Most years, Destiny 2’s Festival of the Lost event is just a fun distraction–a chance to dress up with in-game masks and buy some fun Halloween-themed armor in between regular bouts in the Crucible or ventures into raids. This year, though, Bungie has elevated the event in a really fun way, creating a campfire tale-like ghost story that unfolds in parts. Uncovering the secrets of the Headless Ones is a lot of fun, and a great reason to keep diving into those Haunted Lost Sectors.
It hasn’t all been s’mores and scares around Destiny 2 this week, though. A whole lot of discussion has been had about the two dungeons Bungie is releasing in Year 5, what they’ll cost, and how you’ll get access to them. Many in the community are…less than enthused. Get ready for some highs and some lows.
The situation with the dungeons is this: When The Witch Queen launches in February, you can buy two different versions of the expansion in order to get it. The standard edition costs $40 USD and comes with just the expansion content; the Deluxe Edition is $80 and includes the expansion, some additional cosmetics, all four season passes for Year 5, and two dungeons that will be released at some point during the year. If you don’t buy the Deluxe Edition, you don’t get the dungeons.
Though this was announced back during Bungie’s Witch Queen showcase, players didn’t really pick up on the discrepancy until recently. Then Bungie clarified the situation: You will need to upgrade to the Deluxe Edition to get the dungeons. There may be some kind of path for purchasing them in the future as well, but there’s not a lot of clarity there. It seems that if you get the standard Witch Queen and opt to buy Year 5’s season passes piecemeal (about $10 each), you won’t be getting the dungeons as part of that deal.
I already wrote a separate opinion about the dungeon debacle–I think the situation isn’t quite much ado about nothing, but the animosity toward being charged for high-quality content is a bit excessive. After all, if you get the Deluxe Edition, you get all four seasons for what they’d normally cost, plus the dungeons basically for nothing. If and when Bungie adds a path to buy the dungeons separately, it seems like they can’t possibly be very costly. The Deluxe Edition of Beyond Light was $70, while Witch Queen’s is $80 and includes dungeons, suggesting that each runs about $5. Tough to get too upset when you can spend more on a pumpkin spice latte (and I have been, a lot, this fall).
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That said, I agree that Bungie needs to clean up and better explain its content sales approach for things like this. First, there’s the issue that you can’t seem to get the dungeons any other way than upgrading your purchase, which means leaping from spending $40 to spending $80, even if you don’t want all those seasons. I don’t know why you’d be enough of a Destiny 2 player that you’d want the dungeons but not the seasonal content, but that’s not for me to guess–allowing for strange use cases and customer freedom is what free-to-play models and a la carte purchasing are all about.
Right now, if you wanted to play the Presage Exotic mission and you’d purchased Beyond Light and the current content season, you’d be locked out of the mission. You can purchase past season passes, and thus get Presage, but you’d have to buy all four of them, instead of just the one you need. So you’d be repurchasing the Season of the Lost, plus buying two seasons you don’t want, to get the one mission that you do. The dungeon upcharge situation feels a lot like that, and that frustration makes sense to me.
To some degree, I wonder if Bungie’s efforts to convert Destiny 2 from a paid release with definitive expansions to a seasonal, live-game model has created some of these issues. I suspect there are some back-end issues that limit the ways the developer can doll out content–because surely if they could make it easier, it seems like it would make more financial sense to give more options. We don’t know, though, and that’s kind of the point; it’s easy to get mad about upcharges on dungeons (content that has either been free or included in the cost of expansions in the past) when you’re not sure what you’re paying for.