe being decomposited into no less than three separate characters, and Zavala and Hawthorne eating chicken nuggets and root beer and playing twenty-seven games of checkers the day before Zavala's execution.
  • Super Prototype: The Foundry weapons modified by the Black Armory, which have augmented barrels and are decked out in a black paint job and red stripes.
  • Tank Goodness: This installment throws playable tanks into the fray, as opposed to the unusable Cabal Goliath tanks and their usable Interceptor "scout vehicles, which are essentially motorbike tanks". Along with armed tanks, this includes tanks that are unarmed, but no less armored and capable of great speed.
  • A Taste of Power: The game opens with the player character as a fully armed and armored guardian and maxed out in their respective class/subclass. Ghaul blocks the power of the Traveler and the next two levels have you hobbling around with damaged armor and subpar weapons before you manage to regain your light, which starts you at square one but puts you back on the level grind.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Last Wish raid takes places within the Keep of Voices. The Keep of Voices within the Dreaming City towers over its surroundings, and the Dreaming City itself is on an asteroid in another dimension that can only be entered through the Watchtower on the edge of the Tangled Shore.
    • Forsaken has as a Bonus Dungeon Shattered Throne, a well-hidden secret mission which has a higher power requirement than Last Wish, and leads to the expansion's True Final Boss, in a portal in an inconspicuous hole.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: The Sentinel's Void Shield can be tossed like a frisbee, and can bounce from enemy to enemy should they be close to one another. Extra charges can either be granted from a mid-game upgrade on the Code of the Aggressor branch (which adds one charge), or by wearing the Doom Fang Pauldron, which allows the shield throw to be recharged at a more reliable rate (by default, it's too slow to recover before the super ends).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sloane's dialogue during the Weapon Exchange public event on Titan will occasionally call out the Fallen on this as they repeatedly send Walkers to their certain destruction
    Sloane: Guardian, the Fallen are bringing in their armory... again. You think they'd know better by now
    Ghost: Look at those caches... They never learn.
  • Tyke Bomb: Ghaul himself. He was raised by The Consul for the express purpose of deposing the current emperor of the Cabal, because said emperor had humiliated him in the past. Ghaul kills the Consul when he finally pushes Ghaul's temper too far. Said Emperor Lampshades this in The Cabal Booklet.
  • Un-person: Nokris is exiled and erased from the hive's records for the heresy of communing directly with a worm god, bypassing his father Oryx. All that remains is an old statue near the entrance of Oryx's throne room bearing his name, but Ghost can't find anything about him in the World's Grave files, which contained the story of thousands of worlds previously destroyed by the hive and the centuries they've spent seeding Earth.
  • Unpredictable Results: It's said that the Vex are constantly running simulations on strategy against their enemies, but the one thing they cannot simulate is the light from the Traveler. They can emulate its effects, but they cannot predict them. It's also shown that it is possible for non-guardians to gather and use light from the Traveler for their own purposes, but doing so can either provide guardians with a power boost when they come investigating or anger the Traveler itself.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The lore book Truth to Power is never clear about who is behind it. The messages are sent by either Eris Morn, Medusa, Quria, Dul Incaru, or Savathun.
  • Used Future: A number of the weapons are functionally MacGyvering spare parts various weapon crafters could find, and especially common with Kinetic weapons because of the Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better trope. In particular Cerberus +1 is, in cannon, several weapons welded together to become a hellfire bullet hose and looks like it is held together by metal bands, while an ornament can give it a more streamlined, cleaned appearance (which only emphasizes it's rugged default look). Wardcliff Coil is similar in design and with a similar ornament. The Arbalest is a kinetic linear fusion rifle, and in forgoing the laser guns of the rest of that weapon class it moreso resembles (and sounds) like a nail gun.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The game's story starts off with this: After hundreds of years of continued existence, fighting off Fallen attacks, internal strife, and building itself under the safety of the Traveler, not to mention being your home for years, the Last City falls, you lose your Light, and you are forced on the run. The Forsaken expansion creates another one with the death of Cayde-6, who has been a fan favorite character ever since Destiny's series originally began.
    • At the end of each cycle in the Dreaming City's curse, you get an opportunity to visit Mara Sov in her pocket dimension, and each successive cycle brings interesting developments to the story.
      • The second time, you can get a glimpse of a hologram if you approach the table next to her. Said hologram is shaped like one of the pyramid-like ships that were present during the vanilla story's stinger, indicating that Mara is aware of their imminent arrival.
      • The third visit has you entering the court as Mara finishes an audience with the Emissary of the Nine, warning the latter's masters that the Queen has a limit to her patience. Mara then tells you to not fall prey to the Nine's machinations, before asking you to leave, as her next guest apparently does not appreciate the presence of a Guardian.
      • The fifth visit is marked with Mara's conspicuous absence, with the only things of interest being the usual weekly loot and a hologram on the table which triggers a cutscene. Said cutscene reveals that somewhere in the Dreaming City, a Ghost unexpectedly revives Uldren's corpse, making him a Guardian. Even Uldren himself looks confused upon his revival.
      • The seventh visit has Mara muse about keeping the balance between Light and Dark and recounting a dream where she will meet someone who tells her that "a side should always be taken, even if it's the wrong side". She then bids you goodbye and departs for an indefinite amount of time, with her vanishing animation being nigh-identical to the Exo Stranger from Destiny. Between paraphrasing the Exo Stranger and disappearing in the same manner, Mara Sov raises even more questions in this visit that all the previous ones.
    • The Season of Dawn revealed several real and potential shakeups to the status quo. Saint-14 is brought Back from the Dead, something that by all accounts should not have been possible, something has happened to Eris Morn after she touched an unknown device in the Pyramid, Osiris suddenly claims to have seen a future where Rasputin betrays humanity to the Darkness, and its revealed that the Young Wolf is destined to die a Final Death at the hands of a mysterious Fallen assassin.
  • Wham Line: During the climax of Forsaken's main story, you overhear a voice urging Uldren to complete his objective as you progress through the Watchtower. Before that moment, you are led to believe that said voice belongs to Mara Sov since it's exactly what she sounds like (albeit conspicuously more expressive than her appearances in the first game), but then she forcefully says "Free me, o brother mine." That last bout is a speech pattern that can only indicate that the Anthem Anatheme phrasing is being used to control Uldren, something that is commonly associated with maliciously manipulative beings like the Ahamkara. Indeed, "Mara Sov" is eventually revealed to be an illusion created by the force manipulating Uldren and the expansion's true antagonist, Riven of a Thousand Voices; the last known Ahamkara.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the first cutscene we see a large Cabal fleet attack the city and a massive six pronged ship approach the Traveler. When the player character enters the fight, they eventually see the Traveler being wrapped up in a massive net.
    • In the Last Wish raid, the exact size and shape of Riven is left unknown until you start the actual boss fight. The entire team gets dropped under the floor and Riven is revealed to be a massive dragon-like creature filling the room.
    • In visiting Mara Sov's throne dimension you see hints of things to come, but a big reveal is made in a cutscene where a ghost is shown exploring the Dreaming City and revives Uldren Sov as a Guardian and lightbearer.
    • In Shadowkeep, the Hive on the Moon begin rapidly building a new fortress near the Hellmouth and start attacking Guardian positions on Luna. The Young Wolf fights through the Hive and begins exploring. You go deeper and deeper underground until you finally see what has got the Hive so riled up: a black pyramid like the one seen outside the galaxy in The Stinger to the main game, but one was here the entire time.
  • Where It All Began: In an exotic Quest to recover the Thunderlord heavy machine gun, it eventually takes you back to the Cosmodrome, and the final boss is in the location the player character was first revived in Destiny 1.
  • William Telling: Appears in the lore tab of the Trinity Ghoul exotic bow, wherein a Guardian accepted a wager from The Rifleman, one of the Scorn targeted by the Player Character in the Forsaken campaign, to shoot a canister of ether off the head of someone important to her. If she wins, she gets a thousand glimmer (the game's currency) and the promise of walking out alive with her friend. If she loses...
  • With Friends Like These...: Cayde-6 left behind audio recordings dictating what should be done if he dies, particularly commenting after the fact on WHO exactly would kill him. This list was mostly his allies, including fellow Vanguard commanders Ikora and Zavala.
  • You Are Too Late: A big factor in favor of the Cabal's attack at the beginning of the game is that they were either lucky or smart enough to jam communications and begin their attack when your guardian has been out on patrol. By the time you make it home the attack is long and well underway.
  • You No Take Candle: The strangely pacifistic and helpful Harpy containing bits and pieces of Captain Jacobson's memories and personality talks in extremely stilted and ungrammatically correct English in Failsafe's personal quest.
  • Zerg Rush: The favored tactic of the Hive as a big portion of their army consists of Thralls, who carry no weapons but rush directly to the player to swipe at them. Cursed Thralls move slower but explode. The Vex are not far behind, as their Teleport Spam is designed to get a lot of Goblins on top of you quickly.
    • Spiritually, the Rat King exotic sidearm gain a damage bonus with the more people who are also using Rat King near you. Individually it's a solid weapon but the instant you hit those damage perks you become exceptionally powerful. In Raids, six people with Rat King are each doing x6 damage.


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