We have been hearing from Bungie for a while now that there’s a “substantial” update coming to the game this spring. While we still don’t really know when in “spring” that will be, we do know a couple little details that are important. The actual content is still totally unknown, the timeline is unknown, but who cares, let’s do some brainstorming and try to predict it.
First and foremost, timing. Spring is a pretty amorphous window for an update. Realistically we’re looking at either March or April for the update – May I think is too close to E3 and summer. By then I totally expect Bungie to be starting up the large DLC hype train, since conventional wisdom has that DLC coming this fall. Now, I’d rather see this spring update come to us in early-mid March – just because the game really needs a shot of content now. But I think it’s more likely to come around early April/late March. With The Division launching, basically in three weeks, I think Bungie knows that it is going to pull players away, at least for a little while. Fighting a full game launch with a content update is a really risky strategy. Waiting a couple weeks, or even until April, makes a lot more sense from a ROI perspective.
In terms of content, we have a couple clues to build off of. First, there’s a Light level increase coming. Second, it’s PvE content. Finally, Bungie has said that the content has a focus on replayability. With that in mind, I think whatever we get is going to have less in common with anything we’ve seen yet. The only real PvE event so far was Queen’s Wrath way back at launch – and was timed. I think this spring update is going to bring something along that will stay with the game – maybe not on a permanent basis, but will be around until the next DLC. The Light level increase helps my thinking there. If they’re bringing the Light level up, it’s probably going to have some new activity tied with it to get that new gear. Every previous Light increase has included an in-game event to get that gear: Hard mode Vault of Glass, Crota’s End (and Hard mode), Prison of Elders and Etheric Light. Now, I’m not expecting a new raid here – I think that is going to be saved for the big DLC later this year. Instead, I think it’s going to be more on the scale of Prison of Elders. Three-man activities are easier for the wider community to get into, so I think we’re looking at a three-man activity. I have no basis for this guess, but if I had to put money on something, I’m going with a Horde Mode. Similar to Prison of Elders, but out in the wilds of the different planets – maybe even on the Crucible maps. Bungie’s done stuff like this before – Firefight in Halo and the new Subclass quests in The Taken King were basically different twists on Horde Mode. I think it’s an activity that fits with Destiny, not only thematically, but also gameplay-wise. It also gives Bungie a perfect opportunity to have clear steps for loot. Reach a certain wave, get loot at a specific Light level – nice and simple, just what the community wants.
Now, there’s no way of knowing for sure that’s what we’re getting. Tomorrow’s update could tell us exactly what it is, and it might be something totally different. Maybe we’ll get Faction Bounties to help rank up those factions faster than the current glacial pace. Maybe the old raids will get the Taken versions Reddit keeps calling for. Right now the only people who know what Destiny‘s future is are the writers and developers at Bungie. Maybe it’s better to keep things under wraps for a bit to drive this conversation; but I think they need to keep this open communication they’ve been having the last couple weeks. Hopefully we don’t have too long to wait to find out.