Destiny 2: The Final Shape's campaign is the perfect tutorial for raiding

While I haven't yet had my fill of Destiny 2's latest expansion - I still need just a bit more time before I can put my full thoughts together - one thing that stands out having finished the current slate of story missions is how different The Final Shape's campaign feels to what has come before, and in all the best ways. I've always loved Destiny 2's higher end content - the dungeons and the raids, with their mechanics requiring players to intuit things on the fly alongside their fireteams. The problem, however, has been the disconnect between what Destiny 2 has expected from players in the main story and what it expects from players in high-end content. Story campaigns from the past haven't really took advantage of the best aspects of Destiny's gameplay, leaving anyone interested in the idea of raiding to have to learn things from square one. 

Thankfully, things have taken a turn for the better with The Final Shape. Starting from the second story mission onward, The Final Shape doesn't shy away from introducing and expanding upon mechanics that players will have to remember for the entire campaign. Crucially, it feels deliberate that Bungie has opted to teach some core tenets of raid encounter design throughout the story. Kill a Hive Knight and you'll get Darkness motes that you'll need to bank in order to progress; afterwards, you'll discover that killing that same mob with a specific item will cause it to drop Light motes instead, which sometimes you'll need to deposite those to progress. From there you'll be taught that these might have to be done in a certain order - and soon enough players will find themselves face to face with an entire loop where you'll have to deposit Light motes, then Darkness motes, just to grab an item that can take down an enemy's shield before you can deal damage.

Elsewhere in the campaign, you'll have to defeat certain enemies so that they'll drop a glyph - at first you'll only need to remember the one, but later entire encounters will have seperate layers of mechanics you'll have to deal with on top of remembering multiple glyphs. By the time you've reached the end of the campaign, players will be effortlessly contending with encounters that are only one step removed from what you will likely find in the raid - clearly by design. The real brilliance of it all is that it's all taught so smoothly that it hardly feels like you're learning mechanics at all; but take a step back, and you can clearly see how the game has been slowly walking you through the process without you even realizing.

Even divorced from everything else that The Final Shape's campaign does right - which we'll get to with our full review sometime later - if there's one singular thing that The Final Shape succeeds at, its paving the way for casual Destiny 2 fans to attempt their first raid. There's not a doubt in my mind that anyone who has successfully completed this campaign, especially on Legendary Difficulty, is ready to take that next step to raiding and tackling dungeons. In a roundabout way, it feels like such an obvious solution to a problem that has plagued the game for years - and with how much of Bungie's monetization now revolves around selling players Dungeon keys, it's at least a bit baffling that this hadn't happened sooner.

At the end of the day, what makes Destiny so engaging for many players is the endgame content that really taxes the game's systems, and forces players to understand everything at their disposal; anything that Bungie can do to help better guide new players to those parts of the game can only be good for Destiny 2 as a whole. For me; I'm excited to see if the mechanics that players have been engaging with in The Final Shape's campaign might themselves be reprised in the raid, when it launches later today.

I can already say that Bungie has a gem on their hands with The Final Shape, but if there was any one addition that stands out from the crowd - it's this. Destiny has found a winning formula for its campaigns moving forward with The Final Shape. I only hope Bungie can continue this momentum in the months and years to come.