Destiny 2 kicked of The Season of the Chosen with a new playlist activity called Battlegrounds. Similar to the Empire Hunts introduced at the start of Beyond Light, Battlegrounds is a three-player mini-strikes featuring this season’s antagonist species — the Cabal. While Battlegrounds improve upon Empire Hunts and Wrathborn Hunts in a number of ways, by the far the thing about this new activity is just how absurdly packed with enemies these battlegrounds can get. I didn’t know Destiny 2 could handle having this many enemies on screen all at once, and I’m absolutely loving how chaotic these missions are.
Battlegrounds combine a lot of the best elements from several recent seasonal events. Like Season of the Dawn’s Sundial, these are matchmade activities launched from the director. Battlegrounds can be found in the Vanguard tab next to Strikes, subtly making it clear that this is a new ritual activity meant to be repeated endlessly throughout the season. Like the Wrathborn Hunts, Battlegrounds have strong thematic elements and clear, easy to understand story-telling. Both activities provided a strong case for why you would need to repeat the same scenarios over and over. Destiny is a grind, but the Battlegrounds make a strong narrative case for why that grind is meaningful.
Where Battlegrounds surpass Wrathborn Hunts is in their accessibility. Last season, maxing out the charges on my Wrathborn Lure meant I had to stop what I was doing, break up with my party, load my lure, and complete the two separate legs of the hunt before joining back up with my party. You could do hunts with friends, technically, but unless everyone just happened to load the same hunt into their lure, there wasn’t really any incentive for anyone else to do your hunt. What’s more, loading onto a planet to start a hunt to track a Wrathborn to then finally load into the actual hunt was, while narratively compelling, pretty much a total drag after a few weeks.
Battlegrounds, on the other hand, is a playlist activity just like any other. Your fireteam can launch the activity together and run through it just like a strike. Even if someone doesn’t have enough Cabal Gold to load their hammer with a medallion, they’re still guaranteed one chest at the end of the mission. It’s very easy to transition from the crucible or gambit into a Battleground when the fireteam has enough gold. The Hammer of Proving, like the Wrathborn Lure before it, can only hold three charges (or five when upgraded). But unlike the Lure, the Hammer is charged after your finish the activity, not before. You’re still capped on how much Cabal Gold you can hold (which can also be upgraded through the War Table) but the maximum is 84, meaning you can store up seven Battlegrounds runs and do them all at once with your friends.
By far the best thing about the Battlegrounds activity is the chaos. These missions are structured like Empire Hunts, but they only have three short encounters. To sell the idea that these are “battlegrounds”, Destiny 2 throws an unbelievable number of enemies at you. The first time you run the Hailstone Battleground you’ll see exactly what I mean. In the final showdown with Basilius the Golem, the tiny room gets so packed with Cabal that you can’t even see the floor at times. As you scramble around trying to give yourself room and find cover, a constant barrage of drop pods slam into the ground all around you, causing even more chaos.
Related: I’ve Already Given Up On Destiny 2’s Proven Triumph Thanks To Battleground’s Non-Stop Drop Pod Assault
It presents a lot of great opportunities to try out AOE-focused weapons that don’t always get their time to shine. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the new exotic bow, Ticuu’s Divination, which allows you to shoot trackers onto three different enemies that detonate when they die and cause a massive explosion. The trackers have infinite range and seak out targets, making it easy to just let loose a quick shot, see who the trackers land on, and then ADS for a precision shot to blow up everyone even remotely close to the three targets. I’ve managed to blow up seven or eight Vabal with just two shots thank’s to how densely packed with enemies the Battlegrounds are.
The density of enemies in these missions also does a lot for breach loaded grenade launchers. Thanks to the buff they got this season, breach loaders now explode on impact if you hit an enemy. The wave frame GL Deafening Whisper from last season is a ton of fun to use in Battlegrounds because the wave just tears through everything in the room. I haven’t yet unlocked Salvager’s Slavo, the new ritual weapon, but I bet it’s going to be a blast in Battlegrounds.
There’s a third Battleground coming next week and a fourth one the week after that. My only hesitation is that four Battleground might not be enough to hold my attention all season long. We’ll have to wait and see what other surprises Bungie has in store for Season of the Chosen. I hope the exotic quests are as buck wild as Battlegrounds. Killing Cabal has never felt so good.
Next: Destiny 2: Hammer Of Proving And Umbral Engram Guide
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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