Buying Destiny 2: What do you need to get and which expansions are worth it?

New Light keyart
(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 is a heavily segmented game. It has grown to include many expansions over the years, each with its own content and niches that have varying degrees of relevance. If you're a new player it can be overwhelming. 

While a guide like this may seem funny to an outsider, buying Destiny 2 and understanding what you need to own to access certain content is surprisingly complicated.

Knowing which expansions you need, the worth of the ones still available, how far the free-to-play experience will take you, and making sense of the various bundles can be head-scratching. Especially if you have no knowledge of how the game works.

So here, you'll learn the basics of what you need to start playing Destiny 2. We'll start off with an explanation of the best bundle to buy, as well as how far the New Light experience will take you. We'll go over each expansion individually too, and tell you how necessary they are. 

Here's everything you need to know to begin your Destiny 2 adventure if you're new to it or if you're an old player hoping to return when Witch Queen drops!

What to buy if you want everything. Should you buy Destiny 2: Legacy Collection?

Legacy collection key art

(Image credit: Bungie)

Bungie has actually made this relatively easy recently. In January 2021, the company quietly released the Destiny 2: Legacy Collection. This is a sole purchase that comes with the Forsaken Pack, Shadowkeep, and Beyond Light.

This will get you most of the content in the game (with one exception). You won’t be locked out of older activities like raids or dungeons from previous expansions and you’ll have access to the Shadowkeep and Beyond Light campaigns. You’ll also have access to a new subclass in Beyond Light as well as various Exotic quests that will net you Exotic weapons. 

If you want a one-stop-shop to own everything prior to Witch Queen, this is your best bet. One thing you won’t have access to – if you are reading this pre-Witch Queen release – is the various season passes. However, we’re so close to seasonal content from this year being removed from the game, it’s hard to recommend buying it now unless there is something you really want to acquire. 

It's worth noting that the 30th Anniversary Pack is also not included and will be a separate purchase. 

Now, there are cases when you might not want to pick up the Legacy Collection. This is an all-in purchase. If you are not entirely bitten by the Destiny 2 bug, you may prefer to try the New Light experience and then buy expansions and content if and when you want to play something they contain. If you want to take a slower approach to getting into Destiny 2, begin by exploring New Light. You can buy the expansions separately later. 

Price: $59.99/£49.99/AU$89.95

What is New Light and how much of Destiny 2 is free to play?

Ghost waking up a Guardian

(Image credit: Bungie)

Wait? Why are we talking about buying things? Isn’t Destiny 2 free-to-play? Well, it is… at least until a very defined point. The New Light experience is entirely free, and if you are coming to Destiny 2 for the first time, it’s a good idea to get your toes wet this way. This version comes with a very small starter campaign to get you used to being in this universe.

After that campaign is done, it will spit you out, where you will have a surprising amount open to you. You'll be able to move around the galaxy with relative freedom. You can explore the thrill of Gambit, Crucible, and Vanguard strikes, as well as various seasonal activities. There is a surprising amount to do for free. 

However, if you start leveling up and wanting to play with friends, you will likely find yourself up against the paywall. If you want to play the more aspirational content in Destiny 2, like raids or dungeons, you will have to open your wallet. 

What does buying Beyond Light get you? Is it worth it?

Stasis Guardians

(Image credit: Bungie)

Beyond Light was a fairly big expansion, and was the one that finally let users wield the Darkness. Stasis was unleashed on the Guardians, and to be honest, Destiny 2 hasn't been the same since. 

It also brought Europa to the game: one of the densest, most complex, and fleshed-out destinations in Destiny history. It houses the Deep Stone Crypt raid too, which is one of the most fun raids in franchise history. If you are planning on doing your first raid, this is a great pick. 

Here’s everything buying the Beyond Light expansion will get you:

  •  Beyond Light campaign 
  •  Europa destination 
  •  Deep Stone Crypt raid 
  •  The Lament, Cloudstrike, and Salvation’s Grip exotic weapons 
  •  Stranger’s Weapons Pack - No Time to Explain Exotic Pulse Rifle, No Time to Explain Exotic Catalyst 

Now, is buying Beyond Light worth it? It’s probably the most substantial of the expansions and if you just wanted to buy one to try, this is the one. It’s the most recent before Witch Queen. It’s likely worth it if you plan to expand past New Light and want to go deep into Witch Queen. 

Price: $29.99/£24.99/AU$44.95

What does buying Shadowkeep get you? Is it worth it?

Shadowkeep key art

(Image credit: Bungie)

Shadowkeep, while an important year for Destiny was also… complicated. It has a stellar aesthetic, but some of the content is a little more labored than other expansions. The campaign houses three excellent missions, but they are spaced out by some fairly uninteresting grinds. 

On top of that, you get access to the Garden of Salvation raid. It’s a beautiful raid set in the Black Garden but again is also mired by some jankiness and finicky encounters. Shadowkeep has some excellent content, but it can come with some awkward caveats. 

That being said, you will also get access to the Pit of Heresy dungeon, which is excellent.

Here’s everything buying the Shadowkeep expansion will get you:

  •  Shadowkeep campaign 
  •  Pit of Heresy dungeon 
  •  Access to Divinity, Deathbringer and Xenophage exotic weapon quests 

But should you buy it? If you are just starting and you are planning to buy Destiny piecemeal, it’s not a massive priority right now. It’s generally agreed to be a little weirder and more grind-y than other expansions. That being said, at some point, it will likely be worth picking up due to it having a great dungeon, as well as some excellent Exotic guns tied to it. Go for Beyond Light first, but if you run into wanting anything Shadowkeep has to offer, then pull the trigger. 

Price: $24.99/£19.99/AU$39.95

What does the Forsaken Pack get you? Is it worth it?

Forsaken keyart

(Image credit: Bungie)

The Forsaken Pack is a new concept in Destiny. See, the game has been trying to stay on top of its exploding file sizes by sunsetting older content when new content comes out. Last expansion, a ton of planets and story content was removed from the game. It had story justification but has remained a semi-sore topic for the community. 

The Forsaken Pack is a compromise. With the Witch Queen's arrival, one of the Forsaken campaign’s locations, the Tangled Shore, is being vaulted. The location is critical to that campaign, so that too is being taken away. 

However, Forsaken also houses some of the most beloved content in Destiny history and Bungie doesn’t seem ready to part with those yet. With that in mind, Bungie is selling the Forsaken Pack. This will give players three Forsaken Ciphers that they can spend on Forsaken Exotics. However, most importantly, it will give players access to the Last Wish raid and Shattered Throne dungeon. 

Even if you’ve not been playing Destiny 2 long, you’ve likely heard of Last Wish’s infamy. It’s one of the best, if not the best, raids in Destiny history – depending on who you ask. It’s a blast. Shattered Throne is also a super fun dungeon to sink your teeth into. 

Here’s everything the Forsaken Pack will get you:

  • Three Forsaken Ciphers that allow you to pick up your choice of Ace of Spades, Last Word, Le Monarque, Jotunn, Inzanagi’s Burden, Thorn, Lumina, Truth, Bad Juju, Anarchy, Tarrabah, or even the Always on Time sparrow
  •  The Shattered Throne dungeon
  •  The Last Wish raid 

Should you buy it though? This isn’t an expansion. You no longer get access to the Forsaken campaign so it’s mostly an access pack with some fun Forsaken weapons to pick up. None of it is essential and it’s currently priced pretty sharply compared to full expansions. 

That being said, it's definitely content worth experiencing if you get deep into Destiny 2. If you are buying the expansions individually, it’s probably one of the last ones you should pick up, but for your Destiny education, you should experience Last Wish at some point. 

Price: $19.99/£16.99/AU$29.95

What does the 30th Anniversary Pack get you? Is it worth it?

Three guardians in Thorn themed armor

(Image credit: Bungie)

The 30th Anniversary Pack is a bit of an outlier in several ways. It was meant as a holdover, thanks to a delay pushing Witch Queen back and the Season of the Lost being six months long. 

It’s not considered an expansion, so is not included in the Destiny 2: Legacy Collection. This will always be a standalone purchase (unless bought with a Witch Queen bundle.)

The 30th Anniversary Pack comes with some neat content though. The headliner is the new Grasp of Avarice dungeon. This dungeon is a ton of pirate-y fun and is littered with loot inspired from Bungie’s past. It brings access to one of Destiny’s most iconic weapons too, the Gjallarhorn. 

On top of that, there are some cosmetic items that come with it. Here’s everything that comes with the 30th Anniversary Pack:

  • Grasp of Avarice dungeon 
  • Gjallarhorn exotic quest 
  • Cosmetic items like four Emotes, two armor sets, Exotic ship and sparrow, as well as a couple of other goods

Is it worth it though? Being upfront, the 30th Anniversary Pack is by far the most expensive ‘money to content’ ratio in Destiny. In terms of gameplay affecting things, you get access to the Grasp of Avarice dungeon, which in turn gets you the iconic Gjallarhorn. There are cosmetics to sweeten the deal, so you can place your own importance on them. 

The worth will be up to you to decide. It might be understandably too pricey, but it is offering a great dungeon, with relevant gear. On top of that, Gjallarhorn feels like it is going to be a decent gun in the meta for the foreseeable future. That’s all to say, this one is tricky because it's relevant, yet expensive. However, it’s also not essential.

Price: $24.99/£21.99/AU$36.95

Do you need to buy the Season Pass?

If you are reading this before Witch Queen, the season pass is not something we'd recommend, unless you plan to play a lot of Destiny between now and February 22. You have a limited amount of time to rush through it all. Any level gains you get from it reset at the end of the season, as both seasonal artifact levels are cleared and all Guardians are being brought up to 1350 at the launch of Witch Queen. 

If you are reading this after Witch Queen has come out, bear with us, this should be updated soon. In short, though, if you intend to play a lot of Destiny 2 and do things like raids and higher-level content – yes, you should. It will help you level and give you a ton of resources.

Do you need to buy previous expansions to play Witch Queen?

Savathun from the Witch Queen

(Image credit: Bungie)

No. You can buy Witch Queen on its own and enjoy everything it has to offer. This should include a campaign, the Savathun Throne World location, the new raid, and any other unannounced secrets.

However, if you plan to go deep into Witch Queen and the end game, this could become a more complicated answer. That's to say, depending on what the meta does, you may find yourself longing for certain weapons locked behind other paid content. For example, it seems likely the Gjallarhorn will be powerful at launch, so you might find yourself itching to buy the 30th Anniversary Pack. So, no, you don't need to buy other expansions, but in all likelihood, you will find yourself wishing you did if you don't. 

Price: $39.99/£34.99/AU$119.95

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.