We’re still a couple of weeks away from Destiny 2 Season 18 debuting, and since we have literally zero information to start from with Bungie saving everything for the August 23 presentation, I thought I’d just think in this past season instead of today.
Season of the Haunted has become a not-too-distinguished season, I would say on a grand scale of any Destiny season to date. Certainly in the bottom half, if not maybe the bottom five or below, depending on who you ask. It’s weird considering Bungie seemed to do that Yes, really cheering it up in advance, and the secrecy surrounding it made it seem like something that was going to blow our minds. But that’s not how it went.
One problem is that the good things that were a part of that season weren’t… technically a part of that season. That would be something like Duality, where while it fits the season thematically (and effectively shares a loot pool across two Opulence weapons), it’s part of a separately available dungeon pack. And while I liked Solar 3.0, it’s a permanent sandbox change, not exclusive to Haunted.
That leaves the actual content of the season, and I can comfortably state what I believe was the main problem at the root of the problem with Season of the Haunted: Nightmare Containment.
There are many issues with Nightmare Containment, which isn’t necessarily a bad activity in a vacuum, but is seasonal Salt strong in every way that it overwhelmed the whole.
The Leviathan returned as a patrol room, which was cool, and yet Nightmare Containment only takes place in a single area, the Castellum, and even if it “rotates” week to week, only the final boss changes, and not even them location of the last 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 difference.
In theory, you could farm some level of gear for the sever missions that would at least take you to different parts of the Leviathan, but in order to do that you would need an item from… Nightmare Containment, Bound Essence, for the run to to be worthwhile. And it was a very, very rare drop.
Additionally, there were frustrations with the loot itself, in relation to the fact that the Opulence weapons weren’t dropped 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 by beating Containment for three basic chests. These were some of the most coveted weapons of the season, and yet the process of getting them was an enormous pain.
Also pattern grinding here in the second season of crafting was a failure as in Containment you had to grind endlessly for red frames and five patterns for each weapon turned out to be too many. This also showed that something was very, very wrong with this season’s economic planning, where the HELM upgrades had dedicated a whole bunch to a currency you were never short of, but the actual focus currency for drops and red frame hunting again required an absurd amount of nightmare containment farming.
Everything was constantly driving players into Nightmare’s containment, and the activity itself, with its fixed location and barely varied boss rotation, lacked variety. I think it goes without saying that most seasonal activities will likely end up being a little repetitive, but Nightmare Containment felt like a new level and made the Leviathan’s return pointless overall.
There are definitely things I liked about the season itself. I like most of the new weapons, including anything with incandescent lights. All of the lore and storytelling through the Sever missions and even the containment dialogue was extremely good, some of Destiny’s best. But as far as gameplay goes, containment was the issue, and I hope we don’t have a similar activity-based issue in Season 18, whatever it is.