Destiny: Evaluating Xur’s First Expansion Week And Looking Forward
Destiny’s first expansion pack, The Dark Below, dropped on Tuesday, but key elements in the new upgrade system and even a quest was held up until Friday when mysterious vendor, Xûr, appeared in the Tower at his scheduled time. Today, we look back on the first weekend, analyze the pros and cons, and offer our thoughts on how things should be tweaked going forward.
First, a quick explanation of the changes to Xûr’s offerings. This vendor appears at different spots throughout the Tower starting early Friday morning to early Sunday morning (3 A.M. Central U.S. time). Since launch, he had primarily stocked one exotic piece of armor for each class, a total of three, and a single exotic weapon on a weekly rotating schedule. He only accepted strange coins for these items. Exotic engrams were also available for trade with the motes of light currency. This section of the shop remains unchanged for the most part.
As part of the increased level cap from 30 to 32, Xûr now also offers upgrades to current exotics so that they will move up to even out with the new, top gear. Instead of simply upgrading anything you’d like, he’ll only work on specific items every week. This amounts to six different armor pieces and six weapons. If Bungie rotates the stock completely, every weapon and armor piece from the base game should get a shot at upgrading approximately once every three weeks since the launch game had 20 guns and 18 armor pieces. To upgrade, one must turn in the old item, more than 7,000 glimmer, and an exotic shard (which is also on sale for 7 strange coins).
Additionally, the new expansion quest giver, Eris Morn, requires that you purchase the Urn of Sacrifice from Xûr as part of the questline and return this item to him after completing certain requirements.
-The lineup for the first week’s upgrades included many player favorites. Warlock Sunbreakers and the Titan Armamentarium are widely used, and Suros Regime, Red Death, and Icebreaker are some of the most popular weapons. It's great that we were able to upgrade these standards on week one.
-Titans had the option of purchasing the new Ruin Wings gauntlets, which primarily beef up heavy weapon play. The Achlyophage Symbiote is a common, yet useful hunter helmet that is good to start with the new level 32 base.
-The exotic helmet engrams paid out well at least anecdotally in our office and friend group. Many of us received one or more of the new helmets with long-hoarded motes of light.
-Despite gripes online about having to relevel upgraded guns, your damage rating actually increases from a topped out 300 to 302 with the new potential to end up at 331. You lose out on special features at the time, but upgrades move noticeably faster so you’re back in business before too long.
-This is the seventh week that Xûr has sold those damn Voidfang Vestments for warlocks out of 14. People are sick of these things, especially since they boost the void subclass over the more popular Sunsinger class.
-Xûr isn’t around long enough anymore. With all of these new tasks to do, limiting his presence to Friday and Saturday doesn’t cut it. Glimmer maxes out at 25,000, meaning you’ll have to farm it if you want to perform more than three upgrades. The stress is on because you don’t know how long you’ll have to wait before certain items you want will return. If things rotate evenly it could be weeks, but if there’s no rhyme or reason to the shuffling of exotic upgrades it could be a month or more before it’s ready to upgrade again. On top of this you’ve got the lengthy Urn of Sacrifice quest that has to be started and finished with Xûr. Many players that didn't have ample time this past Saturday will have to wait until next Friday to turn it in even if they had time to play all Sunday. Due to the way the timezones work out, we’d be more than happy with the Australian Xûr schedule. The eastern Australian timezone runs from Friday at 7 P.M. to Sunday at 7 P.M.
-Speaking of the urn quest, the reward for completion wasn’t handled all that well. Many players dug in on Tuesday, buying gauntlets and boots with saved vanguard marks to start the road to level 31. By the time Xûr rolled around on Friday and players completed the urn quest, they discovered the reward was level 31-quality gauntlets hardly different than the ones you almost certainly bought from the shop that week and already leveled up. The quest reward should have either been known up front or it should have been something more desirable, like the Murmur gun reward in an earlier Eris quest. We’d accept a new gun, a runed core (which is necessary to max out Murmur), or even a legendary helmet over the gauntlets. The latter is twice the marks and requires the new commendation currency so it’s far less likely that players will have already purchased it.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Most of the upgrade trepidation is over now that we know exactly how expansion Xûr works. The frustration will come with the wait for your desired exotic to come around. This could be especially tough if you missed out on an item this week. Fortunately, upgrades will be less of an issue as time passes and as more players boost up their old gear. Most newly obtained exotics will drop at the higher level and won’t require an upgrade. Strangely, exotics that drop in the Vault of Glass raid are capped at the old max so they’ll still need a boost. Hopefully, Bungie will change this in an upcoming hotfix.
At this point, Bungie can’t change the Urn quest reward, but it would be extra helpful if we could turn in the quest with Eris instead of the elusive Xûr. The least likely, yet most handy change would be for Xûr to stick around for longer or at better times for those of us in North America.
What do you think of the Xûr and upgrade changes? If applicable, what tweaks would you like to see to the system?