Destiny 2 storytelling can get confusing even for the veterans of the series so here is a quick recap as we are waiting for the servers to come back online and we dive into the new expansion.
When you jump into Destiny 2 without context, there is a decent chance of losing interest in the game because you have no idea what's going on, who you are shooting, or for that matter - why you're shooting them and there is a pile of named characters that you are not even sure are important at all. Here is a quick rundown of the storyline so far that will (hopefully) give you enough context to properly enjoy The Witch Queen.
The Red War
This is where Destiny 2 began. A massive empire that contains several species of aliens, known as the Cabal, are hostile to humanity and its allies. Dominus Ghaul, the leader of a Cabal faction - Red Legion, overthrows the emperor and attacks The Last City. He is basically a zealot that believes the powers bestowed by the Traveler are rightfully his so he brings a giant machine that shuts the giant ball in the sky down, leaving the Guardians (us) powerless.
Whichever Guardian dies in this state, they stay permanently dead. Red Legion quickly defeats Guardians, takes over The Last City and Ghaul personally defeats the protagonist. In a classic cliche turn of events, he doesn't directly kill the protagonist and only kicks them off a high ledge.
Wounded and battered, we escape the City, regroup with the survivors, find a fragment of the Traveler, regain our powers, come back, kick the Red Legion in the family jewels and prepare to face Garry once again. By this time, he's been sucking the Light up and eventually appears in an overdosed form and then the Traveler blows him away, like a fart in the wind.
Curse of Osiris
The expansion of grossly exaggerated, and eventually broken promises. Not a good time to be a Destiny 2 player but the expansion did progress the story somewhat.
While the Red Legion fragments are still in the Solar System, they are no longer the main threat. This time, it's Vex, who are basically Space Terminators that are not as resistant to bullets as T-800 was.
Osiris, an infamous Warlock, attempts to beat Panoptes, the Vex equivalent of Skynet but imagine if there could be more than just one Skynet. Anyway, Osiris manages to beat the Vex with our help and put an end to their infinite simulations as they attempted to formulate a reality where they utterly defeat the Guardians.
Back when the Traveler popped Ghaul, the burst of Light awoke the Warmind Rasputing. A Warmind is an incredibly advanced AI that was built by humanity during the Golden Age to serve as one of the lines of defence. The twist here is that Rasputin is on Mars, where he wasn't the only dormant entity.
Nokris and Xol, the exiled but powerful duo consisting of a Hive prince (of sorts) and one of their worm gods, were also awakened and attempted to put an end to the AI. A Guardian named Ana Bray intervened alongside the protagonist and as we help out Rasputin, we manage to turn the tide and finally destroy the not-so-dynamic duo.
Rasputin decides to watch over humanity once again but on his own terms. Commander Zavala is hesitant to trust him.
The strongest point in Destiny 2 thus far. This expansion brought heartbreak, cool storytelling and tons of loot.
If "tons of loot" sounds familiar, it's because you heard it in the trailer leading up to Destiny 2 release and the phrase was uttered by Cayde-6, the aloof and beloved member of the Vanguard. He's funny, pretty awesome and he gets rekt in the opening act of the expansion.
Unlike the previous expansions and the base game, humanity is not under direct attack by the Hive, Cabal or Vex. Instead, this is a revenge story, crafted to make us feel like in the space version of the Wild West and the expansion hit the nail on the head.
Cayde-6 gets killed by Uldren Sov, brother of the assumed-to-be-dead Queen of the Reef, Mara Sov. She was an ally of The Last City but Uldren was always pissy and annoying. Killing Cayde-6 broke the camel's back and we set out to kill his band of outlaws, which we accomplish, then we face Uldren and introduce him to a severe case of lead poisoning.
With our revenge complete, we head into the seasons which are narratively shorter but still significant.
Season of the Forge introduces us to Ada-1 and the Golden Age forges that allow us to craft amazing weapons. You can't do this in the Witch Queen, the activity is gone.
Season of the Drifter introduces the resident joke cracker that has a darker side. He now provides bounties and access to Gambit.
Season of Opulence introduces us to Calus, the deposed emperor of the Cabal. He is kind of our fan now that we dealt with Ghaul and wants us to run through a gauntlet of obstacles and dangers aboard his ship, the Leviathan. In exchange for doing so, we get a pile of awesome loot. You can't do this either, it was also removed.
In reality, it wasn't about Calus being our fan but grooming us to use the Crown of Sorrow. The artefact had the power to control Hive but it was also cursed by a certain witch queen of the species, which would eventually lead the user mad.
Eris Morn discovers more than one disturbing presence on the Moon. Guardians were already aware of the Hive there but we also run into a pyramid, which is partially a manifestation of the Darkness, who is Traveler's arch-nemesis.
On top of that, Vex got all giddy with the awakening of the pyramid that was lodged into the moon and they build a portal to prepare another invasion. We hop in, kill another Skynet and save the day. However, the Darkness gives us a cryptic vision and warns us that it's here to be our salvation.
Season of Dawn features Osiris once again. He is still messing with Vex technology and stumbles upon a Red Legion plan to use Vex time travel to reverse their defeat. We hop in, foil their plans and use the time travel to prevent the death of an ally in the past. Saint-14 makes a return. He's Osiris' robo-boyfriend. Roboyfriend? The guy is an Exo and he likes to make kissy faces with Osiris. He also likes birds and adopts Colonel, the chicken that was kind of orphaned when Cayde-6 died, so yeah, he's pretty cool.
Season of the Worthy sees us rebuilding Rasputin's network nodes. The reason? Red Legion got angry they couldn't rewrite history so they decided to hurl their flagship at the Last City. We provide Rasputin with enough power in a short enough amount of time and he blows the damn thing out of the sky. It was a pretty cool live event to witness.
Season of Arrivals introduces a fleet of pyramids as the Darkness rapidly approaches our system. It's cool though, we have this immensely powerful AI that blew up a literal planet destroyer just a few hours ago. Actually no, he just shut down in a cutscene and didn't even play a Windows shutdown sound.
The Darkness didn't seek to outright annihilate us though and sent cryptic messages instead. We helped Eris Morn decypher them.
Darkness is here. It has invaded most of the Solar System, which resulted in Destiny 2 players losing access to Titan, Io, Mars and Mercury. PvP also lost all sense of balance because people can now chuck a grenade from the other side of the battlefield, it would suck you out of cover and freeze you for five seconds. Dark days for PvP indeed but it's not lore-related.
The ancient enemy of humanity is still not decisively attacking us. Instead, we take up its power and start freezing things around. We also kill some Fallen warlord along the way, she was pretty forgettable.
Season of the Hunt was the inaugural season of the expansion. We once again meet Uldren Sov but he has no memory of his previous life, on the account of having been resurrected by a Ghost. Yep, he's a Guardian now. We save him and the Ghost from a Fallen crime lord and we're now besties with the man we shot in the head for shooting our previous bestie in the head. Or was it the chest? Anyway, his name is now Crow.
Season of the Chosen. Empress Caiatl, the daughter of emperor Calus, offers an alliance to the Guardians. The terms are so ridiculous that they prompt an epic meme on Reddit that gets read out aloud by Zavala's voice actor , Lance Reddick. Caiatl and Zavala organise a competition to decide who has the bigger peen and we win it. Caiatl calls a peace meeting with Zavala, a Psion tries to snipe him and Crow intervenes but his mask is broken in the process. Zavala sees who he is for the first time and decides to let bygones be bygones. Crow still has no idea what happened in the past.
Season of the Splicer. Another Skynet pops up, creates artificial night that envelops the Last City and now we need a super-duper hacker to deal with it. We find a Fallen that fits the bill and his cult worships the Traveler, perfect match. We bring the Fallen refugees to the Last City, the aforementioned hacker helps us take down the bargain bin Skynet and expose a bunch of racists in the City. They all die and it's a wrap.
Season of the Lost should really be called Season of the Found. We find Mara Sov and Savathun in basically no time. The queen is pissed at what we did to Uldren but we all focus on bigger things as she tries to reintroduce him to his past. Savathun, the Hive witch queen, is still plotting and scheming behind the curtains. As the finale comes around, it's revealed that Mara Sov's attempt to kill her only freed the witch queen. Almost as if she planned it.
Finally out of the shadows, she has found a way to steal the Traveler's Light at some point in time. As a result, she gave a lot of power to her followers and we will have to fight monstrosities that bear similar skillsets to us in the new expansion.
And that's it, you're caught up. After Season of the Lost started, Xur came up with Dares of Eternity which is basically a TV game show that mimics the Menagerie from the Season of Opulence. It's not the same but it has a horse made of stars. It's also not lore-relevant for the time being but if you're new to the game, make sure to give Dares of Eternity a shot, it's good fun.