The King Has Fallen

Hello again loyal followers!  Despite rumors that may or may not be circulating, Frantic and I actually are not dead.  That thing called life has been getting in our way the past several weeks.  However, we have been working on some stuff to bring you more articles on a regular basis and I think you’ll enjoy them.  You can find Frantic and Luke posting all sorts of regular articles about Magic on our…well Magic portion of the site, go check it out!

Last week, Bungie released The Taken King expansion for Destiny.  After spending a lot of time playing it during that week, I fully believe this is how Destiny should have been released initially.  With the arrival of the new expansion, the entire world of Destiny changed as well.  Missions from the original game, and the previous two DLC’s as well as the Taken King expansion were reorganized into the more traditional RPG form of questlines.

A lot of the impressions within the first year of Destiny were that it lacked content, even with The Dark Below and House of Wolves DLC’s attached to it.  With that on everyone’s minds at the release of The Taken King; the biggest question now, was it going to be worth the $40 price tag that accompanied it?  This expansion adds roughly about eight new story missions, three new strikes (four if you’re on the PlayStation as they get a new exclusive, five if you’re on the Xbox as we got last years PS exclusives), and three or four new multiplayer maps.  Overall it doesn’t seem like a lot, especially for the price, but once you get into exploring what else is contained within the expansion it doesn’t seem so bad.

I admit, I was one of those people who thought the original “story” for Destiny was…lackluster to say the least.  Thankfully, there actually is a little more story behind TTK. The basic story covers roughly eight missions, with several side missions to accompany the main storyline.  Unfortunately, a lot of the lore is still tied to the Grimoire cards on Bungie.net; so if you are like me and enjoy reading into the backstory and lore of games, you still have to go online in order to read it.  Otherwise, if you simply want to know who both the Taken and Oryx are the game does a decent job at narrating that part of the story this time around.

Once you have completed the questline for the main story a whole bunch of other side-quests and side missions pop up for you to start working on.  Even if you only have one character right now, there is a lot to do.  While it’s not a terrible thing with the much narrative driven story of TTK, most of these side missions don’t unlock until after you have completed the main story.  A lot of the quests also require you to do certain things at endgame levels; which does make sense considering that the gear you are getting as rewards from said quests are meant for endgame levels.

A downside to how the new “Light” level works is it makes grinding for the right gear to reach those endgame levels seem much more difficult than in the past year of Destiny.  Yet, at the same time a lot of the new exotic weapons that were added are now tied to those aforementioned side-quests; meaning if you want that awesome arc damage sword you won’t have to rely entirely on RNG to get it.  One thing that also helps to sooth the metaphorical pain of grinding for better armor is that a lot of the strikes we have played from year one have been redesigned a little thanks to the arrival of those Taken jerks.  Some of our favorites from the first year might have Taken enemies during a certain encounter, or maybe you want a version of the Archon Priest (Archbishop…) with both Taken and Fallen enemies trying to murder each other. It is something simple, but even after we’ve played these strikes hundreds of times they feel like new strikes with the small changes.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite strike out of the three new ones.  I enjoy the Fallen SABER strike on Earth because unlike the others we have been playing for a year, this one actually makes it seem like you are solving parts of a puzzle in order to progress through it.  By the time we’ve played this strike about twenty times however, I don’t think that will be the case.  The room you fight the boss in is rather cool too, not only do you have to look out for the boss, the adds that spawn, but parts of the room become environmental hazards…like sections of the floor opening into an abyss.  A downside to the boss itself though it is just a rather large Shank, nothing too impressive in my mind.

The Shield Brothers is our second Cabal-centric strike in Destiny.  Unlike the previous Cabal themed strike, the bosses from this one are not total rocket spamming bullet sponges.  That is exactly why I like this strike though; I feel like the Cabal don’t get enough love during strikes so to have a decent strike centered around them is a nice change.  Back to the reason of why I like this strike, you are basically fighting two Cabal Centurions; which sounds like a terrible idea but it really isn’t.  Luckily you’re not fighting them both at the same time, until the end that is.  Once you are fighting them both that is when the chaos starts breaking out and this starts feeling like a high action strike.  You have to keep an eye out on the few adds that show up and to make sure neither of the bosses are chasing you down in hopes to kill you.

The Sunless Cell strike is mainly Hive focused with a few Taken enemies thrown in at times.  This is another strike I like simply because of the boss encounter.  In general, this strike moves like the others in vanilla Destiny; simply just kill things in order to make your way to the end.  Once you arrive at the end, the room to fight the boss is not completely pitch black but it is dark enough to make seeing him a little difficult at times.  My complaint about it though, it’s just an oversized Knight.  I would have loved to see a Taken champion of some sort instead or even something entirely new from the world of the Hive rather than a renamed and re-skinned Knight.  That being said, I still think it is a fun strike to play and when first jumping down into the final room is what nightmares can be made out of.

The PvP side of Destiny, the Crucible, also got a few new game modes itself.  Zone Control (which is up for this week) is like basic Control in Destiny; instead of kills counting towards your teams overall score, you gain so many points for each control zone you hold every five seconds.  I haven’t had a chance to try it as of writing this, but it sounds like fun considering I enjoyed Territories from the Halo days.

The second game mode is Rift…which is hard to explain at first but the easiest way is to sort of compare it to Neutral Assault from…well, Halo again.  In the middle of the map is a Spark that spawns every so often, any player from either team can pick it up and start running towards the enemy teams’ base in order to ignite the Rift and score a goal.  If your team doesn’t have the Spark it is then your job to stop the “Spark Runner” from scoring in your base.  It is definitely a fun gametype to play but I would advise partying up with some friends to get the most enjoyment out of it.

Mayhem is the final game mode that we know of right now.  It’s just that, mayhem.  Recharge rate of your grenade, melee, and super abilities have been greatly increased and special and heavy ammo spawns more quickly compared to normal Crucible rules.  When I gave it a try a couple weeks ago, it was the most fun I had playing Destiny’s multiplayer since the beta.  Now I just cannot wait until they bring it back so we can try it with the new super abilities.

In the end, I feel that The Taken King is the breath of fresh air that Destiny needed after a somewhat struggling first year.  If you’ve thought about getting into the game, or back into it, this is the perfect time to do so I think.  The biggest thing with TTK is that there is an actual narrative to its story, which is something many felt the original version of Destiny lacked.  Plus both the PvE and PvP sides of content got a face lift so it doesn’t seem like we’re always playing on the same maps and strikes.

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