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Destiny 2 Battlegrounds | Hammer of Proving and Season of the Chosen activity explained

Season of the Chosen is the 13th season of Destiny 2, kicking off on February 9th and wrapping up on May 11th.

The headline activity in Season of the Chosen is the new Battlegrounds game mode: a matchmade PvE activity which sees teams of three players engaged in "ritual combat" against the chosen warriors of Empress Caiatl of the Cabal.

There's also a new social space, a hub for Vanguard operations called the H.E.L.M. where you can access a number of new features. Primary among these is the Hammer of Proving, an heirloom which tracks season progression through upgrades and unlocks more rewards from the Battlegrounds.

Here's what we know so far about Battlegrounds, the Hammer of Proving, and the H.E.L.M. introduced in Season of the Chosen:

Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Battlegrounds

Battlegrounds is an activity that many Destiny 2 players have been looking forward to: it's the first matchmade mode to be added to the game since the Beyond Light expansion was released. Matchmade modes allow players who tend to take on the game solo to team up with others and complete multiplayer activities, without having to scout around outside the game for potential team-mates.

As a PvE activity, Battlegrounds will pit teams of three players against a series of NPC opponents, described as the chosen warriors of Empress Caiatl.

Prowess in and progress through the Battlegrounds will be tracked by upgrading the Hammer of Proving, a new heirloom introduced in the season.

How many Battlegrounds will there be?

Over the course of the season, Battlegrounds will open up in four locations.

The Behemoth and Hailstone Battlegrounds will be available from the season's launch on February 9th.

You'll find the Behemoth Battleground in the Arcadian Valley on Nessus - and be automatically put into matchmaking when you launch into the season.

After you've completed Behemoth and accessed the H.E.L.M., you can then find Hailstone in the centre of Europa.

A third Battleground, called Cleansing (located in the EDZ), will open up on February 16th.

The fourth and final Battleground, Oracle, will open up on February 23rd.

Is the Battlegrounds activity free to play?

There's been some confusion over whether the Battlegrounds activity will be free-to-play or not — due to an unfortunate ambiguity in Bungie's original season roadmap.

However, Bungie have now confirmed that only Season Pass holders will have full access to the new Battlegrounds game mode.

Free players will be able to play one Battlegrounds match for free as a sample of the season's central activity. But after that, they'll need to purchase a Season Pass if they want to play again.

Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Hammer of Proving

Upgrading the Hammer of Proving is both a way to improve your Battlegrounds activities, and a way to track your progress through the Season of the Chosen.

Upon arriving at the H.E.L.M. for the first time, the player will meet up with Zavala, who will present them with the season's big new item: the Hammer of Proving.

Where is the H.E.L.M. and what does it do?

The Hub for Emergency Logistics and Maneuvers — H.E.L.M. for short — is the new base for Vanguard operations. The H.E.L.M. is being introduced in Season of the Chosen, but looks like it will be the go-to social hub in Destiny 2 for quite a while.

The H.E.L.M. is accessed via the Director by going to the Tower and looking in the top left corner.

The following activities will be available to performed at the H.E.L.M.:

  • Interact with the War Table seasonal vendor to upgrade the Hammer of Proving
  • Access the Prismatic Recaster to decode Umbral Engrams
  • Manage your vault
  • Retrieve items from the postmaster

How to equip the Hammer of Proving

Examining the Hammer of Proving once it's in your Quest tab shows this cryptic piece of advice: "The Hammer must be equipped to acquire Cabal Gold". It's been the cause of a bit of confusion, since collecting Cabal Gold is an important quest step — but it's not at all obvious how to equip the Hammer.

The short answer is: don't worry about it. You don't actually need to do anything to equip the Hammer of Proving. Once you've talked to Zavala and it's in your Quest tab, you're able to start acquiring the Cabal Gold. No fiddling with inventory slots required.

It's unclear at the time of writing why this confusing and wholly unnecessary piece of text is included in the Hammer's description, but we can confirm that you're safe to ignore it and get on with the quest.

What does the Hammer of Proving do?

The Hammer of Proving has two main purposes: tracking your progress through the Season of the Chosen, and unlocking better rewards on the Battleground.

To do this, you'll be scavenging a resource called Cabal Gold from the battlefields. These can be forged into Challenger Medallions that you can then equip to the Hammer, unlocking more rewarding challenges against the Empress's chosen warriors in the Battlegrounds.

Three tiers allow players to progressively upgrade the Hammer of Proving, unlocking more Proving Runes which in turn customise and enhance Battleground rewards.

How long will the Hammer of Proving last?

Bungie have announced they're making a few changes to the way seasonal content sticks around after the season has ended.

From what we've seen, you should have access to items from the Season of the Chosen — including the Hammer of Proving — until at least the end of Year 4 (November 2021 or thereabouts).

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