Iron Banter: This Week In Destiny 2

Iron Banter: This Week In Destiny 2

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We’re looking at all sorts of lore, from the end of the Season of the Lost to the Witch Queen Collector’s Edition.

Phil Hornshaw

Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it’s story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what’s drawing our attention across the solar system.

It has been quite the month in Destiny 2. Over the past few weeks, Bungie has dropped a ludicrous amount of information on players about The Witch Queen, ranging from new details regarding the story campaign and weapon crafting system to a closer look at Void 3.0. There’s a huge amount of detail to take in, building a runway for the launch of the expansion in just a few days.

Honestly, it’s been too much to contend with. Between our early look at The Witch Queen and Savathun’s throne world, all the details about weapon crafting, the changes coming to Gambit and the Void subclasses, it’s a lot to keep straight.

All that stuff is fun, sure, but the thing that’s been baking my noodle is the lore. The Season of the Lost has finally concluded, leaving a few hanging threads (and blowing out the fan theory I liked that a blown Ahamkara wish was going to be Savathun’s road to the Light). And we’ve been getting a bunch of looks at the upcoming expansion, in trailers, a vidoc, social media posts, and the Witch Queen Collector’s Edition. It’s creepy and excellent and I’ve been thinking about it too much.

So, let’s talk about the story ahead of The Witch Queen real quick–emphasis on quick, because honestly, there’s too much to hit here and we’re rapidly running out of time. We got word from Fenchurch, we learned new stuff about Ikora and the Ahamkara, and we found out that there might be some traitorous Ghosts out there.

Welcome, o honored guest

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This week, we got the last bit of story from the Season of the Lost, illustrating how we’re going from Savathun hiding in a big crystal to Savathun wielding the Light next week. The short answer is: Savathun did a magic thing, though what that entails I don’t really understand. In any event, Mara Sov failed to kill the Hive god of cunning, despite that being her plan for something like six months while preparing the ritual we saw during this week’s “Exorcism” mission.

This suggests Savathun had an inside track on Mara’s plan–either she guessed she’d be a target a long time ago (which, to be fair, is kind of obvious) and never intended to make herself vulnerable, or she gleaned that information at some point through her various means and made preparations. While the first possibility seems like the most likely, the second one is the more interesting of the two. After all, we’ve seen the weird things Savathun can do to people with Savathun’s Song, the strange chant that (apparently) gives her some light mind-control powers. Did she use it to spy on Mara and get one step ahead of her impending assassination?

By the way, if you haven’t played through Exorcism at this point, you should hopefully be able to do so. The mission launched with some bugs but Bungie has made some alterations that should make it easier to complete now. Just don’t skip the cutscene.

“Exorcism” gave us the setup for The Witch Queen, and we’ve been seeing a whole lot of potential clues pop up in all the other info Bungie has spread around, including in its vidoc, launch trailer, and hands-off preview opportunity. That last one gave us a sense of what to expect with Savathun’s throne world and the new story campaign that Bungie is bringing to the game with the expansion.

If you haven’t watched it, I’d definitely suggest checking out the vidoc, which gives a pretty complete look at what’s coming in the expansion. It also contains a lot of footage from cutscenes and the expansion at large, which in turn gives us a bunch of hints. We dug around and pulled out 26 things you might have missed from the Witch Queen vidoc and another 17 you might have missed in the launch trailer. There’s a lot of weird stuff being teased!

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Some of the coolest items, though, are the ones that maintain the Lovecraftian horror vibe The Witch Queen is throwing off. In the launch trailer, we see what looks like a vision, experienced by Ikora Rey, of the Hive’s origins on their home planet of Fundament. Even that, though, is tinged with hints at deception. And then there’s that glimpse of the Traveler, undamaged, in the sky. Seriously, it feels like the Traveler is working with Savathun. I know I keep saying this. It’s real.

That shot of the Traveler, and the markings you can see on it (which are usually obscured by the giant chunks missing from the Traveler in the present), play into the continued hints that Destiny 2 is going into some fascinating alchemical and spiritual territory. Check out Saniya Ahmed’s look at the way alchemy seems to be a big part of The Witch Queen, and then speculate to yourself what it all means long-term.

Word from Fenchurch

In slightly more concrete story territory, I’ve been spending time catching up with the Witch Queen Collector’s Edition, which is, as usual, pretty excellent. Bungie does a great job with its CEs, including a lot of fun items and also a fair share of secrets and puzzles for the community to uncover. Like, what is, a URL hidden in the CE’s documents? Who knows! But it’s cool.

A little more straightforward is what’s in the book contained in the CE, which is meant to represent a dossier for the Hidden, Ikora Rey’s network of Guardian spies. The book is a series of reports and missives annotated by Ikora that give a look into her character, and it’s all really informative of what’s going on with a person who the game has largely held at arm’s length. Ikora is not nearly as cool, collected, and meditative as she appears to be.

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The lore book talks about Ikora’s run-ins with the Ahamkara, the Destiny universe’s frightening, shape-shifting dragons that are basically trickster gods running monkey’s paw scams. Back before the era we play the game in, Guardians took part in something called the Great Hunt to eliminate all the Ahamkara, Ikora included. She nearly got killed by one Ahamkara as it tricked her into making a wish, only to be saved by the legendary Guardian Wei Ning, and defeated another Ahamkara by, essentially, wishing to be someone who could not be tempted by wishes. There’s a big implication that meditative, even-tempered Ikora exists because that’s who she needed to be to survive the Great Hunt.

In the journal, Ikora is extremely worried nobody likes her, because if nobody likes Ikora, nobody will trust her, and if nobody trusts her, they’re not going to follow her as she tries to lead them against the growing threat of the Darkness. It’s a fun problem to hint at, drawing us closer to the Warlock Vanguard than we’ve ever been, while also making it clear what massive repercussions something like Ikora’s likeability factor can be for the Destiny 2 story at large. I really think we’re going to get into Ikora’s head a lot more in the coming year–she’s clearly the central figure of The Witch Queen’s story, as Elsie Bray was central to Beyond Light. We’re getting some character development because of that, and I’m expecting a lot more.

The journal also includes a few other fun tidbits I mean to dig into deeper in articles in the next few days. One is that there’s a whole group of Ghosts who kind of function as conscientious objectors–they haven’t found their Guardians, and they like to hang around talking about whether they ever will. There’s a suggestion in the report about those Ghosts that they might be purposely avoiding finding Guardians. And since we know the Hive wind up with Ghosts in The Witch Queen, we get a very real implication that maybe those Hive Ghosts chose to switch sides. The report discusses how the Ghosts are fascinated by the Books of Sorrow, the Hive creation myth, and how they think the Hive are a victim class manipulated by their worms. Maybe it’s not the Traveler that betrays humanity, but the Ghosts who don’t agree with them.

There are some other things worth mentioning, but my favorite is a report from Fenchurch Eververse–yeah, that Fenchurch. There aren’t a ton of lore entries about the guy, but we know that when the Guardian isn’t sourcing antiquities and oddities for the Eververse Store out in the field, he’s working as one of Ikora’s Hidden. Back during the Season of the Drifter in 2019, a report from Fenchurch served as a particularly weird lore entry with some strange implications. In it, he had a dream about Eris, woke up to find a Hive thrall standing over him acting strangely, and killed it to discover a chunk of black material that, when touched, gave him another vision of Eris. For years, that lore entry alluded to some weirdness, but we never fully understood it.

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The Collector’s Edition contains another report from Fenchurch that, finally, explains that earlier report. It answers some questions, like the identity of the other person in the original vision (it’s Mara Sov, actually), and raises others. It also gives a hint of what Mara’s role might be in the story of The Witch Queen and beyond. It’s all very fascinating.

The hours between us and The Witch Queen are dwindling, but there’s still more to unpack, like the Vanguard-like Hive transmissions Bungie is sharing on its Instagram, or the two days in which Savathun apparently took over the Destiny Twitter account. Expect a lot more to talk about next week; hopefully there will be enough time to write this column. In the meantime, feel free to share the strange, interesting, or mysterious story hints that are baking your noodles in the comments below.

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