Luke Smith, director of Destiny 2, has been supplying the community with lengthy, detailed dispatches as Bungie prepares for the launch of the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion. In his latest post, Smith explains how the game's new approach to seasons of content will allow players to progress along two different tracks, with one of them looking very much like a battle pass.
Seasons, as Smith began detailing in his series of "Director's Cut" posts, will work differently in Destiny 2's third year. Players who purchased the Annual Pass after the release of last year's Forsaken expansion received access to a year's worth of content divided up into seasons, all of which remained as permanent additions to the game. This time around, Season Passes will be purchasable individually, and each season will grant all Destiny 2 players a Seasonal Artifact and a 100-step progression of Season Pass ranks, with associated rewards. The latter comes in free and premium forms. Players who purchase the $10 Season Pass will be granted access to an exclusive seasonal activity along with a premium track of ranks. Special activity access aside, the similarities this system has to a Fortnite-esque battle pass is readily apparent.
All players who purchase Shadowkeep at launch will also receive the Season Pass for Season of the Undying, which launches alongside the expansion, while players who purchase Shadowkeep after that season's end will receive the Pass for whatever Season is currently underway. Players who choose not to purchase Shadowkeep or the $10 Season Pass on its own will still be able to earn both a set of Legendary armor and a new Exotic weapon within the first 35 levels of the free Undying rank track.
On the subject of being able to purchase ranks individually, Smith emphasizes that Bungie is tuning the pass for the "most committed Destiny players, who start on week 1, to reach Rank 100 simply by doing the things they already spend their time on." Season of the Undying will run for 10 weeks, and Smith says Bungie plans to enable the option to purchase ranks for players wishing to catch up "somewhere in the last 2-4 weeks."
The other seasonal progression track, tied to the Seasonal Artifacts granted to all Destiny 2 players, will dole out seasonal armor mods that are intended to let players regularly experiment with new builds instead of gravitating to the most comfortable or objectively useful ones. The Artifact will also gain Power that adds to the power level of all the Guardians associated with your account (this too will reset with each season).
This is all in service of keeping players engaged with Destiny 2's evolution while limiting the endless growth of in-game content, though Smith notes that players can expect Legendary and Exotic items tied to a season will be made attainable again later on.
With the release of Shadowkeep, the game's first expansion since Bungie parted ways with Activision, Destiny 2 players on the game's free-to-play New Light track will have access to the free Seasonal ranks, the Seasonal Artifact, patrols on the expansion's new Moon destination, and even the first mission of Shadowkeep. That all sounds like plenty to keep them occupied until the next season rolls around and the cycle starts anew.