How Does The Season Pass Stand Up Against The DLC Model In Destiny 2?
Analysing the differences and benefits between the season pass and DLC models for Destiny 2.
It’s been a solid year of having this season pass content in Destiny 2 instead of using the DLC model that has been a part of Destiny since the first game launched. Bungie used to release regular small DLCs with limited content, and one big expansion, every year. Now we get a year full of pretty regularly updated content, in exchange for a single season pass price, but the content comes and goes like the tide. I want to explore which was better, and whether a combination should be used instead.
Season passes are a core part of free-to-play games. With Shadowkeep, Destiny 2 became a free-to-play title, and the season pass was introduced. Every season there’s a new pass to buy at a fairly reasonable price, or you can buy them all at once with the annual pass. Either way, you’re guaranteed some Exotic content, as well as a crack at the premium track for the season.
This model was popularised by Fortnite, and it works because there’s generally a lot of content on offer in each game that uses one for free. You could get the game and enjoy it without spending a penny. If you do though, you benefit with the best gear and weapons early, and you get some extremely nice cosmetic rewards on top of them.
I like the way Bungie has made season passes work for Destiny 2, but I don’t think that seasons work for the game on the whole. That’s why Bungie is working to keep content in the game for the rest of the year, instead of limiting it to just each season. It creates a fear among Guardians, making them think that they either have to play every day, or not at all. I’ve struggled with this in 2020, and I’m glad that it’s being tweaked as we move into a new year for Destiny 2.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I really enjoyed the content that Bungie released in their smaller DLC packages with Destiny 1 and 2. They added meaningful chunks of new content to play through. While that content never lasted long enough to keep Guardians engaged, they were good enough that they felt like new chapters in the story, instead of filler content.
With that said, the DLC model is broken. As I pointed out, the content was good for a short period of time. Then everyone had finished it, and we all went back to the Crucible, or just not playing Destiny 2. It wasn’t good for the game’s longevity.
Blending The Two
I reckon that Bungie will figure out over the next year that they need to do a mix of both DLC and season passes to make the most of Destiny 2. Upping the price of the annual pass to include that DLC might not go down that well with Guardians, but as long as the content is as meaningful as it always has been, everyone should come around to the idea pretty quickly.
I’m not saying that seasons need to go. In fact, I think they’re now essential to the game. Keep them for sure, but add in something extra between the seasons, just when the lull between them kicks in.
A DLC could be a new mini-campaign. It doesn’t need to add a new moon or planet, but a new set of story missions, and a wider mystery in the system, would be perfect for tiding us over between seasons. Because these mini-campaigns wouldn’t be adding major new content, they could be offered for around $10.
I think that two of these per year would be plenty. Introducing one early in the year, and one around now, just before the beginning of the next year in Destiny 2, would be perfect. It would add a couple of short new stories, some lore, and an activity for Guardians to participate in that isn’t essential for anyone.
Let me know what you think of this idea in the comments.