Everything You Need To Know Before Playing 'Destiny 2: Shadowkeep'

'Destiny 2' is a huge game, here's what you need to know before playing the next expansion.
Screenshot from Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. A guardian dressed in gear resembling a NASA spacesuit wields a bow and arrow.
Image courtesy of Bungie

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is dropping on October 1st, and as with every new Destiny expansion there’s the usual slew of questions from players new and old: What should I do to get ready for the next expansion? With Destiny is entering its sixth year, it can be difficult to parse the sheer amount of content available, both in and out of the game.

Here’s what you need to know before you join everyone on the Moon this October, whether you’re a new player or a lapsed fan who wants to get back into Destiny after a break.


I’ve never played Destiny before. What do I need to buy?

You’re in luck! On October 1st, New Light launches alongside Shadowkeep. It’s a new, free-to-play version that has a few missions to introduce new players to the world of Destiny. You can go to to sign up for updates. (and if you’re interested, skip to the bottom of this article for a story primer.) Beyond that it gets a little more complicated. Here’s a complete breakdown of what is available to buy, and what you get with each option.

But in a nutshell, you don’t need to own any previous DLC this time around, so the options you have are really about how much Destiny you see yourself playing in the coming months.

Destiny 2 New Light

Image courtesy of Bungie. New Light will introduce players to the world of Destiny 2.

I haven’t played since the Base Game. Do I need to?

If you haven’t played since Destiny 2 came out, and don’t own any of the DLC, you’re pretty much set. If you care about cosmetics you should dismantle any unwanted Eververse items (Armor, Sparrows, Shaders, Ghost Shells, Transmat Effects) before October 1st. They’ll give you Bright Dust, the currency you can use to buy new cosmetics once Shadowkeep launches. After October 1st Bright Dust will only be available from doing bounties.

If you’re on PC, you should make sure you’re setup for the move from to Steam. This won’t transfer any of your friends list, so you’ll have to re-add people on Steam if you haven’t already.

If you haven’t played since the base game but do own DLC, see below.


I haven’t played since Curse of Osiris / Warmind / Forsaken. Should I?

First things first, there is no reason to grind for levels before Shadowkeep . Every item currently in the game will be receiving a power boost to 750 when October 1st rolls around. Also, with the introduction of Armor 2.0, non-exotic armor is being made obsolete, so hunting for specific armor rolls isn’t worth it. If you’re looking for a specific weapon roll you can go ahead and try your luck, but the only reason to hunt armor is for aesthetics. If you have any Exotic Quests sitting in your Pursuits tab it’d be worth finishing them before October since many of them require steps in current DLC activities that may be harder to matchmake for in the future.

What if I played through the Year 1 DLCs, but fell off before Forsaken?

You’re set as far as playing more of the game goes. You could start to stockpile bounties that give XP, since the new seasonal rewards are tied to XP. If you have a lot of free time and just can’t wait to hop back in, you should buy Forsaken then follow the rest of this guide, but that expansion includes a lot of content, so it would be worth waiting for a lull in Shadowkeep.

I already bought Forsaken, do I still need to buy this "Annual Pass"?

Nope! You now also own the Annual Pass, which gives you access to the Black Armory Forges, Gambit Prime, Reckoning, and Menagerie activities. To start, I’d grab the Power Surge package, it will give you 690 gear which puts you in a good spot to check out anything else you want to (aside from the most recent Raid). Head over to Benedict 99-40 in the tower (he’s in a basement, down the steps under Hawthorne). He should give you a quest called “The Invitation.” The first step is to speak with Ikora, who will give you the 690 gear.


From there the world is your oyster! If you have a bunch of time and are itching to hop back in before Shadowkeep, I would suggest finishing the Forsaken campaign if you haven’t and checking out the post-campaign destination, the Dreaming City. That destination is on a three week cycle, and the week between 09-17-2019 and 09-24-2019 is a high curse week, meaning there’s all sorts of interesting things you can do there that won’t be available the week after.

The Dreaming City, a high fantasy white tower with dark streaks and blister like orbs of corruption all over it.

Screenshot courtesy of Bungie. The Dreaming City, corrupted by the Taken.

The Dreaming City is chock-full of secrets to uncover, high curse week or not, and is definitely worth a visit as an amuse-bouche to the type of level design you can expect to find on the Moon in Shadowkeep. Just make sure you have the time to finish the campaign before October 1st, because all campaign progress for Forsaken, Warmind, Curse of Osiris, and the Base Game will reset that day. If you’ve finished the campaign you won’t lose anything, but if you’re only part way through you’ll have to start over from the first mission of that respective campaign.

If you’ve already checked that out but haven’t played any of the Annual Pass DLC, I would suggest following the rest of “The Invitation” questline. It will lead you toward the Menagerie activity, a six person matchmade PvE activity that has some of the most interesting encounter design outside of the raids.

Ok, but what about the story ?

Shadowkeep is a continuation of a storyline from the original Destiny. If already know the story of Eris Morn and the fight against Crota and Oryx, you should read the ongoing narrative previews over on which bridge the gap between Destiny 1 and 2.


If you missed out on the original Destiny, you can do a bit of lore catch up if you’re so inclined. The Ishtar Collective is a site that compiles all the in and out of game lore from Destiny 1 and 2. I would suggest reading The Books of Sorrow since they outline the backstory for the Hive Gods we’re likely to be fighting in Shadowkeep.

Page from

Image courtesy of Bungie. You can also buy a physical copy of the Books of Sorrow at

You can also check out this expansive lore and timeline consolidation by Reddit user Garuss1138. The entries for “The Hive,” “The Great Disaster,” “Eriana’s Folly,” “The Dark Below,” “All Part of the Plan,” and “The Taken War” will get you caught up.

Eyes Up, Guardian

Ultimately, since so many systems are changing in Shadowkeep, you don’t really need to do much to be “ready” aside from dismantling cosmetics and getting set up for the PC swap. Shadowkeep represents a new beginning for Destiny, one that Bungie plans to build on for the next year. As a fan of Destiny, it’s an exciting prospect that sets out to fulfill the promise of a continuous living world that this game always had the potential to be, but never quite was.