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Can I Still Play The Witch Queen Campaign? A Free Weekend Guide for New and Returning Guardians

As a long-time Destiny fan, I am thrilled that Bungie has opened up the acclaimed Witch Queen expansion for free from now until February 26th! For new lights who have never experienced Destiny‘s amazing lore and worldbuilding or veterans looking to relive an incredible campaign, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Let‘s dive in to everything you need to know to make the most of this free weekend in the Throne World.

What Exactly Can I Access for Free?

During this limited-time event lasting until 11:59PM PST on 2/26/2023, all Destiny 2 players on all platforms can freely access the full Witch Queen expansion campaign along with the new Throne World destination. This includes approximately 6-8 hours of story content across 8 story missions featuring the foreboding Savathûn and her Lucent Hive guardians.

You‘ll be able to explore mysterious locations like the Quagmire, fight challenging bosses like Fikrul, and unlock the new Void 3.0 subclasses and weapon crafting. This free weekend provides the entirety of the Witch Queen expansion minus the raid and certain Exotic weapon quests requiring ownership.

Why Is Access Free for a Limited Time?

According to Bungie, the main goal of this free weekend is allowing both new and returning players to experience Destiny 2‘s best expansion yet before the upcoming Lightfall release. Community manager Dylan Gafner stated:

"We want to give new and returning players the chance to experience the recent releases first-hand and get primed for Lightfall."

The Witch Queen was widely praised by players and critics as a return to form, bringing impressive scope, enemy variety, and satisfying gameplay. Many consider it Destiny‘s best campaign ever. This free access lets Bungie build hype for the next chapter while potentially converting free players into paid ones.

How Does The Witch Queen Campaign Fit Into Destiny‘s Evolving Story?

Ever since the original Destiny‘s release in 2014, Bungie has iteratively built a complex universe filled with unique characters, enemy factions, and mystical lore. The Witch Queen represents a pivotal new chapter in that saga.

Here‘s a quick recap of how we got here:

  • Destiny 1 initially pitted guardians against threats like the Vex and Hive gods Crota and Oryx.
  • In Destiny 2, we faced Ghaul and the Red Legion, the Scorn, and others before investigating Darkness itself on the Moon in Shadowkeep.
  • Beyond Light in 2020 took us to Europa to explore the ice-shrouded Pyramid and new Stasis powers.
  • Now, Savathûn and her dangerous Lucent Hive take center stage in The Witch Queen as we uncover long-hidden secrets about the Light and Darkness.

Understanding this full journey makes The Witch Queen‘s reveals and references more impactful. For new players, catching up on the lore will prove very beneficial. Resources like previouslyondestiny.com provide great recaps.

How Does The Witch Queen Campaign Compare to Past Releases?

Let‘s analyze how The Witch Queen stacks up to previous Destiny 2 expansion campaigns using data provided by How Long To Beat:

Expansion Main Story Length Overall Expansion Hours
The Witch Queen 7-8 hours 34 hours
Beyond Light 5 hours 31 hours
Shadowkeep 5 hours 17 hours
Forsaken 9 hours 63 hours

As we can see, The Witch Queen provides Destiny 2‘s longest main story campaign yet, beating even beloved releases like Forsaken. Combined with its Throne World destination, crafting systems, and excellent post-game content, it also represents one of Destiny‘s most substantial expansions period.

Player reviews paint a similarly positive picture, with The Witch Queen holding a 4.7 user score on Metacritic compared to lower ratings for Shadowkeep and Beyond Light. For veteran players, it recaptures the magic of early expansions.

New Exotics – What You Can Unlock and Keep

One of the best parts of playing The Witch Queen campaign is earning Exotic gear that stays in your inventory forever. Here are some of the coolest new Exotics and how they impact gameplay:

  • Dead Messenger – This breech-loaded grenade launcher allows firing different volatile projectile types making it excel in both mob clear and boss DPS.
  • Parasite – Fires Arc seekers that split into smaller projectiles on impact. Stacks damage by collecting them.
  • Secant Filaments – Grants empowered weapon shots after using your powered melee. Great for Devour Warlocks.
  • Sweet Business – This fan favorite auto rifle has a huge magazine and improved accuracy while firing from the hip. Excellent for add clear.
  • Osteo Striga – The Witch Queen signature SMG shoots tracking poison projectiles that bounce between enemies. Potent in solo content.

These Exotics rival and enhance Destiny 2 mainstays like Trinity Ghoul, Witherhoard, and Lorentz Driver. Unlocking them will give you elite options for all high-level PvE content in the seasons beyond Witch Queen.

Optimal Approaches for The Legendary Campaign

The Witch Queen‘s missions are available on both Normal and Legendary difficulties. I highly recommend Legendary for veterans looking for a challenge. Here are some tips for tackling its tougher enemies and modifiers:

  • Devour Warlock – Constant health regeneration makes this a top subclass choice.
  • Void Hunter – Invisibility and Volatile Rounds boost survivability and damage.
  • Stasis Titan – Glacier grenades and Barricade can control crowds of adds.
  • Arbalest – This anti-barrier rifle shreds shielded Knights and Wizards.
  • Trinity Ghoul – Wipes out swarms of Thrall and Acolytes quickly.
  • Lament – Unstoppable sword that decimates Lucent Hive and bosses.

Carefully approaching each encounter and complementing your subclass and loadout will lead to success. I loved the varied, rewarding challenge of Legendary – it took my skills to their limit and forced creative strategies.

The Witch Queen campaign also unlocks the weapon crafting system. I highly recommend leveling up and crafting repeatable favorites like Piece of Mind, Thoughtless, and Come to Pass.

Maps and Checklists for Discovering All Secrets

The Throne World destination features many hidden secrets from lost sectors to collectibles that award additional loot. Here are some maps and guides to help find everything during your free weekend:

Lost Sectors

Throne World Lost Sectors Map

Credit: Shacknews

Region Chests

Throne World Region Chests

Credit: niris.tv

All Collectibles

Discovering these will boost your gear level and provide materials for crafting powerful weapons. I highly recommend thoroughly searching each subzone.

What Other Free Content Can You Enjoy?

The Witch Queen campaign represents the bulk of free content, but players can also enjoy:

  • Exploring the Throne World destination and World Events
  • Season of Defiance activities like Ketchcrash and Expedition
  • Dares of Eternity and Xur‘s Treasure Hoard
  • 30th Anniversary content like Grasp of Avarice dungeon

You won‘t have access to the Vow of the Disciple raid without purchasing Witch Queen, but there is still plenty to occupy your time if the campaign leaves you hungry for more Destiny.

Will My Progress Carry Over If I Buy The Witch Queen?

Yes, any experience points, gear, crafting patterns, Triumphs, or other items you earn during the free weekend will remain in your inventory permanently if you choose to buy The Witch Queen expansion later.

According to Bungie:

“All gear, Exotics, progression, Triumphs, and materials earned during the free period will remain on your account.”

So feel free to enjoy this preview without worrying about lost progress. Think of it as an extended demo that lets you carry forward your unlocks.

Comparison to Other Free Gaming Events

Free weekends and other promotional events have become quite common in the gaming industry as ways to attract new players, show off new content, and boost hype. For example:

  • Call of Duty offers free MP weekends to get players into newer games and potentially purchase them.
  • MMO‘s like Elder Scrolls Online provide free trials of new expansions to hook potential subscribers.
  • Epic Games Store gives away high profile paid games for free, increasing their userbase.

Based on these examples, Bungie‘s free Witch Queen weekend aligns with similar strategies – retaining players, converting free users into paying ones, and building goodwill/publicity before Lightfall‘s release. It‘s a win for new and existing Guardians alike.

In Conclusion – An Offer Not to Miss!

As both a Destiny expert and thrill-seeking gamer, I can‘t recommend this free Witch Queen weekend enough if you have ever had the slightest interest in the franchise. The campaign delivers 10 hours of Bungie‘s very best worldbuilding, lore reveals, enemy designs, satisfying gameplay – this is Destiny firing on all cylinders.

Take your time, savor the environments and score, find all the secrets. I‘m excited to join my fellow Guardians in welcoming so many new players to one of sci-fi‘s most fascinating worlds. See you starside!