Destiny: The Taken King- 1ups and Buzzkills

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I’m willing to bet I’ve spent more time in Destiny than any other game I’ve ever played before-although I know this is a quantifiable measurement, before in-game stat tracking was as advanced as it is today, I played a bunch of video games. That being said, frequenters of this blog know this relationship is less-than-perfect, but when is love ever free of flaws? The Taken King introduced a wealth of changes to the world of Destiny, and many of them changed the game for the better-at least in one humble Bro’s opinion. That being said, not every change instituted was for the better (oh how I pine for what once was! Legendary engrams decrypting into rare items!) So without further ado, here are the TruBros 1-ups and Buzzkills of Destiny: The Taken King!
1ups

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  • Storytelling

I’m all about the PvE, and a good story-regardless if it’s in a movie, comic or videogame-can completely change the way you approach a property. This blog and countless others lambasted the silly storytelling of Destiny’s first year, however tremendous strides have been made in this department with the launch of TTK. Each mission is given to you by an NPC with a distinct personality and each mission has a clear-cut and understandable goal. It may not be Metal Gear Solid-complex, but for once Guardians who focus primarily on the Vanguard can feel like they’ve a defined goal with each mission undertaken.

  • Raid

Destiny’s raids are the only true “endgame” the title has, and even if they do not consistently dole out significant rewards, the challenges they hold are complex and varied. It’s unfortunate the Raids hold such significant barriers to entry (a fireteam of six, near-max light level, significantly strong weapons) as the design of these are easily some of Bungie’s (or any other video game developer’s) best work. The King’s Fall raid introduced in TTK is the culmination of everything good introduced into Destiny thus far, and one of the best co-op experiences I’ve ever played in a video game.

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  • New subclasses

Elements of customization are welcome in any immersive experience. The ability to vary your play-style depending upon the enemy your facing, the game type you’re playing and personal preferences is an integral component of any video game, and while the divide between Crucible/Vanguard has always been pronounced, the class-system of Destiny is easily one of its most customizable components. Adding a new subclass for each Class has only provided Guardians with more customization options for all game types.

  • Economy changes

While it may not be on par with traditional MMOs, the economy of Destiny as it was in Year One was not incredibly simple. When a compatriot of mine picked up the game a few months after release, I found myself having to explain the different types of reputation, the two types of motes, Xur, how to complete bounties, the necessity of completing weekly strikes…it was quite a bit, to say the least. TTK consolidated the primary currency into Legendary marks used by both the Vanguard and Crucible quartermaster, and while Marks may not be as plentiful as before, this enables players to buy gear from whichever faction they desire (reputation notwithstanding).

  • New gear/Customization options

Any time new pieces which allow for customization-be it armor, emotes, weapons, ships, shaders-are introduced into the established world of a video game, the fan base rejoices. Regardless if the piece is simply cosmetic (emotes, ships, etc.) or provides unique gameplay opportunities (such as Exotic weapons and armor), the more you allow players to tailor both their play style and appearance to their personal predilections, the more happy said player will be. That’s just video game knowledge 101, and TTK has brought forth even more toys for players to tinker with.

Buzzkills

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  • Year one progress erased

Prior to the launch of TTK, Guardians were roaming across the Destiny universe for a solid year. During that time players slaughtered enemies, explored planets, farmed for resources, conquered raids and amassed armories- in a game where chance plays a crucial role in not only what you get but if you’ll get anything, Guardians took on the most difficult challenges offered up by The Prison of Elders, The Trials of Osiris, The Vault of Glass and Crota’s End multiple times in hopes of securing a particular weapon or armor piece. The launch of TTK essentially negated those months of progress, and meant players most treasured items (with the exception of a handful of exotics) would prove useless shortly after beginning TTK’s inaugural missions-and if you didn’t get them in Year One, there’d be no point to getting them in Year Two. RIP, Ballerhorn.

  • RIP Dinklebot

Among the plethora of changes brought forth by TTK, perhaps the most unexpected was the change in the voice of every Guardian’s favorite companion, Ghost. Citing business reasons such as availability, the voice of Ghost was changed from Peter Dinklage to the popular voice actor Nolan North. While I would never question the skill Nolan North possesses, and nor would I ever discount Dinklage’s performance certainly left something to be desired, any changes to such a constant presence are unexpected and can be unwelcome when a community is already established. While players who did not immerse themselves in the world of Destiny until Year Two will never notice the difference, a few of us who have been there from the beginning will certainly miss the disinterested and occasionally bored sound of Dinklebot reminding us he doesn’t need an access key.

  • Grind

Light level has always been one of the most confusing aspects of Destiny. In Year One it was an attribute such as intellect or discipline, and regardless of your defense or attack rating if a piece had a higher Light level, you wanted it. In Year Two this has been simplified, and a player’s overall Light level is simply tied to their overall defense and attack rating, thereby effectively making it more of a summary than anything else. This is a welcome change-however events such as the Iron Banner once yielded some of the most coveted weaponry in the game, as did the Prison of Elders-now unless you’re securing gear via the new raid, there is really no other method of increasing your Light level. When you’re just near the recommended Light level of 290 for the raid, the difference between 290 and 300 Light is substantial, and decrypting engrams and hoping you get something better than your current best-gear is not the most pleasant experience.

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  • Xur

The weekly visit from the Agent of the Nine was once the best part of the week. Securing Exotics via the Weekly Nightfall or the Raids was always a dicey proposition at best, so Xur’s rotating stock of Exotic Armor for each class and an Exotic Weapon each week meant a guaranteed source for acquiring the game’s best gear. After the release of TTK, Xur no longer carries a usable Exotic Weapon Engram-only a Weapon Engram capped at Year One levels for collectors. Additionally, while many Year One Guardians are bound to have a stockpile of Strange Coins, the number of ways to acquire them has decreased drastically, meaning not only do Xur’s visits only mean getting Armor from now on, you also have to be much more frugal with your Strange Coins. Those Guardians who have a character of each Class (such as myself) have to be quite choosy with how we spend our now-coveted Strange Coins.

  • New gear/Customization options

Believe it or not Bros, this last Buzzkill is not a typo. “But Chico, you listed New gear/Customization options as a 1up just a few paragraphs ago” I hear you cry-alas! Hear me out on this. One of the best changes implemented by previous expansions (in my humble Bropinion) was the introduction of re-forging weapons and Etheric Light. Etheric Light allowed you to make essentially any weapon or armor piece of you choosing instantly competitive again by raising its stats to the then-current max level. Re-forging weapons allowed you to use weapons parts and Motes of Light to re-roll the perks and damage type of certain weapons so you’d have an armory catered to your specific play style. This allowed for players’ hard work to be rewarded, as fabled weapons such as Fatebringer and Icebreaker maintained their usability Year One. Re-forging has vanished as has the viability of previously-sought after items such as Etheric Light, which ties back in to my first Buzzkill. Currently, the only method for upgrading weapons and armor (apart from Exotic pieces) is infusing them with a gear piece with higher stats than it…which is about as fun as it sounds.

The Taken King has implemented a wealth of changes to the world of Destiny-some good, some bad. Although I haven’t spent as much time with Destiny as I did before, I’ve no doubt I’ll eventually come back around to it…at least until Fallout 4 is released. Until next time, Bros!

*All pictures stolen from Gameinformer

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