After today’s live reveal of the changes coming into year two for Destiny, with The Taken King, it certainly seems that Bungie really have been listening to their fans.
There’s a lot to go through, so stay with me…
One of the biggest questions going into year two was how your Guardian’s levels would progress. Gone are the days where players would have to rely on RNG (Random Number Generator) to boost your level, and being “forever 29”. Going into year two, your level and light level are now separated. Levels are now achieved through traditional XP gain, and a new cap of 40 will be introduced. Every player who preorders The Taken King will also receive a item to help boost a new character to level 25, the base level for The Taken King, called a Spark of Light. This allows players to create a brand new character, and negates the necessity to play through the whole story again, to get to the relevant level for the content. This will be available from the Postmaster, so any new player looking to take advantage of this, will have to complete the initial story mission to access the Tower.
The Intellect, Strength, and Discipline values now also display far more meaningful values. Instead of a unknown number on a bar, players will now be able to see how long the cool down time, in seconds, for each ability is affected.
Light level, on the other hand, is still important, but is calculated differently to how it was before. Taking an average of the defence and attack values of your gear, your light level will now go into triple figures for the first time. For example, you may have a full set of armour, which each piece with a defence value of 190, and a full set of weapons with an attack value of 190. This would average out and give you a light level of 190. However, you may have a Ghost equipped with a defence level of 170, this would take the average level down to 186.
That’s right, ghosts…
In year one, there were only ever two ghosts available, the standard white one, which everyone had, and the red Frontier Shell, only available to those who purchase the special Ghost Edition of Destiny. With the arrival of The Taken King, ghosts will play a much bigger part in how you equip your Guardian.
Each ghost you purchase will come with it’s own defence value, and will carry additional perks for you to utilise, much like you are used to seeing on weapons and armour. These perks also vary depending on where you purchased them from. If you purchase a ghost from Lord Shaxx, for example, that ghost will have a perk which boosts the amount of glimmer you earn from killing Hunters in the Crucible. The PvE specific ghosts, which were shown to be available from the Speaker, will carry PvE specific perks. One which was mentioned was Detection, which makes it easier for you to detect planetary materials (Spinmetal, Spirit Bloom, etc) whilst exploring.
In the stream, Bungie only showed ghosts being available to purchase from the Speaker and Lord Shaxx, so we will find out if they will be available elsewhere, on September 15.
The biggest gripe many players had with year one Destiny, was a lack of story. Many complained that the juiciest details were locked away on Grimoire Cards, which were only accessible via Bungie.net, or the companion app. It seems that Bungie have looked to rectify this with the addition of quests, and a whole load of new bounties.
Accessed via the new Quests tab in the main menu, players are able to keep hold of up to 32 quests, and 16 bounties. Quests appear to be multi-stage missions, which are obtained from NPCs such as Lord Shaxx, and will reward players with new weapons, armour, upgrades, and more. Bounties behave much in the same way as they used to, but there are many more to obtain, and will be far more relevant to the activities you already do, kill 30 enemies with solar weapons, for example. Crucible bounties are now weekly, and can result in Nightfall-level rewards, which includes exotics. Once you have completed a bounty, players will no longer have to return to the Tower, or the Reef, to hand them in, but will be able to complete them via the Quest page in the menu.
Factions are also playing a bigger part in The Taken King, with new faction quests, gear, and the ability to pledge to a specific faction. Faction packages, earned at reaching a new rank, will now contain a guaranteed legendary weapon or armour, and the chances to receive those elusive shaders and ships have been increased (c’mon Revenant…). Once you have received a ship or shader, the chances of receiving it again are dropped from the rewards pool, and so reduce the possibility of duplicate items. Players will be able to pledge to one faction a week, for a cost (place holder text shows 2500 glimmer, but this is yet to be confirmed), and will no longer need to wear the class-specific item to gain reputation.
Currently, players are limited to earning 200 Vanguard marks, and 200 Crucible marks, a week. In The Taken King, Bungie are combining Vanguard and Crucible marks into a new currency called Legendary marks. Once again, there will be a limit of 200 marks, but in the same way as glimmer has a cap of 25,000. Players will be able to earn an unlimited amount of Legendary Marks each week, but will only be able to hold a maximum of 200 at any time. Much like glimmer, Vanguard Marks will also be shared across characters, so no more wishing you could use the 200 Crucible marks on your Titan, for your Hunter.
Any marks you currently hold will be converted into Commendations, and will work in the same way they did during the transition from The Dark Below to House of Wolves. Marks will convert into reputation for which ever faction you pledge to, giving players the opportunity to quickly increase their ranks, and receive new gear.
Of course, none of this matters without gear, right? With the new “collections”, players are now able to access all shaders, ships, and emblems they have already acquired via new Terminals. Gone are the days of having to sacrifice a emblem or a shader for a new shiny one, as any previously obtained shader, ship, or emblem will be stored in the player’s collection, to be reclaimed whenever they see fit. Exotic weapons are being treated in a similar fashion, with the new Exotic Blueprints, accessible the new terminals.
The Exotic Blueprints will display every exotic weapon and piece of armour you have obtained throughout your Destiny journey, and will displayed in year one and year two sections. It also appears that not all year one exotics will be making the transition to year two. From here, players are able to check which exotics they still require, and much like the collections, will be able to take out and equip weapons and armour as they see fit.
Exotics are also getting a make over, with changes made to the current perk trees. Any exotic-specific perks are now unlocked immediately, the example given was for the Warlock helmet, Light Beyond Nemesis, and its ability to allow a Guardian to revive team mates faster. Year one exotics are getting a further polish, with the addition of new talents and upgrades, however it appears that not all exotics will be making the transition to year two.
Staying with weapons, our friend in the corner, the Gunsmith, Banshee-44, has also received an upgrade. The Gunsmith will now have more involvement with how players equip themselves, starting with the opportunity to field test new weapons. Players will be able to take a weapon from Banshee-44, for free, and take it for a spin. This gives players the chance to try out the new foundries, find out which guns suit their playstyle, and then order weapons from the Gunsmith. Yup, you will be able to order guns directly from Banshee. Every Wednesday, Banshee’s inventory shall refresh, allowing players to order a new Scout Rifle, Pulse Rifle, or whatever he has available, and have it delivered the following Wednesday, once they hit rank 1 with the Gunsmith.
Banshee will also be involved with how players can improve, or infuse, their gear as time goes on. As mentioned before, each weapon will have an attack value. This increases with better quality, and more powerful, weapons. With infusion, you will be able to take a high power weapon, and use it to upgrade your less powerful ones. For example, you may have a Scout Rifle with an attack value of 180, but you love it. It behaves just how you like a Scout Rifle to behave. You’ve just received a new Scout Rifle, with an attack of, say, 200, but you don’t like how it handles… Use the higher level Scout Rifle and infuse it with Old Faithful to upgrade it. Bob’s your Uncle, your favourite weapon is now relevant again.
The one person everyone loves to hate, the Cryptarch, is also having a minor refresh. In year one Destiny, you were only ever able to purchase low level engrams from him; whites, greens, and blues. In The Taken King, you will be able to purchase Legendary engrams from him, and we have been reassured that those engrams will turn into weapons, armour, and class items.
Of course, what’s the use of all these awesome new toys, if we don’t have the space for them? The Vault has also had a makeover. Featuring three tabs for weapons, armour, and general items (planetary materials, emblems, etc), Vault space has now doubled. There will now be space for 72 weapons, 72 pieces of armour, and 36 general items, but with the addition of collections and the Exotic Blueprints, how much we’ll be using this new and improved vault remains to be seen. Of course, it’ll be great for those Shadow Prices and Swordbreakers players want to keep a hold of.
Before they signed off, the guys at Bungie quickly showed us some new dance moves, but didn’t go into any detail. It was also noted that the Hunter of the group was carrying a sword… Again, nothing was mentioned.
Overall, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen from this very quick reveal. It does seem like Bungie have been listening to the fans, and maybe this is the Destiny we have been waiting for? We’ll have to wait until September 15 to find out, and personally, I can’t wait.
Visit the Bungie Twitch channel to watch the full stream, and make sure to catch the next Bungie Twitch reveal on August 26, when we get to see the Dreadnaught for the first time.