In summation: Year 1 with benefits
Destiny 2‘s Shadowkeep expansion arrives on October 1, which is going to be relevant to hardcore players everywhere. But for everyone else it’s also the start of the “New Light” version of D2, which is basically “Destiny 2: Limited Free-to-play Edition.” Although Bungie has been very transparent on what that entails, they’ve put out a handy infographic this week to clarify exactly what you’re getting.
New Light includes Year 1 content, which is the base Destiny 2 game, and the panned Curse of Osiris/Warmind medium-sized expansions. You’ll also be able to participate in PVP, PVE, Year 1 raids, in-game events (like Iron Banner), Gambit/Gambit Prime, Menagerie, the Black Armory, Year 1 Nightfall strikes (when they’re cycled in), and private matches. It’s mostly Year 1 when it comes to story beats, but some Year 2 multiplayer activities have been spliced in there.
Year 2 consists of content from the major Forsaken expansion, which did the exact same thing that The Taken King did for its predecessor: ushered Destiny into a brave new improved era. That content you’ll still need to buy; and the same goes for Shadowkeep when it hits next week (which kicks off Year 3).
There is a sort of overarching bonus though, as everyone, new and veteran players, will be brought up to the new power level of 750. That means the entire playerbase can interact with one another day one of Shadowkeep, no matter where they are narratively. It also means you don’t need to do any sort of catchup, just complete the Forsaken campaign to be ready for Shadowkeep. Easy enough right? Well we might have to break this all down in the comments if you’re still confused.