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14 Ways Destiny Is Changing For House of Wolves

by Matt Miller on May 06, 2015 at 08:01 AM

I visited Bungie recently to get the scoop on Destiny’s second big expansion. There’s a lot of new content coming in, and a number of old features that are changing. I’ve written about some of these features elsewhere (linked below where appropriate), but other snippets of info are listed here for the first time. Regardless, here’s your go-to guide to what you can expect if you decide to give House of Wolves a try on May 19.

Five New Story Missions
The Dark Below gave us three story missions, and House of Wolves is upping the ante with a couple more. These story missions are the only part of the new expansion that I didn’t get a chance to play during my visit to Bungie. However, the opening cinematic for the expansion helps to set up the situation.

A Fallen leader named Skolas has escaped from the Prison of Elders, and the House of Wolves that the Awoken once controlled have rebelled and returned to their old leader. The Awoken Queen is furious at the betrayal, and she opens up the Reef to Earth’s guardians. You must hunt down Skolas and his many, many minions.

The Shadow Thief
House of Wolves includes a new strike to add into the rotation, and you can expect to see a good bit of the new strike enter into the regular cycle of weekly nightfalls and heroics. I took on the new strike, and really enjoyed the fight. 

The story of the Shadow Thief is all about a dangerous Fallen named Taniks the Scarred, who is not a member of any Fallen house. He’s holed up on the Wolfship Kaliks-Syn near Earth’s moon. 

After a short run through a familiar section of the Moon, a beam of teleporting light ascended my team onto the enemy ship. The fighting here was intense, particularly because of the presence of new exploding Shanks that kept on showing up and sneaking up on us from behind. A mid-point boss against a Fallen Walker Tank proved to be a potent challenge. Afterwards, Taniks showed up repeatedly throughout the rest of the strike, until one final climactic encounter saw his defeat. 

New Bounties
The queen’s emissary from the Queen’s Wrath event returns in House of Wolves, and she acts as a voice for her queen. Specifically, Petra offers new daily bounties that would be the envy of Star Wars’ Boba Fett. New Fallen enemies now show up throughout the worlds of Destiny, and you can take on the task of bringing them down. 

Completing bounties for Petra helps rank you up with the new House of Judgment faction. Cool new class items, shaders, and ships are among the options of high-tier House of Judgment membership.

Trials of Osiris
The new PvP endgame experience is a new variation on the Crucible that should appeal to longtime players ready to test their mettle. Firmly targeted at high-level players, the Trials of Osiris has a complex economy of rewards and match entry rules that you can learn all about here

[Next Page: Details on the new social play space]

New Multiplayer Maps
If the weekend Trials of Osiris event isn’t your thing, but you hunger for some new battlefields in which to bash down your fellow guardians, then the three new multiplayer maps should fit the bill. If you play on a Sony console, expect a fourth. Learn more right here

The Prison of Elders
This entirely new arena-based game mode is a lot like Gears of War’s horde mode, but with several tweaks. House of Wolves may not have a new raid, but the Prison of Elders is aiming to take up a similar amount of your time. You can learn all about the new game mode here

The Vestian Outpost
Destiny’s new social space includes the normal expected options, like access to your vault and a postmaster, as well as several new vendors and characters. The outpost in the Reef will be the main hub for high level players turning in bounties with Petra, Trials passages with Brother Vance, and armor and weapon cores with Variks. 

The setting itself is painted in a cool, darkened tone, surrounded by the floating detritus of the Reef. As such, the area acts as a sharp contrast to the bright warmth of the Tower. 

Materials Exchange
Bungie has heard the cries of players with hundreds of stored ascendant and radiant materials, and the Speaker is coming to the rescue. In the new expansion, you can exchange shards for energy and vice versa (both ascendant and radiant), as well as get motes of light or glimmer for your old and unused materials. 

In addition to now stocking weapon telemetries, the gunsmith also has a new ability. You can bring new House of Wolves weapons to him, and he’ll reforge them to get new perks. The task requires an equipped weapon from the expansion, a mote of light, a few weapon parts, and a small amount of glimmer. This way, even if you get a purple weapon with some disliked perks, you can retry until you get what you want.

Rotating Nightfalls and Heroics
Tired of playing a nightfall on all three of your characters, and then doing the same mission again for all your heroic weekly strikes? That system is changing, so that the nightfall each week will be different from the heroic weekly strike. 

[Next Page: Details on getting new gear, and improving your old]

New Gear
House of Wolves is positively awash in new gear. Whether you attain it through normal mission rewards, or as part of an event like the Prison of Elders or Trials of Osiris, you can expect a lot more variety in endgame-tiered weapons and armor than before. During my brief hours playing, I only personally acquired a few new pieces for my guardian, but I asked some of the Bungie team about their favorites. Repeatedly, I heard about Lord of Wolves, a shotgun that shoots very much like the Fallen Captain shotgun that has been the bane of so many guardians. I also heard that the long-rumored warlock helm called The Ram is a particularly potent tool.

Old Gear, Made New
Many players were sad when The Dark Below released that the upgrade system left behind some of their favorite legendary gear, and that upgrading exotic items was such a chore. The new system simplifies that experience, and also assures that your old purple gear can still be valuable. 

If you’re already leveled your exotics to the top current tier, advancing them to the new cap is as easy as spending an additional exotic shard. So, if you have a lot of exotic weapons and armor, it might be worth hoarding some exotic shards in the coming weeks in preparation. 

For purple legendary weapons and armor, a new upgrade material called etheric light allows players to ascend a single item up to the new level cap (365 damage for weapons). Etheric light can be a drop after completing Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner, Nightfall Strikes, or Prison of Elders. 

This new upgrade system means that you could have a helmet from Vault of Glass, a chest piece from Crota’s End, arm protection from a favorite faction, and leg armor from Trials of Osiris, and eventually upgrade all to the new level 34 cap. It also means that those of us who have been holding onto a Vision of Confluence or Fatebringer (or any other older legendary weapon) can now expect to have those favorite weapons be at full power once again (after a little upgrade investment). 

New Faction Gear
Remember all that faction rep grinding you did? The various factions will all have new weapons and armor to pick up, if you’re so inclined. 

Multiplayer For All
Were you too strapped for cash to pick up The Dark Below? The PvP maps from that first expansion are heading into full public circulation, whether you own the first expansion or not. 

Will you be picking up Destiny's House of Wolves expansion? Share your thoughts about the ongoing growth of the game in the comments below.