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How Far Can You Play Destiny 2 for Free in 2023? The Complete Guide

As a free-to-play game, Destiny 2 may seem like an endless fountain of loot shooter content. But while the core activities are free, the biggest story campaigns, raids and subclasses remain locked behind paid expansions. Just how far can you go in Destiny 2 without paying? As a free-to-play new light player, you‘ll have access to a generous amount of activities, modes and gear. But to experience Destiny 2‘s full scope, you‘ll need to pay up for the expansions.

Here‘s a complete overview of what content you can play, what requires purchase, and how much it will cost to unlock everything Destiny 2 has to offer.

What Activities and Locations Can You Play For Free?

Let‘s start with an overview of the major activities and game features available to all players regardless of expansions owned:

  • All core open world destinations – You can explore and patrol European Dead Zone, Nessus, EDZ, Cosmodrome, Dreaming City, Moon, Throne World, Europa and more.

  • Standard Crucible PVP – Hop into multiplayer and play Control, Clash, Rumble and other staple modes across a variety of maps.

  • Vanguard Strike Playlists – Matchmake into 3 player co-op strikes across multiple destinations to take on bosses.

  • Gambit Mode – Battle PVE enemies while competitively banking motes against an opposing team.

  • Early quests to acquire each class – You can make a Titan, Warlock or Hunter and begin unlocking their abilities.

  • Public events and lost sectors – Join public events as they occur in open worlds and clear out lost sectors.

  • Featured weekly vendor challenges – Progress seasonal challenges from vendors like Shaxx, Drifter, Banshee and Zavala.

  • Prophecy dungeon activity – Take on this 3 player endgame dungeon filled with bosses and puzzles.

  • Xur appearances – Visit Xur each weekend to browse his exotic item wares.

  • Limited featured raids – Some raids like Vault of Glass are now free but most remain paid.

  • Seasonal events like Festival of the Lost – Participate in limited time holiday events.

  • Ability to reach max power level – You can reach 1580 power cap and 1590 pinnacle cap through routine weekly play.

So as you can see, Destiny 2‘s free-to-play offering provides unlimited access to most of the core activities like standard Crucible matches, Vanguard strike playlists, seasonal vendor challenges and limited time events. You can play them over and over, max out your character and chase loot.


What Content Requires Purchased Expansions?

While Destiny 2’s free version offers a ton of replayable modes, many parts of the game remain locked for free players. Here‘s a look at the major types of content locked behind expansion purchases:

  • Campaigns – Cinematic story experiences like Forsaken, Shadowkeep, Beyond Light and Witch Queen require purchase. Campaigns offer 5-10 hours of narrative gameplay.

  • Raids – Destiny‘s premiere aspirational PVE group activity, raids require owning the associated expansion. Deep Stone Crypt (Beyond Light), Vault of Glass (Vaulted DLC) and Vow of the Disciple (Witch Queen) are examples.

  • New destinations – Visit and patrol new open world zones on the Moon, Europa, Throne World and Dreaming City only by owning their respective expansions.

  • Exotics – Each expansion adds exclusive new exotic weapons and armor tied to quests. Gjallarhorn, Osteo Striga, Dead Messenger and Parasite are examples.

  • Dungeons – Special 3 player activities like Grasp of Avarice, Pit of Heresy and more are locked to expansions. Only Prophecy is free.

  • Stasis – Unlocking the full potential of the Stasis subclass requires owning Beyond Light.

  • Difficulty options – Higher difficulty Nightfall ordeals, raids and campaign missions require expansions.

  • Full season passes – You can play some seasonal content for free but most requires the $10 season pass purchase.

As you can see, while you won‘t run out of activities as a free player, your experience will focus mostly on multiplayer modes rather than structured narrative campaigns, exotic quests or aspirational pinnacle rewards tied to raids and dungeons.

What Expansions Can You Get For Free (Temporarily)?

Normally all major expansions must be purchased to access their content. But occasionally, Bungie will make the oldest expansion temporarily free to play for all players for a limited time:

  • As of October 2022, the Shadowkeep, Beyond Light and Witch Queen expansions are free for all players until February 26, 2023.

  • This grants full access to their destinations, campaigns, raids and exotics during this promotional period.

  • When the period ends, the expansions revert back to paid status and their content locks again if you don‘t own them.

So as a new player, you‘re in luck starting during an active free expansion promotion! But eventually, you‘ll need to purchase any you want permanent access to.

How Much Money Do You Need to Spend to Unlock Everything?

Let‘s add up the costs if you want permanent access to all of Destiny 2‘s current expansions and season passes:

  • The Legacy Collection – $60 (Includes previous Forsaken and Shadowkeep expansions)

  • The Witch Queen Deluxe Edition – $80 (Includes seasons 16 through 19 and dungeons)

  • Lightfall expansion (February 2023) – Estimated $40-50

Total cost: Approximately $180 to own all current Destiny 2 expansions and season passes at any given time.

This cost can potentially be reduced by catching expansions on sale or buying them individually rather than bundled. But expect to spend around $150-$200 per year to own access to all new Destiny 2 content.

Is Destiny 2 Still Worth Playing as a Free Player?

Absolutely! Even without any expansions, Destiny 2 offers hundreds of hours of replayable activities for free players:

  • You can endlessly run strikes, Crucible matches and public events without paying anything.

  • Chasing randomized weapon and armor rolls gives strong gameplay loops and progression.

  • The free version is extremely generous compared to free trials of other games.

  • It‘s a great risk-free way to evaluate if you enjoy Destiny 2‘s core gameplay before paying.

  • You can participate in seasonal events and holiday activities each year.

  • There are sometimes free promo periods granting temporary expansion access.

Think of the free version as an endless demo focusing on repeatable core activities rather than narrative campaigns. It‘s absolutely worth playing to experience Destiny 2‘s satisfying shooting and abilities.

But you‘ll likely hit a progression wall eventually doing the same free activities over and over. If you want to keep enhancing your experience with new stories, worlds, subclasses and loot, you‘ll need to pay up for the expansions.

Should You Buy the Expansions?

For players who fall in love with Destiny 2‘s free version, purchasing the expansions is highly recommended to get the most out of the game. Here‘s why you should consider buying them:

  • Each expansion adds brand new cinematic story campaigns,zones and raids. This content refreshes the whole game.

  • Exotics tied to expansions greatly expand your gear and build options.

  • New subclasses like Stasis diversify combat gameplay dramatically.

  • Access to dungeons and higher difficulty Nightfalls give new aspirational endgame goals.

  • You‘ll better understand and appreciate the evolving narrative and characters.

Think of expansions as the full campaign modes of Destiny 2, with the free version focused on multiplayer. If you enjoy playing for free, you‘ll get hundreds more hours of value from the expansions.

Start With The Witch Queen

If you want to buy just one expansion, The Witch Queen is your best choice as the newest and most relevant:

  • It offers an incredible story campaign and thrilling new destination.

  • The Vow of the Disciple raid is among the very best in the series.

  • New weapon crafting completely changes the gear game.

  • You get immediate access to seasons 16 through 19.

  • Exotics like Dead Messenger and Parasite dominate endgame PvE damage.

The Witch Queen remaining free until February 26, 2023 makes now the perfect time to experience it yourself before deciding on buying Lightfall.

But all expansions are great additions for invested players. Pick them up on sale when possible, but know that Destiny 2‘s breadth of content is worth the price.


Destiny 2‘s free-to-play version is extremely generous, offering endless multiplayer activities. But you‘ll need to purchase expansions to experience the full scope of campaigns, subclasses and aspirational pinnacle activities.

Own all of Destiny 2 will cost around $150-$200 per year. But you can evaluate the free version before spending anything. If you love the core gameplay loop, the expansions provide hundreds more hours of value.

What parts of Destiny 2 interest you most? Have you tried the free version? Let me know if you have any other questions!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.