Skip to content

Is Destiny 2 Fun for Free Players?

Destiny 2 transitioned to a free-to-play model in 2019, opening up the core gameplay experience to all players at no cost. But is trying out Destiny 2 actually fun if you‘re not paying anything? In this detailed guide, we‘ll cover everything you can access for free in Destiny 2, the pros and cons of playing for free, tips to maximize your enjoyment, and whether it‘s worth upgrading to paid content.

Overview of Free Destiny 2 Content

Here‘s a quick rundown of all the major activities and features you can access in the free version of Destiny 2:

  • New Light campaign – Short starter campaign that introduces you to the world and core activities.

  • Vanguard strikes – Cooperative PvE missions you can play solo or matchmade. Rotating selection available.

  • Crucible – Competitive team-based PvP modes including Control, Clash etc.

  • Gambit – PvEvP hybrid mode where teams race to summon and defeat bosses.

  • Prophecy Dungeon – Challenging endgame dungeon with unique loot.

  • Two free raids – Vault of Glass and King‘s Fall. pinnacle PvE co-op activities.

  • Patrol destinations – Free roam on multiple planets and take on side activities.

  • Seasonal activity – Rotating 6 player matchmade activity tied to current season theme.

So as you can see, the core Destiny 2 gameplay experience of shooting aliens with friends, competing in PvP, and chasing sweet new loot is all still available even if you don‘t spend any money.

Pros and Cons of Playing for Free

Let‘s dig into the major pros and cons of sticking with the free version of Destiny 2:


  • No upfront cost to try the game. Get a taste before committing.

  • Access to satisfying core gunplay and abilities that Destiny is known for.

  • Plenty of matchmade group activities to take part in. Can easily play with others.

  • Fun loot grind for free players via strikes, seasonal content and raids.

  • Can experience the basics of all major modes – PvE, PvP, endgame etc.


  • Very limited progression. Free players capped at soft power level of 1560.

  • Missing most premium endgame content like dungeons, raids, Trials of Osiris.

  • Repeats same activities over and over. Can get stale after a while.

  • Paid content has vast majority of new story missions, destinations, exotics.

  • Loot pursuit restricted by free level caps and no access to expansion gear.

  • Unable to compete on even ground in PvP due to gear gaps.

So in summary, you can have a good time playing Destiny 2 for free and experience the core gameplay loop and social aspects. But progression is severely limited and you‘ll miss out on most of the new content and gear added through expansions.

Viability for Casual vs Hardcore Players

Destiny 2‘s free track is certainly more geared towards casual players who are looking to sample the game and see if they enjoy the gameplay before paying. Hardcore players will find themselves abruptly halted in progression and likely quickly run out of rewarding activities.

For casual players, jumping on to knock out some strikes, play PvP, or try the seasonal activity and free raid offers a fun intermittent experience, especially with friends. Destiny 2‘s tight gameplay remains satisfying. But even casual players will find themselves repeating the same loop in the free version.

Hardcore players will optimize their progression rapidly, hit the soft cap, and have little left but repetition on the table. The satisfying grind for god rolls, high stat armor, and rare exotics is severely hampered. The lack of raids, dungeons, and aspirational PvP like Trials also cuts out most pinnacle endgame pursuits.

Overall the free experience can stay fresh anywhere from 10-30 hours for casual players depending on playstyle. Hardcore players will run out of meaningful progression in the 1-2 week range at most. Let‘s take a deeper look at major free activities below:


Vanguard strikes offer a fun casual PvE grind, but the free version only rotates a subset of around 10. Without new strikes entering the mix, they can quickly go stale after a few weeks. The soft cap also means you won‘t be leveling up or chasing powerful rewards past the 1560 mark.

Crucible & Gambit

Both standard PvP and the PvEvP hybrid mode Gambit provide frictionless matchmade action against human opponents. They make for fun casual modes to hop into anytime. But with access to less gear, free players will be at a disadvantage in PvP. And the repetitive loop gets old faster with less loot to chase.


Raids are pinnacle PvE team activities and a huge draw in Destiny 2. Thankfully the free version does grant access to the original Vault of Glass raid and reprisal of Destiny 1‘s King‘s Fall. Experiencing these with a group is a blast. But with only two raids in rotation, hardcore players will grind them out fast.

Seasonal Activity

Each new season brings a new 6 player matchmade activity open to all players. These provide a fun cooperative experience like the Haunted Lost Sectors of Season of the Lost. But free players only get to play the activity ritual playlist once per week. Buying the season pass offers more rewarding weekly story missions and challenges.

Evaluating the Free Season Pass Model

Starting in Year 5, Destiny 2 moved to a seasonal model centered around an annual expansion and four seasonal releases. The seasonal model also shifted to a free track and paid pass system.

Here is an overview:

  • Each season includes a free seasonal activity and ritual playlist that all players can progress through.

  • A paid season pass (~$10) provides an exp reward track with exclusive seasonal weapons, gear, cosmetics and materials.

  • Pass owners also get premium rewards like dungeon access, exotic missions, story content and more loot sources.

This expands the content pipeline to all players but gates more rewarding pursuits behind the pass paywall. The free track offers a taste of the season but leaves progression hamstrung. But buying individual seasons (~$40 a year) is cheaper than older annual pass models.

Overall the value comes down to how much you play. For casual players, the free version may be enough to enjoy each season’s core activity. But frequent players will feel the need to buy the pass to meaningfully advance their character throughout a season.

Social Experience for Free Players

One aspect where free Destiny 2 delivers is the social and community side. The built-in matchmaking makes jumping into group activities seamless. And you can tackle most content solo if you wish. Utilizing third party LFG tools opens up raids and achieving different triumphs as a free player via teamwork.

The Destiny community also remains one of the most active and engaged. Discord servers and subreddits for LFG, clans, and general discussion are great resources. So even if progression stalls out, Destiny 2 offers a thriving community to engage with. And the core activities stay fun, especially when playing and chatting with new friends.

Tips to Maximize the Free Experience

If you’re going to try out Destiny 2 as a free player, here are some tips to get the most enjoyment out of the content available:

  • Try all the core activities early to see which you enjoy most. Lean into those.

  • Take advantage of seasonal artifacts to boost your power level and experiment with mods.

  • Join an active clan for grouping up, advice, and seasonal rewards.

  • Use /r/DestinyTheGame, /r/Fireteams and Discord for LFG groups. Experience raids.

  • Create all three classes to diversify your gameplay experience.

  • Focus on chasing ritual and powerful rewards to hit the soft cap efficiently.

  • Collect destination materials to upgrade gear and purchase rewards.

  • Unlock stasis subclasses for new build opportunities.

  • Master Nightfalls offer some of the best rewards to target before 1560 cap.

Is Destiny 2’s Monetization Fair For Free Players?

Let’s address the elephant in the room – does Destiny 2 offer a fair free experience, or is critical content and progression gated off to strong-arm you into paying?

It’s a complex topic, but in my estimation Destiny 2 strikes a fair balance. The barriers are frustrating for highly engaged players. But the free version allows you to experience the moment-to-moment gameplay, social aspects, and base versions of every major mode.

The paid expansions and season passes offer clear value in terms of new destinations, activities, gear, and narrative content. Destiny 2 has moved away from relying on FOMO and instead delivers meaty annual expansions paired with à la carte seasonal releases.

Most live service games offer a roughly analogous model – try the core for free but pay for ongoing content updates. Bungie has invested heavily in expanding Destiny 2 post-launch, and that has to be funded by committed players. The free version brings in new players to hopefully convert to that core audience.

Is it a perfect system? No, but it has allowed Destiny 2 to keep evolving and expanding with clear payment tiers. And the free version is extremely generous compared to fully-paid titles. Players have the freedom to engage as deeply as they want to pay for.

Recent and Upcoming Improvements

A few recent updates have helped improve the free Destiny 2 experience:

  • Crossplay expanded the play pools and enables playing with anyone on any platform.

  • The integration of the Destiny Content Vault removed some paid content but consolidated what remained.

  • Shift to mostly cosmetic-only Eververse microtransactions reduced pay-to-win complaints.

  • Improved New Light quests and tutorialization better onboard new free players.

The launch of the Lightfall expansion in February 2023 also promises to deliver a new starting point for all players. The overhauled Strand subclass should reinvigorate the meta across PvE and PvP. And the seasonal model‘s evolution continues to add new hooks for both paid and free players to engage each season.

So the core free Destiny 2 experience stands to improve based on Bungie’s continued investment in evolving each yearly release and the underlying live service framework.

Verdict – Is Destiny 2 Fun For Free Players?

In the end, is trying out Destiny 2 as a free-to-play player fun? Absolutely.

The core gameplay loop delivers satisfying moment-to-moment gunplay and ability usage on par with any FPS. The wide range of cooperative and competitive modes makes for accessible action. Chasing loot and unlocks provides a steady drip feed of rewards. And experiencing a welcoming community is icing on the cake.

Can you play Destiny 2 forever as a free player? Unfortunately, no. Progression stalls out quickly and the limited selection of activities grows repetitive. But the free experience serves as an extensive demo. It showcases if Destiny 2’s gameplay clicks with you before paying to dive deeper.

For players on the fence, I wholeheartedly recommend installing Destiny 2 and trying all the free base modes. The game remains one of the best feeling shooters out there. And if the loop hooks you, the paid expansions offer hundreds of hours of rewarding sci-fi looter shooter action.

So hop in, shoot some aliens, bash some Crucible heads – no purchase required. If Destiny 2‘s outstanding gameplay resonates with you, the true meat of the experience awaits. But first just enjoy your free ride.



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