Tag Archives: activision

Platinum officially announce Turtles game

TMNTActivision Publishing, Inc. and PlatinumGames Inc. have joined forces to create Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Mutants in Manhattan, a third-person action game featuring New York’s crime-fighting Heroes in a Half Shell.  Players will protect The Big Apple from aliens, mutants and the Foot Clan in a single-player campaign or partner with up to three friends in four-player online co-op. But be prepared – defeating Bebop, Rocksteady, Shredder and other iconic bosses won’t be easy.

PlatinumGames’ flair for stylish visuals and fluid combat are on full display in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. Fast-paced, team-based brawling will challenge gamers of all skill levels. Each Turtle has a distinctive combat play style and can be customised with a unique set of Ninjutsu moves, combat items and special bonuses.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan also features gorgeous, cel-shaded art design, with an original story from prolific author of IDW Publishing’s acclaimed ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Tom Waltz.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is expected to arrive this summer as a retail and digital release.

Activision aims for total eSports domination

The rapidly expanding world of eSports has certainly grabbed the attention of the money makers, in the last decade we have seen eSports grow from dim back rooms at LAN parties to a multi-million pound industry with the top events regularly having cash prizes in the millions.

Recently there has been a big shift in the market. Reportedly, Activision have just set down a whopping $46 million for the rights and assets to Major League Gaming (MLG) a streaming service that is only for eSports. This happened on the 21st of December 2015 after the MLG board approved the sale.

As a pre-cursor to the sale, Activision Blizzard was set up in October 2015 and its sole function is to focus on eSports. It should also come as no surprise that Mike Sepso (ex co-fouder and MLG president) just stepped into a top executive spot in the newly formed team.

I’m expecting big things to be coming from them in the year to come.

Black Ops III gets patched

Patch 1.03 is now out there in the wild. Notes were posted up on the game’s official forum and detail the following tweaks, which feature quite the focus on multiplayer, with Nuk3town also receiving quite a few tweaks. I;m happy to finally see the Zombie lobby issue addressed and fixed!

MULTIPLAYER

General

  • Leaderboards enabled in the Barracks.
  • Players are now awarded Cryptokeys in Arena and Public matches, after playing consecutive matches in the same playlist.
  • Team balancing in Arena and Public Matches has been improved to more consistently maintain even teams.
  • Fixed a UI error when entering Prestige in the Multiplayer Frontend menus.
  • Addressed a UI error in Fileshare when selecting an empty tab.
  • Addressed an issue where hosts were able to leave as soon as the game began.
  • Fixed an issue where white boxes were appearing for Custom Classes in Create-A-Class.

General Gameplay

  • Addressed a case where Scorestreak kills were counting toward Specialist kills for Challenge completion.
  • Fixed an issue where Players could have attachments which should be locked after prestiging weapons.
  • Players are now prevented from spawning at the same spawn point when there are high Player counts in Free-For-All and Gun Game.
  • Addressed a case where Players were able to spawn in after the match time expired.
  • Search & Destroy kill elimination has been changed from 250 XP to 500 XP.
  • The Cerebus Scorestreak can no longer be destroyed by a friendly teammate’s Power Core Scorestreak.
  • The Mothership Scorestreak will no longer count toward the “Hard Counter” challenge.
  • Fixed an issue where Players were randomly receiving online error messages while in matches or in menus.

Specialists

General

  • Specialist Weapons and Abilities now charge at a reduced rate over time in Objective modes.
  • Corrected text descriptions for Specialist weapon multi-kills which unlock Specialist Epic.

Outrider

  • Vision Pulse ability recharge speed has been slightly reduced.

Nomad

  • Fixed an issue with the unlock requirements for the 9th helmet.
  • Rejack ability recharge speed has been slightly increased.
  • H.I.V.E. trigger radius slightly reduced.

Reaper

  • Scythe has had its ammo reduced from 200 to 160.

Firebreak

  • Heat Wave ability recharge speed has been slightly increased.

Weapons

General

  • Longshot distance settings updated for each weapon class.
  • Fixed an issue where some damage from shotguns was getting reduced when the Long Barrel attachment was equipped.
  • Fixed Launchers not earning weapon XP for destroying vehicles.
  • Quickdraw ADS speed bonus for LMG’s slightly reduced.

Submachine Guns

VMP

  • ADS time slightly increased to match other SMG’s.
  • Hip fire spread slightly increased to match other SMG’s.

Pharo

  • Close damage range slightly reduced.

Razorback

  • Damage range increased.

Assault Rifles

KN-44

  • Fixed the ADS view for the ironsights, when a Clan Tag or Kill Counter is attached to the weapon.

XR-2

  • Hip fire spread increased to match other Assault Rifles.
  • Minor tweak to the fire rate.

HVK-30

  • Increased ability to control recoil.

ICR-1

  • Fixed an animation issue when the weapon had the Varix 3 Optic and Suppressor attached.

M8A7

  • Fire rate increased.
  • Fixed an issue with the ironsights when the Kill Counter was attached.

Shotguns

KRM-262

  • Increased lethal range.

Haymaker 12

  • Fire rate and damage range slightly reduced.

Argus

  • ADS time increased.
  • Close range damage increased.

Light Machine Guns

BRMADS

  • speed slightly reduced.

Dingo

  • Increased ability to control recoil

Gorgon

  • Clip size reduced from 50 to 40.
  • ADS time has been slowed down.
  • No longer deals extra damage to vehicles without FMJ.
  • Increased recoil.
  • Increased hip-fire spread.

48 Dredge

  • Fixed magazine count on Extended Mag.  This was previously ending on 1 bullet, then playing a 6-round burst audio when the last bullet was fired.
  • Slightly increased the ADS time.

Pistols

L-CAR 9

  • Close damage range slightly reduced.

Equipment

Thermite

  • Damage rate reduced.  Now takes longer to be killed by Thermite.

Arena

  • Players now prevented from joining a post-match lobby.
  • All banned items are now correctly being restricted while in-game.

Challenges

  • Addressed issues with Hard Counter, Actionable Intel, Ante Up, Fast Earner, Bypassed Security, Hard Counter, Destroyer, Defender, Assault, Steady Aim, and
  • Focused Challenges.  These should now unlock and track progress correctly.

Medals

  • Medals will all display in their respective sorted category in the Medals section of the Barracks.
  • Fixed issues for the Tag and Bag, Surprise Attack, GI Unit Kill, and Silent Killer Medals not populating in the Barracks.
  • Fixed issues with the You’re Done and Shut Down medals.  These will now be awarded correctly.
  • The extraneous Secure Point Medal displayed in the Medals section has been removed.

Maps

Exodus

  • Fixed an exploit where Players were able to mantle into an unintended area of one of the buildings.

Fringe

  • Fixed an issue where Players were able to mantle into an unplayable space in Fringe.

Nuk3town

  • Addressed an exploit spot involving a wall of one of the buildings.
  • Improved Cerebus Scorestreak’s pathing on the 2nd floor of the houses.
  • Addressed an issue where Players were able to stand outside of the map boundaries.
  • Players are no longer able to shoot through a wall on the 2nd floor of one of the buildings.
  • Fixed an exploit where users were able to stand on a ledge under one of the 2nd floor windows.
  • Players can no longer wedge themselves in between a tower and one of the high walls.
  • Fixed an issue with dead player models outside the white fenced area.
  • The Safeguard robot will no longer get stuck outside the North Garage, when attempting to path toward the North Goal.
  • Fixed 2 exploits where the player could see into the spawns, as well as shoot players through glass.
  • Fixed an issue with max number of bots during Free-For-All or Team Deathmatch.

ZOMBIES

  • Addressed exploits in the Shadows of Evil and The Giant maps.
  • Fixed a matchmaking issue where players were able to enter lobbies when they were already full.
  • Addressed various areas where zombies would not path to players.
  • Players will now be rewarded with a Dark Ops calling card when they Prestige.

CAMPAIGN

  • Player can now equip custom Paintjobs in the Armory in the Campaign Safehouses.
  • Players can now use the Weapon Builder to access Gunsmith and Paintshop in the Campaign Safehouses.
  • Addressed stability issues.

Call of Duty Black Ops III review

The Call of Duty cycle goes round again. This year, Treyarch step back into the light with their excellent Black Ops series, unfortunately the campaign doesn’t hold up to the excellence of the previous titles but zombies and competitive multiplayer more than fill the void.

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Black Ops has gone über futuristic. What Advanced Warfare started, Black Ops has continued, and then some. Consequently it feels like the story has jumped series rather than continuing the dark and sinister storyline of Black Ops. The campaign plods on but goes out with a bang, ending on some mind twisting missions and a sequence that sticks you at the controls of a VTOL.

The campaign is rife with tech, futuristic weapons and robots – it’s like Syknet has brought down Judgment Day and you are smack bang in the middle of it with little to no explanation as to what the purpose of the mission is. The story then is rather lost, poorly told and tries to be too clever for it’s own good. By the time the credits rolled it had lost me on the way, with little care for the soldiers I met or the story it attempted to tell. The level structure can’t escape from being linear either. Each area might be large enough to offer multiple routes through, but it’s little more than the usual CoD shoot ‘em up grind with the odd set piece thrown in.

New to the game are cybercore abilities – cybernetic enhancements that can be used to manipulate electronics, close the distance to your target or generally create chaos among the enemy ranks. The cores are fun to use and offer a slight distraction from the run and gun CoD mechanics, however, they are a little cumbersome to select and choose the correct attack for your current predicament and I often relied on the same two abilities.

The campaign’s saving grace is four-player co-op – things are always more fun with friends – and if you make it to the end, there’s an extra campaign that unlocks and it’s pretty damn awesome – Nightmare is an alternate campaign with an undead twist and it’s bloody brilliant.

Black Ops 3_MP_Havoc

While the cybernetic cores don’t make the jump to multiplayer, the excellent new movement system does. This new mobility is pitched somewhere between Titanfall and Halo. The new combat opportunities it brings are fresh and a welcome change from the repetitive nature of the yearly CoD. It works really well once you get your head out of Titanfall, and an excellent Mirror’s Edge playlist helps ingrain these new abilities. Your magnetic boots stick to the surface enabling you to wall run – environment traversal is no longer just a means of getting from point A to B – and presents some great combat options.

The multiplayer maps are exceptionally well designed, putting those from previous titles to shame. The different wall run areas aren’t obvious, which means you’ll need to keep your head on a swivel for traversal opportunities. An invisible wall does block off some areas, which puts a dent on the freedom of movement while underwater areas of each map make for a great change of pace to firefights – I’ve had some intense battles while submerged.

Black Ops 3_Specialist Ruin

Specialists are at the heart of multiplayer this year. Each character has a unique weapon and ability, one can be selected to use and it gradually charges over the duration of a match. There are several characters to choose from and the abilities provide an additional option to your combat – a bit like scorestreaks – but open to all as they gradually recharge and don’t reset when you respawn.

One thing that really turned me away from the series was the overuse of kill and score streaks. At times I would get pounded by wave after wave of air strike or gunship attack. Thankfully it’s been dialed back in Black Ops 3 and although at times this still happens, it was far less frequent. Melee kills have taken a step in the other direction. Now it takes a couple of good gun butts to put someone down – best stick to your guns.

Bots return, which is great if you want to get some practice in or if you need a break from the CoD community, and the pick-10 loadouts also return. Weapons, equipment and perks unlock as you rank up, and can be selected after you’ve spent an unlock token to purchase them.

Black Ops 3_Zombies_Shadows of Evil 1

The star of the game is the excellent Shadows of Evil zombies. If you picked up the season pass you also get The GIANT map – a remake of Der Riese. Zombie Veterans will chew up the hidden objectives of Shadows of Evil for breakfast, but those that take it at face value could miss its hidden charms so grab a mate who is well versed at zombies and you too will soon fall to its undead heart.

It didn’t take long for me to become hooked to trying to best the map – it’s an absolute blast – and beyond the wave-based survival there’s a ton of extras to uncover. The bonus zombie campaign, the new Dead Ops arcade and Shadows of Evil make the zombie content of Black Ops III cause enough to buy the game, that is if you are a zombie fan.

Black Ops III does have it’s fair share of troubles, from the inevitable balancing of weapons that Treyarch will undoubtedly fine tune over time, to some really strange server drop-outs. The most frustrating issue was some odd occurrences of lag. Sometimes I had to work extra hard to score a kill, players were like bullet sponges while I dropped from a single shot. I even managed to score a kill on someone who was nowhere near where I shot my gun! The campaign suffers from the odd bug too; from textures failing to load and on a few occasions my progress didn’t save. With the huge amount of content in Black Ops III I wonder if Treyarch have spread themselves a little too thin?

There’s something for everybody in Black Ops III – it’s guaranteed to satisfy your CoD itch and the online maps are some of the best I’ve seen in a Call of Duty game. For me, zombies easily steal the show.

 

Thanks to Xbox and Activision for their support

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Guitar Hero Live review

When I recently moved house there was one item that didn’t make it, my Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock guitar. My days of rocking out in front of the TV were finally over. Imagine my delight when Guitar Hero Live was announced, not only was I going to be able to be everyone’s favourite lead guitarist yet again, but this time it was going to be in front of a real crowd!

The first thing you’ll notice upon opening the game box up is the new formation of buttons on the guitar’s fret, instead of the traditional 5 colour buttons running down, there are now six buttons, in two rows of three at the very top. It immediately feels more comfortable and once you begin to play the game you’ll realise just how well it works. The rest of the buttons are fairly standard for a guitar controller except for the hero button near the whammy bar.

GHL-1

Freestyle Games have gone for a brave change to a system we were all very used to, having played every day for a week I can honestly say I’ll struggle to go back now. It feels more natural, some of the button combinations certainly feel like you are playing a real guitar. I’m still struggling on regular mode, but I’m having a great time and getting better with practice.

The guitar itself looks great, but I was disappointed that the strum button is loud, which in turn means you’ll need to turn your TV volume up to hear the music, it connects to the Xbox One via a Bluetooth USB dongle, my Xbox One USB’s already has a Hard Drive, TV Tuner and Headset plugged in, so one had to go. Looks like I’ll be investing a USB hub soon.

Guitar Hero Live comes with two modes, Live and TV. The live mode sees you playing as lead guitarist for a number of different bands at two festivals, Rock the Block and Sound Dial. You make your way up from the small stages to the headline act, playing through different sets. It felt a bit like Forza Horizon in its style, DJ’s would talk about the different bands and their sets as you navigate the menu to choose which one you want to play.

GHL-2

Gone are the days of watching animated characters while you played, in Guitar Hero live you play through the eyes of the lead guitarist, as you play well you’ll not only see the crowd reacting but your band mates too, when things start to go south, you’ll know about it! “You suck!” Signs begin to appear, cups of liquid get thrown in your direction and your band mates look at you like you have broken their favourite toy, it’s not pleasant.

It’s a bit cheesy, but like the new controls it’s a refreshing change, personally I would rather have been part of one band playing at all sorts of gigs before hitting the big festivals, also the crowd can turn on you a little bit too quickly, but I still enjoyed my experience.

The other mode Guitar Hero TV (GHTV) also embarks on some new ideas. GHTV is composed of non-stop channels, two are available now with another on its way, as soon as you log in you are thrown into a song. You can only see the schedule a couple of hours in advance, which is a shame because if you know there is a set you would like to play you can plan ahead. But no doubt that is something that could be rectified. It’s also here where you can add a second guitar and a USB microphone to sing along to. Unfortunately the second guitar plays the same notes as the first, there doesn’t appear to be an option to play as bass or rhythm guitar.

With well over 200 songs available, you are never short of something to play and the on-demand side of GHTV means you’ll always experience something new. You can also browse the music catalogue and choose which songs you want to play. At the beginning of GHTV you play a small tutorial and are given 10 play tokens, each one giving you a single play of a track you like. You can earn extra play tokens simply by playing songs, you’ll earn points based on your performance and each time you level up you’ll be rewarded with extra tokens. You can purchase extra plays using the coins you have collected through normal play or Hero Cash which can be purchased using real world money. It’s worth nothing at no point have I actually had to pay for any songs, which is excellent.

GHL-3

You can also pick up a party pass for the price of a pint that will give you 24-hour access to everything without having to use any other resources – this doesn’t include the Premium shows, which consist of new songs being introduced into GHTV, or cool content like live concert footage from a band’s recent tour. Premium shows can be accessed by completing in-game challenges, which generally mean achieving a 3-star rating at regular difficulty on three specific songs in GHTV. Or, you have the option to bypass these challenges by spending Hero Cash (210 Hero Cash to bypass the three challenge songs, 140 if you’ve already completed one of the challenges and 70 Hero Cash if you’ve completed two out of the three song challenges.)

The song list contains a great range of songs from bands such as Tenacious D, The Dandy Warhols, ZZ Top and Fall Out Boy. All tastes are covered and I look forward to seeing what else gets added in the future.

Guitar Hero Live is an excellent game, I love playing to real crowds and GHTV is excellent, the guitar could definitely do with being quieter when you strum, but the new combination of buttons works really well. I feel like a rock star all over again.

Thanks to Activision for providing TiX with Guitar Hero Live to review

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https://youtu.be/6SnIZgESm4c

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 review

16 years ago, Tony Hawk’s made his debut in the gaming world, introducing a brand new and dynamic skateboarding title to the masses. I remember waiting eagerly for its launch, and ran to the shops the moment it was released, playing its fresh and exciting take on the extreme sport. Over the next 15 years, Tony Hawk and Activision pumped out game after game, trying to improve on the standard set before, and setting itself as the skateboarding game for the bedroom skater.

Then in 2007, EA Blackbox came along and wiped the floor with the Tony Hawk’s franchise, with a realistic take on the genre. Since then, the skateboarding king has been playing catch up… Can Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 put the franchise back on track, and take back its skateboarding crown?

Well… No, not really.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 goes back to its roots, resurrecting the original formula which made the series so great to start with. The campaign mode, if you wish to call it that, places the player in a series of fixed areas, in which you must complete a set of challenges to unlock the next area. Some original favourites return, such as the schoolyard, the factory, and the beach, but brings nothing new to the table.

THPS5_5

Each area feels tiny, so tiny that it takes mere seconds to go from one end to the other. This wouldn’t be so bad if it was packed full of funboxes and grind rails, but it’s not. Each one feels empty and poorly designed, and with the limited size, doesn’t take advantage of the power of the new generation. There are collectables scattered throughout the levels, such as DVDs, video tapes, S.K.A.T.E. and C.O.M.B.O. letters, which are fun to work out how to obtain, but soon become nothing more than a distraction the longer you play.

Littered throughout the levels are mission markers, which when activated, pull up a list of activities you must complete to unlock the next area. Each mission rewards one to three stars, depending on how you perform, and a minimum number of stars must be obtained to unlock the next level. Each mission follows a similar theme for each area, score a certain number of points, collect a certain number of items, and so forth, with only the theme of each level adding variation. Once you have earned the required amount of stars, there’s very little to entice you back to play the missions again.

THPS5_2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 does have an online element to it, but this only involves you sharing the space with other skaters. It has a nice feel of being down your local skatepark, but more often than not, you will find yourself accidentally bumping into other players just to reach the next mission marker. There is an option to create a private instance, as such, once I had completed a mission and returned to the open park, I often found myself being joined by other skaters, as if the game forgot my choices.

As well as the eight environments offered to you, there is a skatepark creation mode which allows you to create your ultimate skatepark. With rails, halfpipes, funboxes, and more on offer, you can truly create the skatepark you want. However, the return of the level limit hampers this somewhat, and results in you creating your dream skatepark, minus a few pieces. After placing around 15 halfpipes, and a couple of rails, I had already hit half of my allocation for that park, and that wasn’t using one of the larger templates. Once you have created the slightly less ultimate skatepark, you can then share them online with other Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater players, and try out other creations as well.

THPS5_4

Tony Hawk’s titles have always prided themselves on featuring the best professional skaters of the time, and 5 is no different. With a roster of 10 of the best skaters out there, including Nyjah Huston, Aaron “Jaws” Homoki, and Tony Hawk himself, you can choose to take any of them out into the park. As you complete missions, you can unlock skill points, allowing you to upgrade a variety of stats from manual balance, grind balance, ollie height, and much more. You are also able to customise each professional by either selecting from two predetermined styles, or using heads, bodies, and boards you unlock through play. It’s not as detailed and deep as previous Tony Hawk titles, but the unlockable items allow for some interesting skater designs.

Overall, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 just doesn’t deliver on the name. Visually the game is mediocre at best, and doesn’t feel polished in any way. Textures pop in and out, and collision detection on objects throughout the level is hit and miss; I often found that I was knee-deep in the floor. Visual glitches are common throughout, as are physics-based bugs, resulting in some hilarious ragdolling after bailing out of a grab or grind.

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For £49.99, this doesn’t deliver as a top-tier title. It feels like a reskinned version of an older Tony Hawk’s title, and doesn’t bring anything particularly new or exciting to the skateboarding genre. It’s great to see that they are trying to do away with the gimmicks, especially after the flop Tony Hawk’s Shred was in 2010, and are attempting to bring the series back to its roots, but it just doesn’t feel enough this time round. After the monumental success of the Skate series, it’s time for Tony Hawk and Activision to think of where the series should be going, and introduce something which will revolutionise the skateboarding scene for the new generation.

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Thanks to Xbox and Activision for their support

Black Ops III Zombies: Shadows of Evil announced

Featuring some of Hollywood’s big hitters, Jeff Godblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough, and Ron Perlman, Shadows of Evil is a brand new survival horror co-op experience coming with Black Ops III.

Tasked with uncovering the secrets and challenges presented by a shadowy figure, it is up to you to find the path to redemption.

Set in a massive 1940s, film noir-inspired world, Secrets of Evil is the deepest Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies experience to date.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to launch on November 6, 2015, for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, and PC.

Destiny emotes coming tomorrow

Bungie recently announced that they will be offering 18 brand new emotes, available to purchase from the new Eververse Trading Co. for a brand new currency called Silver.

Silver will work in the same way as Crowns in Elder Scrolls Online, and will cost real world money to purchase items from the Eververse Trading Co. It is not yet known what the conversion rate will be, and we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out. However, when the new Eververse Trading Co. opens its doors, each Guardian will receive some free Silver so they can purchase a new emote or two.

The Eververse Trading Co. harks the return of Tess Everis, who previously was responsible for delivering special items via the Special Orders booth in the Tower, such as shaders and emblems. Many Guardians were shocked to hear that she had been replaced by a kiosk, but are now relieved to hear of her return.

Several high profile YouTube and Twitch personalities were lucky enough to receive packages from Tess Everis, granting them early access to five new emotes, and in true YouTube and Twitch fashion, have released videos showcasing each set of five they received.

Check out each of the videos below to view just a few of the new emotes coming to Destiny.

Arekkz Gaming:

Datto:

Mesa Sean:

MoreConsole:

Planet Destiny:

New Black Ops III trailer released

With just over a month to go until Treyarch release their latest iteration in the incredibly popular Call of Duty: Black Ops series, a new trailer has emerged.

Black Ops III takes players through a dark and gritty story, featuring a new breed of Black Ops soldier, where the lines between military technology and humanity have been blurred. It is up to you to find your missing brothers, whilst navigating through the hot spots of a new Cold War.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will release on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, and PC on November 6.

Destiny: The Taken King review – part two

Welcome to part two of our review of the epic new expansion to Destiny, The Taken King. If you somehow stumbled upon this before reading part one, I highly recommend reading it here, before you continue.

All done? Great… In this segment of the review, I will be covering the new levelling system, how to get your light level up, and some additional tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Those of you who played the original Destiny, will know the struggle of levelling to 20 with XP, then waiting and praying that RNG (random number generator) would gift you something that would take you closer to that elusive level cap for each expansion. This changed slightly when the House of Wolves expansion released, where obtaining armour cores from the Prison of Elders would allow you to buy maximum light level armour. Many Guardians would find that they would be stuck in the situation of being “forever 29” (level cap was 30), regardless of how many times they would enter the Vault of Glass, high light level items would just not drop. This was also the same with The Dark Below expansion, and Crota’s End, resulting in many “forever 31” (level cap was 32) Guardians.

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With The Taken King, things have changed in relation to actual level and light level, as these are now separate entities. Levels 1-40 are now built up via earning XP, much like a traditional RPG, and light level is based on the weapons and armour you equip. Light level is now taken as an average of the attack and defence levels of your items, for example I currently have a light level of 291, which is an average of my weapons with attack levels of 285, 298, and 284, and my armour with defence levels of 293, 297, 295, and 296. Along with weapons and armour, your Ghost, Class item, and a new Artefact item will also give you additional defence values, helping you on your way to maximum light level.

Along with giving additional defence values, Ghosts, Class items, and Artefacts have their own perks which can boost your intellect, discipline, and strength values, as well as grant bonus perks. For example, one of the Ghosts I have has a perk which makes it easier to spot the Earth planetary material, or allows me to pick up more of the same material. It also grants additional glimmer (one of the many in-game currencies) when killing Fallen enemies. Class items can increase the speed of which a weapon will upgrade, and give a buff to reputation for either Crucible or Vanguard, depending on origins of the Class item (you can purchase these from either the Vanguard or Crucible mentors).

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Of course, many activities are blocked until you reach a required light level, or just below, so how the hell do you get there? As explained above, light level is tied in with the weapons or armour you have equipped, and these items can be acquired in a multitude of ways, either as activity awards, or through decrypting engrams.

Engrams are special pick ups, which drop when killing enemies. When you are low level, in both XP and light, these start as white (common) items, going up through green (uncommon), blue (rare), legendary (purple), and yellow (exotic). Before The Taken King, all high level items would be either legendary, or exotic, resulting in the destruction of lesser items due to their commonality and inability to boost your light level. In The Taken King, it is now possible to gain additional light by obtaining rare items of a higher value compared to a legendary, or even an exotic. So, the question now is, why should I bother with legendaries if my rare items are of a higher value? This brings me onto a new levelling mechanic called Infusion.

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Infusion allows you to combine a more powerful item, with a less powerful item of the same type, but this is saved only for legendary and exotic items. For example, say you have gauntlets which are of a legendary or exotic quality, but you have gauntlets of a higher power but they’re rare, you can sacrifice the item of higher value to level up the item of lower value. But why, you ask, should I worry about infusion if the rare item gets me to a higher light level? Legendary items offer more perks to the wearer, and therefore are worth keeping and infusing into, to gain those additional perks as well as the increase in light. It could be the difference between having rare boots at light level 275, which offer a faster reload speed, or legendary boots at 270 which offer a faster reload speed, and the ability to hold more ammo. Infusing the rare boots into the legendary boots will result in a light level boost to that item, approximately 80% of the item being infused, and will also allow you to keep those additional perks. It sounds complicated, I know, but it is a fantastic way to ensure that rare items are still relevant once you hit the higher light levels later on.

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So, you’re gaining light level with your drops, but it appears to have plateaued, now what? I did notice that once you start to get into the 280s light level, it started to become harder to reach those higher levels. This is understandable, as I’m sure Bungie doesn’t want everyone to hit the maximum level within two weeks of the launch of The Taken King, however there are a few tips and tricks to keep your light levels climbing.

  • When decrypting engrams at the Cryptarch, ensure that you are wearing the highest power items you can, across armour, weapons, Class item, Artefact, and Ghost. More often than not, the decrypted item will be of a higher light level. However, this becomes less true once you hit 290.
  • Make sure to check each item after decryption, as it could be a higher level. If it is, pop it on before decrypting the next item. Rinse and repeat until all engrams have been decrypted.
  • Factions now have a bigger part to play, and with the new ability to boost your rank with them via Motes of Light, Weapon Parts, Armour Materials, Heavy and Special ammo synths, it is a great way to obtain higher level gear. You also have the chance to receive faction-specific items, such as shaders, ships, weapons and armour. Once again, make sure you have your highest level items equipped before ranking up.
  • The Court of Oryx is a quick and often simple way to get loot. The tier one runs usually take less than two minutes, and the person who initiated the encounter will often receive the best loot. So make sure to visit court as often as possible, even if you don’t have a rune to activate it.
  • Kill everything. You never know when a rare or even legendary engram may pop out of a downed enemy, so make sure to clear the room before moving on.
  • Xur is now selling a new item called Three of Coins, which gives the player a slightly higher chance of obtaining an exotic engram from boss-level enemies. They come in packs of 5, for 7 Strange Coins (I told you there was a multitude of currencies in Destiny now), so make sure to pick up a few when Xur returns on Friday. Ensure you pop one of these before you face up against a strike boss, for example, to increase your chances. However, be aware that these do not currently work on the Psion Flayers strike, or where there are more than one boss-level enemy.
  • Once you hit the 290s, as painful as it may be, drop your level to the 280s before decrypting engrams. Personally I have had a few instances where the engrams have decrypted into 295+ level items, which superseded anything I had equipped. This may just be a luck thing, but I’m not taking my chances.

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The King’s Fall raid has a recommended light level of 290, so follow the above steps, and you should be able to give it a go soon enough, but be aware that you can access the raid with a light level in the 280s, but it’s going to be extremely tough for you.

Personally, I feel that levelling now makes much more sense than it did before. It also relies much less on RNG to get you to the higher light levels, but still requires a lot of work to get there. It feels much less “grindy” than it did before, especially as all of the above can be done whilst completing quests, strikes, crucible, patrol, everything.

The Taken King is proving to be much much more than just another expansion. As I said in my previous instalment, Bungie have listened to the player-base and have made changes to an already solid, if a little flat, shooter and made it much more of the MMORPGFPS they set out to create.

Part three of my review, focusing on the new strikes and Crucible modes will be here in the next few days, so make sure to keep checking back.