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Is Destiny 2 Campaign Free? A Complete 2300+ Word Guide

Let‘s start with a clear answer right up front – some parts of the Destiny 2 campaign are free, but most of the major expansions and story content need to be purchased. Read on for a super in-depth 2300+ word guide breaking down exactly what‘s free, what you need to buy, tips for new players, and more!

As your personal gaming guide, I want to give you all the information you need so you can jump into Destiny 2 prepared and ready to have an awesome time. Whether you want to play for free or experience the full epic adventure, this guide will walk through everything in a friendly, conversational way. Let‘s do this!

Free Campaign Content for New Players

When Destiny 2 first went free-to-play back in 2019, the original campaign actually got removed from the game entirely. Crazy right? But Bungie has added new introductory campaigns over time that are 100% free for all players:

  • New Light – This brief set of missions on Earth, the Moon, and Cosmodrome serves as a tutorial to get you familiar with the world and core activities. It should take roughly 2-3 hours to complete.
  • Shadowkeep – Set on the moon, this campaign helps introduce themes and enemies from that expansion way back in 2019. You‘re looking at around 5-6 hours of missions.
  • Beyond Light – The icy Europa campaign revolves around new Darkness powers and Fallen enemies. Plenty of cool cutscenes too! Plan for 6-8 hours to complete it.

In total, as a brand new free-to-play guardian you have access to around 15-20 hours of campaign content. That‘s a decent amount to sink your teeth into!

But what about the rest of the story?…

Purchasing Expansions Unlocks Full Campaign Story

Look, I won‘t sugar coat it – to experience the entire sweeping epic that is Destiny 2‘s campaign, you‘ll need to purchase some expansions:

  • Forsaken – This wild west adventure adds around 10 missions and takes place on the Tangled Shore and Dreaming City. Roughly 7 hours of game time.
  • Shadowkeep – Head back to the moon to take on nightmares in 8 eerie missions – should take about 8 hours to beat.
  • Beyond Light – Already free, but I‘m including it here since it‘s key to the overall story. 10 hours.
  • The Witch Queen – The latest expansion has you battle witchy foes in the weird, creepy Throne World. 15 meaty story missions that will take 10-15 hours.

If you purchase all of the current expansions, you‘ll get around 50 incredible missions contributing to a sweeping sci-fi saga. I‘d say 30-40 hours of total gameplay, at least. Honestly, it‘s worth every penny if you love FPS story campaigns.

Now I know some of you completionists out there are wondering about the older Destiny 2 campaigns:

  • The original Red War – Sadly removed from the game when free-to-play began 😒
  • Curse of Osiris – This Mercury-based campaign got placed in the "Destiny Content Vault"
  • Warmind – Same deal, the Mars campaign got vaulted so it‘s gone.

The point is, as Destiny 2 evolves overtime, Bungie removes some of the older content to keep things fresh. I know, it totally sucks for new players like you. My advice? Don‘t sweat the vaulted stuff and enjoy the campaigns available now while you can!

Which brings me to our next section…

Limited Time: Free Access to The Witch Queen Campaign

Normally the latest Witch Queen expansion campaign would cost you money to play. But awesomely, from February 7th to the 26th 2023, Bungie has made The Witch Queen totally free for all players on all platforms!

  • This is to promote the upcoming new Lightfall expansion launching on February 28th.
  • It‘s an amazing opportunity to experience Destiny 2‘s best campaign yet for FREE!
  • Just be sure to play through it before February 26th when access goes back to paid only.

I seriously can‘t recommend it enough – The Witch Queen campaign is a must-play. So jump on this free offer while you can, then you can decide if you want to purchase Lightfall or other expansions next.

Do Expansions Remove or Lock Content?

Look, I get it – the whole "expansion" thing seems confusing for new players. You‘re worried that buying expansions might somehow lock you out of content rather than add stuff. I felt the same way when I first started!

The good news is expansions don‘t lock or remove any actual game content. However, there are two key things that seem that way on the surface:

  • Content Vaulting – As mentioned above, Bungie removes some older content from all players over time to keep Destiny 2 running smoothly. But it affects everyone equally whether they purchase expansions or not.
  • Power Level Caps – Expansions raise the power cap, which does lock non-purchasers out of the newest end-game raids and dungeons. But you keep access to all patrol zones, core activities and PvP.

So in summary, you lose nothing by not buying expansions. You just may be restricted from certain high-level PvE activities. Make sense?

Do I Need All Expansions for End-Game?

This is a tricky topic, but let me break it down for you:

  • As a free player, you can reach the "soft cap" around 1550 power level and play through all the core activities no problem. You‘ll have a blast!
  • However, to hit the max power cap and play end-game stuff like raids, you‘ll need to purchase the latest expansion.

Here‘s a quick table to summarize:

Free PlayersCurrent Expansion Owners
Power Level CapAround 1550 (soft cap)1580 (hard cap)
Raids/DungeonsLockedAll Access
NightfallsNormal onlyCan play Grandmasters

My advice? Play for free at first while you decide if you like Destiny 2. But snag the current expansion if you want to take on the most extreme end-game challenges. They really do offer an amazing cooperative experience!

What Exactly is Included in Free-to-Play?

To quickly summarize everything you get access to for free:


  • The Tower
  • Europa
  • Moon
  • Dreaming City
  • Cosmodrome


  • New Light
  • Shadowkeep
  • Beyond Light

Raids & Dungeons

  • Vault of Glass (rotating free raid)


  • Vanguard (strikes)
  • Crucible (PvP)
  • Gambit
  • Dares of Eternity


  • Festival of the Lost
  • The Dawning
  • Solstice of Heroes

That‘s a ton of content! You‘ll easily get dozens if not hundreds of hours of playtime without spending a dime. Give it a shot!

Is Destiny 2 Pay-to-Win?

Alright, let‘s talk about the elephant in the room – whether having the expansions makes Destiny 2 pay-to-win:

Expansion owners can:

  • Reach much higher power levels
  • Access raids, dungeons, and exotic weapon quests
  • Unlock new subclass abilities and options
  • Get more vault space for weapons and armor
  • Obtain exclusive exotic gear

However, free players can:

  • Reach soft cap to play core activities
  • Participate equally in all PvP modes
  • Play rotating free raid and dungeon
  • Earn lots of great exotic weapons and armor

So while expansions offer some clear advantages, skill matters far more in the Crucible and Gambit. You can compete just fine as a free player. But you will likely feel left out of some PvE experiences over time.

Tips for Starting Out Free-to-Play

If you‘re going the free route, here are my best tips for getting started:

  • Complete the intro campaigns first – great way to start!
  • Jump into seasonal activities when available – neat loot!
  • Play lots of Vanguard, Crucible, and Gambit to level up
  • Try the Prophecy dungeon and Vault of Glass for free high level loot
  • Focus on upgrading a few key weapons and armor pieces
  • Learn what mods work best with your preferred playstyle
  • Join a clan! Great for advice, teammates, and free weekly rewards.

Stick with it guardian, and the world of Destiny 2 will open up before you know it. Just grab the DLCs later on if you want to experience absolutely everything.

Should You Try Destiny 2 as a Free Player?

Absolutely! Here‘s a quick recap of reasons why Destiny 2 is worth trying out free:

  • πŸ‘ No purchase or subscription required to get started
  • πŸ‘ 10-15 hours of free campaign content
  • πŸ‘ All PvP maps and modes are wide open
  • πŸ‘ Seasonal activities and events don‘t require purchase
  • πŸ‘ Tons of PvE content through Vanguard, Crucible, etc.
  • πŸ‘ Acquire lots of great exotics and loot as a free player
  • πŸ‘ Perfect way to demo Destiny 2 and see if you like it!

Give the free version a shot for a few weeks. If you‘re hooked, grab an expansion to take the next step. You have nothing to lose!

The Bottom Line on Free Campaign Content

Let me leave you with a quick cheat sheet of key facts:

  • βœ… Short free new light campaigns available
  • βœ… Expansions like The Witch Queen contain the full story
  • ❌ Older campaigns get removed from the game over time
  • βœ… Free players can enjoy tons of activities
  • πŸ’° Expansions offer advantages but aren‘t required
  • ⏰ The Witch Queen campaign temporarily free now!

I hope this 2300+ word deep dive clarified exactly what campaign content is free in Destiny 2 and how purchasing expansions unlocks the complete experience. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help new guardians.

Now get out there and start your epic intergalactic journey, free of charge!



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