Destiny is back once again, and after a long trial of negative criticism, it seems Bungie has fully developed this game into what they promised. The Taken King kicks off not only Expansion III but also year two of Destiny’s launch. Although their first year of launch was extraordinarily shaky, recent update 2.0 fleshes out all of the games major faults and turns it to the true game it was always meant to be.
The patch released just a week before the expansion itself dropped. And with it, a complete overhaul of the game’s core user accessibility. Here’s a list of all the things that were changed:
- Light level is no longer the pre-dominant showcase of level. While it is still very important, the leveling system has gone back to purely experience. Light now plays as an average armor and weapon rating. Present cap now resting at a safe 310.
- Bounties can now be turned in anywhere, saving you the hassle of constantly going back to the tower to turn them in.
- Legendary Marks are now the placeholder marks that replace both Vanguard and Crucible marks. Armor Materials now replace all of the class specific armor mats. And now you can gain allegiance tokens from your favorite Faction, giving you the opportunity to level them without being forced into wearing their gear! Oh and to boot, the Gunsmith has his own reputation. Every week he gives you new test weapons to try out, and once you hit rank one you can acquire custom gun orders from him.
- Quests are now a thing, making story progression much easier to track. And should you hop into the Taken King and want to go back, they have a kiosk for abandoned quests. Meaning you can re-obtain experience from going through past story quests.
- Speaking of kiosks, there are now a number of them spread across the Tower. Each of them generally allow you to pick up any previously obtained items you may have scrapped. These free re-obtained items can be found in the Sparrow and Ship kiosks near Holliday, the emblem and shader kiosks near the emblem salesperson, and lastly the two exotic kiosks in the Vanguard Hall(granted you will need to spend a few Legendary Marks to re-acquire these year one exotics). Plus you can upgrade some year one exotics to their year two specs, and all of those will have their exotic ability already obtained!
- Ghost shells are now obtainable, and has armor ratings and abilities! Plus the added artifact slot, which is something you can focus on once you hit the level 40 cap.
- Infusion is added for most weapons. Similar to Ascension, but at the same time totally different. This mechanic allows you to upgrade your Legendary or Exotic gear by sacrificing other gear. The only pre-requisites are that the items be of the same year and that the item you are sacrificing is of a higher Attack or Defense rating. This in turn brings your Weapon or Armor up to a value between the original stat and the sacrificed stat.
The Taken King, however, brings in its own slew of new material. The big bit, each class has a new subclass. The Titans have the Sunbreaker (Fire Thor), the Hunters have the Nightstalker (Void Archer), and the Warlocks have the Stormcallers (See any Sith lord from Star Wars. Ever). Each are especially handy in taking on your new enemy of darkness, the Taken.
In short, the story revolves around Oryx seeking vengeance for his son, who you pretty much murdered twice (In body and soul). Oryx is a Hive God in all rights, and he has a habit of taking enemies of every race and making them his own foot soldiers against you. Expect to rage at Taken Captains. Oryx comes in to the Solar System and parks himself comfortably in the rings of Saturn, and reaps all sorts of hell on each of the planets. And the Cabal are making a strong stand in this expansion as well, though they continue to get walked all over.
Throughout the story, you’re guided back and forth between Eris Morn, who was the main quest giver from the Dark Below Expansion, and Cayde-6, the dashing Vanguard Hunter who brings a lot of humor to the table. Really, Nathan Fillion did phenomenally with his character, but I digress. Before long, you accomplish what you set out to do, but of course, there’s still much work to be done. That’s one of the major points of this expansion, the fact that even after the initial story, you have a huge number of quests to do.
This expansion brings three new strikes to the table (four for Playstation owners), and also brings two Playstation exclusive strikes to the Xbox: Dust Palace and Undying Mind. There’s also a new Crucible mode called Rift, which is like a bullet-hell basketball game. Find an orb charged full of energy, and slam dunk it into the enemy’s rift.
Lastly, is the new Raid, Kings Fall. I won’t spoil too much more than the title itself leads on, but having played it, Kings Fall is extraordinary. The mechanics almost definitely require a full Fireteam of six, and demands heavy communication in a lot of aspects. And then the jump puzzle early on in the raid, as well as extreme pattern recognition.
Exotics are handed out quite generously, but not so easy to obtain as one might think. You can easily obtain a number of exotic quests early on (A lot just by having different reputations hit rank 3), but the tasks you have to go through to finish the quests can end up pretty arduous and time-consuming. There are two sets of exotic weapons that are gathering a lot of fame, however. Firstly, the three elemental swords, which you obtain one of your choosing after completing the initial story for the Taken King. They start out as Legendary, but with a little upgrading and Infusion, you can eventually upgrade them to their vastly superior Exotic counterparts. And then the other set of weapons, Exotics that are class specific. Titans get an Auto Rifle that looks like it came out of Army of Two called the Fabian Strategy, the Hunters get a Hand Cannon called the Ace of Spades, and the Warlocks get a Scout Rifle called the Tlaloc. Each of these can be acquired through a quest granted to each of your respective characters when reaching Gunsmith Reputation Rank 3.
While the Taken King adds a whole slew of new content, it also makes a lot of old content generally useless. The previous raids as well as the Prison of Elders still dish out their original rewards, but they are grid-locked to their year one stats. So the House of Judgement, who originally gave out armor that was vastly superior? It all is stuck at a general level, thus making the Fallen vendor only useful for his ships and shaders. Not to mention the ‘Pack of Wolves’ random events in patrols has been entirely neutralized, save for one new area (For Petra’s quest line). This has been replaced by Taken Corruptions, which is basically the same as the Pack of Wolves, only using the Taken instead to fight.
All in all, this expansion has brought a whole lot of promising content to the game, and erased a vast majority of the negativity that came along with the mention of this title. And this isn’t even the tip of the Iceberg with what Bungie has in store for us all. Can I hear a Cabal-specific expansion due soon? They’ve been kicked around for a while, they deserve the limelight.