Festival of the Lost Thoughts Plus The State of Seasonal Events in Destiny 2

Festival of the Lost has been out for a few days now, and I wanted to give a quick review of the event so far, plus have a look into the current state of seasonal events in Destiny 2. Today I’m going to have a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Festival of the Lost, but also have a look at the wider context and what Bungie could do to improve things for the future.

Before we get into the main topic today, let me know in the comments what you think of Festival of the Lost. What do you like, what do you dislike, and how would you like to see things improved in the future?

This past Tuesday, Eva Levante arrived back in the Tower, we put on our scary masks and started farming candy and spectral pages, plus the seasonal loot to celebrate Festival of the Lost 2022. This event is around for three weeks, and included in the event is the seasonal activity Haunted Sectors, we have returning weapons including two auto rifles, a pulse rifle, and the new Sniper Mechabre. We have new masks, one new Haunted Sector, plus new armor ornaments. We have a new seasonal title, plus the event card has been added into the mix, a new-ish feature that was introduced into Destiny 2 earlier this year.

First of all I want to have a look at the things I’m enjoying about the event.

Mechabre, Sniper – This is a great addition to the loot pool. Snipers aren’t in the best place in the sandbox right now, however, if you do like using Snipers then this one compares very positively against other snipers in the game, plus you can get it for free by completing the introduction quest in Festival of the Lost. If you like Sniping in PVP, then even better because Eva Levante gives us all a very decent roll with Snapshot Sights and Opening Shot, two very good perks for a Destiny 2 Sniper.

Haunted Sectors – Personally, I enjoy the Haunted Sectors more than the previous activity called The Haunted Forest. Haunted Sectors are repurposed Lost Sectors, which include the addition of a new enemy type called The Headless Ones, which are essentially powerful enemies that spawn throughout the mode after you have stood in a summoning cirlce for a short amount of time. I find Haunted Sectors much more interesting and enjoyable than the Haunted Forest, which was a lot more traversing of environments compared to action.

Ornaments – First I like the fact Bungie has us voting for the armor ornaments earlier in the year. This gives us motivation and a sense of ownership over the decision of which ornaments to put into the game. I think the final product looks pretty good, the Titan armor probably looks the best. I also like the fact we can buy these with Bright Dust, the in-game currency. Yes, they are expensive, but you can play the game, gather Bright Dust from the free track on the season pass, plus complete bounties from vendors in the Tower to build up a healthy amount of Bright Dust prior to the event. You can also purchase via Silver, but for me, this is a rare occurrence, unless I really like the cosmetics, as was the case with the Fornite Skins.

Event Title/Seal – I’m enjoying the event title/seal grind. This means completing a bunch of triumphs or objectives in the game, for which you’ll earn a unique event title or seal. If it’s completed within the event, then you can purchase the real-life seal pin too, which I have started collecting. This process isn’t for everyone, but it gets me more engaged in the event.

Next, let’s have a look at the things I’m not enjoying.

Quest bugs – This didn’t happen to me, but loads of Destiny 2 players were posting that their introduction quest was bugged, meaning they couldn’t complete the intro, or make any progress on the day it came out. This is a fast way to kill enthusiasm for the event among the community. To Bungie’s credit, they got a fix out on the day of release, but the damage had already been done. In the future, I’d like to see more attention paid to the introduction quest. This has to be faultless, as this is could be the first impression that many players get when they play Destiny. If they are a returning player or a new player, then having a quest you can progress through would be wildly frustrating, and I wouldn’t blame players for not coming back after that.

Eververse – Seasonal events do have a bad reputation among the Destiny community in that they push the promotion for cosmetics via the Eververse Store, Destiny 2’s in-game cosmetics store. These items don’t give you an in-game advantage, they are all cosmetics, but Bungie pushes this hard. It’s a shame that the best items are locked in the Eververse Store, and aren’t available for everyone just by playing the game. I understand Destiny 2 has a free-to-play component, and you can join in Festival of the Lost and other seasonal events for free, but it’s just a shame. This was compounded this year by Bright Dust on certain event bounties being reduced from 200 to 100, meaning you got much less Bright Dust, at the same time as Bungie pushing their Eververse content. This was later identified as a bug and addressed in their weekly update as a known issue, but it leaves a sour taste in the mouth. I’d like to see more of a balance with Eververse. All items should be available for Bright Dust and increase the amounts of Bright Dust earned throughout the game.

Origin Traits – This was a new feature added to Destiny 2’s loot pool in the Witch Queen expansion. Origin Traits are specific perks for weapon sets, and we got a new origin trait for the Festival of the Lost weapons. However, some of the older weapons haven’t always been dropping with this origin trait, meaning you don’t get the benefits of this new perk. It could be the difference between wanting to use the weapon and not. It’s also a good motivator to come back and play the seasonal event over and over again. Much like the first bug for the introduction quest, it’d be great to see more testing on these new features to prevent player frustration in the future.

Spectral Pages – The way the event is set up means you have to spend a lot of time in playlists, rather than playing the event activity. For example, you have to farm events like Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit to gather Spectral Pages, and then go into the Haunted Sectors to ‘convert’ the pages into something else. Loads more time is spent in activities we’ve played for months and years, rather than playing the event activity itself. In the future, I’d like to see more emphasis on the event activity, rather than the playlist activity.

The Upgraded Event Card – You can upgrade your event card from the free to the ‘premium’ version. This will instantly unlock a few cosmetics including the Bobbing for Apples emote, the Bold Chapalu Sparrow, and Angel’s Gleam shader. You can also trade in tickets, earned from challenges to get more cosmetics. The Upgraded Event Card costs 1000 Silver, which is about $10. Personally, there’s not enough here to get me to upgrade, and it feels like another play to get you to spend more money. We already have the Eververse Store, and this introduced a new ‘premium feature’, which is a confusing user journey with lacklustre rewards. I don’t think we need it, and I’d like to see it removed from future events. But I guess this is the state of gaming in 2022.

Next, let’s have a look at Seasonal Events overall.

There’s a lot to like about seasonal events in Destiny 2. We have Festival of the Lost for Halloween, The Dawning for Christmas, Guardian Games in Spring and Solstice for Summer. The cosmetics are great, I particularly like the Guardian Games sets this year with the RGB shader, that’s a keeper. Bungie always do a great job with the cosmetics for Festival of the Lost, and involving the community in picking which set to create is a great idea. The events are regular enough to be fun, without getting tired of them.

It’s the Eververse promotion that is rubbing people the wrong way. In a looter-shooter, ideally, we should have the best-looking gear earnable in-game, rather than purchased through the eververse store. While I understand Bungie’s need to promote the Eververse Store, during these events it feels like it’s dialed up to 11.

Regarding the Seasonal Event activities, personally, I think Solstice is the best. As discussed today, Festival of the Lost has you doing much more outside the activity, gathering spectral pages in playlists and then converting them in Haunted Sectors. The European Aerial Zone feels like a better activity to me, plus you have the side objective of leveling up your armor. Guardian Games has Laurel collecting and competing against other classes, which adds a nice little twist, and then you have The Dawning with the cookie baking and ingredients gathering.

The introduction of the event card for me has been a con rather than a pro, although I don’t really engage with the purchasable upgrade, I only run on the free track. For me, the extra cosmetics aren’t worth the cost. In recent seasonal events, the bugs have been rampant, and hopefully, Bungie can invest some time into fixing these as we go into Lightfall to improve things overall.

I have enjoyed the introduction of unique titles for these events, I earned my Flamekeeper title for Solstice and I’m well on my way to earning the Ghost Writer title for Festival of the Lost. The title gives me a set of objectives and I’m more inclined to come back time after time when these objectives are laid out, plus I get the IRL seal pin, which I enjoy collecting.

Overall, it’s a mixed bag for seasonal events for me in Destiny 2. There’s a lot I like, but the massive emphasis on Eververse is disappointing and only getting more extreme as the years go by. Bungie is investing in these events with the changes to Solstice and Festival of the Lost in recent years, so I do appreciate that.

Let me know in the comments what you think of Festival of the Lost, plus the state of seasonal events in general.