The Destiny you play today will be very different to the one you played a year ago when it was first released, and with its newest expansion The Taken King, things are set to change again, but this time for the better. Many people were upset with the lack of content Bungie offered with their first two expansions, The Dark Below and House of Wolves and, while the renowned developer (known mostly for its legendary Halo series) did release patches here and there attempting to amend the issue it was never enough for the ravenous player base. Which is why, when Mark Noseworthy, executive producer for The Taken King stated boldly “people want more content. Well guess what, The Taken King’s got a ton more content” it was met with overwhelming joy.
“people want more content. Well guess what, The Taken King’s got a ton more content”
Starting up The Taken King, you may notice that a few things are missing. Your Ghost, a robotic ally that serves as a narrator voiced by Peter Dinklage, is nowhere to be seen (or heard) and after having to put up with it for almost a year, it’s a strangely pleasant surprise. Instead, your character is seen flying through hyperspace in a typical space-opera fashion, heading towards whatever lies ahead. When you do land, the real story begins and as promised by Bungie, it really has been pushed up a notch.
As someone who is a huge fan of MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games), story is a big part of my gaming experience. Sure, we all like to go around smashing the faces of aliens and demons, but without a reason for being there, it all just seems lacklustre to me. The Taken King steps away from its predecessors when it comes to the story, providing a logical and understandable situation without loads of confusing jargon: you’re simply a man (or woman) on a mission, at least for now.
After a short initial cut scene and conversation, you’ll enter the world of The Taken King fully, and while I only played a hands-on demo, I felt like Bungie were happy showing off a lot of what they had to offer. Rather than hiding any bugs or issues away, they were happy to explain what was and what was not to be in the final product. I started in a new zone called The Dreadnaught which is tight, compact and a little claustrophobic, especially as you cannot use your sparrow here, the futuristic motorbike players have become nearly all too reliant on for navigation. It’s well designed though and it really shows Bungie’s dedication to a growing community, with areas not solely dedicated to simply mowing down baddies. In The Dreadnaught, 50 pieces of an exotic weapon are spread around, requiring the player to platform and navigate through the zone in different ways in order to find them.
The nicest thing about The Dreadnaught though, was how different it was to anything we’ve already seen in Destiny. It provided a truly different experience that required me to play the game in a different way than I had before, making sure I wasn’t simply bored the moment I started up the game. Bungie have also added new questing experiences to the old content too, and it’s not a matter of simply re-hashing the old stuff, but instead by introducing a new experience called ‘The Taken War’ which spans across the entire Destiny universe and breathes new life into areas that were once forgotten. A lot of these quests are really unique and challenging too, which is a pleasant change compared to some of the incredibly easy content Destiny currently offers, especially for heavily geared players.
For those who aren’t so heavily geared though (like myself) and are still stuck levelling up, there’s good news too, as the system has been completely revamped making it a lot easier to understand, without dumbing it down too much. Both ‘light’ score and gear score are measured separately now and both allow the player to feel like they are actually making an improvement to their character when they get a new weapon or piece of armour. Most interestingly, though, are the changes to the gear itself, with each new weapon Bungie have introduced being unique and completely varied. Even the humble old shotgun seemed to breathe new life into a game that until now had seen its fair share of duplicated skins and models.
All of this might sound great so far, but they don’t really amass to anything until the players actually have something to play. Bungie has constantly been smited for a lack of content, but with The Taken King this does seem destined to change. For nearly every player, Strikes, cooperative activities players are called to do, are a major element to the game, and The Taken King has put a fresh new twist on them.
First of all, each Strike is designed with replayability in mind, with each Strike having a randomized encounter that changes each time you play it, changing the enemies you will face, the weapons that will spawn and the location of the objectives too. Bungie are also talking the issue of those players who are AFK during fights, by teleporting them forward or having them temporarily controlled by the computer until the player returns, ensuring that the rest of the team never feels a strain from a missing player.
In regards to the other players, PvP has always been a huge part of Destiny and The Taken King only aims to improve this further. While I was put off by the state of PvP a year ago, when I first picked up Destiny and ended up playing the same two maps over and over, the newest expansion introduces a whole load of new maps that I think people will be very excited to play. Personally, my favourite was Vertigo, a floating structure over the planet Mercury that is all to do with vertical combat (hence the name), and it really forced me to play the game in a way I had never before. There are also new game modes too, so players won’t be stuck in the same old deathmatch style fights over and over. ‘Capture the minecart’ style maps, seen in games such as Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria are introduced, as well as a few new variations on capture the flag.
Whilst my experience with The Taken King was spectacular (especially in comparison to the Destiny I had played previously), there was one thing that Bungie didn’t show: their newest raid, the King’s Fall. While it’s pretty obvious to assume what will occur during this raid (clue is in the name), it’s a shame we didn’t get a taster. Understandably, Bungie want to keep their endgame content secret, and by the sounds of it, they’re not worried about it anyway, instead they are eager to open it to the public.
I think it’ll give me something to do while I should be writing my dissertation
So will I be getting The Taken King now that it’s been released? Probably. For some people, including myself, Destiny was a waste of money when it first came out and continued to be a waste of money way into its first year. However, with The Taken King also bundling in the first two expansions (which I never did invest in) as well as all the new content it’s bringing itself, I think it’ll give me something to do while I should be writing my dissertation.