With the Shadowkeep expansion to Destiny 2, developer Bungie made it possible to reach all-new heights in terms of players’ overall Power level–the measure of a Guardian’s strength based on their equipment. The addition of the Seasonal Artifact in the current season allows you to keep climbing beyond the gear Power cap of 960. Now, one player has reached another Power milestone, one that has some serious implications for Destiny 2’s ongoing story.
This week, streamer Bagel4k pushed his Power level up to 999 thanks to the Seasonal Artifact, which allows you to keep gaining in Power endlessly by accruing experience points from completing activities and turning in bounties. That’s impressive from a sheer gameplay standpoint–it takes 1.5 million experience points to gain one point of Power from the artifact, and the push to get your gear up from 950 to 960 is so tough, Bungie is patching the game later this week to make that final climb a little easier. (For context, it takes 100,000 points to unlock each new level of Bungie’s new Season system.) But 999 Power is also very significant to the story of the Forsaken expansion’s endgame area, the Dreaming City.
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For context, the Dreaming City is currently cursed to continually repeat a three-week timeloop, thanks to the machinations of a powerful Hive leader called Savathun. Despite completing the Last Wish raid in the Dreaming City and its high-level dungeon, Shattered Throne, Guardians so far have been unable to break the curse. But there was some suggestion that hitting 999 Power would be the secret to ending the Dreaming City’s torment. According to one of Destiny 2’s lore books, Truth To Power, reaching 999 Power and completing Shattered Throne would allow players to finally kill Savathun’s daughter, Dul Incaru, and end the curse once and for all.
As Bagel4k discovered, however, that’s apparently not the case–at least, not yet. Despite Bagel4k’s efforts, the curse endures. Bungie acknowledged the situation in a blog post titled “On the Power Climb,” which not only pays some tribute to Bagel4k, it functions as a story point as well.
The blog post mixes Bungie’s voice in acknowledging Bagel4k with some secret messages from Savathun herself. Though there isn’t much in the way of details, the post suggests that perhaps Guardians’ efforts to break the curse are actually part of Savathun’s whole overall plan. That’s sort of Savathun’s whole deal–she embodies an ideal of cunning. And the lore suggests that everything players have done in the Dreaming City up to now hasn’t actually helped to stop Savathun, but were actually actions manipulated to help her achieve her goals of gaining ultimate power. All the enemies we’ve been killing over and over in the Dreaming City have been feeding Savathun, and that’s what the timeloop curse is all about.
Bungie has said that the four seasons that make up the third year of Destiny 2’s content will tell an ongoing story that started with Shadowkeep, but most of the threads from Year Two–concerning the Dreaming City, the entities known as the Nine, the enigmatic new character called the Drifter, and more–are still hanging. Shadowkeep advanced things a bit in a different direction concerning the Hive, but it all goes back to Savathun. We can guess from Bagel4k’s exploits that Bungie isn’t quite ready for the story of the Dreaming City to end, nor to tell us what it all means, just yet.