Tag Archives: Destiny

Destiny – Burned Out on the Iron Banner

Despite all the new information on the soon-to-be-released House of Wolves, including the Prison of Elders livestream, I haven’t really been itching to write about any of it. In fact, I haven’t really been itching to play Destiny at all lately. Perhaps it’s because soon, most of the things I can currently do in-game will be sorta pointless, or perhaps I’ve just played too much over the past two months.

Really though, I think it was the Iron Banner that did me in.

I never gave the Iron Banner much thought. It seemed like an awful lot of work, I’m not awesome at PvP, and the rewards (especially the armor) seemed pretty poor. But I wanted a reason to play Destiny, and I don’t really need to raid anymore (I could use Fatebringer and some random Hezen Lords armor pieces I guess), so when the Iron Banner came back for the last time before HoW, I said screw it and jumped in with my emblem and shader equipped that I earned from the last time IB was a thing.

As I suspected, all that time spent not PvPing had not improved my PvP ability. Yolo queuing yielded about a 40% win rate early in the week, but the games were never close either way. It seemed that because the point of Iron Banner was to gain reputation, making sure you achieved your bounties every day were paramount to actually winning the game most of the time, a realization that was extremely unsettling. It reminded me of when my LGS introduced a points system into its Commander league, and suddenly the point of the game was not to win, but to earn points.

Anyway, the moment a team went down over 2000 points, which can happen very quickly, suddenly the entire losing team was all trying to get ten kills without dying, or machine gun headshots, or primary headshots (which I learned Vex Mythoclast does not qualify as for some reason) to complete the various bounties. This is not a fun way to play the game, especially if I had been playing most of the day and already had my bounties completed.

Eventually, I was invited by some clan members (of Fool’s Errand fame), and the entire dynamic of the game changed. Games were ALWAYS played to be won, with the sole exception of someone with a good kill streak trying to get to ten. Our team was less than optimally organized, and we had no shot caller to lead us, but even the most basic communication and strategies was usually enough to win most games. The fact that we had a few people who claimed to not be great at PvP was irrelevant; our positioning was superior, and was good enough.

Still, I couldn’t run with a team the entire time, mostly because I enjoyed playing at night and during the morning, not exactly the peak hours for Fool’s Errand. I actually ended up grinding the last two ranks on Sunday and Monday, finally finishing Monday night at about 11 pm. I then ground out the 50K glimmer needed for all the items using Resupply Codes on heroic Exclusion Zone, bought everything, then reforged the Timur’s Lash to Luck in the Chamber, Outlaw, and Field Scout/Perfect Balance, and the Efrideet’s Spear to Final Round.

Hurray, right?

Well, I don’t know. The whole experience was a lot of effort, and I really didn’t get THAT much. I got no extra rewards from all the games I played, the armor looks cool but is nothing special, and the Spear is only OK in Crucible (though it will probably be awesome in the Trials of Osiris until they nerf Final Round). I will admit that Timur’s Lash is amazing in Crucible (I headshot some dude for 127, poor guy), but it’s only alright in PvE because hand cannons are all measured against Fatebringer, and are all found wanting.

I guess in the end, the only thing I was really happy about was that I knew what was waiting for me at the end of the long road. It wasn’t like the hard mode heroic Crota’s End I ran this week where all I got were Radiant materials up to Crota, or the countless Nightfalls where I got Ascendant materials.

I suppose there was one really great thing to come out of the whole ordeal though. I got to reforge an item for the first time, and knowing I’ll be able to to the same thing to all the House of Wolves weapons to create the perfect set of weapons for any occasion is extremely exciting, so perhaps I’ll just spend the remaining time before HoW just leveling my remaining exotics (there are MANY), leveling my last character, and chasing that Gjallarhorn.

BONUS SECTION: Preparing for House of Wolves

There is a ton out there right now about how to best prepare for the House of Wolves on May 19th. Some of the advice is really obvious, like save your glimmer and marks. Some of the advice seems sort of unfun, like saving all your reputation packages not because you’ll get HoW gear from them (you won’t), but because you’ll get a meager amount of rep.

There is only one thing I’m going to do to prep outside the obvious, and you can’t really do it until the week before the expansion. I’m going to get all my reputations just below the requirement to rank up, then use patrols to get some easy packages after release. I think this is the best reward/work ratio. I’m not gonna sit on my packages that could have cool stuff for like 50 extra rep.

What are you doing to prep for the House of Wolves? Let me know in the comments!

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Destiny – Vestian Outpost Reveal / Armor Perks are Boring!

This week Bungie live streamed the reveal of Destiny’s new social space in the reef. During that stream, we caught many glimpses of some of the new gear in the DLC, and it really got me thinking.

Items in Destiny right now, particularly armor, particularly PARTICULARLY leg armor, are really boring. Even the leg armor from the two raids are lame. The Vault of Glass greaves lets you carry more heavy ammo. How does that even make sense unless the Hezen Lords loved sewing pockets in their footwear? The boots from Crota’s End are more interesting in terms of design, but the unique perk only comes into play for 17% of raiders (Only one person gets to be sword-duder at Crota), and even then only on the last encounter. Maybe if the bridge encounter wasn’t so easily cheesed more people would experience the benefits, but honestly, even that would not make these boots interesting.

kellbreakerBut it isn’t just boots that are pretty uninspiring in Destiny. It’s armor in general. Sure, there are some cool things that are not overpowered enough to warrant being exotic, like the Facade of the Hezen Lords, which offers a choice of two perks that both randomly spawn orbs when you kill a Vex in a certain manner. In the stream, we caught a shot of Kellbreaker’s Gloves, a new item, that had a similar effect. This is absolutely a step in the right direction. All the armor from Crota’s End, light level, armor, and generic perks aside, have absolutely no impact on play outside the raid.

This problem is even worse in the Crucible, where everything is normalized, meaning your light level, armor, and many other attributes simply do not matter. You could seriously wear the boots you start the game with and notice virtually no difference because the only perk boots get outside of Radiant Dance Machines and the Crota’s End gear is increased ammo.born spark

Would it really be that hard to itemize more creatively when it comes to armor? Or even more logically? Think about all the guns you have that have increased slide distance. How does a gun enable that? Wouldn’t it make more sense if your boots had a perk like that rather than a gun? How about moving faster while aiming? Plus two to agility? It’s like Bungie took all the obvious already existing perks for boots and dumped them into weapons.

Yeah, I get that some of the aforementioned perks make some logical sense on weapons, but putting those perks on weapons came at the cost of armor becoming that much more generic.  House of Wolves appears to be aiming to fix this issue by making armor choices beyond light level more meaningful for game play. But among the scattered sprintglimpses into the new gear, I saw several perks that, once again, were on weapons but seemed to be perfect opportunities to make armor more interesting, like the new perk “sprint” which increases sprint speed after a kill with the equipped weapon. That could easily be changed to increases run speed after a kill.

I get that maybe programming this stuff into armor wouldn’t be easy, and that when you place a perk on armor, you have to balance it against all weapons rather than just the weapon the perk appears on, but man, I was really hoping to see new perks on the armor teased during the stream, but unfortunately, whenever Deej hovered over a chest piece or leg armor, all it said was “carry more ammo for X weapon.” 😦

Enough being all critical about a relatively minor, though valid, gripe. Overall, the reveal stream was awesome, and still has me excited for House of Wolves next month and the upcoming stream from Bungie(you should probably give them a follow on Twitch) for the Trials of Osiris on April 29th at 11 am pacific. Additionally, the raid armor could be more interesting, as hinted at by the Kellbreaker’s Gloves shown above. I’m also slightly more confident that the Prison of Elders won’t just be a boring horde mode after it was mentioned during the stream(I was worried I had cursed us all by begging Bungie to not let it be that in a previous post).

Let me know your thoughts on armor’s place in Destiny, and your ideas for cool perks you’d like to see on gear in the future. Also, please give me a share or a follow. C’mon, it’s like two clicks. 😛

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Destiny – House of Wolves, Raidless in the Reef

So easy to kill I think my cat did it once while I was in the bathroom.

So easy to kill I think my cat did it once while I was in the bathroom.

While I won’t say I expected it, I wasn’t all that surprised when Bungie announced as part of the House of Wolves DLC reveal that there will not be a new raid. After all, their previous DLC, Crota’s End, was a yawn-inducing snorefest of a raid that lacked substance or challenge after the initial thrill wore off. Crota’s End was far too reliant on a single person to do the vast majority of the heavy lifting exciting parts, while everyone else’s job was either to go die on purpose (bridge), not die by standing around waiting to shoot rockets every so often from the safety of a high ledge (Crota), or even worse, just doing whatever they wanted until the encounter ended (pit). Really, Deathsinger is the only encounter in the entire raid where I’ve ever felt like I was really playing the damn game.

But enough complaining about a DLC that was more or less finished before anyone even logged into the actual game for the first time. Let’s examine what Bungie’s announcement means for the DLC and for us content-hungry Guardians.

FIrst, I’m pretty sure there was a raid in the works for HoW. Planet Destiny, among others, have published articles in the past mentioning a raid. In the announcement stating there is no raid, it was stated that they “didn’t make this decision lightly,” implying that they cut the raid from HoW relatively recently.

You know what? I’m glad they did it.

Despite a general lack of chatter from the player base about the Crota raid being boring/exploitable, it kinda sucked, but people aren’t complaining because they are getting their loot. You know what people ARE complaining about? Wanting more content! Too bad everyone blew through the Crota raid like a Gjallarhorn rocket through, well, everything.

If House of Wolves had NO new gear or content but told an awesome story about the Queen, I would buy it.

If House of Wolves had NO new gear or content but told an awesome story about the Queen, I would buy it.

Its clear that the raid simply was not any ‘better’ than Crota’s End. I don’t want the next raid to be 20 minutes long and chock-full of easy ways to win, and neither does Bungie, but they clearly can’t figure out how to design interesting encounters for six people that are fun and remain fun the 10th time you do them. The Vault of Glass is alright I guess, and at least it feels like a raid both in scale and in how long it takes, but how long did they work on that, like two years?

Enter their solution – the Prison of Elders. You know, that place where the Archon Priest with the BIGGEST precision damage zone ever came from, and wishes he never left after you stagger-locked him with Black Hammer a few hundred times.

The Prison of Elders is a “new cooperative end game activity focused on variety, replayability, and skill,” which sounds fun, but is eerily generic. That could define basically anything from the Iron Banner to a raid to the Roc playlist to fucking playing soccer in the tower. My guess is that this is the trial run for making three-man content the focus of the endgame PvE. It makes perfect sense to try after all the problems with the Crota raid. Players will have more of the burden, and so more things to do. Mobs, like the Knights you have to clean up after killing Deathsinger, won’t have gigantic HP pools, and things will probably be less dangerous in close quarters in general, making in-your-face playstyles (like mine) less suicidal. Also, I’m no game designer, but I have to believe that designing mechanics for encounters with three people have to be less exploitable than encounters designed with six in mind.

Now, we don’t know much about the Prison yet, but there’s one thing that, while I would like to see it as a part of Destiny, I really REALLY hope is not what the Prison of Elders turns out to be.

Bungie, if you read this, PLEASE. Don’t let it be Horde mode from Gears of War. Fighting wave after wave of dudes is fun, and should be in the game somewhere besides the pit after ‘the path forward is clear,” but I don’t want to have to grind that for months on end to get the best gear.

upgradeThat scary notion aside, the next few weeks are going to be a blast. Next week we learn how our current exotics are going to get to the new max attack of, presumably from the announcement page, 365, and the week after that, we’ll see the Trials of Osiris in action, which also has gear drops.

In closing, I’m viewing the lack of a raid in House of Wolves as Bungie finally stepping up and saying “Hey, we haven’t done Destiny justice, and we take pride in our work, so from now on, we are only going to release content that we can be proud of.” Or maybe I’m just continuing to justify my playing a game I’ve invested almost 400 hours into in the vain hope it will magically become what I know it could be.

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