Author’s Note: This will be a part of a longer series of posts looking at some of the new features and my experiences in Destiny The Taken King leading up to a final review of this latest expansion. This will be part one of the discussion.
Destiny had a bit of an interesting first year. Even between the expansions, it seemed as if the game was changing on an almost monthly basis. At least to begin, there were a ton of issues with Destiny. The loot grind felt infinite and players were doing anything to shortcut the system. Even sitting and staring at a cave in large clusters of guardians waiting to shoot the Thrall inevitably set to arrive again.
According to the Destiny app, I put a little less than 3 days worth of time into my Hunter. In this time, I maxed out my character’s classes. With a run through of a couple raids, I was able to gain enough armor to increase my character’s level to be almost maxed out by the end of House of Wolves. This is all to run down a bit of my experience prior to the latest update and expansion of Destiny.
Despite the mechanics being the best in shooters for the past year, I was not exactly enamored with the leveling system. While I maxed my hunter’s abilities, there was nothing left for me to do beyond grinding for better armor to improve my gear to improve my light level. This process was pretty tedious.
Destiny 2.0 and Destiny The Taken King have gone to great lengths to alleviate much of this issue. The game’s interface has been revamped to the point of being unrecognizable. Bounties can be stockpiled beyond 5 at a time; your stockpile can go to 16 now. They can now be turned in without going all the way back into the Tower. This makes the game able to more instantaneously reward you for your efforts while out on patrol.
There are also of course new weapons, new armor pieces, and an assortment of additions to the game’s inventory selection so as to give you more options. Year 1 weapons are not completely obsolete, but only the highest powered of them would you use in any of the early Destiny The Taken King content. The new range of weapons overlaps even fully upgraded exotics rather quickly.
What was I most excited about? The new subclasses. I worked on my hunter on this day. Let me just say, I have a new favorite subclass for my hunter, Nightstalker. The Nightstalker bow is really fun. The mission you discover it on is pretty explosive. You are running around letting the bow off rapidly and sucking Vex into continuous Void bubbles. Suppressing their abilities and leaving scorching void marks all over. It is a delight.
The Nightstalker gets a smoke grenade which can suppress enemies in place of a the throwing knife or blink strike to start and an explosive grenade that can create a wall of void energy. I have not leveled all the way up yet, but I am greatly enjoying my time with the Nightstalker for now.
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It is great to see the new subclass be so engaging, as the new quest and story structure also lends itself well to playing the game. There is an entirely new UI screen added to your character interface. The Quests screen allows you to track your progress on the various bounties and large story quests you can go on. There are some new items you will be collecting like Artifacts and Emotes. You can even get some colors and abilities on your ghost.
Destiny The Taken King makes it a priority to explain the backdrop in which your actions are taking place. The Cabal are even included in the storyline, as well as the Awoken, though the principle actor, Oryx, is a leader of the Hive. The whole story opens with a pretty big bang, in fact it opens with multiple big bangs.
The first mission you go on to Mars might be the most epic thing I have experienced in Destiny yet as a single player experience. From there, you and the other guardians are set to work with the same leaders as before, though this time they have a lot more personality.
Where the previous year spent a good amount of time explaining things while your ship flew over a backdrop, The Taken King uses a mix of cutscenes, in-ear audio, and the occasional Ghostspeak. The three vanguard leaders talk to each other, they have a layout of plans, and they even interact and speak about other characters in the universe Destiny Year One created.
Speaking of Ghost, enter RoboNorth! NolanBot! The Northern Ghost! Peter Dinklage’s audio has been replaced with Nolan North’s voice work. It sounds a bit more robotic than Dinklebot, but in some ways it does not feel as canned either. I cannot describe why I like it better. It may be the lack of familiarity as it is such a departure from a known actor’s voice.
Whatever the reason, Ghost is a now even more welcome companion. They also upgraded the Ghost to be able to help you find resources on each planet and supplement your intellect, strength, or discipline. He even works to connect with you as he imparts his story on you of how he came to be your ghost. It is an attempt to add some kind of connection to another speaking character as opposed to being a gun for hire.
This was day one in the new world of Destiny The Taken King. There is a lot more to discuss, but these were some of the big things I took away from the new way of playing Destiny. In future installments, I will go a bit more in-depth on other aspects of the game.
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