October 9, 2014 was the release dates that Bungie Developers and Fans alike (I, myself, included) waited on baited breath for. On that Tuesday as of Midnight in certain retail locations, while at 8-9AM on regular retail locations was the release of Bungie’s long anticipated First Person Shooter MMO-Eques styled game, Destiny. The game that offered a redemption to many fans of the RPG like shooter genre that held more serious overtones than predecessors that are as equally awesome such as Borderlands 1 and 2, the Bioshock Series, etc. However, when it came to storyline, many players felt that in terms of gameplay you ultimately learn nothing, which in many ways can draw comparisons to the original World of War Craft games to some degree. It should be understood by many players that the game was intended upon release to be a test run and an introduction to the various things you will encounter throughout the game, from upgrades to powerful enemies who you’ll need to wait to be able to fight, to whole areas that don’t become unlocked until the release of DLC or the ever increased tasks of Raids.
However, in what was supposed to be a marked increase for the Bungie title, has proven to be nothing short of an incredibly harsh penalty to the veteran players. Players who spent time collecting and earning their hard earned gear, be it from the Raid or from the various vendors in the tower (The truth of the weaponry and armor from the Raid, the Vault of Glass, being the difference that it increases your light level and has effects particular to the raid). In now what is released as the first expansion of the game, the Dark Below already offers upgraded versions of exotic weaponry and armor that one previously had, at the cost of having to not only trade in your old gear, but to also spend time grinding to upgrade it once again. In no way does this benefit the player aside from the meager 31+ point stat increase, that while admittedly does matter on a PVE based level; since level disadvantages are removed from the PVP events with the exception of the Iron Banner events, which are also now subject to changes, the game also punishes individuals who have leveled their factions.
Faction upgrades which once gave you either ascendant materials, or legendary weaponry or armor that you may or may not have needed, now also can give you items called Commendations, which, can be used to purchase one item per week, as the DLC also increased the price of the Vanguard and Crucible weaponry and armor that one can purchase. Veteran players will notice that armor that was previously 60 Vanguard or Crucible Marks is now 75, and weapons and certain Legendary Armor pieces are now 150 Vanguard Marks, and require at least 1 Commendation. In this regard, Bungie has set veteran players back some, given that while a vast majority of the community may enjoy the PVP styling of the game, the other majority embraces the PVE part of the game more and wants more storyline. Further, the game also introduces new currency, in which to upgrade weaponry that is specifically different than the standard weaponry. On top of now upgrading just regular weapons the Guardians would use, you now receive items called Runed Cores, Embalming Fluid, as well as two other Radiant Energies and Radiant Shards that now increase you weaponry in order to fully maximize them. This is all produced by the new Vendor, Eris Mourn, who is supposed to be the main NPC for the Dark Below DLC Storyline.
Now from a Storyline perspective, Eris Mourn’s story is basically told in the trailer. She and 5 other guardians, including the familiar Toland, who anyone whose done Toland’s Legacy exotic bounty quest would recognize, went in to fight the Hive and defeat them when the moon was first taken by the Hive. This failed, only to result in Eris Mourn being trapped in the Hive’s Hellmouth until only recently. Now, she sends the Guardians on a series of 3 Major Storyline bases tasks. These tasks result ultimately in two endings: First, the utter destruction of the main boss that represents the storyline, in usual Destiny Fashion of a Strike, by adding further levels and more open areas to the Cosmodrone Map (not much of an improvement mind you), and ultimately the Raid, which I will touch on further. These three story missions, while interactive and provide the player with a new set of challenges, ultimately did not live up to the hype that was given to them. As a veteran player, I had already felt cheated when I learned that instead of using my strange Coins to buy something useful, I now had to trade in my old exotic weaponry for exotic weaponry that really didn’t make that much a difference in the long game of things (though I will admit, as most Destiny Veterans would, I did switch out my Icebreaker for the new one). However, they offered weapons that could not be bought under normal circumstances, only traded in for, which in some ways could be Destiny’s way of saying, “Lol, waste more of your life playing this game.” Which, brings us back to the issue of grinding, and once again, another issue that we previously did not touch on: The Raids.
When Destiny released the Raids, they intended on individuals being able to collaborate with 5 other players and working it out together to beat the Raid as a team and hopefully build friends. However, ultimately, what the Raids are, and how broken the random generation of rewards are for the Raids, in order to complete these obscenely difficult challenging maps you need at least 5 friends who have the time in their busy adult (presumably) schedules, in between work and having to handle their family, to actually work these Raids out within the span of a given week, otherwise, it completely resets. What still remains broken, is the fact that in the Dark Below, they do not fix this issue by adding a Matchmaking system to the actual Raid games. By doing so, they are able to ensure the Raids for their challenging and demanding time, are at least going to be played by a full fire team of 6 people, regardless of when the individuals are able to join in or not. Bungie has yet to address this problem, but continues to fix smaller problems such as nerfing loot caves, boss exploits, and weapon damage? This makes very little sense to a veteran gamer whose dedicated his time between running an indie publishing company, taking care of their family, and going to Graduate School, incredibly difficult, and now here I am, practically forced to restart the entirety of my overall damage because of the errors made on behalf of the developers because they could not properly interpret their decisions in what was supposed to be a long term investment on their end? I, as well as many players on the forum and even Polygon Blog, feel incredibly cheated by the DLC’s raid. Even beating Crota, all this does to tell us about the game is that we destroyed what the Hive view as a God, and basically not even their actual God, but the son of their God ORYX.
Keeping all this in mind, level adjustments were made as well as rewards to resources and the Daily, Weekly, and Nightly Strikefall, and a level 26 Playlist was added to the strike list. As well, new maps have been added, which in truth, fall short of delivering anything but below average interest in the grand scheme. They do not offer up any of the new weaponry or armor that was supposed to be promised and all they can deliver on is the way they were intended to be played for the types of maps that they are.
Overall, MFG would rate the Dark Below DLC at 2 out of 5 Stars total. The game’s lack of storyline development further, only is lacked by the complete and utter penalty that veteran players take.
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