Now that Black Armory has been out for a while, and the content has more or less run its course, I’m much more willing to give my opinion on the expansion than I was a month ago.
Black Armory did a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong. No one will say that this expansion was incredible or amazing. Bungie just didn’t blow it out of the water this time. But you know what? That’s okay.
It’s more than okay, actually. Bungie wasn’t aiming for a Forsaken level of experience with this round of content. What I saw it as was an experiment, and I don’t think I’m the only one who would say that. Black Armory didn’t give us a whole lot of new things, but what it did give was a decent weapon grind that wasn’t RNG drop rate dependent. It gave us a matchmade activity that, to be honest, wasn’t the best, but it gave us a fun and new way to play the game. On top of that, they gave us some pretty impressive weapons, including some great exotics and three different pinnacle weapons to chase after.
Oh yeah, and a raid. I forgot about that…
As I said before, Bungie did some great things in this expansion. Okay, maybe not great, but at least pretty good.
They gave us new weapons and armor that, honestly, are actually worth grinding for. Before the only gun I could think of that I felt I needed to grind for was the Dust Rock Blues, which don’t get me wrong, is still a really, REALLY powerful gun. However with Black Armory, I wanted to grind for Blast Furnace, or Threat Level, or Kindled Orchid… Oh god rolled Kindled Orchid, you temptress… Anyways, the point is that this is something Bungie did well in this expansion. A fun way to grind for weapons that actually matter, and a guaranteed way to get them.
On top of that, new weapon perks and new weapon mods! Yes, more about guns, but what did you expect? This was an expansion about weapons. New perks made some of these weapons, as well as a few old weapons, become more desirable than their pre-expansion counterparts. Perks like Feeding Frenzy and Air Assault are unique and depending on how you want your weapon to work, could be pretty potent. Add in new mods like Sprint Grip and Rampage Spec, and you have enough variance introduced to the game that it becomes fun to find out what rolls and what mods work together, and maybe change up your playstyle a little bit.
Side note: the optional lore you can collect in Black Armory by doing one of the forges is REALLY good. I’m a huge lore fan, but this lore and the backstory of Ada-1 (the character featured in Black Armory) is very interesting and makes for a fun read.
The last thing I’m going to talk about is the Scourge of the Past Raid. Yes, I am including this in the good portion because I think overall it is very well done for the more casual audience. No, I don’t mean casual as in to say people who don’t live and breathe this game. In fact, I would put myself in this category, and I play, write and watch endless amounts of videos about this game. You see, what this raid was good for was for people who LFG for raid groups.
This raid doesn’t really have a whole lot of cheese strats and, even if it did, I’m not interested in knowing about them because they aren’t necessary. The raid takes roughly 3 hours to complete with a completely random group where half of you don’t even know what you’re doing. If everyone does, this raid can be done in less than an hour, easily. It provides for a quick, unique raid experience for players who want to raid, but don’t want the complication of hard puzzles or the time to get the perfect weapons for the encounters. I can’t TELL you how many times a raid group I’ve had has fallen apart at Shiro Chi in The Last Wish Raid. I’ve completed Last Wish about a dozen times now and I’ve still yet to find a group willing to do the last boss legitimately, and that’s something I’ve WANTED since that raid launched. Scourge of the Past doesn’t require people to have specific guns or even to run specific subclasses. It just requires some brain power and some team coordination.
Also, there were the pinnacle weapons, but I talked about those in my previous article, so I’m not going to reiterate that. They’re good.
Don’t worry, I’ll address the puzzle.
Let’s start off with the forges. Though the weapons and the grind was decent for what it was, a major downside, in my humble opinion, was the missed opportunity for the forge mechanics. There are four forges in total, and aside from one of those forges, they all feel about the same and all four of them use the same “kill enemies, dunk balls” mechanics. What I would have liked to have seen done, especially since the forges were released once every week or so, was for the first forge to be “do mechanic A” and for the second to be “do mechanic A plus B” and teach us something new. Carry this on and the last forge could have been “do mechanic A and B simultaneously so that you can do mechanic C.” It was a missed opportunity, and because of that, forges land in the bad.
Another side note: the quest steps to complete the forge weapons always go from a pleasant grind to having to go back to the tower to talk to Ada-1 just so you have to leave to do the forge. Every. Time. On PC, I’m sure it isn’t that big of an issue, but on console, we’re stuck in transit for five minutes going to the tower, five minutes back, just to spend three minutes at the forge. It’s tedious and feels like a massive time waste and a huge buzz kill.
Next up on the bad are the time gated exotics. Holy cow. Black Armory has four exotics (or five if you count the exotic quest we still have yet to get). Of those four, none of them were available on launch. I think one was released two weeks ago, and the other two were only recently introduced. The fourth exotic being Anarchy, the Raid exclusive, RNG-dependent grenade launcher, which was made available the moment the raid launched. These exotics are fun (or so I’ve been told by my friends who have far superior luck than me) but locking some of the most fun and coveted content the game has to offer behind a time gate is no fun. Now it feels like when/if I finally do get these exotics, the next expansion and ITS exotics will be out and I’ll be pining for those instead.
Last up is the puzzle. Oh. Dear. Lord.
For those who may not know, Bungie released a puzzle called Niobe Labs. This was a seven level puzzle, each level requiring your team to solve a riddle that was interrupted by waves of enemies. There were lots of things done wrong with the puzzle, one of the biggest was that Bungie locked the fourth forge behind it’s completion, essentially forcing people who paid for content that they could play to wait while someone else, and I mean the top .01% of the Destiny community, to figure out a puzzle. A puzzle which, by the way, took over 36 hours to complete. A puzzle that Bungie accidentally forgot to give a clue required in order to complete the last level. Also, if you wipe/fail to solve a level, you are sent back to level one to start at the beginning. Overall, to do this activity was about five minutes worth of content, but with a puzzle that stretched through French poetry, real world history, and much more. It was a good concept as far as an activity, but it was executed very poorly, and having content blocked behind it added even more to the pain that was the Niobe Labs.
Overall, the good in this expansion far outweigh the bad. Though things like Niobe Labs left a bad taste in our mouths, it was temporary. However, the weapon grind, the perk additions, the raid, the pinnacle weapons (which I didn’t talk about here because I talked about them in my previous article) are additions that are going to stay. Some things, for sure, need to be streamlined a bit more. Overall though? The day to day, grindy things that we’ve been given, are a solid 7/10.
With that being said, 6/10. My mouth still tastes a little bitter.
Thanks for listening, and until next time,
take it easy.