Warmind, Destiny 2's second and latest expansion, offers a short but sweet helping of new story which will last you around three hours. The campaign is spaced across five missions where you fight our old friends the Hive, meet characters previously teased in obscure lore files, and which moves the overall Destiny story along... if only by an inch.
There's much more to the expansion than its story content, of course, and for that we'll have a review next week, once we've had time to explore all the post-campaign missions and questlines appraise the new Cruicible maps, and sample the Raid Lair activity which will go live at 6pm UK time this Friday, 11th May.
For now then, let's discuss Warmind's story and how it fits into the wider Destiny narrative - including the various plot threads and other bits Bungie left to ancillary materials.
Full spoilers for Destiny 2: Warmind follow.
Warmind's story is mostly set within Mars' polar region. The area is geographically distant to that featured back in Destiny 1, but it feels familiar: angry Cabal stalk around and there are buildings stamped with the Clovis Bray logo. The Clovis Bray corporation - Destiny's answer to Weyland-Yutani - is a major focus of the expansion, and your main quest giver and ally is Anastasia "Ana" Bray, whose family founded the company back in Earth's Golden Age.
Ana Bray has been referenced since the series' origins as a powerful Guardian and the last in a long line of Brays (her name, and that of Rasputin, is a deliberate nod to the Russian Romanov dynasty). Most recently, Bungie tipped her for a major role via a diary found hidden in Destiny 2's Tower. Pre-Collapse, the Clovis Bray corporation was responsible for creating the SIVA nanotechnology encountered in Rise of Iron and the Warmind planetary defense AI.
Ana has her own Warmind prequel comic (it's free to read) which reveals she was busy searching for her family history while Destiny 2's events took place. She missed the Red War, then, but found Rasputin with the intent of getting him on side for any future conflict. She also discovered a huge Hive threat on Mars, which has been trapped there alongside Rasputin after trying to gain access to him as well.
The Hive threat you face in Warmind is a big deal - after spending a full Destiny 1 DLC setting up Crota, son of Oryx, and then the big Taken King expansion finally revealing and killing off his dad, Bungie goes even bigger by revealing a Worm god, the scaly deity species which billions of years ago gave the Hive their power. Fans have mixed reactions about the Worm gods finally being shown on screen this way - and beaten so easily - but there's a little more to it.
Before meeting Xol, the Worm god featured in Warmind, you'll first have to battle Crota's little brother Nokris, who was first mentioned back in Destiny 1's The Taken King expansion. He's the runt of Oryx's litter - and so it makes sense he's somewhat easier to kill than Crota here. Likewise, Xol - despite his impressive title "Will of the Thousands" - is the Worm god who was also the runt of his siblings. If you're up to date on your Grimoire lore, you'll know that Xol saw himself in Nokris, and that this was how the two became pals.
Again, the origin and fate of the Worm gods was first teased back in The Taken King, buried in the Book of Sorrows found within the Dreadnought's Calcified Fragments, but the short version is that the Hive saw them as deities - even though Oryx eventually decided he was better. Oryx actually slew one of the bigger Worm gods, Akka, and turned his body into the Dreadnought - so Xol here is definitely a much smaller, weaker version.
Most interestingly, perhaps, is that the Worm gods commune with and are in turn sort-of disciples of the Darkness - that mysterious threat which the Traveller defended Earth from and which looks poised to finally reappear via those pyramid ships glimpsed awakening during Destiny 2's post-credits scene. You could see the Worm gods' somewhat rushed introduction as a way to get the middle men out of the way before the Darkness itself gets an on-screen introduction. And the Darkness even gets a sort of mention - when Xol attacks the player and declares you will drown in the "Deep" - a Hive term for the Darkness.
As outcasts, Xol and Nokris are after a new world to control - and so want Rasputin off of Mars to claim the planet for their own (it was, previously, the world most recently visited by the Traveller, which may have been when they became interested in it and trapped there). Whether you defeating the pair of them will stick (Oryx, memorably, took several goes) remains to be seen - we may find out more in the Raid Lair, or through off-screen information doled out elsewhere.
Warmind's finale sees Rasputin, who has always been a reluctant ally, power up and declare independence - albeit while maintaining a link with Ana and promising to defend the solar system from outside threats. It's timely, considering those pyramid ships. Despite being the name of the DLC, there's little to no new information about Rasputin's origins - although a recent dump of new lore logs has cleared up some confusion. Bungie had previously suggested there was a network of individual Warminds, but now appears to be backtracking from this idea. Mars' Warmind was once suggested to be a separate entity named Charlemagne, but this was recently retconned into being a "submind" of Rasputin instead.
For those who have drifted away from Destiny, or who are more concerned with the likely meatier expansion due this autumn, Warmind offers a fun-size addition of story which mostly fills in the blanks from teases left before. The upshot for Destiny's next chapter - which surely has to be the Darkness, now, please - is that Rasputin is now a major player. Hopefully we'll hear more about what's next for the franchise soon, at E3.