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Destiny has been one of the most important franchises over the last few years. Not only did it go on to survive not one but two subpar launches through its first two games, but it’s managed to create an online world that is consistently changing and growing, and the story that follows it all is just getting better as new seasons come out. While the gameplay of Destiny 2 is incredible and provides us with some of the best combat in any game around, the characters are what keep the experience fun and focused throughout the substantial amount of content served up here.
I was lukewarm on Destiny at first because I sensed a lack of commitment to the story aspects. While the world was beautiful and mysterious, that’s all it was, the story was barebones, and the characters were barely there aside from giving me bits of exposition and sending me onto another quest. Destiny 2 changed all that with a focus on story and characters that has led to a far more enjoyable experience. While you won’t find me grinding away for hours in Raid dungeons, I thoroughly enjoy the story that’s being told here and just existing in the world with all these wild characters is enough to keep me coming back to Destiny 2 years later.
Whether it’s enemies, heroes, or everything in between, Destiny 2 has an incredible cast that all have their backstories, motivations, and purposes throughout the story. Let’s explore who we’re going to be spending our time with.
Bottom Line Up Front
Best Villain: Savathun is the best villain in the Destiny universe. She’s been working behind the scene for years but is finally gaining the spotlight in this season’s Witch Queen expansion. Her plans are both mysterious and purposeful and the buildup to her has been nothing short of brilliant.
Best Guardian: Cayde-6 is the best Guardian in the Destiny franchise. Yes, he’s a ripoff of Deadpool in many ways, but he’s also an incredibly well-respected Guardian who was one of the primary defenders of the city. His death marked a tragic moment for the Destiny series and showed how high the stakes would get.
Destiny 2 Characters
Everyone loves a good villain, and luckily, Destiny 2 has quite the cool one in Dominus Ghaul. He is the leader of the alien race known as the Cabal and attacks the Guardians in an attempt to steal the power of Light from the Traveler. This wasn’t to simply commit some meaningless evil, but rather to give his people something he thought they deserved. He plays the role of the villain, but he is just misunderstood. With his motivation fueling his every move, he proves to be the perfect villain to kick off the wild story in Destiny 2.
Mara Sov is the queen of the Awoken. With the White Queen expansion, she works with the Guardians to get justice from the Endless Night. Mara Sov plays a major role here, and her mysterious nature gets peeled back just a bit more every time we see her appear in one of the new expansions. Her motivation is always to help out the Guardians, but she only offers this if she gets the assistance she desires as well. She is a massive character in the Destiny 2 universe which is only getting more involved as the years roll on.
The Traveler/ The Speaker
The Traveler is the most mysterious entity in all of Destiny 2. Its powers have shot the human race into the future and enabled space travel and eventual domination by them throughout the solar system. The Traveler is the source of all Guardians’ power and creates the Ghost companions that accompany you throughout your journey.
The Speaker is equally mysterious and serves as the voice of The Traveler. To have an audience with The Traveler, you must go talk to The Speaker first. In the story of Destiny 2, Dominus Ghaul takes the Speaker hostage and eventually ends up killing him. This leaves the Guardians without a voice and leaves their future of them in certain doubt.
Shaxx is just an awesome character. He acts as the Overseer of the Crucible mode, and despite hosting what are essentially deathmatches amongst Guardians, he is incredibly supportive and congratulatory to those who emerge victoriously. He provides you with tons of awesome gear and is the consistent voice of the Crucible throughout your journey. Not only that, but he boasts some badass armor and a single-horned helmet to go along with fur on the shoulder pads. Shaxx has every reason to be a total domineering ass, but instead, he’s one of the most friendly characters you’ll come across. He is also a Titan and, despite that, respects you no matter what race you’ve chosen.
Zavala is the Commander and Leader of the Guardians in the Last City. He’s an Awoken and has made it a point to further humanity’s cause at all costs. If you are a Titan yourself, you will be going to him for the majority of your items, including weapons and armor pieces. He’s an authoritative presence throughout all of the Destiny 2 storylines, and if you didn’t love this character already, he’s voiced by Lance Reddick, who has one of the best voices in entertainment today.
Everyone loves this guy, and it’s pretty understandable why. Cayde-6 is Destiny 2’s answer to Marvel’s Deadpool, and the wise-cracking comic relief he provides is much needed as the story gets darker and darker. Cayde-6 was once a human who was turned into an Exo to escape an enormous debt. He’s an incredibly skilled warrior as well, so don’t let his aloof demeanor trick you. He’s incredibly brave and leads the Hunters in the Last City before letting his thirst for adventure get the better of him, leading to an ill-fated mission to The Reef.
Xur is a truly fascinating character. He is an Agent of the Nine of the Jovian species and the only one of this kind that you will encounter in your play. His origins come from a place in the galaxy that has been unexplored by the Guardians, and thus his backstory is shrouded in mystery. Xur is a merchant that appears randomly every weekend in real life, and he offers exotic weapons and armor to the Guardians in the game world. Where he appears is completely unknown, and despite players working for years now to figure out where he’s going to appear, he remains one of the game’s biggest mysteries. His character design is fantastic and is just strange as his appearances are.
Ikora is one of the most powerful Warlocks in all of Destiny lore. She trained under the legendary Osiris, and since, she was has been an avid fighter in the red war, nearly giving her life to stop the Cabal. Ikora is a crucial ally to you throughout your journey, and although her role wasn’t massive in the original Destiny 2 campaign, expansions have brought her to the center of the conflict. She is one of the more interesting characters in the game because she feels the most human, often showing much more emotion than her sterner and more cold feeling comrades.
The one who trained Ikora Rey, Osiris was a Vanguard Commander who was exiled from the last city because he was obsessed with the Vex. This obsession takes him to Mercury, where his studies continued until he discovered the Infinite Forest and a plot by the Vex to use armies from the past and future to take over the universe. In the expansion Curse of Osiris, you are tasked with rescuing Osiris after his research puts him in danger. Although it seems like Osiris may be a good guy turned bad, his methods are just more extreme than the rest of the commanders in the Lost City, and he’s willing to do more to save the universe than anyone else is.
Much like Xur, The Drifter is an NPC vendor who will appear and give out Gambit bounties, but this character is far more than he would initially appear. The Drifter predates the creation of the Guardians and has survived from a time long past. He hails from a time where the Light Bearers were not saviors but rather tyrannical and imposed their will over the lesser mortal human race. They came to be known as Warlords and became feared rather than praised as they are in the current age. It is strongly suggested that The Drifter is one of these Warlords. The Warlords were eventually defeated by other Light Bearers known as the Iron Lords. The hint about his origins comes from the dialogue at the end of a Gambit match. He will say, “Haven’t seen shooting like that since an Iron Lady named Efrideet ruined my bar. The Dark Age was wild times.”
He could just be talking about a bar, or he might be using that as a way to describe how his particular compound was destroyed by one of the Iron Lord. The Drifter seems to be a being of immense power, and the creatures used in The Gambit being under his control speaks to just that. The Drifter is sure to play into Destiny 2’s future in a bigger way.
Eris Morn has a tragic story behind her, and it’s made her one of the more fascinating characters in Destiny 2. She was left alone after a mission went wrong with her and her fellow Hunters. The result left her abandoned and without her Ghost and eventually, without her eyes as well. Her escape was brutal as she stole the eyes from a hive member and eventually returned to Earth, where she fell under the protection of Ikora Rey, who promised she would have her vengeance. While most of the people you interact you in Destiny 2 have a heroic vibe to them, Eris’s is much different and shows a woman hellbent on revenge more than anything else.
Saint 14 has one of the cooler designs of any character in Destiny 2. A hulking Titan, he is responsible for rescuing many of the inhabitants of the Last City and is revered as a hero because of it. Saint-14 is also closely knit with The Speaker as well as Osiris. Saint’s heroics lead him to the Infinite Forest in search of his friend Osiris, eventually running into endless amounts of Vex. He ended up succumbing to his wounds in the battle against them, but to mark his badassery in stone, the Vex, who have no real mind at all, decided to make a tombstone for Saint-14, respecting his combat prowess after he killed so many of them.
While this would’ve been a perfectly tragic end to Saint, Osiris built a time machine to bring Saint back to the present time. He succeeded, and Saint-14 is currently alive and well in Destiny 2, retaining his command over the defense of the Last City, and we’re sure to engage with him more as newer seasons roll out.
Sometimes an enemy is just so intimidating that it doesn’t matter how interesting their motivations are. Gahlran happens to be both intimidating and a very intriguing villain as well. He is a former member of Emperor Calus’ Loyalist who was slowly driven insane by the Crown of Sorrow. Through this insanity, Gahlran brings the Hive to infest the lower levels of the massive Leviathan ship. What makes Galhran so interesting is that according to the in-game lore, he is only a few hours old. He was created in the Royal Pools inside Leviathan and was bred to protect Calus. When you finally encounter him, you are essentially fighting a child that has gone mad through a powerful artifact, and the blind rage at which he attacks you speaks to his lack of development as an actual being in this world.
Uldren is one of the best villains in all of Destiny lore. The brother of Mara Sov, Uldren was born as a human and then became one of the first Awoken. During his time serving under his sister, he became incredibly hateful towards the Guardians. During the Battle of Saturn, his ship was damaged and crashed on Mars, where he was left abandoned. It was there he became corrupted by Riven into creating the Scorn. Uldren is a particularly iconic villain because he is the one that kills Cayde-6, one of the most beloved characters in the series. Eventually, after his defeat, Uldren’s lifeless body was revived as a Lightbearer. Uldren embraced this new life, taking on the responsibility given to him by The Traveler, and is currently under the tutelage of Osiris. He is presently one of the top scouts for the Vanguard and is working to restore his reputation after being possessed and forced to kill one of the Last City’s main defenders.
There are some very interesting things at play in the world of Destiny 2, and Rasputin is easily one of the best of those. Rasputin is an AI that was built to defend Earth during the event known as the Collapse. He was in charge of fighting off The Darkness and managed to successfully. Rasputin is often a character of great ambiguity, with Osiris confronting him at one point demanding to know which side he was on. The characters of Destiny 2 tread very carefully around Rasputin, knowing that he is a being capable of great destruction, even though he has been nothing but helpful during his time. Fighting till the very end, Rasputin seemed to see his last day during the Season of Arrivals, but a fragment was recovered at the end, suggesting there might be a way to salvage him after all.
Although we have yet to finally take her down, Savathun, the Witch Queen, has been a terror behind the scenes of Destiny 2 for years now. She was behind Riven’s manipulation of Uldren, which led to Cayde-6’s death and has slowly been built up by the game lore as Destiny 2’s Thanos. Players have taken down her children in various expansions, and recently, it’s been revealed that she’s been masquerading as Osiris, living amongst the Guardians for quite some time. Osiris is one of the most famous Guardians ever, but since he lost his Light in the Beyond Light season, players have begun to see something change in him. This could’ve been due to him losing his Ghost, but now, it’s clear that it was never him after he returned. Savathun has been playing the pieces in perfect order, infiltrating her enemies and plotting the ultimate showdown, and the fact that her deeds go way back to Destiny 1 shows how much this character is responsible for throughout the entire series. The final fight is coming in 2022.
Following in the footsteps of a legend is tough no matter when it happens. For Shiro-4, he had to step in for the most beloved character in the history of the Destiny franchise in Cayde-6. Shiro-4 is a student of Cayde-6 and is an incredibly efficient combatant because of it. He’s part of the Exo Hunters and is used primarily to take out the Fallen on Earth as well as the moon. As every Guardian manages to have, Shiro-6 got his moment to shine when he defended the Last City in the battle of the Six Fronts. He was one of the keys to surviving that deadly assault, and it helped him step out of Cayde-6’s large shadow in not only the world’s eyes but the player’s eyes as well.
Ana is one of the best characters in the franchise because of her humble appearance and attitude; despite not having much of an impact with her debut in the Warmind expansion, she’s quietly shown off her considerable skills since then. Her intelligence is almost as useful as her combat skills and remains a legend after fighting at Twilight Gap, which was a battle that took place 100 years ago. She is the ultimate reason to never judge a book by its cover and is one of the most unique characters in all of the Destiny universe.
Being the last of the Iron Lords is quite a claim to fame, and Lady Efrideet wears that claim well. She is one of the oldest characters in the Destiny universe, and in her later years, she has decided to take to the battlefield once again. Her dedication to fighting against the Cabal is truly epic considering her age, and she shows that Guardians, no matter how old, big or small, will always be ready to fight for the Light.
Shin might not appear in any of the games outright, but man, a legend writes itself sometimes, and you can’t have a list of the best characters in Destiny without mentioning this guy. Shin is one of the only characters in Destiny lore that became a Guardian without having to die first. This honor was bestowed to him after he fought and killed a rogue guardian who was notorious for killing other guardians. Shin dedicated his life to taking down the army of Dredge Yor and ridding the world of all the weapons he created to kill Guardians with. Shin is a legend in the world of Destiny, and it would be a shame if we don’t see more of him going forward.
One of many, you and your fellow players across the world take on the mantle of the Guardians. Imbued with the power of Light, the Guardians were created by the Traveler to combat the Darkness. Throughout Destiny 2, the Guardian’s purpose consistently comes into question, as does the intents of the Traveler. While it still hasn’t been fully pieced together just why the Traveler truly exists, the Guardians carry out the orders via the Speaker as if they were delivered by a god. As the seasons come in Destiny 2, we learn more and more about the Guardians as well as the Traveler. While the series has been building up another big bad in the form of Savathun, perhaps the Traveler may end up being the most dangerous entity out there. For now, the Guardians do its bidding.
Question: Who is the strongest character in Destiny?
Answer: That would be Saint 14. He’s possibly the strongest Titan to ever exist in the Destiny universe and was given a grave by his enemies because they respected his combat prowess so much. What an absolute beast.
Question: Which Destiny game is best?
Answer: Destiny 1 had the best expansion packs, but the story is built through Destiny 2 is starting to heat up in a great way, so the book has not been closed yet. Right now, Destiny 2 has a slight edge with its most intriguing expansion released just recently.
Question: Who is the best villain in Destiny?
Answer: There have been plenty of great contenders such as Uldren Sov, but Savathun is easily the most intriguing of them all and Destiny has been building her up as the Thanos of this universe, and her machinations throughout the years have all Destiny fans waiting for what her reveal is going to be like.
It’s pretty wild that Destiny has piled up so many great characters over the years, considering it started as one of the most lifeless casts in gaming with a story just as dull. Now, we’re getting incredible additions to the cast with each new expansion, and every character comes complete with an intriguing history and purpose. These are my favorites, but there are plenty more to choose from, both villain and hero-wise. The best characters, though, are always the grey characters, and Destiny has them in the boatloads.
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