Oh dear – Game Informer just proved why subscriptions to gaming magazines are still really important. They unveiled their cover game for September and it’s Rise of Iron, and hoo boy did we learn a bunch. Let’s go over the big points.
For starters, the Light level changes were nailed down – at launch it’s going to be 385, and after the hard mode Raid launches it’ll be bumped up to 400. That’s pretty much about where I thought made the most sense – we still have a sequel coming next year after all. We also know that there are five new story missions coming with Rise of Iron, which seems low, but if you look at what Bungie has been doing since Taken King, what really matters more are the Quests. I thought that when Bungie restructured all of the story content with the 2.0 patch, that was one of the best changes of the whole patch. Looking back on Taken King, there really wasn’t a whole lot of story missions, but the Quests kept you playing PvE events after you finished Regicide. Chasing the Calcified Fragments, finishing the subclass quests, going after the exotic weapons, and dealing with the Taken War ones all made sure that there were plenty of stuff to do for a while.
Moving on to the other real big change we know about – Artifacts. They were introduced back with The Taken King as a new equipment slot. Ultimately though, they ended up being just another factor to account for with your Light Level. With Rise of Iron we’re getting eight new Artifacts that you can use on any class. Each one has a specific ability associated with them, similar to exotic perks on weapons and armor. Some of them seem like they might be clear go-to choices, others might fly under the radar a little. The big ones I’ve seen people talking about are the Memory of Felwinter, which removes your super ability, but gives you two grenades and melees and also a stat boost across the board; the Memory of Jolder, which removes your sprint delay; and the Memory of Radegast, which lets you reflect projectiles back with your sword. It’s a really cool way to make artifacts actually feel like an important part of your character.
There are tons more to sift through – we know that we’re getting new full sets of armor from Iron Banner, Trials of Osiris, the Raid, the new Archon Forge, and the Iron Lord armor. There are tons of weapons that are coming in too. On top of that, we know that every class item, outside of the raid items from Year One are returning as well. Bungie is putting a pretty evident focus on customization – the new Ornaments, which change the appearance of weapons and armor along with Chroma mean that your Guardian is now even more your own. Taken King took the foundation that the Vanilla game laid, and made pretty much element of the game better. Rise of Iron looks to be continuing that trend, while also shaking up a lot of the building blocks that we have come to know. I think when you look at the new exotics, in particular the new Khvostov, and the new Artifacts, the Crucible is going to be a very different place in a couple months. The new Artifacts in particular are literal game-changers; perhaps more so than anything they’ve added to the game before. As Game Informer keeps putting out more info as the month goes on, and with Bungie planning a reveal stream from Gamescom, there is going to be tons to talk about this month.