The past year has been a rebuilding process for Bungie after their latest game Destiny launched with polarizing reviews. If you’ve played Destiny at launch and hate everything about it, I do not blame you. However, it’s time to give Destiny another look because what we have here with The Taken King is truly something special.
Destiny is kind of like an MMOFPS but isn’t built with a subscription service or pay-to-win model in mind. It is extremely addictive and gives players tons of things to do, at least with The Taken King expansion. Vanilla Destiny was criticized a lot for being thin on content, exploiting players, and locking things behind an unholy grind. Only the dedicated Destiny players made it through, because for every flaw there were some things that really kept them engaged; the social aspect and the exhilarating gameplay.
All Bungie had to do was build on it and fix the flaws that so many players disliked. They did. The Taken King expansion overhauls the entire base game and makes it easier for new players to join in and have a blast. The entire design of the game is still like an MMO where you hunt for better gear and weapons, use them to trivialize end-game content, and the cycle repeats again with the next downloadable content.
While many other games like Evolve and Titanfall have faded into obscurity, tons of people still play Destiny and Bungie has actually managed to create a loyal fanbase. Goes to show that when you get the basics right, people will reward you with their time and money.
The Taken King adds new story missions, strikes, a raid, tons of new weapons and armor, overhauls the light system, and makes it accessible for newcomers to dive directly into the content. The voice of Ghost–your tiny robot companion–has been replaced as well. While Peter Dinklage did an admirable job, getting Nolan North was probably the best decision Bungie has made.
The story mode will take you around 3 hours to complete. The max level has been upped to 40 which means you have to get there to experience the end game content. Once you reach 40, whatever you do in the game will give you loot to progress through the game. Acquiring better loot will increase your stats, allowing you not to be a liability in any group, and you will also be able to complete all the content there is.
For example, the heroic strikes require you to be 260 light, which means you need to complete the story missions and try to get enough gear that pushes you close to that light level. You can then do strikes and get enough gear to do the raid which requires you to be around 290 light. The sum total of all the attack and defense values of all your gear will determine the final light level. Basically all you have to do is try to get better and better gear.
Of course, that can only be accomplished by playing the game. There’s tons of stuff to do and basically the goal is to get ready for the raid which is the ultimate end-game content there is and will also offer the best loot. Destiny requires an internet connection and also requires you to have a bunch of friends that you can do some of the content with. Majority of the content in Destiny has matchmaking but to do the raid and things like Nighfall, you need a pre-made group. That might be a hindrance but considering the Destiny community is one of the best there is, it won’t be a problem finding a bunch of people to play the game with.
There are tons of new exotics added to the game with The Taken King. Beautiful new weapons like the Zhalo Supercell, which is basically an AK47 that chains lightning when you shoot it; Telesto fusion rifle, that is kinda reminiscent of the Halo Needler; and also some quest based rewards like the Boolean Gemini scout rifle.
RNG can be cruel sometimes and as someone who received his first Gjallarhorn after 1000 hours, I appreciate Bungie’s decision to lock some exotic weapons behind hard quest chains. Want an amazing exotic weapon? Conquer the challenges and get it. It was a great feeling when I finally received The Touch of Malice–an exotic scout–which requires you to complete the raid, collect 45 calcified fragments, and basically do a ton of other things.
On the PvP side, there are new maps as usual, and the old meta which was basically people spamming Thorn and shotguns has finally been put an end to. New balancing updates makes Pulse rifles king and of course shotguns are still viable. There are new game modes like Rift and Mayhem. The older maps can be found under the classics section if you miss them. Trials of Osiris which is the best PvP mode in Destiny will be back in October and will surely give competitive players something to chew on.
While vanilla Destiny had a non-existent story mode with the lore locked behind Grimoire cards that you had to go to some website to read, The Taken King improves the story aspect by adding in a lot of new cutscenes and making the in-game characters more dynamic. Cayde-6, for example, voice by Nathan Fillion is simply magical. When he gives you orders, you do it. How can you say no to him? Time to go on that fetch quest guardian.
There are new subclasses that you have to unlock for each class. Each of them are well designed. Nightstalker for the Hunter; Sunbreaker for the Titan; and Stormcaller for the Warlock, gives you access to new elemental damage abilities for each class. Previous subclasses are still viable though. You simply can’t go wrong with a Titan with a Defender bubble in a raid.
Some people may find it hard to maintain all the three classes but then again considering you can simply transfer over high level weapons and infuse terrible gear with better ones, you can level up your second and third alt much faster. Currently I have all three classes at light 300, which makes me raid ready and also be able to do any content in the game.
Bungie has shown that it is receptive to feedback. The Taken King is basically a culmination of all the things the studio has learned so far and executed with precision. Sure, it’s not perfect, there’s still a ton of things they can do better like fixing the multiplayer by adding dedicated servers. However, what we have now is an FPS that plays amazingly well, has great replayability, and good co-operative and competitive content. If you were disappointed by vanilla Destiny, now’s the time to jump in. The party is just getting started.