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Exclusive Interview Dives Deep On Destiny Spring Update

by Matt Miller on Mar 23, 2016 at 08:54 AM

Bungie is rolling out info about its Destiny April Update through a series of three live streams, the first of which just concluded. Ahead of the stream, we were able to ask some questions of Ryan Paradis, the live events lead designer who has been in charge of preparing the update, and he provided additional detail about what’s on the way. If you missed the live stream, or you want to learn a little more about what you can expect, dive on in.

This week’s content reveals zero in on new activities, so we’ve focused on those in our questions. Specific details about gear, Crucible updates, and other facets of the Destiny experience won’t be explored until later. Read ahead to learn more about the April Update’s story, what you’ll be doing as you aim to hit the new light cap of 335, changes to King’s Fall, a major update to Prison of Elders, and more. 

After you read the interview, don't forget to check out our dedicated media gallery for the April Update, which includes over 100 screens that show off the new activities. 

What is the goal for the April Update? When you began development on this new content, what were the most important objectives for your team?

Our goal with the April update was to hit a few different fronts. We have a lot of fans who fell in love with exploration on the Dreadnaught, with our Strikes, and with the Prison of Elders, but they’ve moved past them. We wanted to revitalize some of these favorites, and at the same time provide new challenges and rewards. As the Live team has done in the past, we wanted to provide awesome new vanity items for players to both express themselves better, and to look like the badasses they truly are. 

Another thing that was really important for us to accomplish with this update was to provide players more choices in how to become more powerful. The raid is a great endgame option, because it’s challenging, requires tons of coordination, and features our most complex mechanics, but for players who aren’t routinely raiding, we wanted to provide viable endgame gear upgrade options in Prison of Elders, Strikes, the Court of Oryx, and Crucible activities.

What’s the top-level story idea for the April Update? How does the new story content dovetail from the events of The Taken King release?

The focus for the April update is on the Reef and what’s going on there after the devastation. While they’re beaten, they’re not down for the count, and Variks will be guiding you through the update. Although Oryx is dead, the Taken are still as strong as ever, and Variks is tasking you to stop them from resurging. The new story is intended to provide a small continuation of the Taken King storyline, and dovetail into our new Strike and Prison of Elders content.

Will there be new Grimoire cards to acquire? 

With everything we’ve added in this update, there are of course new Grimoire Cards to further expound on the deeper lore of Destiny. I don’t want to spoil any of the new lore, but there are new grimoire cards for some of the new activities, some of the gear you’ll encounter, and even some bosses you’ll be fighting. We know how passionate the fans are about the lore we put in the Grimoire, and wanted to make sure to scratch that itch with this update, too.

What’s the concept behind the Blighted Chalice strike? 

Variks is going to leverage your particular set of skills to track down a new Taken threat. The Blighted Chalice Strike is the conclusion of that questline.

King’s Fall is being updated with gear that goes up to light value 330. Are these the same pieces that were previously available in the raid, but at a higher level? Or are there new gear pieces/weapons? Have the King’s Fall fights themselves changed at all? Will this version of King’s Fall (with 330 gear) be a third difficulty?

With the increase in overall light, both current difficulties will be adjusted to provide additional challenge and commensurate rewards. The Challenge Modes will still be available, but we aren’t adding a third difficulty tier, or any new encounters. 

How will Court of Oryx change? Can you tell us anything about any of the new bosses or fights that Guardians might encounter there? Is the highest level fight still triggered with an Antiquated Rune?

With Court of Oryx, Guardians will continue summoning enemies with existing runes. No changes there. We have boosted the drops coming out of the Court to better prepare Guardians for the other challenges we’ve setup in this update, though.  

Next Page: Learn about the big changes coming to Prison of Elders.

How is Prison of Elders changing with the new update? Can players use matchmaking for either or both of the new PoE game modes? How is scoring handled in the Prison of Elders score challenge mode?

Prison of Elders is seeing a fair amount of updates in our April release.

First off, we’ve heard the players who were bummed that Prison was no longer a challenge after level 34. With that in mind, we’ve added a new level 41 version of the Prison of Elders.

In addition, Variks has been collecting Taken combatants for the Prison. Launching into the Level 41 Prison of Elders has the potential to put you up against the Taken, with brand new bosses and mechanics, and players will be able to matchmake into the level 41 version of the Prison of Elders.

For the Challenge of the Elders, players will need to gather a fireteam to face a different version of the Prison. Each week you’ll face down three different bosses, with new skulls and bonus modifiers active. One week, you could face a Hive Knight as part of the three battles who summons mines and bounces players around the arena, and Guardians have the Small Arms skull and a score bonus to precision kills. Another week, you may encounter a newly augmented Servitor that warps around the arena and drops bouncing grenades if Guardians draw too near, but Grounded skill is active and Guardians get a bonus to all melee kills. 

Each week players will face a different set of bosses, a different set of mechanics, all in pursuit of a high score. We intend to create sixteen weeks without repeats, and each week’s changing mechanics will require players to re-gear and re-make their build in order to come out ahead. All kinds of actions will earn you points, including precision kills, melee kills, use of your super, assists, and more.  By gearing and playing properly, you’ll ensure your team earns a reward and has a place on the leaderboards amongst your friends and clan.

On top of this, Variks is offering bounties guiding players to the Prison activities to help them boost their reputation gains and offer even more in the way of reward opportunities.

It sounds as if one or more of the Reef vendors may be seeing some changes. Can you detail what players can expect out of the vendors in the update?

Right! Variks is the one guiding you through all of this, and his inventory has received quite the facelift. He’s got the House of Judgment reputation now, and all of his gear has been updated. More on that in week two of our Twitch shows.

Will the April Update feature any changes to the sandbox and/or balancing for classes or weapon types, and if so, when can we expect to learn the details of those changes?

Just like all of our past Live updates, the Sandbox team has been watching the players and reviewing data.  We’ll roll many of the big ticket items out in show three, and of course, we’ll publish our patch notes for those looking for all the nitty gritty details.

In addition to new weapons and armor, can players expect any new cosmetic items in the April Update? Is there the possibility for new ships, or the availability of ships like Fatal Vision that seem currently unobtainable? Any new sparrows, emblems, or shaders?

The Live team has definitely been hard at work for new vanity items for your Guardians, including ships, Sparrows, and new visual gear we’re not quite ready to discuss yet. Next week we’ll delve more into the rewards, what they are, how they work, and who you’ll have to smush to get them.

The initial reveal for the April Update last week showed off what appears to be Guardians with a Taken-style shader. If that is a shader, what is it called, and can you tell us anything about how it is obtained?

There are a few Taken-inspired items player will be encountering in this update. I’m really not allowed to spoil anything yet, but next week we’ll be able to address that in much more detail.

We hear that next week may bring some information about the specific new gear coming in the April Update. Any particularly cool items or weapons you’d like to tease in advance of next week’s reveal?

I think I’ve teased all I’m allowed to without being on the receiving end of some wrath… I can say I’m extremely excited about some of the new vanity options players will get on some of the armor with this update. My Titan will be wrecking house in style come April 12th. I hope to see you there, too!