The comprehensive guide to what’s actually free in Destiny 2: New Light, and what you need to buy

By Sherif Saed, Monday, 30 September 2019 12:53 GMT

If you’re confused about what Destiny 2’s free-to-play version, New Light, actually gives you access to, and/or what you need to gain access to the rest of the game’s content – we’ve got you covered.

As we approach the beginning of Destiny 2’s third year, Bungie decided to make it easier than ever to get into the premier loot shooter. Enter Destiny 2: New Light, the free-to-play version available October 1 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been clear which parts of Destiny 2 and its various expansions will be available to New Light players, and which will require an extra purchase. In this story, we hope to make that entire process easier for everyone.

What is Destiny 2: New Light?

Destiny 2: New Light is the default Destiny 2 experience – the game’s free-to-play version. This is what you can download on PC, PS4 and Xbox One and start playing immediately. Think of it as the base tier of a service. You can certainly enjoy what’s there, but Bungie will be hoping you pay it more to access the rest.

What you actually have access to in Destiny 2: New Light

To start, Destiny 2: New Light players will be able to visit the entirety of the solar system in free roam, meaning all planets can be travelled to without restrictions. Initially, only the EDZ will be unlocked, with the rest locked behind some reasonable XP caps. Everything you do in the game earns you XP, however, so it shouldn’t take long to have them all unlocked.

New Light players will also have access to all Crucible (PvP) modes, maps and playlists. In-game events such as The Dawning, Iron Banner etc. will too be accessible. Furthermore, Crucible and Gambit private matches can be hosted by New Light players.

That covers the broader strokes, but let’s dig deeper and clarify what that actually means for the game’s content.

Destiny 2: New Light offers the entirety of Destiny 2’s Year One content. This includes everything available at launch two years ago, as well as subsequent expansions and everything added to the game during Year One.

For Year One, that means:

  • The Red War story campaign, strikes and activities.
  • Curse of Osiris campaign, strikes and activities.
  • Warmind campaign, strikes and activities.
  • All Year One Nightfall strikes.
  • All Year One raids, raid lairs and their associated gear.
  • All Year One Exotics.

Basically, anything that came out before Forsaken is fair game. Things get a bit more convoluted when we get into Forsaken, however, but we’ve broken that down below.

Bungie also decided to include certain other pieces of content from Forsaken and Year Two expansions into New Light, on top of the full Year One package.

From Year Two, you’re getting:

  • All Black Armory Forges.
  • Gambit.
  • Gambit Prime.
  • The Reckoning.
  • The Menagerie.
  • All gear from the above activities, except Exotics.
  • Only Thunderlord, Arbalest, Outbreak Perfected, and Bad Juju from the Year Two Exotics.

What you do not have access to in Destiny 2: New Light

Now that we’re done with what’s included in Destiny 2: New Light, let’s shift focus to what you’re going to have to pay for. In short, anything from Year Two that’s not listed above is content you’ll need to buy if you want to play.

For Forsaken, that means the Forsaken Complete Edition, which includes base Forsaken and all of the Year Two content. It goes without saying that you’ll need to buy Shadowkeep – this year’s big release – if you want to play that content.

The Forsaken Complete Edition to access all of this:

  • The Forsaken campaign and story quests.
  • Year Two raids and raid lairs.
  • Year Two strikes.
  • Year Two Nightfalls.
  • Year Two Exotic quests.
  • Year Two Exotics.
  • Anything from Year Two not already included in New Light.

How much is all this nonsense?

Assuming you’re completely new to Destiny 2 and want to have access to all content, you’re going to need to spend $60. The Forsaken Complete Edition is $25, and Shadowkeep is $35.

That’s it, though you can also pick up the Year Three pass if you want access to seasons/content coming over the next 12 months. But that’s not necessary now.

As we’re about to explain, you do not need to own past content to access the new stuff. You can just get Shadowkeep and ignore Forsaken, if that’s what you’re interested in.

What’s going to happen on October 1

When October 1 rolls around, everyone’s Destiny 2 install – regardless of how or where they got it – will turn into New Light. New Light is the base Destiny 2 experience, and that includes those who got the game through PlayStation Plus on PS4, and those who took advantage of the free download on Battle.net on PC.

All versions of the game will receive the same updates, balance tweaks and so on. What’s going to differentiate your game from mine is the content we each have access to. If you own Forsaken, for instance, you’ll be able to jump into a Forsaken story mission. Likewise, if you own Shadowkeep, that content will be accessible.

Depending on what you choose to buy, not everything is going to be available for you. If you skipped Forsaken, you can freely buy Shadowkeep on October 1 to start playing Shadowkeep content. You do not need to buy Forsaken if you don’t care about that content and/or you’re happy with what Bungie picked from Year Two and included for free in New Light.

This same structure will carry forward throughout Year Three, which kicks off October 1 as well. You’ll be able to buy a season pass to access all Year Three seasons, or simply only buy the seasons you care about. All owners of Shadowkeep get Season of the Undying for free, but subsequent seasons coming in Year Three will need to be purchased.

A note about character levels and gated content

Come October 1, all Destiny 2 characters will start at 750 Power. It doesn’t matter if you stopped playing Destiny 2 two months in, or if you’re mid-way through the Forsaken campaign. Everyone will start out at 750.

This allows all players to access all of the available content from day one, including the ultra-challenging raids (depending on which of the different raids you own, of course).

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