Bungie's recent release of its new Destiny 2 expansion, Shadowkeep, has pushed the looter shooter back into the spotlight. And, with the game's free-to-play option New Light, new players are joining the Vanguard in droves.
So how does an aspiring Guardian catch up and not feel useless while trying to get with the program?
Well, a few weeks ago, a new Destiny 2 player would have to put in some real graft to even join a conversation about the game with the people who have been playing it since it released.
Since Oct. 1, though, just about anyone can pick up a controller and jump into outer space as a Guardian and just... well, start playing. Bungie's free-to-play version of Destiny 2 isn't your run-of-the-mill free version of an otherwise pocket-draining game either.
New Light is free for anyone to download and has enough content to keep players engaged forever and change. One of the top perks is that those who join start as a 750 level Guardian right away, with access to all of the weapons and content from Destiny 2's Year 1.
That means you can go raiding with your friends right away. That's right, blueberries don't need to spend a single penny to team up with other players and go through activities together. However, you won't have access to some of the game's newer stuff. But New Light-ers also get to travel all the way back to 2014 and play content from the first Destiny game (with Destiny 2 guns!).
So there's never been a better time to get on the D2 train and there are very few complications involved in tagging up with your buddies.
Of course, you might still have a bit of catching up to do as the experienced guys and gals are probably way above 750 Light. But it's still a great place to start and you'll probably find a few players who will fess up to only getting to 750 on Oct. 1.
You might want to start with a few solo activities such as missions from the Forsaken, Warmind, and Curse of Osiris expansions. A whack at Public Events won't go amiss either. And you can always pester your friends to join you, although we'd suggest getting a feel of everything you can on your own.
Soon enough, though, you're going to want to play with your buddies. To play with friends, you'll need to know a little bit about the game's fireteam strucutre. Fireteams are the game's party system. Most in-game activities are made for fireteams of three, four or six, but there can be more for specific things such as private Crucible matches.
Some activities, like Heroic Adventures and campaign missions, are designed for solo play but give the option to add up to two fireteam members. Typically, for campaign-related activities, the players who join your fireteam must be at least as far through the campaign as you are.
For other activities, such as Vanguard strikes, Gambit games and Crucible matches, the game will fill fireteams with other random players. These fireteams typically change or disband after the completion of the activity.
However, players can also opt to invite their friends to play with them. In this case, the firesteams will stick together through all activities, except in the case where there are too many fireteam members to participate in a specific activity.
Raids and Nightfalls must have complete fireteams prior to loading into the activity and won't fill with random players except in the activity's Guided Games mode.
A friend who has been playing for a long time may eventually ask you to join a clan. A clan is a larger group of people who work with one another to complete in-game activities. For instance, if two players need a third for their Nightfall strike, they may reach out to their clan community to see if someone is available to play with them.
It's a good idea to join a clan once you have a feel for the game being in one can lead to additional weekly engrams and rewards. If you don't have friends who play Destiny 2, Bungie's forums are a good place to start. Some clans prefer to have only longtime, competitive players as members, but there are plenty of clan options for new players as well.
Destiny 2 Is About Playing With Friends
New Light is designed to hand new players a full Destiny experience. Of course, it's also designed to get you to want to buy Shadowkeep, but that's neither here nor there. Plus you could fully enjoy the game without ever having to face your wallet, so no pressure nor strings attached.
Destiny has always been about playing with friends. Yet, that was always a difficult reach when new players had to struggle to catch up with their diehard buddies. New Light makes it so that's no longer an issue, with Bungie leveling the playing field and giving everyone a fresh start.
Most D2 content released before Shadowkeep is accessible to newcomers and that there's a Season Pass means that there's also an incentive for your more experienced friends to want to join you and help you out.
Whether or not you decide to pay to unlock the vast content Shadowkeep has to offer after getting into the groove is up to you. The great thing about this is you don't have to.