Everything we know about Destiny 2’s The Witch Queen expansion

Old foes, returning allies, and a whole lot of new guns.

Image via Bungie

The next Destiny 2 expansion, The Witch Queen, will be released on Feb. 22. It arrives at the end of a long-running Season of the Lost following delays to The Witch Queen’s original release date last year. It promises to be one of Bungie’s most ambitious releases for the Destiny franchise in years, complete with a challenging campaign, the introduction of weapon crafting and a revamp to build-crafting with the Void subclass.

With Season of the Risen launching alongside The Witch Queen on the same day, adding a Cabal-themed arsenal and new seasonal activity, the breadth of content available on Feb. 22 can seem overwhelming.

Here’s a breakdown of everything we know so far about The Witch Queen and what to expect on day one when you log into Destiny 2.

The Witch Queen campaign (and Legend difficulty)

Screengrab via Bungie

The Witch Queen campaign will follow Ikora and Eris’ pursuit of Savathun to her Throne World. Savathun has found a way to harness the Light for her and her brood, leading to the formation of a Hive army imbued with the power of the Guardians. Players will be helping them unravel the truth, going deep into the Throne World and playing detective with the clues they find to Savathun’s wider game.

The campaign team took a lot of inspiration from Destiny 2’s endgame offerings when crafting The Witch Queen’s story, including dungeon-style encounters complete with a major challenge to overcome and a rally banner to help you do that. These encounters will also drop loot upon completion, giving players a consistent feed of new gear rather than all the rewards being tied to mission completions like previous campaigns. It’s replayable too, meaning there’s reason to jump in beyond the first run.

The loot you get from The Witch Queen’s campaign can be doubled by tackling it on Legend difficulty. This is a new feature, where Guardians can take on Savathun’s brood with a much greater level of challenge but with better rewards. Built with players who enjoy content such as Dungeons or Raids in mind, Legend difficulty will be available from day one. Players aiming to bump their Power up toward the soft cap as quickly as possible will find Legend difficulty to be the best place to do that.

You can find more in-depth details here.

Void 3.0

Screengrab via Bungie

The Void subclasses for Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans will be getting a complete rework when The Witch Queen launches, bringing its build-crafting potential up to par with Beyond Light’s Stasis subclass. For those who unlocked Stasis during last year’s expansion, the updated UI for the Void subclass screen will be familiar. Aspects and Fragments have been added that allow you to fine-tune a number of passive and active elements to how your abilities work, giving the player more control than ever over the capabilities of their Guardian.

Void 3.0 gave Bungie an opportunity to add new abilities to the subclass as well. Titans can now deploy a barricade that gives them and their allies a void overshield. Warlocks can summon a small black hole that will target enemies they shoot, draining their health and weakening them. Hunters can spend their melee charge to dive toward the ground, creating a smoke cloud on impact that grants invisibility. There are more grenades for each class to choose from as well, with powerful tools like the Suppression Grenade no longer exclusive to Titans. This is all just a teaser of what will be possible on Feb. 22. For a more in-depth look at all the additions coming to the Void subclasses in the Witch Queen, you can read Bungie’s blog on the changes.

You can read more about the design philosophy behind Void 3.0 here.

Weapon crafting

Image via Bungie

Players will be able to craft the weapon rolls of their dreams starting in The Witch Queen. Bungie began experimenting with more refined farming methods with Umbral Engrams and weapon crafting is the next step in this new philosophy for loot. In the first few missions of The Witch Queen, players will learn the basics of crafting at a location called The Enclave to build their first weapon. Crafting a weapon requires its Pattern, a recipe that can be acquired through a variety of means from quests to activity completions.

Once the first weapon has been crafted, random drops in the world can begin to come with a weapon mod called Deepsight Resonance. Using that weapon will allow you to attune that Resonance and then extract desired perks the gun has from it. If you want Rampage or Kill Clip to be perks available when using the new crafting system, Deepsight Resonance extraction is your path toward that goal. This means getting every perk needed to build your god rolls on command might take a bit of work, but at least you won’t be holding out for luck to be on your side.

Crafting isn’t exclusively designed for Legendary weapons, either. A handful of Exotics can also be built at The Enclave, including the new Osteo Striga SMG and three class-specific Exotic Glaives. These will, however, come at a much greater cost and won’t have the same freedom of perk selection as a Legendary might.

Further information on the materials you’ll need, the limitations, and the possibilities of weapon crafting can be found in the expansive This Week At Bungie blog covering the system.

The Glaive

Image via Bungie

The Witch Queen will be adding a new archetype of weapon to Destiny 2, introduced through the crafting system: the Glaive.

The Glaive is a first-person melee weapon, the first of its kind, additionally capable of firing slow-moving projectiles using Special ammo and summoning a small shield around the tip of the blade. The new archetype is a deadly jack of all trades, but using every component of it will require constant and efficient use. While the shield is a powerful tool for getting a revive or blocking a heavy barrage from a Hive Knight, it has an energy gauge that can only be charged by dealing damage with the weapon.

Each class will also be able to craft an Exotic Glaive through The Enclave, giving the hybrid weapon a unique effect tied to the identity of that class. Each one also aligns itself with a specific element. The Hunter Glaive channels Arc energy, the Warlock Glaive has Solar, and the Titan’s ripples with the power of the Void. The specific effects of these Glaives have not been fully revealed.

Savathun’s Throne World

Image via Bungie

The new destination, Savathun’s Throne World, will offer Guardians a location torn between a dark swamp-like biome and the impressionist aesthetic of the Hive god’s castle. Filled with Scorn and Hive enemies, the Throne World reflects Savathun’s transition from the Darkness into the Light in its visuals.

Similar to the Moon and Europa, the destination will feature large-scale interior spaces beyond the patrol areas that will no doubt play host to the campaign’s story missions as well as smaller quests and side objectives. The patrol areas themselves will feature the usual rota of lost sectors, region chests, and public events that players have come to expect from new destinations. Whether the Throne World will include a location similar to the Exo Stranger’s camp on Europa, where players can hang trophies of their Triumphs, remains to be seen.

Season of the Risen

Screengrab via Bungie

The Witch Queen isn’t the only thing releasing in Destiny 2 on Feb. 22. Season of the Risen will run parallel to the fight against Savathun as Empress Caiatl aids us in studying the threat of the Lucent Hive.

The new season will bring with it a new armory of weapons and gear, all themed around Caiatl’s Cabal and their imperial regalia. Cosplaying a Cabal has never been so easy thanks to the tusked seasonal armor and is made even easier with the seasonal Exotic heavy machine gun. Pitched as “be the Colossus” in The Witch Queen’s ViDoc, it launches a barrage of up to 20 homing missiles from its barrel for a devastating impact.

We don’t know all the details on the seasonal activity, but it will be centered around assisting Caiatl in capturing the Lucent Hive. The ViDoc shows a scene of a Lucent Knight being held in a bubble by two Psions, no doubt from one of these missions. A brief look at a cutscene also suggests that Crow will be returning alongside Saladin for the story, following both of them being stationed with Caiatl’s fleet as advisors during Season of the Lost.

New weapons and Exotics

Screengrab via Bungie

As with any new Destiny 2 release, The Witch Queen will bring with it a host of new weapons and armor themed both around the expansion itself and the decadent imperial design of Caiatl’s Cabal. There will be eight new Exotic weapons, six Exotic armor pieces spread between the classes, and the usual suite of guns added to Destiny 2’s various loot pools, totaling up to around 50 new weapons for Guardians to chase.

Guns are getting some reworks to how they function as well, with the introduction of Origin Traits. As the name might suggest, these are passive benefits applied to a weapon based on the source that they were acquired from. Crucible weapons get an increase to reload speed out of combat while Strike weapons give you a small burst of healing after a killing blow, as an example.

Twelve new weapons in the world loot pool will also be themed around Destiny 2’s weapon foundries and feature Origin Traits based on the strengths each foundry is supposed to embody. If you find a Suros sniper rifle, for instance, it will benefit from a passive bonus to weapon handling and a resistance to flinching for six seconds after reloading. Weapons from Häkke, Omolon, Veist, and a yet to be revealed additional foundry will have similarly unique identities.

Bungie goes into more detail about each of them in its This Week At Bungie blog about weapons.