Destiny Rise of Iron: Quick Predictions

DestinyBungie day is tomorrow – 7/7 – which is always a really fun time for fans of their games. In the past, they’ve had online Halo tournaments with fans, and since Destiny launched, they’ve used it as a day to share relatively big news. We know tomorrow we’re officially learning what the Year Two Moments of Triumph will be – even though they were data mined a couple weeks back. But we might also get a couple little bits of Rise of Iron news – Bungie said they wanted to talk about it all summer, and it’s really been about a month since any real info was shared. The E3 buzz fleshed out a few details – no physical edition, no special edition, along with the mentality that Bungie is approaching this expansion with – but the community is rabid for more details. I’ve seen a good number of videos from the bigger Destiny names on YouTube – Datto, Byf, Gothalion and Broman – all have been talking about various elements that they are expecting/hoping to see in Rise of Iron.

So I thought I would put down a couple of my own thoughts about it going in to Bungie Day, then tomorrow we’ll digest what Bungie actually shares. The first big thing to look at is the Light Level increase – we know we’re getting a substantial increase with Rise of Iron, but Bungie at last glance was still tweaking the number. My money is on a cap of 400 – that gives them a couple milestones to let players hit along the way to the raid. It’s also a good jump, and I think 450 or 500 would just be too big of a gap to clear. As it is right now, the effective cap is 330 – that’s the level where all the reward packages cap out, and it’s where the difficulty caps out. So right at Rise of Iron launch, that can give Bungie a real easy place to assume where the majority of players will be, and plan out the 70 light beyond that. One thing that I’ve seen all over the subreddit lately too is the desire for light to be removed from class armor. I think it’s just because the paths to 335 on class armor are relatively limited – Challenge of Elders cumulative score RNG, and the end-game RNG drops: raid, Iron Banner, and Trials of Osiris. There are the strike specific loot drops too, but that’s only for Titans and Hunters – there isn’t a Warlock Bond in the current loot pool. For me, a better move would just be to open up the loot pool – make it so those class items can drop from more sources. It all just comes back to my biggest hope – more options across the board from an armor standpoint, both functionally and visually.

Destiny Rise of Iron

Which is a good way to think moving in to the next point I want to hit – choice. I’ve been saying this all the way since House of Wolves, the more options that Bungie gives players, the better the game will be. HoW did that with the infusion, meaning that any legendary armor could be end-game gear. I saw a lot more variety in the guardians during those first few weeks, until everyone started chasing the perfect weapon rolls and we went back to the “everyone uses the same gear” spot. Over the last couple months, really since April, we’ve started to see that again with Chroma and 1:1 infusion – you don’t have to wear raid gear, or grind raid gear, to be at the light cap. If they just keep giving players different ways to be at the cap, it will help keep the game fresh, even if it’s just from a visual standpoint. I think we get lost talking about stats and perk rolls because those directly impact performance; but visuals are actually important too – if everything is the same over and over again, you lose that drive and excitement. When your guardian looks different from the same gear you see in every match in the Crucible, I think that helps keep players connected and engaged. I would definitely expect to see plenty more Chroma compatible gear, along with other ways to customize your guardian, maybe using the SIVA tech being introduced.

I think when we start thinking gear and the quality of life stuff that comes with it, there really isn’t a lot that should be shocking. Moving on from last gen consoles should, in theory at least, free up some more space in the vault, or more collections in the Tower – maybe even for the raid gear that I’ve seen the community talking about plenty. We know that all of the inventory for the vendors will cycle through, with new designs for the armor and new archetypes for the weapons. What I would like to see is maybe a couple new vendors pop up – or even better have rotating stock for the main vendors. We saw how having one vendor weapon with a top level roll (the old vendor Hawksaw) can impact the Crucible sandbox on a pretty major scale. I think the prevalence of weapons like the PDX/Hawksaw/Grasp all goes back to the Hawksaw being sold at the Tower. Having a rotating stock – even if it’s just rerolling the perks on the weapons/armor should help keep one roll from dominating. It also would make the currency feel more valuable – as it is right now, Legendary Marks don’t really mean anything for me. I save up to 200, then dump them on either an exotic to complete my collection, or put them into planetary materials. If you make the rolls change – daily or weekly – you make the decision to buy a bigger one. Add in, hopefully, new vendors and the economy shifts pretty substantially. Now, for the hardcore/dedicated players, that economy won’t change too much – mainly because the variety is still limited just because of the pieces Destiny uses. But for the vast majority of players, keeping the vendors always changing would keep them always having potential power.

One last thing that I really hope we’ll see is in the Crucible – we know we’re getting a new mode, but not what that mode is yet. I doubt we’ll learn that tomorrow – I think Bungie will have a whole reveal stream dedicated to the Crucible changes in advance of Rise of Iron. But I’d love to see some kind of new mode that isn’t end-game, just a new way to play. I think there are two front runners – Capture the Flag and Infection. Infection makes sense based on the overall theme of Rise of Iron, while CTF fits more with the nature of the Crucible and Iron Banner in general. I fully expect some kind of balance changes before launch too – potentially two, since we’ve had two major patches since April, and August would fit with that schedule. They may just wait until launch though. There’s a lot of talk about the possibility of custom matches – it’s certainly possible, since they’ve said we’re getting new features – but I think it’s a longshot. I think what’s more likely is some kind of distinction for social and ranked playlists. I could even see ranked playlists being a new potential end-game option. What I think is a given though is that we’ll see a pretty sizable shake-up in the Crucible, especially given the focus on the Iron Lords and their involvement with the Crucible already.

There’s certainly still a lot to talk about with Rise of Iron. Bungie will I’m sure talk about it in some capacity tomorrow for Bungie Day, but there’s still a good two full months of time for them to tweak things and build the hype up the way they want to. That said, Destiny is in a pretty damn solid spot – there are plenty of fun activities in the game, and just as many that reward you with good loot. We may be in a content drought right now, but the content that is there is as solid as it ever was.

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Destiny Iron Banner – June Impressions

Destiny Lord SaladinWe’re back after a quick break, and a week of playing in the Iron Banner inĀ Destiny. This is the first Iron Banner since the 2.3 patch back in early June, which means it’s the first real time to explore the new weapon changes and balance passes to Hunters. Let’s talk a little bit about how the Crucible is currently feeling, and where I think we’ll see the next patches impact.

For starters, the Hunter changes definitely are noticeable across the board. This is the first Iron Banner, in a very long time, that I can remember seeing Titans early in the week. Usually the first couple days are lobbies full of Warlocks and Hunters, and as the week goes on, more Titans infiltrate in as the Crucible players move on to their alternates. Now that Hunters and Warlocks have both gotten some balances recently, each class feels a lot closer in terms of power. At least in theory – Hunters I think still have a little bit of an advantage because their abilities are strong in just about every situation. Some of the more frustrating aspects of the different abilities have been addressed though – although I do think that the throwing knives got hit a little hard. Still, I’m really happy that each class can actually function in Crucible now. I do think that Defender Titans might have the new annoying set-up though with No Backup Plans and Universal Remote.

Which is really where I think the issues lie now – the new weapon balances from patch 2.3, combined with the Nightfall/Heroic strike loot has created a monster. A couple weeks back, the Nightfall was Will of Ctota and as a result, the Grasp of Malok farm was in full effect. Grasp is Hawksaw, just better – faster rate of fire, along with the same roll potentials for stability and full auto and you get a pulse rifle that can out perform just about every primary weapon. I think it’s not a sandbox that will last too long though, since so many Grasps, Hawksaws and Suros PDX variants are out there Bungie has to be looking at the data and seeing just how much stronger they are then the other weapon classes. I really think the next patch will hit the high rate of fire pulse rifles with a hefty stability and range nerf. I still think that shotguns need some major attention – there are way too many of the Conspiracy Theory archetype and the skill needed to use shotguns has really gone down in a hurry. Where the Iron Banner has really excelled this time around is the loot drops. I think that Iron Banner has become my main way of getting end-game level gear – I’ve been able to get a handful of 334 and 335 light level drops out of this month and last months event. Since you can get those drops after one game, it’s potentially more efficient than running the raid. Saladin is going to be back two more times beforeĀ Rise of Iron, so there’s plenty of time to get up to the max light, especially with the Year Two Moments of Triumph being officially announced this week.