A Bit Different
That is what I would use to describe this expansion, just different.
Traditionally, one could expect several things from content drops in the land of Destiny: new cinematic campaign, new strikes, new weapons and armor, new crucible maps, a few end game activities and a raid. That was then, this is now.
Bungie talked a lot about how this “Annual Pass” was going to be different from their previous DLCs. Not only would content be different, but it would be staggered. No more dropping it on our heads on day 1. They were going to give us new content every week. Make the buffet last longer than a few days as it were.
What does this mean however? Well, one thing is for sure. The community is divided on it.
Short But Sweet
This review is going to be relatively short compared to my previous reviews. That’s in large part because three days after the launch of content that is going to come out over the next 8-12 weeks is not a whole lot to go on.
So let’s go with the good first. Bungie put new end game content into the game in the form of Forges. These are extremely fun and challenging (for now) and they offer match making! Forges are a new horde based mode like Escalation Protocol or Blind Well, however it is capped at 3 players. There are plans to release more Forges as the weeks progress, each one in a different location and hopefully with different mechanics per Forge. There is also Forge specific loot and bounties to give you some pretty great looking gear.
Bungie raised the max level cap from 600-650 without raising the “soft cap.” Meaning players would have to work towards achieving max light, at least for the next few weeks. I, for instance, have done about everything an average player can do, if not a bit more than that, and have dropped about 20-25 hours into the power level grind. I’ve only gone from 600-619, which for reference, is extremely lucky. I was definitely blessed on drops this week.
Now the bad. Practically everything listed above has a downside to it. The Forges are fun and exciting, but they also start at 615 recommended power and end at 625, meaning that if you aren’t 607 or higher, you’re going to have a REALLY bad time. Add matchmaking with randoms to the field of possibilities and you’re going to have a couple attempts ahead of you at the very least. All those bounties I talked about earlier, those are available only after you complete the Forge the 1st time, meaning you can’t progress the bulk of the new content until you achieve high enough light level by doing the old content.
I was very fortunate to get all the way up to 619, however that’s after I’ve done all that I, and an average avid player, will be able to accomplish. There are some exploits and ways to get even higher light level, but that isn’t something an average player would do.
Here’s the biggest problem with the current power level issues that some people are having: I started out at 600 light and managed to eek my way up to 619. If you’re going into new content, that you paid for, and started out at 580? You would have to do everything you’ve been able to do for the last 3 months for the next 2 maybe 3 weeks before you could participate in any new content. That is something that is fracturing the community on a pretty serious level (at least so far.) Providing end game content in expansions makes it so people who don’t get to play for 10+ hours a week, every week, don’t get to progress in the game at all.
Here’s what I think, and it’s an unpopular opinion, but I think the better of the 2 popular choices. I like it. I like the drawing out content, I like that it’s challenging, I like that you have to work in order to play the game. I enjoy leveling up to do more challenging activities, even if that means doing old power up content.
Bungie said that this new content model they are going for is for the end game. That means mostly avid players will be the ones experiencing this content. Those who don’t like it may fall away, and that sucks, but that’s their loss.
Many people are saying that it’s up to Bungie to make it so everything is accessible to everyone at any given time. It’s what people asked for with Escalation Protocol, it’s what was asked of The Last Wish raid, and it’s what’s being asked of now. However, Bungie has already tried that tactic when Destiny 2 originally launched, and people hated it. HATED it. Now it’s what they want?
Bottom line, and I’ll leave it at this. We need to stop looking at content drops for Destiny as story continuations or as near sequels to the game we’re playing. Instead we should look at it as a New Game + model. There’s still the same things to do, with a couple of extras added onto the end, and there’s new ways to do them. That doesn’t mean that we all deserve to jump to the end of our first run and start at the beginning with everyone else. It means if you want the New Game +, if you want the new end game content Bungie has given us, it’s up to you, not Bungie, to catch up.
Or just stop playing the game. Plenty of great games out right now!
Thanks for reading,