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Why is Destiny 2 free now?

Destiny 2 became free-to-play in 2019 when developer Bungie split from publisher Activision and transitioned the game to a free-to-play model. This opened up the core Destiny 2 experience to all players without an upfront cost.

The History Behind Destiny 2 Going Free-to-Play

As a passionate Destiny fan, I‘ve followed this game‘s evolution closely. Destiny 2 originally launched in 2017 as a paid title, published by Activision and developed by Bungie. At the time, it carried a standard $59.99 price tag. This covered the base game and access to the first year of seasonal content.

In January 2019, Bungie announced they were splitting from publisher Activision to become an independent studio once again. As part of this separation, Bungie retained full publishing rights and control over the Destiny IP.

Later that year in June, Bungie announced that Destiny 2 would transition to a free-to-play model. This coincided with the game migrating away from the Battle.net launcher to Steam.

By making the core game free-to-play, Bungie opened up Destiny 2 to a much wider audience. This aligned with their new independent strategy.

The Benefits of Free-to-Play for Destiny 2

Here are some of the major benefits Bungie saw in going free-to-play:

  • Lower barrier to entry for new players
  • Increased overall player population for healthier matchmaking
  • Opportunity to sell expansions and seasonal content
  • Incoming revenue from microtransactions

This model allowed Bungie to double down on Destiny 2 and its community, rather than divert resources into launching a rushed sequel.

Whatcontent Do You Get for Free?

The free-to-play version of Destiny 2, called New Light, grants access to the following content:

  • Original Destiny 2 campaign & post-campaign quests
  • Free roam on 4 initial destinations: Earth, Nessus, Titan, and Io
  • Early Crucible maps & modes like Control and Clash
  • Early Gambit maps
  • Early Vanguard strikes (playlist activities)
  • The Tower social space

This provides a solid chunk of content for free players to experience. New Light essentially acts as an extensive demo, letting players get a feel for the world and core activities.

The Limitations of the Free Version

However, free players do face restrictions, including:

  • Limited access to raids, dungeons, and endgame PvE activities
  • Can‘t access new destinations from paid expansions
  • Limited access to new Crucible maps and modes
  • Lower max character and gear level caps

For players seeking to experience Destiny 2‘s full range of endgame activities and new evolving worlds, the expansions are a must.

Paid Expansions & Season Passes

While New Light is free, all major expansions and seasonal content must be purchased separately:

Major Expansions

  • Forsaken ($25)
  • Shadowkeep ($25)
  • Beyond Light ($40)
  • The Witch Queen ($40)
  • Lightfall (Upcoming 2023, $50)

Expansions introduce new destinations, campaigns, subclasses, raids, dungeons, and Exotic gear.

Season Passes

  • $10 per 3 month season
  • Battle pass system providing new activities, Ornaments, weapons, etc.

Seasons evolve the endgame, bringing fresh content every few months.

Weighing Free vs Paid Destiny 2 in 2023

For brand new players, Destiny 2‘s free version succeeds as an extensive demo. It‘s a great way to experience the core of what makes Destiny fun and compelling without a large upfront payment.

However, free players will eventually hit content walls, excluded from newer destinations, missions, and loot. Most free to play users will find themselves wanting more.

For returning players and veterans, the free content feels quite limited. The meat of Destiny 2 lies within the paid expansions and seasonal content. This is where you‘ll experience the evolving world story, challenging endgame activities, and the satisfying loot grind.

Overall, Destiny 2‘s free-to-play model succeeds as an onboarding point. But to experience Destiny 2 in its full glory, the additional content is a must-buy.