Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is set to launch in just a couple of weeks' time, and with the days counting down Bungie is slowly but surely outlining more and more changes coming with the launch of the new expansion. In most instances, you'll read about all the major changes, like the release of new weapons and locations, but there are also many smaller but incredibly significant changes also coming. On this page, we're aiming to keep you informed on everything changing with the release of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen and Season 16.
Witch Queen Raid Launch Date
We've still not got a whole heap of info about Witch Queen's new Raid, but we know when it will launch. The Destiny 2: The Witch Queen [REDACTED] Raid will start on March 5, 2022 at 10AM Pacific (18:00 UTC).
It's unlikely we'll get more details before the launch of the expansion, but Bungie has promised to shared additional details on Contest Mode, Bungie Rewards, and other need-to-know information closer to the date.
Starting on February 22 with the launch of Witch Queen, these are the new power levels for guardians moving forward:
- Floor: 1350 - The lowest possible Power for a piece of gear; the starting point for new characters.
- Soft cap: 1500 - The point at which general drops stop being automatic upgrades; Powerful gear drops are now the best way to gain Power.
- Power cap: 1550 - The point at which Powerful drops stop being upgrades; Pinnacle gear drops are now the only way to gain Power.
- Hard cap: 1560 - Max possible Power from Pinnacle drops (ignoring Artifact Power).
Rare Blue Drops Will Change
With the launch of The Witch Queen players will no more need to worry about constantly managing their inventory from picking up potentially useless Rare (blue) drops.
First of all, Rare rewards will not stop entirely, they'll continue to drop from playlist activities (Crucible, Strikes, Gambit, etc.). However, once players have reached the soft cap (1500), players will instead see a "slightly increased chance" of receiving Legendary rewards from the activities instead. Explaining the change, Economy Feature Lead Joshua Kulinski said:
"Blue weapons and armors will continue to drop from enemies and chests while playing Destiny 2, but we hope that this will reduce the need for players to manage their inventories and reduce the frequency of visits to the Postmaster when running playlist activities."
Beginning with Season 16 and the release of Witch Queen, players will no longer have to worry about being limited by the number of Artifact mods they can unlock. Previously, players would level up the seasonal artifact, and whilst there was a wealth to choose from (up to 25), players could only unlock a maximum of 12.
From Season 16 though, this is changing, with players able to unlock all 25, but it should be noted that each unlock after the 12th will require increased XP. As per Bungie this means the choice of which order to unlock mods still requires some decision-making.
Masterwork Armor Cost
Bungie has also confirmed that they're slashing the cost of changing the energy type of a fully-Masterworked piece of armor. Here's the official explanation on costs:
"A fully Masterworked piece of Legendary armor can be changed to another energy type for the cost of 10,000 Glimmer and one Upgrade Module, while a fully Masterworked piece of Exotic armor can be changed to another energy type for the cost of 20,000 Glimmer and one Upgrade Module. The costs for changing a piece of armor’s energy type before it is fully Masterworked remain unchanged."
Orbs of Power
There's a big shakeup to the way Guardians create Orbs of Power with weapons.
It's quite a significant change, so we'll quote Bungie verbatim so you know exactly how it will be tweaked:
"Orb generation on weapon multikills will no longer be a function of a weapon’s Masterwork status but will instead be provided by a suite of armor mods, which are unlocked automatically for all players and which plug into the Helmet Armor Mod socket. Each such mod will apply the Orb-generation effect to all weapons you have equipped of a particular damage type, so a single mod will cover multiple weapons in your arsenal if they share a damage type (this also applies to a weapon that changes damage types, like Hard Light, or a Kinetic weapon with Osmosis)."
The following four weapons will be cycling out of the game's Nightfall loot poots at the beginning of The Witch Queen.
- The Swarm
- Shadow Price
- Uzume RR4
- Hung Jury SR4
Thankfully there are two new weapons coming in Season 16 with the Duty Bound auto rifle & Silicon Neuroma sniper rifle returning.
Reputation Points -
Nightfalls will have increased reputation multipliers and completion bonuses.
Modifier Changes -
Bungie is adding a new style of burn called Acute which will "increase player damage taken from a specific element by 50 percent and increase player damage done by 25 percent."
In addition, those Seasonal Strike modifiers that were introduced in Season 15 are moving from the Vanguard playlist to Nightfalls. Here's a bit more info, as per Bungie:
"These are unique buffs and boosts that aid you if you lean into the combat themes of the Season – for Season 16, they are themed to Glaive and Void usage. These rotate weekly, and appear on all Hero, Legend, and Master Nightfalls."
When Destiny 2 Beyond Light was released, it added two new variations on the games Lost Sectors in the form of Legends and Master difficulties.
Given "technical limitations" the daily Legend and Master Lost sector was always two different locations within the game. But with Witch Queen, Bungie say they've managed to find a workaround.
"There is now a single daily Lost Sector, which has both Legend and Master difficulties available at the same time, selectable at the entrance," Bungie say. "Both difficulties give the same Exotic reward."
Changes To Gunsmith Materials & Mods
Bungie will remove some of the items that were previously associated with Gunsmith Reputation with the release of Witch Queen. This includes Gunsmith Materials and Weapon Telemetries. Instead, players will earn Reputation Rank progress with Banshee-44 when dismantling Legendary and Exotic weapons and armor or by completing daily Gunsmith bounties. This is similar to the reputation system used by Zavala and Shaxx.
In addition, Mod Components are going to be removed from the game. Instead, mods will require 10,000 Glimmer each to purchase. Banshee-44 and Ada-1 will still sell the mods, but Bungie is also increasing the number of mods available at any one time from two to four.
Master Rahool Will Replace Spider
With the release of Witch Queen Bungie will once again move various content into the Destiny Content Vault. One of those changes includes the removal of the Tangled Shore location. As a result, the location's defacto vendor, Spider, will also be removed from the game, and consequently, Master Rahool in the Tower will be taking on an enhanced role.
[Rahool] will be inheriting Spider’s material exchange duties in The Witch Queen. Exchange rates should match what you know from Spider (for now), but these services are being shifted to the Tower as the Tangled Shore will soon be off limits to Guardians.
In addition, Rahool will also be picking up some of the wares that Banshee-44 and Ada-1 once offered, specifically the sale of Enhancement Prisms and Ascendant Shards. As noted above, this makes space for more mods to be available for purchase during a given week. Rahool will offer these materials at the same price as Banshee-44 and Ada-1 once sold them.
Xur Will Sell Hawkmoon & Dead Man's Tale
Bungie's favourite exotic gear merchant, Xur, will get an upgrade in Witch Queen, partly because the Harbinger and Presage Exotic missions will no longer be accessible. Instead, the vendor will sell a unique roll for both Hawkmoon and Dead Man’s Tale as part of his inventory every week.
Players will need the following materials to purchase either weapon each week:
- 1 Ascendant Shard
- 1 Exotic Cipher
- 125,000 Glimmer
- 200 Legendary Shards
In addition, Exotic Catalysts for a number of weapons - Hawkmoon, Dead Man’s Tale, Ager's Scepter, Outbreak Perfected, Whisper of the Worm, The Fourth Horseman - will now be available via playlist activities like Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit.
Trials of Osiris
Season 16 Release Date -
A quick note from the games Community Manager. Trials of Osiris will not be available following the launch of The Witch Queen. The end-game PVP content will return to the game after the launch of the game's next Raid. "[This] Gives players time to play through the campaign and get some levels under their belt," Dmg04 told fans.
The Destiny 2 Witch Queen Raid goes live on March 5, and Trials of Osiris should return to the Crucible on March 11.
Reputation Points -
Round wins will award Trials Reputation points based on the current wins on your ticket. It should speed up ranking up by about 50% if you don't reset too often.
First of all, two weapons will be cycling out of the game's loot poots at the beginning of The Witch Queen. This includes Igneous Hammer and Sola's Scar.
Two new weapons will be added and we already have a look at one of them, in the form of the returning The Summoner (below).
Season 16 Release Date -
First of all Bungie confirmed that the final Iron Banner of Season 15 will be during the final week of Season of the Lost. In addition, Iron Banner bounties will not be removed at the end of the Season, and shall carry over into Season 16.
The following four weapons will be cycling out of the game's loot poots at the beginning of The Witch Queen.
- Multimach CCX
- Timeworn Spire
- Guiding Sight
- Steady Hand
“Team is looking at Gambit during the year of Witch Queen... Understand the frustration on silence. We’ve made some hints along the way, but have yet to say anything specific.”
Writing on the January 27 TWAB, Bungie once again committed to a "Gambit revamp coming in The Witch Queen" but also added they would "like a full Season to analyze playstyles and patterns before making any changes."
So any big gambit changes are most likely being saved until Season 17 later in the year.
Vanguard Ops - Battlegrounds
As mentioned previously by Bungie, the Season 13 Battlegrounds activities have been added to the Vanguard Strikes playlist, and this playlist has been renamed Vanguard Ops.
With the launch of Witch Queen players will have four new Battlegrounds to undertake. These have now been named:
- Behemoth - Nessus
- Oracle - Nessus
- Hailstone - Europa
- Foothold - Cosmodrome
These Battlegrounds will be the standard, non-Champion versions of the Battlegrounds. In addition, any bounties, quests, Triumphs, or challenges which were previously only able to be completed in Strikes can now also be completed in Battlegrounds.
30th Anniversary Content
Don't worry, the 30th Anniversary Content is staying and won't be going into the Destiny Content Vault.
So Starhorse and all associated content (both free and paid) will remain.
The team has said they'll have "another update about this later this year," so there could be some change, but it won't be coming at the start of 2022, that's for sure.