Destiny 2: The story recapped and explained so far

Destiny, which first launched three years ago, was the first title in Bungie's latest foray into science fiction. Introducing an expansive universe filled with mystery and wonder, it captivated millions of gamers around the world. However, the game faced heavy criticism upon release for its poor storytelling tactics, leading to many having a difficult time understanding anything happening on-screen. Whether you're a newcomer to the Destiny universe and want to catch up on everything that's happened, or a veteran who wants to see the story explained in an understandable way, this article will outline every event from the original game to get you ready for Destiny 2.

The Golden Age: humanity's rise to power

Destiny 2

The Traveler's origins are unknown, but it is an incredibly powerful entity. (Image credit: Bungie)

The story of Destiny begins in the near future. Humanity's capacity to traverse space has expanded, and as a result our species began exploring, looking for ways to colonize other planets. During these explorations we witnessed the Traveler. The Traveler, a massive, sphere-like entity, was traveling between the worlds in the Sol system, terraforming several worlds. Humanity, worried that this being was potentially a threat, sent three human ambassadors to meet with the Traveler and gleam what its intentions were.

The human ambassadors met with the Traveler while it was on Mars.

The human ambassadors met with the Traveler while it was on Mars.

The Traveler bestowed its powers upon humanity, leading to the Golden Age.

Surprisingly, the Traveler took a liking to humanity, and gifted our species with its powers and abilities. This propelled our species into the Golden Age. During the Golden Age, we wielded the Traveler's powers to significantly advance all fields of technology and science. Humans began to terraform the planets in the Sol system, colonizing places previously thought uninhabitable. Faster-than-light travel was achieved, allowing ships to traverse space in record times. The lifespan of the standard human tripled, and humanity even created a new AI species of robots, called Exos. These machines, designed in humanity's image, were self-aware, programmed with the directive to protect and stand with humanity in this new age. Overall, in this new era, humanity spread throughout the galaxy, thriving under the watchful protection of the Traveler.

The Collapse: The Darkness assaults the Traveler

The Fallen were one of many different types of species that made up the armies of what is known as the Darkness, a force that was capable of attacking and harming the Traveler — and humanity themselves.

The Fallen were one of many different types of species that made up the armies of what is known as the Darkness, a force that was capable of attacking and harming the Traveler — and humanity themselves.

A few centuries after the beginning of the Golden Age, a mysterious and ominous force called the Darkness attacked humanity's thriving empire. This force was comprised of several alien species, including the Fallen, the Hive, the Vex, and the Cabal. These enemies destroyed all of humanity's expansions across the planets of the Sol system, even mortally wounding the Traveler itself. As humanity retreated to Earth, the last stronghold that stood between them and extinction, the Traveler used the last of its power to create a defensive aura around the last bastion of humanity, the City. There, it hovers above humanity's remnants, watching over the City and projecting its defenses.

The Wall was humanity's own addition to the City's defenses.

The Wall was humanity's own addition to the City's defenses.

In addition to the Traveler's powers, humanity also united together to build the Wall. This monumentally sized barrier was built to keep the Darkness races from attacking the City. For years, hostile alien species searched for a way to breach it, though they never found any successful means of doing so.

The Awoken are born

Not all of humanity fell back to Earth, however. Many humans made the decision to escape by leaving known space to try and escape the Darkness. However, this seemingly proved unsuccessful. Though nobody knows exactly what happened, humans that returned to the Sol system in generations after this escape attempt were physiologically different than normal humans, with blue skin and glowing eyes being the most notable differences. These humans were identified as a new species: the Awoken.

Our journey begins

Years after the Wall was built, the Traveler created an unknown number of small machines known as Ghosts. These Ghosts were capable of resurrecting fallen human, Exo and Awoken warriors, and gifting them the power of the Traveler's Light. Those who went on to wield this Light against the forces of the Darkness were initially known as Iron Lords. These soldiers defended the Wall from several Fallen assaults and earned their legend by being seemingly invincible in the face of their foes. However, the Iron Lords would eventually end up sacrificing themselves to contain a biomechanical plague known as SIVA deep within the Cosmodrome, a shipyard from the Golden Age. This virus could take over and control any species, so it was of utmost importance that the Iron Lords contained it. Following this event, those awakened by Ghosts were then on known as Guardians. The role of the Guardians was to push back the Darkness and ensure humanity's survival.

When the Ghost finds us and brings us back to life, it gifts us the power needed in order to become an infamous Guardian — the strongest warriors in history.

This is where the player's tale begins. Our character rises from the grave amidst the remnants of what was once known as Russia (near the Cosmodrome) when one of the Traveler's Ghosts resurrects us. Who we were is a forgotten memory — indeed, all we know is that we died long ago — and now we have but one goal: to combat the Darkness.

Immediately, our Ghost directs us to find a ship so that we can travel to the City. After fighting through Fallen forces near the Cosmodrome, we eventually find a ship capable of heading to the City. Learning there of our Guardian status, we then return to the Cosmodrome to investigate the Fallen activity there. After finding and killing one of the Fallen's Archons (a high priest in their religion) as well as encountering the Hive for the first time, we return to the City and gain an audience with the Speaker, who is considered the adviser for all Guardians.

Hive invasion

The Speaker talks with us, explaining the history behind the Collapse and why the universe is how it is. He then explains that the Hive were thought to be trapped on the moon, and that their presence in the Cosmodrome is worrying. The Speaker sends another fellow Guardian to investigate the Hive situation on the moon to understand why they are on Earth. After the scout doesn't report back, the Speaker sends us to find out what happened.

The Speaker is one of the oldest existing Guardians.

The Speaker is one of the oldest existing Guardians.

While on the moon, we find the corpse of the Guardian and his Ghost. We then receive a message from the City that the Traveler is being drained by its Light by a Hive ritual being conducted on the moon. In doing so, the Hive plan to eliminate the Traveler's defenses around the City and invade Earth. Knowing how catastrophic this could be if the Hive are allowed to continue, we push deep into the Hive-infested catacombs on the moon, finding and halting the ritual being performed and ending the invasion of Earth before it began.

The Hive are one of the deadliest foes of humanity. Some consider them even more dangerous than the Fallen.

The Hive are one of the deadliest foes of humanity. Some consider them even more dangerous than the Fallen.

After this, an Exo known only as the Exo Stranger meets us in person on the moon, telling us that she needs our help on Venus to stop another imminent evil.

Encountering the Vex

The Vex are a race of machines hellbent on controlling the very fabric of the universe.

After arriving on Venus, the Exo Stranger informs us that the Traveler can't begin to heal unless we kill what is known as the Black Heart, deep within the Black Garden, a plane of existence outside of our own normal dimension. Shortly after learning this, we encounter Vex forces on Venus. After defeating them, we head out to seek counsel from the Awoken, located within the Reef, a massive debris field.

Upon reaching the Awoken there and talking with Queen Mara Sov of the Awoken, an agreement is made; the Awoken will help us reach the Black Garden, but in order to do so, we must bring her an eye from a Vex Gate Lord, one of the powerful Vex that guard the entrances to Vex dimensions.

Defeating the Cabal, and entering the Black Garden

After defeating the Gate Lord and taking its eye, we return to the Queen, who gives us the required information in order to know where and how to use the eye to enter the Black Garden. However, she also informs us that, in the future, she expects a favor from us in exchange for her help. Traveling to Mars, where an entrance is located, we discover that the planet is engulfed in a planet-wide war between the Cabal and the Vex. Fighting through both Cabal and Vex legions, we finally reach the entrance to the Black Garden and use the Gate Lord's eye to enter.

The Cabal are a bloodthirsty, warmongering species that hate the Vex and humans equally.

The Cabal are a bloodthirsty, warmongering species that hate the Vex and humans equally.

We move into the Black Garden, taking down numerous Vex forces as we go deeper into the heart of Vex territory. After reaching the center of the Black Garden, we finally see the Black Heart, suspended in midair in the distance. Shortly after arriving, the Sol Progeny, giant Vex protectors of the Black Heart, begin to defend it and attack us. However, we are able to defeat all three of the Vex, and afterwards we finally manage to destroy the Black Heart itself. This allows the Traveler to finally begin healing — but the Vex threat isn't over with just yet.

The Black Heart entity.

The Black Heart entity.

Finishing off the Vex

With the Vex weakened from the destruction of the Black Heart, one final effort is all that remained in order to successfully cripple the Vex entirely and ensure they wouldn't become a threat — an all-out assault on the Vault of Glass, a Vex-controlled dimension, inside of which is one of the Vex leaders, Athenon.

Knowing that making sure the Vex can't hinder the Traveler's ability to heal is important, we team up with several other Guardians to infiltrate the Vault and eliminate Athenon. The raid party succeeded, and the Vex's ability to launch offensives was severely reduced. For now, we and the other Guardians have successfully eliminated all threats to the Traveler and the City.

The Dark Below expansion

We are contacted by a Guardian called Eris Morn, who was part of a squad tasked with eliminating the Hive god Crota. Her group failed, and we learn that Crota plans to attempt to invade Earth with his Hive armies a second time. Eris tasks us with halting the invasion force coming from the Cosmodrome. Once that's completed, we fly to the moon in order to stop the Hive forces there from summoning Crota. After killing the Hive generals there, we team up with several other Guardians and enter Crota's own location, known as the Oversoul Throne. Then, we kill Crota himself, ending the threat.

House of Wolves expansion

Queen Mara Sov of the Awoken calls upon us to return that favor back from when she helped us with the Vex. A Fallen by the name of Skolas has risen to power, attempting to unite all Fallen under his House, the House of Wolves, and she needs our help in quelling the rebellion. After Skolas fails to conquer the rest of the Fallen before we can reach him, he desperately tries to invade the Vault of Glass and utilize it's portals in order to bring the full might of his House down on his enemies. However, we are able to stop him in time, capture him, and give him to the Queen, who in turn puts him in the Prison of Elders, an Awoken-controlled jail.

The Taken King expansion

Seeking revenge for the death of his son Crota, the Hive god Oryx enters the Sol system with a vengeance. The Awoken fleet attempts to stop his forces at Saturn, but they are completely decimated, and the Queen herself is presumed dead, though some believe she managed to escape the slaughter. Oryx begins to take control of species in the Sol system by a process known as Taking; as a result he forms a massive army comprised of every enemy we have encountered thus far called the Taken. In order to try and defeat him, the Exo Cayde-6 comes up with a plan to infiltrate Oryx's dreadnought, which we and a group of Guardian's pull off successfully. Using fragments of the soul of Crota, we enter Oryx's chambers and battle him. While we defeat him here, he manages to retreat further into his ship, regaining strength. We push deep into the dreadnought, taking out several high ranking members of the Taken along the way, until we encounter Oryx a second time in his Ascendant realm. In a long, hard fought battle, we and rest of the Guardian fireteam permanently slay Oryx, removing the Taken threat.

Rise of Iron expansion

Our last adventure in Destiny comes in the form of a battle against SIVA, the ancient mechanical virus sealed away by the Iron Lords centuries ago.

The Fallen of the House of Devils unintentionally stumble upon and unearth the sealed away SIVA virus deep within the Cosmodrome. They begin to augment themselves with it, letting the virus overtake them and make them stronger. With the plague now loose, the only surviving Iron Lord, Lord Saladin, initiated a call to arms to all Guardians, insisting that the threat of SIVA was too dangerous to not immediately deal with. Saladin personally lead the Guardians in an all out last stand against the virus. We and the other Guardians successfully stopped the SIVA-controlled Fallen, saving the City, though the virus was not permanently eliminated.

Your thoughts

What is your opinion on the story of the first Destiny? Do you like or dislike it? Let me know what you think. If you're interested in picking up the sequel, Destiny 2 is set to release on September 6 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will release on October 24 on Blizzard Entertainment's for PC. Copies of the game start at $59.99, with higher-tier versions available with bonus content.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.