The Main Reason Destiny 2’s Season Of The Haunted Didn’t Work

The Main Reason Destiny 2’s Season Of The Haunted Didn’t Work

We’re a few weeks away from the debut of Destiny 2’s Season 18, and since we have literally zero information to go off of as Bungie stores everything for the August 23rd showcase, I thought I’d just reflect on last season instead today.

Season of the Haunted has ended up being a not-so-well-regarded season, I’d say, in the grand scheme of all the Destiny seasons so far. Preferably in the bottom half, if not maybe the bottom five, or lower, depending on who you ask. It’s odd, given that Bungie seemed to be doing it really hype it up beforehand and the secrecy surrounding it made it seem like something that would blow us away. But that’s not exactly how it went down.

One problem is that the good stuff that was part of this season wasn’t…technically part of this season. It would be something like Duality, where while it fit thematically with the season (and practically shared a loot pool via two Opulence weapons), it’s part of a sold separately dungeon pack. And while I liked Solar 3.0, it’s a permanent sandbox change, not something exclusive to Haunted.

That leaves the actual content of the season, and I’m comfortable laying out what I believe was the main problem at the root of the problem with Season of the Haunted: Nightmare Containment.

There are many problems with Nightmare Containment, which isn’t necessarily a bad activity in a vacuum, but the season depended on it so heavy on it in every aspect that it overwhelmed the whole thing.

Leviathan returned as a patrol room, which was cool, and yet Nightmare Containment only takes place inside a single area, Castellum, and even when it “rotates” week to week, the only thing that actually changes is the final boss, and not even placement of the final boss. Compare that to Battlegrounds or Override missions which have 3-4 versions taking place in different locations. Here it was just Castellum, Castellum, Castellum, with little variation.

In theory, you could farm certain gear that would do the Sever quests that at least took you to different parts of Leviathan, but to do that you needed to get an item from… Nightmare Containment, Bound Essence, too run to be worth it. And it was a very, very rare drop.

Previously, there were frustrations with the loot itself, in the form of the fact that the Opulence weapons didn’t drop directly from Nightmare Containment or Sever or enemies on the Leviathan. Although a main way to get keys to find them in chests was still beating Containment for three simple chests. These were some of the most sought after weapons of the season, and yet the process to obtain them was a huge pain.

The pattern grinding here in the second season of crafting was also a miss, as you had to grind endlessly for red frames in Containment, and five patterns for each weapon proved too many. This also revealed that something had gone very, very wrong with the financial planning of this season, where the HELM upgrades had a whole row dedicated to a currency you were never short on, but the focus currency itself for drops and red frame hunting required again, an absurd amount Nightmare Containment farming.

Everything drove players into Nightmare Containment, constantly, and the activity itself wasn’t varied enough with its fixed location and barely different boss rotation. I think it’s a given that most seasonal activities will probably end up feeling a little repetitive in the end, but Nightmare Containment felt like a new level of that, and it kind of made the whole Leviathan return pointless.

There are definitely things I enjoyed about the season itself. I like most of the new weapons, including anything with an incandescent. All of the lore and storytelling throughout the Sever missions and even the Containment dialogue was extremely good, some of Destiny’s best. But gameplay-wise, Containment was the problem, and I hope we don’t have a similar activity-based problem in Season 18, whatever it is.

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