Destiny’s New Player-Friendly Upgrades Leave No Gun Behind

by Jeff Cork on Apr 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Bungie revealed several key pieces of info about the upcoming Destiny expansion, House of Wolves, today. The DLC includes a new social space, as well as a host of fundamental changes to the game’s upgrade system and economy.

The House of Wolves have rebelled against the Queen, and have scattered throughout the galaxy. It’s now up to the Guardians to clean up the mess through a series of quests and bounties. Bungie says these aren’t simple rehashes of past bounties, either. There isn’t any new raid content, but the studio says that endgame content will play out differently every time. They aren’t yet elaborating on how exactly that works.

One of the most notable things players will see in the expansion is the new social space, The Reef. It’s home to the Queen of the Reef and the Awoken, as well as a variety of other characters that are of key importance on this new journey. Bungie showed the area off back in 2013, but it hasn’t been a location that players could explore until now. It’s been built from scratch for the expansion, and Bungie says it’s filled with all-new content and vendors. Signs of damage are difficult to ignore, and wreckage and debris are strewn throughout. Creative director Christopher Barrett says the team wanted to convey a darker and more dangerous atmosphere, with moodier music than what accompanied the base game’s Tower. You’ll be able to visit the Reef even if you don’t spring for the $19.99 DLC.

Petra Venj, the Queen’s emissary, is the main story agent throughout the expansion. She’s not wearing her mask in the Reef, which shows off a missing eye. The story behind that will have to wait, Bungie says. In the meantime, she’s happy to provide access to new items, including ships. One such vessel is called the Ceres Galliot. This turquoise ship features rear-mounted, forward-facing wings.

The game’s level cap has been increased to 34 now, and there are new sets of armor and gear for each faction in the game. We got a look at Variks, another important character for the expansion. He’s a member of the Fallen, and one of the only known remaining members of the Hall of Judgment. He’s lost several of his four arms, and they’ve been replaced with prosthetics. He’s kind of an informant, and he provides intel. His inventory includes a full suite of Fallen items, ships from the Houses of Winters and Devils, shaders, and more. He rotates his wares every week, so he’s likely going to be a regular stop for players.

Another Reef dweller is Brother Vance, a disciple of Osiris. His head is covered in a cloak, and he and his gear has a decidedly Egyptian flair. He stands on a painted symbol of the eye of Osiris, and he provides players access to the trials of Osiris. Bungie says we’ll have to wait to learn more about that aspect of the game in next week’s livestream.

Xur is still a part of the game, and he’s expanding his trade route. Bungie played coy there, saying only that he will arrive on a predictable schedule, he’ll sell stuff, and you can choose what to buy.

The House of Wolves expansion also includes considerable changes to gear. Based on feedback from the community, the studio is tweaking the game’s economy to make upgrades and material management as clear and simple as possible. Players who visit the Speaker at the Tower have new options available. Players can trade ascendant shards for ascendant energy, at a 1:1 exchange ratio. Other materials can be exchanged as well.

House of Wolves introduces new factional weapons, which feature new perks; they aren’t simply recolored versions of existing guns. Players who have been hanging on to older weapons and armor based on sentimental value or other reasons have a way to make them relevant again. These items can be ascended using a new material, etheric light. That essentially makes them competitive again. As an example, we saw the legendary Fatebringer hand cannon go from a 300 attack up to 365 following its ascension. So, you can ascend your Vault of Glass raid armor and add a little visual variety to the world.

Players can also reforge weapons earned in the House of Wolves expansion at the gunsmith. You lose all of your weapon progression by doing so, but you do reroll its perks. Bungie says reforging uses materials that players are likely to already have stockpiled, which should encourage players to give it a shot.

Bungie ended the livestream by saying more livestreams would be coming weekly each Wednesday at 11 a.m. Pacific, until the expansion hits on May 19. Stay tuned.