Destiny Year 1 vs. Year 2: A Bros’ evaluation of Exotics

WHAT UP INTERNET?!

One subject your boy tends to touch on quite frequently is a little video game by the name of Destiny­-perhaps you’ve heard of it? Lord knows if you’ve swung by this humble Bro blog on at least one occasion, odds are you’ve seen a post related to Destiny splashed across the homepage. The fact of the matter is, Destiny-while surely one of the most divisive titles on the market upon its release-was a title I, my Bros and my partner-in-crime were immediately enamored with. For all of its shortcomings, Destiny is a title I constantly find myself intrigued by, for regardless of the amount of time I spend away from it, I want to know what else the great minds at Bungie are doing to entice Guardians to return to the ever-expanding universe.  Now that we’re well in to our second year as Guardians, now seems like as good a time to juxtapose the world of Destiny in its initial incarnation to what it is today.

When looking at the world of Destiny, a multitude of changes have been implemented over the course of the year: some in weekly patches, some in bigger updates and some changes were introduced by expansions. No Guardians cried foul when Legendary engrams ceased to decrypt into rare items and I know my inventory was overflowing with Hardonic Essence after The Taken King released-but these changes simply occurred over the course of the first year. A world which is ever-changing and is designed to keep players coming back must continually evolve, and to try and explain every single change instituted over the past year would be nothing more than an exercise in frivolity. Destiny has changed tremendously over the course of its first year, and in an effort to save y’all time (and your boy from having to compose a novel) I’ve decided to focus specifically on Exotics gear for this post.

TheRam

I’m a sucker for ”loot” or gear when it comes to video game-I think most who fire up a gaming console on a daily basis are as well. The undisputed upper echelon of gear in the world of Destiny are Exotic items-differentiated from their peers by their yellow color and the unique abilities they offer to Guardians who are fortunate enough to wield them (for the Destiny-uninitiated). Throughout Destiny’s first year, although players were able to attain these coveted items as random drops from Raids and the Weekly Nightfall strike, the primary method of acquiring Exotic armor and weapons was Xur: a merchant who would visit the Tower every weekend.

Only taking Strange Coins-a form of currency players could previously attain by chance as random drops, but primary as a reward for completing the weekly strike-Xur would rotate his selection of goods every week, and carry one exotic armor piece per class and one exotic weapon. While select exotic gear could only be attained as a random-drop reward from the raid (most notably, the Vex Mythoclast fusion rifle), once Guardians became familiar with Xur and the various methods for securing Strange Coins, he became a much-anticipated visitor to the Tower, as he provided Guardians with a (fairly) reliable way to secure the most sought-after gear in the game.

Destiny_20150510104329

Destiny_20150510104329

Fast forward to Destiny in its present incarnation and the atmosphere of Xur’s visits have shifted drastically. Xur still carries an exotic armor piece for each class, but he no longer carries an exotic weapon (save for an engram at year one-levels; this effectively makes these pieces un-usable in the game). Additionally, there are no longer reliable methods for securing Strange Coins to purchase the class-specific armor gear each week.

To supplement this, Destiny has sporadically introduced special missions tied to the Daily Story event, as well as other special event missions. These missions are not announced beforehand and only become widely known by Guardians who prowl various Destiny-related sites. These missions are only available for a short time or after fulfilling certain goals, and reward you with an exotic weapon-perhaps most notably, the Black Spindle sniper rifle.

Xur_Agent_of_the_Nine

There is no longer a consistent, reliable means of securing some of the best weapons in the game. Xur’s visits-previously one of the most anticipated in-game events-no longer carries the same mystique with it, and no longer seems to ignite the frenzy it once did (at least according to this Bro when he comes through Twitter each Friday morning). Considering exotic armaments are essential to remaining competitive in both PvP and PvE, this seems detrimental to players who crave the best gear the game has to offer. That being said, the introduction of special quests or missions which provide specific-and admittedly, very useful-rewards adds an interesting twist of the core Destiny experience, and creates a special event which players clamor to participate in.

These missions alter missions in dynamic ways, providing an extra challenge and new experience for Guardians who participate. These changes are always welcome in any game, but prove tremendously beneficial to a title such as Destiny which had (or has, depending upon your perspective) a reputation for being light on content. However, many of the missions are time-locked (meaning you cannot play them immediately), only available for a specific amount of time which is unadvertised in game (as they’re typically associated with the daily story mission) or accessible only by completing tasks which are not always made clear in-game. Considering the rewards for these quests are substantially beneficial to players and the number of ways in which players can secure exotic armaments has decreased, having time-locks or limited availability (not to mention the exclusivity not being advertised) appears to this humble Bro as being detrimental to all Guardians’ experience.

Destiny_20150422162931

Destiny_20150422162931

Destiny has changed substantially over the course of its inaugural year, both for the better and for the worse; exotic armaments are only one facet of the very complex equation. Despite all this, you can bet you’ll still find your Bros raiding whenever they’re able to round up the whole crew. Until next time, Bros!

*All pictures stolen from Destinypedia

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