Tomorrow is Bungie’s first reveal stream since they were hyping up the April Update for Destiny, most likely showing off the Rise of Iron expansion that was leaked a few weeks back. All of the promo material leading up to the stream certainly seems to confirm Rise of Iron, but that’s about it. So with that in mind, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what we might see tomorrow. All of this is total speculation still, and is assuming that Rise of Iron is a full expansion, which is looking more and more the case instead of a timed summer event.
First, if it’s a full expansion, we need to think size. Destiny has two different examples to look at: The Taken King size, or Dark Below/House of Wolves size. Just based on the timing with this one, I think it has to be on the larger size – Bungie has also been saying that the next content coming to Destiny was going to be a big addition. I’m thinking a good chunk of story quests, a couple new strikes and a full raid. Based on the leaked Google results that come up when you search for Rise of Iron, it’s looking like the basic gist of the content is going out and discovering the Iron Lords stories. Much like how Cayde-6 and Eris Morn were the primary story contacts in Taken King, Rise of Iron will probably be told through Lord Saladin, along with Shaxx and Zavala. I think this is where we might finally get to go to the European Dead Zone – in the Grimoire we know that the original Iron Lords pushed back the House of Kings all the way to the Caspian Sea. We know that the Tower has at least cleared portions of the European Dead Zone for the Crucible. The Cosmodrome is pretty well explored and taken back – the House Devils has been broken, House Kings foothold isn’t as strong as before and the Hive threat has been dealt with. We know though that the House Kings Kell is still around – and I think that’s who the Raid will revolve around. I saw someone saying that the Kell of Kings will be the actual Kell of Kells that Skolas claimed to be. That could make for a really cool raid encounter.
One thing that I think Taken King did really well was keep the story content more focused on one location – in that case, the Dreadnaught. If they do the same with Rise of Iron, which would most likely be Earth, they’ll need to come up with some new areas to explore. But keeping the content in one location really helps focus the narrative – which is something that Destiny really needs to keep doing. I think the story elements that Rise of Iron is going to be dealing with is a potential strength of the DLC. I assume we’ll get more new strikes, but on top of that, I want to see the other old strikes get brought forward – I miss playing Sepiks Prime and Phogoth. We also still have a handful of Exotics that were added to the armory back before Taken King launched that haven’t been added, those could very well pop up, or other new exotics could instead. I don’t think that we’ll get those few Year One exotics that people love to talk about (Thorn, Icebreaker and G-Horn), but I suppose anything is possible. I also really hope we get a few more full sets of armor and weapons – the Year Two sets that the Vendors and Factions have had are starting to get a little stale, even with the Chroma sets. I’ve said it for a long time with this game that the more variety in the gear, the better off the whole game is. I loved back in House of Wolves that I could use any set of legendary gear, as long as I could ascend it. I would love teh ability to wear my Vault of Glass armor again, mainly because it looks so damn badass. We’ll see what they add in gear-wise, since that’s a guarantee.
On the other side of the Destiny coin is the Crucible. I think Rise of Iron will bring the most thorough overhaul for the Crucible that we’ve seen yet. I don’t know about custom games showing up yet – that might be a full sequel feature. But I think we’re going to see a much bigger weapon balance pass than we did in April, along with a handful of other changes that need to happen – in particular the Firebolt/Viking Funeral/Touch of Flame build. I also fully expect to see a bunch of new maps get put into play, and hopefully an actual Capture the Flag mode as well. I think that there’s bound to be some kind of new end-game PvP activity as well. Trials of Osiris is a year old now, and I still think that as a true competitive mode it’s really lacking. Spawn side matters a ton, certain weapon sets are basically required to do well, and some classes are just by default stronger. Since this expansion will be focused around the Iron Lords, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some kind of expanded Iron Banner as a new end-game. That could be Iron Banner as a weekly event instead of monthly, or a whole new activity under the Banner.
Ultimately, while Bungie has said this is going to be a big expansion, I actually think that most of the changes coming to the game are going to be smaller in nature. Lots of little changes in Destiny actually end up making a huge deal since there are so many different aspects in play. More story content is definitely needed to keep fleshing out the lore that is, again, really strong. New strikes and raids are always welcome, and keep the PvE side of things fresh for longer. PvP I still think is where the most attention is needed to keep the balance – I think that there’s a lot of options that work as it stands now, but there are still a handful of weapons that are just still too strong. I’m definitely looking forward to Rise of Iron a lot, and tomorrow is going to be a really exciting stream I think.