After almost a full week messing around with Destiny‘s latest DLC, House of Wolves, I think I have a pretty good handle on what’s going on out there in the fight against the Darkness. So, in advance of the Weekly Reset early tomorrow morning, I thought we’d at a top-down look at the House of Wolves.
STORY MATTERS, MORE THAN EVER
It’s no surprise that, for many, the biggest complaint with Destiny has been the lackluster story content. The first DLC, The Dark Below, really didn’t do a ton to change that impression. But with House of Wolves, while the same framework is in place, they manage to make it work – arguably for the first time in the life of the game. Even with no input from the player character (or his Ghost), there’s actually some structure to the missions that branches through the whole series. The real bright spot is in the voice work from Petra and Variks – more than just a quick blurb to set the mission, the two handlers remain engaged in the missions. They have more life behind them than Eris Morn did, and certainly more than your Ghost does. The writing feels more lively, what that’s due to I don’t know for sure, but if it’s a sign for the future, than we might see a true resurgence for Destiny.
PRISON OF ELDERS/TRIALS OF OSIRIS – THE NEW GRIND
On the other side of the House of Wolves coin, we have the new endgame content. Bungie really looked at their player base for this aspect of the game I think. Previously, endgame content meant Vault of Glass or Crota’s End, and arguably Iron Banner. With the Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris, there’s a whole new way of looking at endgame. They’re a bit more versatile, thanks to being three-man instead of six-man. And they give PvP players a legitimate endgame option. What they really open up is the new grind – it’s not as important to run Nightfall/Weekly/Raid/Repeat now for shards and energy. Now it’s more about running Prison and Trials for Etheric Light and brand new gear. I want to talk a little bit more about that new grind tomorrow, so I’ll leave it here. Just know that running Prison of Elders, even at level 28 is absolutely worth it.
GEAR, BOUNTIES, SHADERS AND EMBLEMS GALORE
At the core of any Destiny experience is the gear you’re wearing and wielding. House of Wolves had to add in plenty of new gear to reach the new level cap of 34, or damage cap of 365, but more than that, there needed to be variety in the gear. One of my biggest qualms about the Light level system was that it pushed players towards uniformity. In order to be the highest level, you needed the raid gear – which made everyone look the same, barring whatever Exotic slot they went with. Now that any Legendary is a viable choice, I’ve already been seeing a lot more variation in the gear people are wearing. For my Titan, I’m really looking forward to getting rid of the Hive themed gear for something a little sleeker – perhaps the Vault gear. Weapon-wise, there are just so many new weapons to go for. Not only do all three Tower factions have new sets of weapons, as do the Vanguard and Crucible; but there’s two sets of endgame weapons for Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris – AND on top of that, there are the Legendary Queen’s Wrath weapons, plus new Exotics. That’s a lot to keep in mind while you’re out there patrolling. Add in the new ability for the Gunsmith to reforge the new legendaries and the options expand even more. Finally, from a customization standpoint, there’s almost as many options. New Fallen House themed shaders, class armors and jumpships appear alongside Queen’s Wrath items as well.
At the end of the day, House of Wolves is exactly what Destiny needed. It breathes life into a game that was starting to get a little long in the tooth with new activities for any player. Casual players can enjoy the story missions, while hardcore PvE players have the Prison of Elders and PvP players have the Trials of Osiris. The new mechanics open up all kinds of new combinations of armor and weapons; along with new customization choices to really make your Guardian your own. If you’ve been waffling on House of Wolves, waiting a week to see it shape up, go grab it – it’s absolutely worth playing for any Destiny fan.