A year ago, The Taken King released and seemingly fulfilled Destiny‘s limitless potential. It certainly revamped the grind, improving it in several ways while also promising the so-called “casual” players a compelling single-player campaign. And the raid…remember King’s Fall? Remember traveling across those moving ships for the first time? Seeing Oryx? The raid was one of Bungie’s most epically designed pieces of content ever, even if Vault of Glass felt more organic and innovative.
With Rise of Iron set to release in less than a month, the tempo for Destiny‘s fan base is at an all time high. Skill based matchmaking still irks players to no end but that’s not important. There’s going to be a new zone! New bounties! New gear! A new raid! If that weren’t enough, Tom Clancy’s The Division is floundering horribly, pushing even more players to Bungie’s magnum opus.
"And while there could be some good options – even The Taken King introduced some great guns – you can almost bet there will be plenty of useless perks."
However, this is still Destiny and Bungie does have its own unique problems. Such was the case with the base release and the first two “expansions”. Once the sheen wore off, The Taken King was also exposed for its numerous issues. It is a pattern of hardcore fans to praise something to the high heavens as a knee-jerk response – and this is the Destiny community so unless another Dark Below comes along, they cherish new things to do – before the hate begins to flow.
So before Rise of Iron releases, it’s probably a good idea to remind yourself why the hype should be kept in check. Or at least handled realistically.
For starters, the Infusion system. While Bungie is doing a good job by not making old gear automatically outdated like with The Taken King – and it will benefit weapons more than anything – this could become another scenario where the new weapons fail to live up to the old. How many people are going to give up their god-tier Hung Jury with Firefly and Triple Tap that totally doesn’t freeze their game (if not those around them)? And while there could be some good options – even The Taken King introduced some other great guns like Zhalo Supercell and Doctrine of Passing – you can almost bet there will be plenty of useless perks or guns you don’t want or both. You can also bet that said perks won’t be changed…unless they’re ruining PvP balance, in which case they’ll be nerfed.
The new gear looks pretty good and with Radiant Treasures, Bungie is introducing even more ways to dress up your equipment (guns can now have ornaments, for example). And while it’s all well and dandy, this will be another means to push micro-transactions on players. This isn’t a criticism of Bungie’s practices – it’s just a fact. There’s also the fact that for how decent everything looks, especially the Iron Lords armour, it will have higher tier stats for Strength, Discipline and Intellect. That means even with Infusion, you’ll need to eventually leave your old gear behind and begin the grind anew. The Infusion system is really just a cosmetic preference at this point. And hey, you won’t really need T12 stats to do well in the raid. But with vault space not likely to grow again, you’re less likely to keep too many cosmetics around.
"Also, it’s an undead horse at this point but even if Bungie decides to bring Challenge of the Elders and The Taken King in line with new Light levels, what about the old raids?"
All of the above is subjective. “I love the new gear!” you say. “I’m sick of the old weapons! I want new ones!” you say. Let’s talk about things that won’t be subjective.
The raid, for instance, will have bugs. It’s been a pattern with every single Bungie release and who knows, we may not even see the major bugs until Challenge modes are introduced. But there will be bugs that can completely ruin your game and make you rage at the most recent team wipe.
Drop rates will be an issue, although it’s hard for Bungie to top Ubisoft Massive at this point. Still, one can’t help that sinking feeling that something like Sparrow Racing League will have its drop rates reduced to keep things “fair” and less “generous”. Issues like skill-based matchmaking will continue to affect activities like Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris. Archon’s Forge will probably be nice for a couple of dozen run-throughs but it’ll likely be abandoned just like Court of Oryx, either due to lackluster loot drops or time that could be better spent in more rewarding activities. It also doesn’t look like it will support matchmaking for anything more than teams of six.
Also, it’s an undead horse at this point but even if Bungie decides to bring Challenge of the Elders and King’s Fall in line with new Light levels, what about the old raids? There’s still a phenomenal amount of content being left behind from Year One. I know, I know, we’re supposed to embrace nothing but that Year Two goodness. However, that’s a significant chunk of the game that’s been forgotten and it’s kind of sad that there won’t be much reason to do it other than nostalgia (and good luck finding five other people interested in nostalgia runs). Maybe the April 2017 update will fix that? Here’s hoping.
"It should be noted again that this isn’t about doom and gloom. I’ll be playing Rise of Iron and enjoying the Gjallarhorn’s return. Raids will be back on the menu as will the gear grind."
Then there’s the narrative experience and while it will still look better than Year One with the Iron Lords, taking back Felwinter Peak and hunting down SIVA, you have to consider that there are five story missions. Bungie will likely have post-story missions similar to The Taken King but again, that’s not exactly the most expansive story told even for DLC.
What the heck is going on with the Traveler, by the by? What about the Speaker? Where’s the Exo-Stranger? Mara Sov will probably make her grand re-debut in Year Five but what about the very reason that Guardians are fighting in the first place? Who was your Guardian before all this riff-raff went down anyway? The Traveler might as well be a golf-ball in the sky with how insignificant it and it’s act of bringing you back to life has become.
It should be noted again that this isn’t about doom and gloom. I’ll be playing Rise of Iron and enjoying the Gjallarhorn’s return. Raids will be back on the menu as will the gear grind. It will be enjoyable and fulfilling. However, once the allure of new content wears off, I won’t be fooling myself into thinking Destiny is flawless or one of the best games, let alone shooters, ever made. And really, you shouldn’t either. Get hyped, stay hyped for as long as you can and then move on. Don’t worry – if Bungie couldn’t kill their baby with nerfs, glitches, poor planning and content droughts then it will still be there when you decide to return.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.