The past few weeks have seen Bungie announce a myriad of details about the anticipated piece of content. On the player vs environment (PVE) side, a new fallen themed raid, a new strike, two reskinned strikes and a new campaign featuring Lord Saladin and the Iron Lords seek to give our fireteams a fresh challenge.For player vs player (PVP), a new gameplay type supremacy, Destiny’s version of “kill confirmed,” and the ability for private matchmaking and custom gametypes give us even more ways to achieve gladiatorial glory.
These additions are what we have come to expect from Destiny. Many expansions that we have received have come with campaign missions, new PVP modes, a raid or other supplemental PVE content, and new social spaces. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly excited for everything that has been announced so far, but the most exciting thing about Rise of Iron is how little it seems to change about the core Destiny experience.
Vanilla Destiny was a game that had incredible mechanics and gameplay masked by poor execution. With the exception of the first raid, Vault of Glass, the game featured bullet sponge bosses, stingy loot systems, a thin PVP mode and nonexistent story. Worst of all, certain gear was almost required to experience the cooperative elements that make Destiny great. Don’t have Gjallarhorn? Good luck running Crota’s End. This was a Destiny player’s year one reality.
The Taken King revolutionized the game. It added true, diverse mechanics to its PVE encounters. It created a quest system that grouped tasks together and allowed Bungie to hide the most sought after weapons behind paths that any player could achieve. The light system paved an attainable road to attaining maximum power as well as multiple ways to get there. The Taken King was everything that we wanted Destiny to become.
After the triumph of The Taken King, Rise of Iron feels like the third base coach is finally waving Destiny home. This is the first major expansion that has not had anything to fix. The light and infuse system is perfect, raids are incredible, PVP has varied modes with relevant rewards, and the story has finally embraced the rich lore that makes the world so interesting. So in Rise of Iron, Bungie finally has the opportunity to give us more of what we love while giving us small improvements that will diversify our experience.
Arguably the most important change in Rise of Iron is the revamp of the artifact system. The Taken King introduced artifacts as bonus items that provided guardians with additional stats and marginally beneficial perks. In the new system, artifacts are tied into the story as lost treasures of the Iron Lords, and each provides a unique perk that has build altering ramifications. Bonuses like a removal of sprint cooldown, the ability to reflect bullets and supers like a Jedi, and a decrease of damage over time effects give guardians the ability specialize for different activities and give players increased options when building a character. This is how you improve upon a fantastic game; by giving players new things to chase that enhance the existing experience in new and interesting ways.
Customization has been long sought after in the world of Destiny, and Rise of Iron is finally giving guardians the full ability to create masterpieces of destruction and grace. Unlike in year one where raid items were the only way to attain maximum power levels, the existing infuse system allows any piece of gear to become the best piece of gear. In addition, Rise of Iron adds ornaments, which are cosmetic effects that add different visual flavors to weapons and armor. Now, you and I can both wield Hawkmoon in the Crucible, but they can both have unique, personal touches.
And it isn’t just looks, as custom games finally give guardians the ability to play multiplayer however they choose. Want to have unlimited rocket ammo on a small map with 200% health? Now you can! With so much to retool in earlier expansions, the Bungie staple was pushed to the wayside, but because Rise of Iron has the solid base of what came before to work with, players can now have access to the wild and zany creations that the developer was famous for during its Halo days.
These are not the only changes and additions coming to Rise of Iron, but they are representative of the game that Bungie has created. Destiny has never been more accessible, diverse, rewarding or plain fun as it will be on September 20. Each subsequent update hands more power to the player to determine the experience that they want to have with Destiny. Rise of Iron only adds more toppings with which you can flavor it. No matter if you are into hypercompetitive nail biters or wacky free-for-alls, arena combat or cooperative juggernauts, Destiny has something for you.
And if you are just a fan of wolves, Rise of Iron has you covered.
Brett Williams is an Associate Writer for MONG who is always looking for fellow guardians to goof off with in the raid. You can usually find him playing Destiny, and not on twitter.