Destiny — Bungie previews ‘new things to do’
Hot on the heels of their weekly update on Thursday, Bungie yesterday live-streamed an hour long preview of the ‘new things to do’ in the April update. Community manager ‘DeeJ’ assured viewers right off the bat that this was the largest deliverable their live team have released to date — and so players can expect something significantly deeper than the Festival of the Lost (Halloween), Sparrow Racing, and Crimson Days (Valentines) events that have so far followed The Taken King.
The first and perhaps most important announcement is that the maximum Light level — the rating by which character advancement is measured — will be increasing from 320 to 335. This gives even those players who have maxed our their characters something new to work towards, and gives hope to those ‘forever 319’ players that they will finally be able to cross that line (and no doubt eventually become ‘forever 334’).
To enable players to reach this new light level, Bungie have added new bounties, new quest lines, and a new strike — as well as revamping some existing content including — as predicted — the Prison of Elders, which now also features a new Challenge Mode.
The April Update (which could really do with a better name) is set after the death of Oryx, The Taken King, who was killed and cut adrift from his ship at the end of the Kings Fall raid. While Oryx’s lifeless corpse continues to orbit Saturn, the Guardians return to The Reef, now decimated from the conflict with Oryx’s minions. Variks — the warden of the Prison of Elders — has been locking up Taken, and now offers new quest lines for players to start.
Quite how an army ‘not bound by terrestrial constraints’ is held captive in a jail is a little unclear.
Variks allegedly wants us to use the Prison of Elders to “study the Taken and learn how they fight”. Having slain their king you’d think we’d be fairly well versed in how the Taken fight, but let’s not concern ourselves too much with that particularly loose plot point. Variks’ main concern is that someone (specifically, a Taken strike boss named Malok) will rise up and take Oryx’s place as leader of the Taken, and we need to help prevent that from happening.
Also at the Reef is Petra Venj — former Queen’s Emissary to the Tower — who has taken up the role of community divider; offering a PS4 exclusive quest-line with a unique reward. Very little is said about this, perhaps in light of the fact Bungie are aware it’s a contentious subject. We quickly move on…
Return to the Prison of Elders
The Prison of Elders returns with a new level 41 mode alongside the existing 28, 32, 34 and 35 modes — making it relevant again for year 2 Guardians whose character levels are currently capped at 40. The format is much the same — 5 rounds, the first 4 having 3 waves of enemies and potentially 2 objectives to complete, with a boss fight in the final round. This activity has matchmaking — so something for solo players — and upon launching will randomly select either a new Taken variant of the Prison, or the original variant with Hive, Cabal, Fallen and Vex.
Variks offers bounties now, which will help boost reputation with the House of Judgement faction and unlock more items to purchase.
When The Taken King was released, a select few ‘strikes’ (3 player missions) were made available through a weekly playlist. Some strikes from Destiny’s first year were excluded — for reasons that remain unclear — but the April update sees one of these make a return.
Winter’s Run — in which players battle through Fallen enemies to reach the Archon Priest (who, coincidentally, had been ‘stolen’ from the Prison of Elders) — will re-enter the playlist with a Taken theme. It doesn’t really make sense — we killed the Archon Priest and watched him disintegrate into thousands of burning embers, and yet here he is, Taken — but a welcome return if only for the variety it adds to what has become a very repetitive playlist.
Worth noting — although it wasn’t mentioned on the live-stream — that these images show Guardian’s wearing what appears to be a Taken Shader — a suggestion I dismissed in my last post. I stand corrected.
Challenge of Elders
Variks also sells a Challenge ‘ticket’, granting access to the Challenge of Elders. This is a level 42 game mode, representing the end-game content following this update, and is the route to Light level 335.
This game mode has 3 modifiers that change from week to week — the examples shown on stream being “precision kill bonus”, “grounded” (players take additional damage while in the air) and “small arms” (additional damage from T-Rex’s primary weapons). The ‘ticket’ tracks your score, obtained through kills, assists, and more — and is where the bonus modifier comes in. Complete the score requirements during that week, and the ticket can be exchanged for a reward.
One slight difference here to the regular Prison of Elders mode is that this is a 3 round activity (rather than 5 rounds) and is purely for increasing score on your challenge ticket — there is no treasure room upon completion. Take too long to complete a round, and points start to get deducted, so this is as much a race against time as it is a battle to survive.
While this looks to be a new and therefore refreshing game mode, time will tell whether this activity — as end-game content — will be sufficient to hold players attention between April and the next update, later in the year.
To recap, the April update will include:
- Light level increase from 320 to 335
- 1 New Strike
- 1 Revamped Strike
- New Quests
- Year 2 Prison of Elders (level 41)
- Challenge of the Elders (level 42)
That covers all that was shown in terms of the ‘new things to do’ — next week Bungie promise to show us ‘new things to earn’, and will take a look at the new weapons and armour available. They promised to also take a look at the new weapon perk shown (but not discussed) on the live-stream, which seemed to suggest it would activate a ‘Red Chroma Glow’ (presumably on the weapon). No doubt they will also touch on the Taken Shader I so quickly disregarded.
The week after we’ll see what changes have been made to the Crucible (Destiny’s Player-versus-Player game mode) and to the sandbox experience in general. See below for a reminder of those stream times.
- Wednesday, March 30th at 11AM Pacific — New Things to Earn
- Wednesday, April 6th at 11AM Pacific — Sandbox and Crucible Updates
Originally published at dimpdigital.com on March 24, 2016.