By sheer measure of the millions of users in the fanbase, Destiny has been a breakout success since its launch in September. As of the first major content update, those who were most heavily invested in Destiny felt like Bungie’s opportunity to repair that which was then broken went missing. In their second major content update, Bungie is back with full community direction in mind, making sweeping changes to currency, items and the end-game of Destiny itself. The only question that remains now, does the attention to the community feedback actually fix Destiny’s fall-backs?
Starting off with full disclosure, I have considered myself a fan of the Destiny universe and Bungie as a whole for some time now. In the same token, I truly believe that Bungie not only missed the boat with the last content update, but they also sent the game spiraling into oblivion with poor support for the existing content and a low quality follow-up to the raiding experience that could be beaten by a single player. Where the community then cried out for a more team-oriented experience, Bungie delivered a quickly beaten, overly cheesed raid that users not only didn’t want to beat honestly, but looked to beat in record time all alone. Making changes to how currency operated in the last major patch along side the outdated method of “your old gear is worse than the new trash”, Bungie fell into the pitfalls that World of Warcraft has suffered for the last decade.
Sitting behind a broken system of looting and grinding, players such as myself and nearly every player I knew have fallen away from Destiny despite dropping tens-to-hundreds of hours into raiding on the Vault of Glass. This, among many other small reasons broke us of our weekly raiding adventures when we would all gather in group chats and get down to synchronized combat with the enemies of the Light. Thanks to the community at Bungie, the dedicated few who would wait out the darkest timeline in Destiny history, we may have a reason to get back into our old groups yet again and run along on new and old adventures alike.
Gear in Destiny has changed with the House of Wolves expansion, and the change is dramatic and fantastic. In nothing short of a stroke of genius, Bungie has destroyed the most tedious requirements for obtaining and upgrading your gears, as well as allowing users to upgrade their existing gears to the highest quality – and you don’t have to wait for Xur’s weekly arrival to do so. As in the Dark Below expansion, players can look forward to something stronger than they have ever experienced before, pitting themselves in combat with up to level 35 enemies in the Trials of Osiris. In order to gear up for this event however, players won’t be running through raids for months just to reach a no-fun wall. In fact, if you have enough experience with the game and time invested, you may be able to reach that goal right now.
As I logged into Destiny for the first time in a few months, my character and her armor had a few upgrades to be made, some of which I had the currency for and others of which I did not. Reaching out to my old Vault of Glass weapon, the Vex Mythoclast, I was able to upgrade the weapon without needing our weekend warrior Xur, Agent of the Nine. This was no conventional upgrade, in fact – I upgraded that weapon straight to the highest weapon power available in the game, 365. I didn’t have to level up the weapon’s traits again. I didn’t have to shoot another 1,000 or so minions of the Darkness again. I simply upgraded my weapon, because I had the currency available in an exotic shard and a bit of currency. Noticing that I had a “warning” that noted this change was to the highest quality in the game, I pulled out my oldest gears, un-leveled and trash by the last expansion’s release. Suddenly, my most preferred weapons and armors, those which I had trained in and were familiar with were useful again. This changes everything.
No longer would I need to play in the raids I don’t love. No longer do I have to participate in any events I don’t want to participate in. Sure, some items I own are “rare” enough to warrant a Weekly Nightfall currency, but if that means bringing up my favorite items in the game’s short but storied history, I’m ready to play again. Bungie hiccups on this phase, so here’s where preference takes hold. Bungie didn’t build many all-new areas when looking to satisfy the needs of the community with the House of Wolves. In fact, just as before, most things are re-hashed or already known before you put your boots to the ground. The House of Wolves takes many of their well written missions back into environments you’ve played before. Featuring again all=new voice acting, Bungie is doing very well with what they already have, but there aren’t any big surprises here, just a fresh conversation to be had with someone else other than Dinklebot. Just as before, this helped dramatically diversify the monotony in Destiny, making random daily missions much more “random” feeling, but eventually you will hit a wall. That pretty much has to happen, but it all leads up to other community improvements that Bungie heard in this update.
A new Social area hits home with the House of Wolves update, allowing players to experience more of what we tasted with the “Queen’s Wrath” missions a few months ago, on a much larger scale. Set deep in “The Reef”, there is no raid with the House of Wolves, only a days worth of individual missions and a community driven PVP experience in the Trials of Osiris. As mentioned, you’ll be able to group with a few of your friends and play out 3v3 combat in a PVP environment, allowing players to obtain new armors and items with up to level 42 light rating. Rather than hold you down to level 32 until you magically usurp the “overpowered” enemies in your PVP matches, players can use daily and weekly adventures to work their way up to level 34 and attain the highest tier through the new and wonderful Egyptian-themed Osiris gears. This pretty well hits on every want and need in Destiny today, and until the community drives new ideas Bungie may forward this idea into the next expansion allowing value to the old raids while not requiring players to grind through any path they aren’t happy with.
While this certainly doesn’t cover every small aspect of Bungie’s latest update, Destiny is not only moving in the right direction, but I truly believe it’s worth playing again. The only thing left for you to do now is to watch your back, because I am gunning for you on the PVP battlefield every weekend in the Trials.