The short answer is no – Destiny 2‘s full campaigns and story content require purchase. But parts of the experience are free, so let‘s dig into the details.
What Exactly is Free
All players can access the "New Light" intro campaign, the Tower social space, four planets, the Crucible PvP mode, Gambit, and a limited selection of strikes. You can reach max level and play a good chunk of activities, but most newer end-game content is locked.
Paid Expansions – What You Get
Here‘s an overview of what each paid expansion includes:
- Full Moon campaign
- Garden of Salvation raid
- Pit of Heresy dungeon
- Nine new exotic weapons
- New armor, mods, finisher,Ghost shells
Beyond Light (2020)
- Full Europa campaign
- Deep Stone Crypt raid
- New Stasis subclass
- The Glassway strike
- Eight new exotic weapons
The Witch Queen (2022)
- Full Throne World campaign
- Vow of the Disciple raid
- New weapon crafting
- Seven new exotic weapons
- Weapon & armor rerolling
Each expansion provides a full year of seasonal content and activities as well. So you‘re looking at 100+ hours of content and gear per expansion.
Can I Access Vaulted Content?
Past content like the Forsaken campaign and The Red War have been "vaulted" – removed from the game. Here are your options for accessing vaulted content:
|Destiny 2: Legacy Collection
|Grants access to Forsaken and Shadowkeep campaigns
|Destiny 2: Complete Collection
|Includes all major expansions and vaulted content
I recommend the Complete Collection so you can experience the whole Destiny 2 story chronologically. It‘s the best value for money.
How Much Gameplay is Behind a Paywall?
Based on community estimates, here‘s a breakdown of how much content is locked behind DLC purchases:
|~60% not available for free players
|~75% not available for free players
|~80% not available for free players
|Raids & Dungeons
|100% requires purchased expansions
Given that story, strikes, destinations and end-game PvE make up a significant portion of overall playtime, I‘d estimate 60-70% of content is locked behind paid expansions.
Can I Compete Effectively as a Free Player?
Thanks to the seasonal artifact bringing all players up to the same power level cap, free players can be competitive in most activities besides Master/GM Nightfalls and Master Raids. However, some disadvantages exist:
- Missing ideal mods from seasonal artifact
- Less access to enhanced perks on weapons/armor
- No access to exclusive exotic weapons and armor
- Less sources of upgrade materials and upgrade modules
So while skill can overcome these gaps, expansions offer more optimal gear and subclasses that give an edge. But overall the playing field is quite even.
Should You Buy Expansions as a New Player?
Here‘s my advice for new players:
- Try the free content to see if you like the core gameplay loop
- If enjoying it, buy the current expansion first (Lightfall)
- Play through the current expansion campaign & post-game
- If hungering for more, grab the Legacy Collection
- Optionally, pre-purchase upcoming seasons for additional story content
This ensures you get the most relevant and active content first, while still leaving the option to experience older campaigns later.
How Much Do Expansions Cost?
Here are the current prices for all major expansions:
|The Witch Queen
|Lightfall (Feb 2023)
And each season pass costs $10 if purchased individually. So expect to spend between $40-$80 per year to access all new content.
Is Destiny 2 Pay to Win?
While paying for expansions unlocks more power and gear, Destiny 2‘s primary end-game activities are balanced around giving both free and paid players an even playing field, preventing true "pay to win" advantages. For example:
- All players can reach the same max season level from the artifact.
- Crucible enables max level stats and access to all gear.
- Seasonal activities don‘t require DLC purchases and reward powerful gear.
Paying unlocks options and variety, but skill and practice overcome all. If you‘re skilled, you can compete and succeed as a free player.
Final Verdict – Should You Go Free or Paid?
If you‘re a newcomer, definitely start with the free content to try Destiny 2‘s fundamentals for yourself without any upfront cost.
But for players who find themselves hooked and wanting more – the campaigns, expansions, and season passes offer tremendous value, bringing hundreds of hours of additional content and gear to earn and discover.
While free-to-play is generous, to experience Destiny 2‘s full scope including raids, dungeons, exotic quests, and story content, purchasing the paid expansions is highly recommended.