Every big Destiny 2 DLC expansion is free to play until The Final Shape other than the one that isn't worth your money anyway [UPDATED]

Destiny 2 Beyond Light Image
Destiny 2 Beyond Light Image (Image credit: Bungie)

What you need to know

  • Exactly one month ahead of the launch of Destiny 2: The Final Shape DLC, nearly all of the game's other major expansions have been made available to play for free with "Expansion Open Access" until June 3 — one day before The Final Shape's June 4 release.
  • These include the Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, and The Witch Queen expansions, along with their story campaigns, Exotic quests, strikes, raids, and gear. You'll be able to keep the gear you earn after Open Access ends, though you won't be able to use Beyond Light's Stasis subclass anymore unless you buy that DLC specifically.
  • The activities and story content from all four of the seasons in Year 6 (Season 20-23) is playable for free until then, too; that content will be sunset from Destiny 2 when The Final Shape releases.
  • The only major expansion that isn't included in Open Access is Destiny 2: Lightfall, which released in 2023 and had a very negative reputation. Though its Strand subclasses are great, the rest of the DLC is widely considered to be very disappointing. You can claim it during May if you're a PlayStation Plus member, though.
  • Minor DLCs like the 30th Anniversary Pack and the Forsaken Pack aren't included in Expansion Open Access either, so be aware of that.
  • Update: Bungie has announced in a new This Week in Destiny blog post that the campaigns for Shadowkeep and Beyond Light and Beyond Light's Stasis subclass will remain free after The Final Shape launches. The rest of Shadowkeep's and Beyond Light's content will be sold in new DLC packs.
Recent updates

Bungie has announced in a new This Week in Destiny blog post that when The Final Shape launches on June 4, the story campaigns for Shadowkeep and Beyond Light will remain free. Additionally, Beyond Light's Stasis subclass will also stay free for players to access. The rest of the non-campaign content from these expansions will be sold in DLC packs called the Shadowkeep Pack and Beyond Light Pack. The price of these is currently unknown, though they might be $19.99 like the Forsaken Pack.

Original article: As I write this, Destiny 2's huge The Final Shape DLC — the final chapter in the game's decade-long "Light and Darkness Saga" that began with the original 2014 shooter — is one month away from its planned release on June 4. With a climactic story that'll take players inside the Traveler itself, a wild Prismatic subclass that allows you to combine Light and Darkness powers, plenty of loot to chase, and more, it looks to be the biggest and boldest expansion in Destiny's history. 

Excitement for it has been building steadily in recent months, drawing new and returning players alike to the space fantasy FPS. An issue for newcomers, though, is that Destiny 2 is quite expensive to get into since all of its older expansions still cost money. From now until June 3, though, you can play through nearly all of them for free thanks to  "Expansion Open Access," which was announced in a new trailer on Tuesday by developer Bungie (honestly, Shadowkeep and Beyond Light should be free by now anyway since they're several years old, but I digress). 

Available content includes everything from 2019's Shadowkeep, 2020's Beyond Light, and 2022's The Witch Queen, including story campaign missions, Exotic quests and gear, strikes (three-player levels), raids (challenging six-player endgame missions), and more. The activities and story questlines from all four of the seasons in Year 6 (Season 20-23) are freely accessible as well, which covers all the events that directly precede The Final Shape's (it will be sunset from Destiny 2 once The Final Shape launches). Once you're in-game, all of this should be accessible.

Notably, you'll get to keep all the gear you earn while playing through these DLCs even if you don't purchase them before this Open Access period ends, giving you a chance to build up a good arsenal before confronting the Witness in The Final Shape. One thing you won't get to keep access to, however, are Beyond Light's Stasis subclasses. For that reason, I recommend buying Beyond Light if you can (it's $19.99, but goes on sale often), especially since Stasis can be very powerful with the right build.

Alongside minor DLCs like the 30th Anniversary Pack and the Forsaken Pack, the one story expansion that isn't included in Open Access is Destiny 2: Lightfall — but honestly, it's not worth the $29.99 it costs. Don't get me wrong, the Strand subclasses it added are pretty awesome, but they're not essentials unless you're a hardcore endgame player (and if that's you, you probably already own the DLC, anyway). Even if you are, you'll be just fine with the "vanilla" Solar, Arc, and Void subclasses.

Top Recommendations

Compared to Destiny 2's other expansions, Lightfall has what has to be the worst core narrative since the abysmal (and now-sunset) Curse of Osiris and Warmind add-ons, along with an extremely boring raid in the Root of Nightmares. The loot from its (bland) Neomuna patrol space is solid and some of its post-launch story dialogue is actually pretty good, but you can look up the latter in YouTube videos, and overall, I just can't bring myself to recommend it unless it's discounted.

Something important to note is that Lightfall is available for PlayStation players to claim without a purchase in May if they have a PlayStation Plus membership. Take advantage of that while you can, if you can, as the offer won't be available once June rolls around and there's a new batch of monthly games for PlayStation Plus.

Note that to continue using Beyond Light's Stasis subclasses after Expansion Open Access ends, you'll need to buy Beyond Light. Luckily, it goes on sale frequently, though it's not discounted at the time of writing. (Image credit: Bungie)

Thanks to Destiny 2's Expansion Open Access, now is definitely the time to get started with the game if you're interested in jumping in ahead of The Final Shape. The Witch Queen, Beyond Light, and especially Shadowkeep aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but for the rock bottom price of $0, their campaigns — The Witch Queen's, in particular — are a good time. Along with the "New Light" free-to-play story missions and the in-game Timeline feature, they'll also help you get up to speed on what's going actually going on in Bungie's universe. Several of their Exotic quests are great, too, and all three DLCs have enjoyable raids.

There's also Destiny 2's Into the Light update to enjoy, which is entirely free-to-play and just got its final major batch of content with today's weekly reset. It's added an awesome PvE wave defense mode called Onslaught, 12 special refreshed "BRAVE" weapons to chase, reprised versions of the fan-favorite Whisper and Zero Hour Exotic missions, three new PvP maps, and a raid boss gauntlet called Pantheon that overhauls popular raid encounters with some new twists. It, along with the official reveal of The Final Shape's Prismatic subclass, doubled the game's player count in early April.

Destiny 2 is one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for fans of multiplayer and looter shooters, and The Final Shape — the final expansion in the Light and Darkness Saga — looks to be the biggest DLC that Bungie's popular live service game has ever gotten. Notably, it's available to preorder now, and the PC version is on sale for a small discount.

Destiny 2: The Final Shape | $49.99 $41.99 at GMG (Steam)

Destiny 2: The Final Shape | $49.99 $41.99 at GMG (Steam)

The Final Shape is the last DLC in Destiny 2's decade-long Light and Darkness Saga, and between both Prismatic and the introduction of the Dread faction, might just end up being the biggest expansion in the franchise's history.

Also see: The Final Shape (Xbox) | The Final Shape + Annual Pass (PC) | The Final Shape + Annual Pass (Xbox)

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.

  • fdruid
    Very interesting how these guys think they can prevent you from playing DLC you bought whenever they feel like it, and then let anyone play for free their paid DLC whenever they feel like it. A lot of shitty practices if you ask me and that's why I stopped playing this game long ago.