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Is The Witch Queen Dungeon Free in Destiny 2?

No, the new Witch Queen dungeon content is not free. Accessing The Witch Queen dungeon requires purchasing the expansion deluxe edition, the separate dungeon key, or future season passes that include dungeons.

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen expansion launched in February 2022 as the latest chapter in the evolving world of Bungie‘s hit looter shooter. This blockbuster release delivered an immense amount of new content – an exciting campaign, mysterious new destination, weapon crafting, the glaive exotic weapon archetype, and the long-awaited arrival of fabled Hive necromancer Savathûn.

However, unlike previous expansions, the new dungeon activity was not automatically included. For long-time players, this shift away from dungeons being freely playable content tied to an owned expansion was an unwelcome surprise.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about what parts of The Witch Queen expansion are free, what you‘ll need to buy to access the dungeon, tips for getting into Destiny 2, and the future of dungeon content. Time to pull back the veil on what‘s free vs paid in Destiny 2!

A Brief History of Destiny 2 Dungeons

As a ‘looter shooter‘ MMO, Destiny 2 revolves around the gameplay loop of constantly improving your Guardian‘s power through new weapons, armor, subclasses, and special gear. Dungeons represent pinnacle endgame PvE activities on par with raids that offer unique challenges and coveted high stat loot. Let‘s look back at the evolution of dungeons across Destiny 2‘s past expansions:

  • Forsaken (2018) – Introduced the franchise‘s first ever dungeon activity – Shattered Throne – set in the ethereal Ascendant Plane of the Awoken homeland, The Dreaming City. Offered secret quests, lore triumphs, and the Wish Ender exotic bow.

  • Shadowkeep (2019) – Added a Halloween themed dungeon called Pit of Heresy on the Moon, with a boss fight against Zulmak. Rewarded the Xenophage exotic machine gun.

  • Beyond Light (2020) – Surprisingly did not include a new dungeon, leading to community backlash.

  • 30th Anniversary Pack (2021) – This special commemorative DLC added the dungeon Grasp of Avarice set aboard an ancient buried Fallen ship. Dropped the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher among other nostalgic loot.

  • The Witch Queen (2022) – Introduced the "poison" themed dungeon Duality set within the swamps of Savathûn‘s throne world. Economy changes meant this dungeon was no longer free to expansion owners…

Based on the community‘s enthusiastic engagement with past dungeons, their absence in Beyond Light was sorely felt. Bungie seemed to be responding to this feedback with dungeon-focused releases – the 30th Anniversary dungeon in late 2021, and Duality as the centerpiece of Season of the Haunted (Season 17) in 2022.

However, the pricing change making the latest dungeon separate paid content was controversial. To help explain the current landscape, let‘s explore what‘s free vs paid in Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 Content Breakdown: Free vs Paid

Destiny 2 originally launched in 2017 as a full-priced game, then transitioned to a free-to-play model in 2019 alongside the Shadowkeep expansion. This opened up the world of Destiny to all players, not just paying customers.

Here is a breakdown of major free gameplay features available without purchasing expansions or season passes:

  • Core playlists: Strikes, Crucible competitive multiplayer, and Gambit hybrid PvEvP mode
  • Explorable public destinations: Europa and Cosmodrome
  • Early New Light quests and campaign missions
  • Vault of Glass raid from Destiny 1
  • Prophecy dungeon with mysterious teleportation mechanics
  • Year 1 exotic weapons like Crimson, Vigilance Wing, The Colony
  • Rotation of 6 PvP maps and 8 strikes in the Vanguard Ops playlist
  • Limited event activities like Guardian Games or The Dawning
  • Foundational Gunsmith/armor mods and materials economy

Destiny 2‘s à la carte model means players can choose what additional content they want to purchase. Expansions and season passes grant access to:

  • Cinematic story campaigns and explorable destinations
  • More strikes, crucible maps and exotic weapon quests
  • Endgame raids like Vow of the Disciple
  • Dungeons if purchased separately
  • Special activities introduced each season
  • Seasonal ritual playlists like psiops or ketchcrash
  • Hundreds of unique legendary weapons and armor
  • Nearly all of Destiny 2‘s 170+ exotic weapons and armor
  • Cosmetics like finishers, ornaments and sparrows
  • Premium currency for cosmetics purchasing

Now let‘s take a deeper look at The Witch Queen expansion specifically and what it added.

Breaking Down The Witch Queen Expansion

The Witch Queen expansion launched on February 22, 2022 as Destiny 2‘s 5th annual major expansion, following Beyond Light in 2020. Priced at $39.99 USD for the standard edition, this blockbuster release included:

  • Story campaign with 8 missions hunting down Savathûn in her throne world
  • Legendary mode for increased campaign difficulty
  • The new destination of Savathûn‘s Throne World to explore
  • Weapon crafting system allowing deep customization
  • Glaive first-person melee/ranged hybrid weapon type
  • Five powerful new exotic armors for your Hunter, Warlock, or Titan
  • The Osteo Striga exotic SMG with poison-spreading projectiles
  • Raid introduction quest with replayable puzzles
  • Vow of the Disciple 6 player raid set in the ancient pyramid ship of Nezarec
  • New matchmade wellspring activity unlocked on the Throne World

The Witch Queen‘s arrival marked the apex of years of build up around Savathûn and her deception. Unraveling the truth around her worm god patron and falsified death delivers an intriguing and lore-heavy story for Destiny fans.

An impressive amount of content dropped with this expansion. But what about The Witch Queen dungeon that was prominently featured in marketing?

Are The Witch Queen Dungeons Free?

The Witch Queen expansion added a new dungeon called Duality, set in the swamps and temples of Savathûn‘s Throne World. Introducing a mirrored lens mechanic that shifts the dungeon‘s geometry, Duality features some unique mechanics and boss encounters.

However, unlike all previous expansions, access to the Duality dungeon is not included automatically.players looking to experience Duality have a few options:

  • Purchase the The Witch Queen Deluxe Edition for $79.99, which includes seasons 16 through 19 and unlocks Duality.
  • Buy The Witch Queen Dungeon Key from Eververse for 2000 silver (~$20) to independently unlock access.
  • Wait for seasonal content that includes a dungeon, like Season of the Seraph, and buy that season pass.

In Year 5, Bungie shifted new dungeons to being separate standalone purchases rather than bundled expansion content. Understandably, much of the player base accustomed to previous expansion dungeons being freely accessible pushed back on this change.

However, Destiny 2‘s free-to-play shift changed the economics. Let‘s examine the reasoning behind paywalling new dungeons.

The Controversy Around Paid Dungeons in Destiny 2

Decoupling new dungeons from owned expansions to make them separately purchasable has been a controversial move within the Destiny 2 community.

Many players argue that with the cost of the expansion itself, deluxe editions, season passes, microtransactions, etc. dungeons should remain freely included content. For context, here is how the newer dungeon model compares to previous pricing:

ForsakenShattered ThroneIncluded with $40 expansion
ShadowkeepPit of HeresyIncluded with $35 expansion
Beyond Light(None)(Community backlash over lack of dungeon)
30th AnniversaryGrasp of AvariceSeparate $30 commemorative DLC
Witch QueenDualitySeparate $20 dungeon key purchase

Detractors feel this fractures up content that used to be bundled together, requiring additional purchases on top of an expansion to fully enjoy new dungeons. It can come across as greedy nickel and diming, rather than rewarding loyal players.

However, Bungie insists the economics of continually supporting a free-to-play live service game demand decoupling dungeons from expansions. In a February 2022 blog post, Bungie explained:

"We…expect to deliver more overall content together with the events, seasons, and dungeons outside of expansions all funded by optional purchases. A la carte offering means an individual player can choose what they want…"

Essentially, Destiny 2‘s free-to-play shift enabled massive player acquisition. But developing ongoing content requires reliable revenue. Making new dungeons separate purchases alongside season passes and microtransactions aims to sustainably fund development.

This model does enable à la carte choice – players can purchase only the specific content they want, rather than massively bundled releases. But whether or not the value proposition feels fair is subjective.

Industry veteran Paul Tassi summed it up well in Forbes:

"Bungie is pushing the envelope in terms of monetization as far as it will go. It’s not the prices that are the main issue, but the way everything is being unbundled piece by piece."

For some players, dungeons being paywalled just feels like one unbundle too far. But enabling accessible free-to-play also clearly benefits the community in many ways. It‘s a complex balance.

Personally, as an avid dungeoneer I wish they were freely included with expansions. But I recognize that continually providing premium content has ongoing costs. Let‘s look at some tips for engaging with Destiny 2‘s evolving ecosystem as a player.

Tips for New & Returning Guardians

For new or returning Guardians jumping into Destiny 2 now during the tail end of The Witch Queen era, here are some tips:

Start with the free content – Get acclimated to core activities like strikes, crucible, destinations. Pursue quests for free exotics like Riskrunner. Experiment with classes to see what clicks.

Find an active clan – Playing with a regular group unlocks so much more content. Having teammates for dungeons, raids, trials is key. The Companion app‘s clan finder lets you search by playstyle and activity focus.

Pursue seasonal content – Participate in the current seasonal storyline and activities. With each season you‘ll unlock new gear, triumphs, exotics and cosmetics.

Consider purchasing current or upcoming expansions – Owning expansions means you can play that content at your own pace. The Witch Queen offers an excellent recent campaign. Lightfall arrives 2/28/2023.

Take advantage of limited time unlocks – Temporary full unlocks of past expansions are great opportunities to experience that content and earn exotics. The Witch Queen is free until 2/27/2023.

Use cross save – Unite your Guardian on all platforms thanks to cross save. This means you have access to all your owned content on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Stadia.

Research weapons, mods, and builds – Fan sites like have awesome resources for catch up mechanics guides, vendor recommendations, weapon tier lists, ability priorities, and build crafting.

Find a knowledgeable Sherpa – For aspirational content like dungeons, raids, and trials – Veterans who enjoy guiding new players through challenging activities can show you the ropes. The D2 Sanctuary discord is a great Sherpa community.

Watch content creator guides – Streaming raiders like Datto and ProfessorBroman produce stellar video guides teaching raid and dungeon encounters that really help prep.

Destiny 2 does have a significant learning curve. But focusing on the core playlists, pursuing free exotic quests, and finding friendly players to team up with makes getting into the game much smoother.

Whether you want to casually play through the cinematic stories, grind god rolls through nightfall strikes, go flawless in Trials of Osiris, or tackle the raids and dungeons, just take it step by step. The Destiny community is very welcoming of new players.

The Road Ahead in Lightfall and Beyond

While The Witch Queen era is beginning to come to a close, the future looks bright for Destiny 2. Bungie recently announced a new partnership with Sony that will enable even more ambitious visions and content creation.

The upcoming Lightfall expansion arrives on February 28, 2023, bringing the mysterious new location of Neomuna on Neptune. The Strand subclass will introduce unique grapple-based powers. We‘ll confront The Witness and continue Destiny 2‘s epic sci-fi saga.

Bungie promises Lightfall will deliver an impactful narrative with challenging endgame activities. And of course, a new raid and dungeon are in development. We‘ll have to wait and see if Bungie adjusts their approach to delivering dungeon content based on player feedback.

Personally, I‘m excited to see what‘s next. Destiny 2‘s gunplay, build crafting and challenging PvE endgame offers a uniquely satisfying looter shooter experience. I‘ve been playing since the D1 alpha, and Bungie continues to push the franchise forward in bold new directions.

Sure, we‘ll debate the plusses and minuses of monetization along the way. But ultimately, Destiny offers an incredible gaming hobby with countless adventures to share with our fellow Guardians. Witch Queen or not, my fireteam will be plunging into Lightfall day one!

Whether you‘re a new light or veteran, hopefully this guide provided a comprehensive overview of what content is free vs paid in The Witch Queen expansion, specifically the nuances around the dungeons. Time to gear up and experience this thrilling chapter in Destiny 2‘s living world. See you starside!



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