After yet another dry spell, Destiny 2 is back with another expansion: The Warmind. The latest expansion to the sequel of Destiny takes players to a familiar location: Mars, where they fight the Hive trying to attack the AI Warmind: Rasputin. The DLC has brought a lot of new things to the game but the question still remains: has it done enough to save Destiny 2?
After a decent start to the highly anticipated Destiny 2, things went south pretty fast as players soon realized all the problems with Destiny 2. The game quickly became stale and the numbers started to dip at an alarmingly fast rate. Many thought that the developers would realize their mistakes and rectify them in the first expansion: Curse of Osiris, however, that was not the case.
The first expansion did offer new content and a new raid lair, but it was the same formula, a few weeks later, there was nothing to do anymore and players left the game again. Perhaps the only reason why many players have stuck with Destiny till this point is the fact that a majority pre-ordered the $100 edition of the game which includes the expansion pass granting players access to expansion I and II. However, now that the second expansion is out, it’s do-or-die for Bungie as players may leave for good this time. Did the Warmind DLC save Destiny 2? Here are the first impressions:
The story is short but good
The story for this DLC revolves around the Warmind: Rasputin, a familiar name for those who’ve played the previous Destiny game. Rasputin was one of Destiny’s most intriguing aspects, there was a lot of lore here that hadn’t made its way to the actual game. The game also featured another character, Ana Bray.
There was a lot of potential for the Warmind’s story here as Rasputin has a rich lore, but the DLC only scratched the surface. The campaign was good as it uncovered and brought a lot of aspects from the lore to the game, but it was too short. There was so much more that could’ve been done, the lore was there. Ana Bray was also underused, she looked like an interesting character. The benefit of the doubt will be given to Bungie for now, in hopes that they’re saving all the things that were left out for a later expansion, still, it was disappointing to see such a short campaign.
This campaign is similar to the Curse of Osiris, it also featured a very important character from the lore, Osiris, but again the story was too short. Osiris was a legendary warlock, exiled for his obsession with the Vex in the lore, there were many missed opportunities with that DLC, it’s a similar case with this one.
New update changes a lot of things
Alongside the DLC launch, Bungie rolled out the new season 3 update which brought a lot of changes to the game. They revamped the vendors, changed how progression works and did a bit of weapon balancing alongside bumping up exotics by a few levels.
The changes made to a lot of exotics makes it possible to actually have specific loadouts made for different scenarios. For example, Sweet Business with Actium War Rig used on a Titan will be perfect for those high in health bullet sponge bosses that require a lot of DPS to kill. This deadly combo will ensure you get a lot of damage in, taking the boss down much faster than you normally would. Graviton Lance is also really powerful now, especially in PVP. Kills with the gun now create explosions which also create small bombs that track enemies, you can see why this is handy in PVP.
Speaking of PVP, they’ve not only brought 6v6 matches back, Bungie has also given incentive to players for playing PVP in the form of the new Valor and Glory ranking system. The two different set of rankings are for casual players and competitive, so if you’re a simple casual player playing for the fun of it, it’s best to stick to the casual mode and you’ll see your valor rank go up. However, the more difficult the task, the better the rewards, if you want better rewards (especially the legendary Pulse Rifle Redrix Claymore) then you’ll have to play competitive and rank up Glory. The competitive ranking is a bit tough because losses also affect your ranking, so it’s best to go with a team you’re comfortable playing with.
The DLC itself
Apart from the short campaign, the DLC has a lot to offer. Along with a new raid lair, it’s also bringing a brand new Horde mode styled game mode called the “Escalation Protocol”. The DLC also addresses one of the major criticisms of the game which is good.
Destiny 1 was remembered for being challenging, there were a few challenges that made the game extremely hard. There were some raids and some raid challenges such as the Vault of Glass, the Aksis Phase 2 challenge in Wrath of the machine that really focused on that team communication part of the raid, without which you absolutely had no chance to succeed. In the end, the rewards were worth it too, even if you had spent hours or days or weeks trying to complete that one challenge.
Compared to what players were already used to in Destiny 1, the sequel didn’t seem that challenging. It was understandable from the game developer’s point of view as there was a large influx of new non-Destiny gamers, so they had to cater to them. However, that’s what progressive difficulty is all about, even Destiny 2’s hardest challenges didn’t seem challenging at all. Moreover, there was nothing really to “grind” for.
Everything was more or less handed to players and eventually, players would easily get most of the exotics the game had to offer. There was less uniqueness to every weapon, which made the grind pointless. Leveling was also easy. However, the Warmind DLC addresses most of these issues as its raid lair and the Horde mode are perhaps the hardest activities in the game. Leveling has also been made a bit slower and the light cap has been increased significantly.
— Bungie (@Bungie) May 11, 2018
Destiny’s known for long first-time raid completion times and the new raid lair proved that very fact. It took 394 minutes (rounded up) for the first team to beat it and almost 600 deaths. The new Raid lair is pretty awesome as well. It’s definitely better than the vanilla Destiny 2 raid and it’s one of the best raids to come to Destiny after King’s Fall (back in year 2, Destiny 1).
Of course, there is all new gear waiting for you with the DLC, as well as raid gear. There are some new exotics as well as some familiar names from the past such as Suros Regime and the Sleeper Simulant. Mars is back and it’s open to exploring, but honestly, it should never have been omitted from the game from the beginning as it was part of D1. Still, adding a new location is good, especially as there’s a lot of things that can be discovered here. However, there is one thing that is both good and bad about the DLC. As mentioned already, the light level cap has been significantly increased thanks to the new DLC, which means that players start out extremely under-leveled for the new encounters.
The Escalation Protocol is a prime example of how under-leveled players are right now. Many players are still stuck at 350 Light after heavy grinding, only to find out that the required light to play Escalation Protocol is 370. It’ll take a long time for players to reach that threshold, which means they’ll have to grind the old weekly activities, the old raids, get their clan engram etc. Basically whatever they’ve been doing prior to the DLC to increase their light.
It’s understandable why players would be frustrated because they’re not able to play the new content the DLC has to offer, and instead they have to play the same old “boring” activities in order to increase their light. However, it’s also good because this means that players will have to put in more effort and the game won’t go completely dry again at least not for a long while this time. Before, players would hit max light fairly quickly, and then they’d run out of things to do and would thus leave the game. The new progression system and the new Escalation Protocol requirements help address this issue too somewhat.
Although Bungie has done a semi-decent job with this DLC, their work is still far from over. The Warmind DLC addresses some big issues with the game, but they’re temporary fixes, they’re just prolonging the inevitable. As long as the game doesn’t have that aspect of something worth grinding for, it will never reach the heights its predecessor did.
Introducing new content, weapons, exotics is fine but in order for them to feel special, each of them should be unique and hard to get, instead of being just handed out after completing story missions. Destiny 1 had exotic bounties which then turned into exotic quests, those really made you earn your exotic weapons, which were worth it later on. That is missing from Destiny 2 and time’s running out for Bungie.
Bungie has failed to deliver on its promises constantly and this may be the final straw for a lot of players. Bungie needs to continue developing updates, giving players incentives to keep on playing otherwise the game will become dead again. The Warmind DLC was a step in the right direction, but there’s still a lot more left to do. Hopefully, by the time the next expansion comes out, Bungie will finally ‘fix’ Destiny 2.