Forsaken, the new expansion for Destiny 2, launched yesterday. I hadn’t originally planned on getting it. With the disappointment that D2 had been throughout its first year I expected it to be more of the same badly designed mess. Right before launch there was a substantial update that did something I wasn’t expecting: they went backwards. Specifically they went backwards towards the designs that made D1 such a fun game to play. So I reinstalled and gave it a try. It felt like Destiny should feel. Gone was so much of the grindy, slow, plodding cover shooting that made missions and strikes a bore. Weapon options had been rebalanced to make guardians able to kill enemies faster while maintaining an adequate supply of ammo for more powerful arms. I actually felt like a badass space wizard again! So this week let’s take a look at my first impressions of a revamped Destiny 2.
For starters, I have only put about ten hours into the new content. I haven’t gone into a deep dive of any one specific piece. This is just a high level look at a few pieces I found interesting.
As I mentioned earlier, the weapon system got a pretty sizable overhaul from its original incarnation. Gone is the double primary and power weapon loadout in favor of something nearly identical to the D1 primary > special > power set up. Shotguns and fusion rifles are back in the secondary slot and many weapons have been shuffled around by type. This has made a huge difference in player damage output and give guardians a sustainable way to deal high damage to more powerful enemies instead of plinking away from cover in the most boring version of peekaboo known to man. Primaries still work great for basic baddies and it still leaves my power slot open for a good old fashioned rocket launcher. To the best of my knowledge enemy health hasn’t changed but the new higher output makes them feel far less spongy than before.
New weapon and armor mods
This is one I haven’t messed with much, but I was initially very disheartened to see that all of my mods that I had so meticulously placed to match my playstyle were gone. Just gone. What the actual hell Bungie?! First No Man’s Sky and now you too? Middle finger emoji.
Then I started looking at the new mods and it became a moot point. I would have scrapped them either way. The new mods are considerably stronger and will carry guardians a lot farther. For example, gone are individual element paragon mods. Now it’s just an increase in class ability. I dont need three sets for each subclass to take advantage of mission modifiers. I found mods to eliminate delays in my radar returning after I use a scope. The mods actually enhance gameplay rather than boosting a nebulous stat that may or may not do what you think. That’s a plus.
The new play mode, Gambit, is…interesting. I’m honestly not sure if I’m a fan or not and I expect it to get some tweaks over the next few months. The premise is simple: two teams of four are dropped into a mid sized arena and will face off against waves of PVE enemies. Enemies drop “motes” which you collect and deposit in the “bank” with the goal of gathering enough to summon a boss and kill it. First team to do so wins the round, best out of three rounds wins the gambit. Easy enough. Things get tricky because of three aspects. The first is that if you doe while holding motes you will lose them and time lost can mean games lost. It is a race after all. The second is that depositing enough motes at one time will summon a “blocker” in your opponents arena that prevent the other team from banking until they kill said blockers. The more motes, the stronger the blockers. So do you deposit small batches to keep a steady stream of small blockers or save up for a big blocker while risking the potential loss of progress? I’ve seen both in action but there’s no real consensus yet as to the best strategy. The meta will shake itself out but as of now its chaos. Lastly, there is what I like to call the murder door. There is a portal near each team bank that allows players to periodically jump from their own arena into the other and attack their opponents. It’s no different than what you’d see in crucible and the results can be just as frantic. You can kill an opponent to coat them motes, or better yet if the other team has summoned their primeval (gambit bosses) and you kill a ln enemy player the boss will heal. I’ve seen that decide a match or three already.
The reason I’m hesitant to say that I truly enjoy this mode is that, to me, it’s a bit much. The smaller arenas make combat hectic, which is fine, but dont leave a lot of room to use much more than straight forward attacks. Players that prefer a more methodical style will struggle if they can’t adjust. The PVP element is also a negative for me. I love PVP in Destiny and the Crucible has always been enjoyable when the rest of the game was floundering. Unfortunately in Gambit it pushes things too far into chaos. Some may like that unpredictable factor, and it can definitely change matches in short order, but in a lot of ways it is too drastic and will be off putting to players who want a more pure PVE experience.
A small change was made to item infusion but it’s having a big effect. To upgrade weapons and armor you will now need planetary materials, usually ten. For a lot of people that means maintaining a singular loadout will require farming. Its annoying but, to be fair, it could be argued that the old system was too easy. To alleviate this, the nodes now give several of each material and a new vendor will allow you to purchase them with glimmer and other currencies. You may also use any other item of the same kind (weapon or armor) instead of having to have a specific match like sidearm and sidearm or helmet and helmet. Instead you can dump a hand cannon into a fusion rifle or a pair of boots into a chest piece. If nothing else it will make players be more considerate of what they improve.
Eversverse is still shit. It will never not be shit. Microtransactions in a full priced game are shiiiiiiiiiiitttttt. With that out if the way, the added Eververse bounties to earn bright dust so it’s an improvement. I’m more gonna say its good but I’ll say it’s better. Still shot though.
More to do
Aside from the new story missions and areas, this expansion does add a few new things to do. They have brought back the triumph system to give you targets to work for. I’m not sure if the rewards will be worth it but if you like ticking off things on a list you’ll be happy.
Bounties are back to replace the challenges you used to see in activities or on patrol. You get them from different NPCs and not all of them are at the Last City so it’s a little cumbersome. There are mode varieties though so it has the potential to give end game players more to do.
As I said earlier, I’m not too far into Forsaken and my views may change. These are just first impressions on what seems to be a fairly sizable chunk of content. So far things look promising. I haven’t seen any changes that I can only see negatives in. The things I’m not a huge fan of at least make sense. The game is starting to feel good again. Hopefully Bungie will continue to make moves in the right direction. But its Bungie, so I’ll keep my skepticism.
Eyes up Gaurdians,