Today is post #500!!!
Last year you might remember that I did a writing piece for my Late to the Party series on the game Destiny. I played just the base version of the game but I liked it so much that I decided that at some point in the future I would purchase a full version of the game that included all the expansion packs that had come out. Not too long ago I finally made good on that decision, and since then I’ve put most of my limited gaming time into playing more of Destiny. With all the new content I’ve experienced it’s only fair that I give some updated thoughts on the game.
Before I go any further, I would recommend that anyone who hasn’t read my original writing piece on Destiny to do so first before reading the rest of this writing piece. A link to it can be found here. I’m not going to repeat much of what I stated in that writing piece, and in this writing piece I am assuming you either have read that first writing piece or are familiar with Destiny from your own experiences. As an aside, I’ll mention that I reread that original writing piece myself prior to starting work on this one, and sure enough I found two more typos and even a factual error in my old work. Nothing makes me fall to my knees shouting at the sky like finding mistakes in writing pieces that I proofread multiple times before publishing.
Since the launch of the base version of Destiny in 2014 there have been four major expansion packs, as well as a myriad number of small patches, that have been released for the game. These expansion packs are titled The Dark Below, House of Wolves, The Taken King, and Rise of Iron. I played through the main missions of each expansion pack and a lot of the side missions, and even though I haven’t done every last thing available from each expansion pack I did enough that I think I can give an adequate description and opinion on each one. I’ll discuss the expansion packs in the order they were released, giving an overview of the story missions and other content that came with them. After that I’ll provide some notes on my experiences with multiplayer. As with my time working through the base version of Destiny, the vast majority of my time with the new content was spent playing by myself, so certain aspects of the game, such as Raids and the Trials of Osiris, I am not able to comment on since they require a group of friends to play with.
The Expansion Packs
The Dark Below
The Dark Below is easily the weakest of the four expansion packs, and was also the one I didn’t enjoy too much, seeing as how it focuses on the Hive, which are my least favorite enemy faction in Destiny. The storyline of The Dark Below centers around trying to stop the return of a Hive prince named Crota whom the Hive worship as a god. The story takes place predominantly on Earth and the Moon. Thankfully this expansion pack wasn’t very big, (never thought I’d say something like that) so I could complete most of its content within a few hours, and Destiny’s strong gameplay made the slog more bearable. On the plus side, The Dark Below, like other expansion packs, added in two new Strikes for me to play, which I did enjoy.
House of Wolves
House of Wolves was a major step up from its predecessor and felt much more like a proper expansion pack than The Dark Below. The story missions are about the leader of the House of Wolves who it trying to unite all the other Fallen houses under his rule. The queen of the Reef isn’t too thrilled with this possibility, so you’re tasked to work with her agents to hunt down this Fallen ruler and thwart his plans. In addition to the story missions, Strikes, and other new features, House of Wolves also gave us the Prison of Elders cooperative arenas, where individuals and squads can take on powerful foes. House of Wolves could have used just a little more content to fill out its offerings, but what was there was fun.
The Taken King
In the third Destiny expansion pack, The Taken King, developer Bungie delivered a massive expansion that was almost a small game unto itself. Connecting directly to the events of The Dark Below, in The Taken King you have to face down Oryx, the father of Crota. Oryx has parked his massive dreadnaught in the middle of Saturn’s rings and soon begins subjugating all the other alien races in the solar system, turning them into the Taken. Thus begins a desperate quest to find a way onto Oryx’s ship and kill him before his Taken overrun everything. The story presentation in The Taken King is easily the best of the four expansion packs and is what we should have gotten in the base version of Destiny to begin with, in that you’re given an interesting tale with proper cutscenes and context for what’s going on. Accompanying the story missions are lots of side quests that provide many hours of gameplay, to the point that whenever there were side missions I didn’t like I could easily ignore them since there were plenty of others to choose from. Among those side quests are ones that unlock the third subclass for each main character class. I really appreciated this, as the mission where I gained the Stormcaller subclass for my Warlock showed me why I should invest time into leveling it up, which is something I didn’t get when I unlocked the Sunsinger while playing the base version of Destiny. On top of all this, The Taken King added Oryx’s ship as a whole new location to explore and patrol—something that felt overdue at that point in the game. The last thing I’ll mention about The Taken King is that it finally gave me context as to what exactly the Taken were, so now I understand what was going on when I was running into them last year when I was playing the base version of Destiny.
Rise of Iron
The fourth and final Destiny expansion pack, Rise of Iron, wasn’t quite as good as The Taken King, but was still a strong addition to the game and the second best expansion overall. In it, the Fallen on Earth have gotten their alien hands on SIVA, an experimental technology from long ago that threatened to run amok but was sealed away by the Iron Lords. Saladin, the last of the Iron Lords on Earth, sends you on a journey to first figure out how the Fallen got a hold of SIVA, and then destroy the source of the SIVA before the Fallen can fully utilize it. Like The Taken King, Rise of Iron added a lot of new content to Destiny, and most of it I liked. The story missions were fun, though I think Rise of Iron’s story ended just a little too soon. Another new area to explore and patrol on Earth was opened up, a new social space called the Iron Temple provided a new place to meet other players, and all the new side missions kept me occupied for quite awhile. One series of side quests even allowed me to finally acquire the Gjallarhorn—an exotic rocket launcher that I hadn’t been able to get up until that point. Actually, I now have two Gjallarhorns, since when I bought the complete edition of Destiny I got a code to unlock the Iron Gjallarhorn, which is the same thing as the regular Gjallarhorn but with a shiny black and chrome paint job.
I didn’t play too much multiplayer when I was working through the base version of Destiny, and I only put a few more hours into multiplayer while I was playing the expansion packs, so I can’t say much on it, but I can share a few thoughts. Multiplayer works as well as I remember it from my first experience with Destiny, and even though most of the time I’m just somewhere in the middle of the scoreboard I still have some fun playing it. The mode that I spent the most time in was Supremacy, which is a version of team deathmatch where players who are killed drop crests that the other team has to pick up in order to get points. Your teammates however can deny the other team the point if one of them grabs the allied crest first. Initially I was having a hard time with Supremacy, but then I realized that the most effective way to play it is to stick together with teammates rather than running around by myself, and after that my match scores started to steadily improve. During my time with multiplayer I also got to experience my first Iron Banner event, which is restricted to players who have hit level 40 and wherein the equalizers between players’ light levels are turned off. Seeing as how I was going up against a lot of players who had already hit the maximum light level, I got my teeth kicked in many, many times, but I also got some nice new gear.
The last two things I want to note about multiplayer are two of the major changes that have occurred since my first time with Destiny, and unfortunately I’m not a fan of either of them. First, shotguns are not as effective as they used to be, and I don’t like this because in my mind shotguns were a great equalizing force in Destiny multiplayer. They were easy to use and anyone could be deadly with them, regardless of skill level. The second major change to multiplayer is that you spawn with ammo for your secondary weapon, but lose it all once you die. The only exceptions to this rule are sidearms. My dislike for this new game mechanic lies purely in the fact that I’m not that good at multiplayer, so tend to die a lot, and with my secondary ammo being wiped with each death it made my secondary weapons, except for sidearms, almost irrelevant. I would like to mess around more with my fusion rifle in multiplayer, but that’s not really an option anymore.
Having now played the expansion packs and put in a little more time with multiplayer, my opinion of Destiny is largely the same as when I played the base version of it, which is not a bad thing since I liked it lot during my first experience. Developer Bungie has shown a lot of progress in rectifying the problems that Destiny had in its early days and continues to steadily refine the gaming experience in it. At the time of the publishing of this post I’ve maxed out all three of my Warlock’s subclasses and am at light level 378, (out of 400) and even though I’ve reached the point in the game where I’m only getting small improvements to my gear I’m still enjoying my time playing strikes and working on some of the side quests that I initially skipped over. That said, I can’t keep playing Destiny for much longer. While I’ve had a great time with Destiny and would even like to start the game all over with one of the other two classes, I really need to wrap up my time with this game and move on to other things. I’ll give Destiny one or two more weeks, but then it’ll go on the shelf for several months while I work on other things. Maybe around the time of the launch of Destiny 2 I’ll bring it back out to refresh myself on Destiny prior to playing the sequel.