Here’s Everything That’s Free-to-Play in Destiny 2 After Lightfall

Since going free-to-play in 2019, Bungie has made many changes with what’s pro bono and what will require a real-world investment in Destiny 2. If you’re wondering exactly what is free and what’s paid, we made this nifty guide to help you navigate all that space magic.

Destiny 2 Free-to-Play Activities

First, let’s cover all the things you can do in Destiny 2 without paying. These are all the playlist activities, limited-time events, and stories you can partake in without ever running into Destiny’s paywall:

1. The “New Light” Questline and Guardian Rank Onboarding

As a newcomer, this content will be the first thing you’re forced to tackle before you can do anything else. This brief storyline will introduce you to the Destiny universe, teach you the basics of looting and shooting, and catch you up on the happenings so far, including a special cutscene to catch you up to speed all the way to Lightfall. After that, you’ll be given a series of goals via the “Journey” tab that will tell you what to do next, as part of Bungie’s new onboarding mechanic. Thankfully, it points you to free content long before you ever see an objective that would require you to buy something.

2. The Vanguard Strikes Playlist

As a free player, you won’t be allowed to access most strikes from the world maps, but all of them will appear (whether you own the content the strike comes from or not) in the Vanguard Strikes playlist. These activities are short stories taking place throughout Destiny’s storied history, and are one of the best ways to complete bounties and grab some easy loot.

3. Most Crucible Playlists

If you’re hoping to go head-to-head against your fellow Guardians, luckily almost all Crucible content is on the table. The Competitive 3v3 playlist, Team Quickplay’s 6v6 queue, and rotating playlists like Rumble’s free-for-all mode are available to jump in and play for all players. Iron Banner, a weeklong event taking place a few times every season, is also available to play and earn exclusive loot from whenever it shows up. One important detail is that, if you’re hoping to partake in the competitive playlist, you’ll need to verify your account on first, which requires you to register a cell phone number and associate it with your account.

4. Gambit

Gambit is Destiny’s Pve/PvP hybrid mode that pits teams of four against one another to bank motes before summoning and killing a boss. The first team to slay their boss wins, but the real twist is that players can invade one another’s world and kill the opposing team to set back their progress. You can play this mode solo (in Freelance mode), with a crew, or in a private match, but it’s all the same mode and only a handful of maps. Still, this is one of the few areas where absolutely everything is available to free-to-play players.

5. Seasonal Events

Every season in Destiny is marked by one seasonal event: Guardian Games in the spring, Solstice of Heroes in the summer, Festival of the Lost in the fall, and The Dawning in the winter. Each of these events brings with them a plethora of exclusive loot as well as at least one playable activity to engage with. As a free-to-play player, you’re free to participate in any or all of these as they occur. However, each has their own paid version as well, plus numerous cosmetics available for purchase, so your mileage may vary if you’re committed to playing for free.

6. The Prophecy Dungeon

Dungeons, Destiny 2’s coolest 3-player activities, are largely unavailable to free-to-play players, but the Prophecy Dungeon can be played by anyone and is arguably the best one. This raid-like activity takes place in the Realm of the Nine and is best played with two friends. Unfortunately, no matchmaking is available for this activity, but the loot is quite good, so it’s worth finding people to play with.

7. Vault of Glass and King’s Fall Raids

Like Dungeons, raids account for some of Destiny’s best and most difficult content, and most are pay-to-play. However two remastered Dungeons originating from Destiny 1, can be found and played for free in Destiny 2. Vault of Glass, the first Destiny raid ever featuring menacing Vex enemies, and King’s Fall, where you hunt down The Taken King Oryx, are both 6-player activities that require a fireteam, and like Dungeons you won’t be able to rely on matchmaking.

8. Patrols, Public Events, and Lost Sectors

As a free player, you can explore every destination and participate in various activities those places offer, like Patrols, Public Events, and Lost Sectors. Patrols are bite-sized bounties that have you kill or scan something, while Public Events occur regularly when exploring each location and usually require a group of people to complete. Finally, Lost Sectors are hidden areas in each world that serve as mini Dungeons, complete with a boss and chest to loot at the end. However, not every planet will be available to you at the start, as The Dreaming City, The Moon, and Europa all are unlocked by gaining enough XP from completing various activities.

9. Dares of Eternity

This six-player matchmade activity throws you into a very silly game show starring Xur and a magical horse with massive loot drops at the activity’s conclusion. It’s free to all players and definitely one of the more entertaining and rewarding things to do in Destiny.

10. The First Campaign Missions for The Witch Queen and Lightfall Campaigns

As a way to entice players to purchase an expansion, free players are given a taste of each campaign via the campaign’s first mission, which is available for free.

Though there’s plenty to do as a free player in Destiny 2, you’ll regularly run into paywalls which will require you to purchase an expansion or DLC before you can play it. Here’s everything that will require opening your pocketbook:

1. Campaign Missions

This one’s pretty obvious, as you won’t be able to play any of Destiny’s main campaign missions (beyond the first one for The Witch Queen and Lightfall) before buying the expansion. This includes Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and Lightfall – all of the campaigns that are currently available in Destiny 2.

2. Seasonal Activities & Story Missions (with exceptions)

Each season in Destiny 2 brings new miniature stories and seasonal events that, for the most part, are limited to those who own the season pass. New seasons also bring with them new weapons, armor, and cosmetics which are more often than not locked behind the seasonal paywall.

3. Nightfall Strikes

The most challenging version of the Vanguard Strikes, called Nightfall Strikes, are gated behind the most recent expansion (in this case: Lightfall). These Strikes are some of the most challenging (and rewarding) PvE activities out there, but don’t provide any additional content beyond a harder version of the existing missions in the Vanguard Strikes playlist.

4. Dungeons

Most Dungeons aren’t available to free players, including The Shattered Throne, Pit of Heresy, Grasp of Avarice, Duality, and Spire of the Watcher. Most of these are locked behind whichever expansion they released with (Spire of the Watcher requires The Witch Queen expansion, for example), but some can also be purchased from Ikora who will sell a Dungeon Key for that specific activity.

5. Raids

Similar to Dungeons, Raids are mostly locked behind whichever expansion premiered them, and those include: Last Wish, Garden of Salvation, Deep Stone Crypt, Vow of the Disciple, and Root of Nightmares. These raids are great, but there’s currently no way to buy them alone like some dungeons, and you’ll need to invest in expansions to play them.

6. Trials of Osiris

Trials of Osiris is Destiny 2’s premiere PvP mode, which pits players against one another in a tournament-style competition. Unfortunately, it was added to the list of activities that are locked behind Destiny 2’s paywall somewhat recently, and you’ll need the most recent expansion (Lightfall) to partake.

Free-to-Play Unlocks

Aside from just things to do, another important part of Destiny 2’s free-to-play model are the tools you have (or don’t have) access to. Here are all the things you can collect and make use of in the free version:

1. All Three Classes

Whether you want to play a crafty Hunter, an undaunting Titan, or a mystical Warlock, all three of Destiny 2’s playable classes are available to you in all versions of the game.

2. All Light Subclasses

Light Subclasses account for 3/5ths of the available playstyles in Destiny 2, and all nine of those are available to you as a free player. This includes Solar, Void, and Arc subclasses for each of the three Guardian classes, though some will need to be unlocked through playing the game. You gain access to the questlines to do just that once you’ve completed the introductory New Light mission.

3. Most Weapons and Armor

Although some weapons and armor that are only available in certain paid activities can’t be obtained by a free player, the vast majority of it can be found in the loot pools that are free-to-play, though some require a bit more work than is required by paying customers.

4. Transmogrification

Although players can microtransact to speed up the process, the ability to swap the appearance of one armor piece with the appearance of another you’ve already acquired is available cia Ada-1 to anyone who’s up for completing her bounties.

5. Partial Access to Season Passes

Like most live-service games, Destiny 2 has a season pass with two progression tracks: the free track and the paid track. Naturally the paid version has better loot, more frequent drops, and grants access to the best stuff earlier in the season, but most of the important loot (like seasonal exotics) can be obtained via the free progression track with enough elbow grease.

6. Clan Membership

Destiny veterans will know that “the friend game is the endgame,” and thankfully this isn’t gated behind a paywall. Clans, which allow you to group up with your fellow Guardians to earn special loot drops and gain buffs via the Clan Banner seasonal buffs, can be freely created and joined by any Destiny player.

1. Six Darkness Subclasses

The six Darkness subclasses introduced in recent years are locked behind the expansions that debuted them – Three Stasis subclasses with Beyond Light and Three Strand subclasses with Lightfall. If you want access to the powerful abilities these subclasses afford, you’ll need to own those expansions respectively.

2. The Full Season Pass

If you want access to the better of the two season pass progression tracks, you’ll need to pony up some real-world Glimmer.

3. Additional Items Granted Through Purchases

Some items are arbitrarily gifted to the player when they complete a purchase, like a legendary ship Shaw Han has in stock that he’ll only give to players who purchase Lightfall. Beyond that, there are plenty of loot drops and Eververse cosmetics only available to those who have made specific purchases or microtransactions.

“If I Want to Dive Deeper, What Should I Buy First?”

This will all depend on what kind of activity you’re drawn to. If you and two of your pals really enjoy PvE content, maybe consider buying access to the standalone Dungeons that are cheaper than some of the other content. If you like PvP and want to give Trials a shot, then you’ll need to buy the most recent expansion (Lightfall) to participate. Generally speaking though, it’s almost always the best idea to buy the most recent expansion to gain access to current seasonal activities and conform with any changes to the meta, like the recent addition of the Strand subclasses.

I would just advise staying far away from Eververse at the outset, as the Silver currency she sells only offers nonessential items and things that can be earned for free, like tokens to transmog your equipment. Focus on the main expansions and replayable content to start, and see if your interest continues to be piqued from there.

For more, check out our latest Destiny 2 review of the Lightfall expansion, and if you’re ready to dive into some paid content, check out our guide for the Root of Nightmares raid.

Travis Northup is a writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @TieGuyTravis and read his games coverage here.

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