The Amazing Spider Tank

The Amazing Spider Tank
Spider-Tank, Spider-Tank. Does whatever a Spider-Tank does. Can he swing from a web? No he can't, he's a tank. Look out! He is a Spider-Tank!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Destiny Dark Below Review and Thoughts

So we got the Dark Below "expansion" for Destiny earlier this month. I wanted to give the expansion a little time before I reviewed it and posted my thoughts. I'm glad I did, because I have changed my opinion about it a couple of times.

When it first came out we were given 3 story missions, although we could only repeat 2 of them so I didn't think that should count. We got a new raid and a new strike (although PS users got an additional strike).

Those lucky PS bastards
 I enjoyed playing the new stuff although I was again saddened at the complete lack of story again. This game has no story at all. Maybe they don't want it to and just want it to be about the mechanics. The mechanics are at least very well done so it has that. It's just sad that a Bungie game has no story when they've had a good history of the opposite.

All the new content can be done extremely quickly and the only reason it takes a few hours is because you have to go back to the Tower to turn stuff in after every new bounty and mission. That gets a little tiring. Also, the new Eris bounties you get aren't really new, it's still just "go there, kill that". But oh well, I'm not sure what else I should have expected.

I want some vehicle missions, or a timed thing where you have to race on your sparrow to get away. Let's see some variety!

But anyway, going back to Eris. She's a new Tower vendor with her own list of items and bounties and her own reputation to gain. Unfortunately, Bungie thought it would be smart to give one of her small amount of daily bounties to specific classes. So every day you get to sit and watch you not gain more rep simply because you are not a certain class. That's dumb. We should have gotten a class specific bounty, but that everyone would get one specific to their class. Oh well, not a huge deal. I am finding that it's gonna take a while to get your rep to lvl 4. I haven't done the math but I wonder if it's actually possible to do before they release the hard raid at the end of the month? In the meantime you can enjoy some new shaders and class items which do look pretty cool.

I think there's a cream for that...
 The new strike is fine. I enjoy strikes and this is more of the same. The last boss, Omnigul, is a bullet sponge like all the others and you are forced to stay in the back room and poke out to shoot like you are for almost all the other strike bosses. There are tons of Hive though and it's fun to mow down tons of enemies while dodging wizard blasts. We also got a new strike playlist although the rewards still suck.

Nothing but hot babes in this expansion...
 Onto the new raid though: Crota's End. I really enjoyed the new raid. I was able to attempt it on day 1 and although I didn't officially beat it until the next week, it was still a lot of fun. I really love the first part of the raid and I think it may be my favorite part of the entire game so far. It's intense and glitch free as far as I can tell. I love sticking together as a group and slogging it out trying to get to the end, all the while getting hounded by enemies and being in the complete dark. You have to choose to stop and try to revive a fallen compatriot, and the joy of reaching a beacon and looking back to see a friend being swarmed and almost taken down, only to be saved by a mass of gunfire from you and your friends is something rarely achieved in gaming these days. And then at the end where you are standing on a glyph plate trying to materialize a bridge and your teammates start going down, and then when the bridge is formed you just rush into the light, all the while being chases by hundreds of enemies. It's great fun.

This never happen. Just run.
 The next part is also pretty fun although now that there is a way you can cheese past it, there's really no point to slugging through to try and beat it legitimately. It's a shame, but when you have a game that simply requires you to do the same thing over and over again for an end goal, you don't care how you do it, just as long as you reach the goal, and you can rationalize using a cheese method in a variety of ways. But then again I think this argument stands in that since there are no directions on how to beat the various parts of the game, anything goes. But anyway, beating this part the way it seems the designers would want it beat is fun and thrilling with everyone standing on summoning plates and then killing sword bearers and rushing over the bridge to kill gatekeepers and the coordination needed is very satisfying when you finally beat it.

You then have a little fun part charging down a hallway destroying some Shriekers on your way to try and jump into a doorway for a nice chest reward.

Then you get to kill Ir Yut, which is the hardest part of the raid IMO and actually the only one that can't be cheesed. Although don't feel bad for Bungie because you also don't get any loot for beating it which I believe is a mistake. In general you have to lure out a wizard on both sides, then kill shriekers on both sides, then finally kill Ir Yut before she finishes her litany of death. It's still pretty fun and with all the enemies being a higher lvl than you it's quite difficult.

If you manage to get this far you get to try and beat Crota. He's a giant knight with a death sword as well as the ability to shoot you somehow. You have no healing in this part and must rely on passing a chalice around (think relic) in order to heal. You also have to kill a sword bearer, grab the sword, and as everyone else drops Crota's shield he will fall to his knees and the sword bearing guardian will go in and hit him to bring down his health. Rinse and repeat several times and you will be rewarded with Crota's End.

Hit him! Hit him!
 There are a number of decent drops in this raid including some fun weapons and cool looking armor that is the only way to get to lvl 32. Also new to this raid are the radiant materials needed to upgrade this raid's armor. You can only get the materials in the raid so it's going to be a while before I will reach 32. Luckily they retooled the drop system to take into account your previous winnings and try to get you something new. I've done the raid 6 times I think by now, and when I've gotten an item of some sort and not just materials, I've gotten something different every time except twice. So I think that's cool. I have gotten everything I need in order to get to 32, I just need the materials now, so back to the grind.

My new goal-weapon
 Alongside the new raid has come the new, and controversial, method of upgrading your old exotics into the new damage ceiling. This has you going back to Xur once a week to see what item he offers an upgrade, then having you fork out 7k glimmer and an exotic shard (which can be bought from Xur for 7 Strange Coins or received from dismantling an exotic item). Then you turn in your old exotic for a shiny new one with its base damage starting out at 300, and then you have to fully upgrade all the perks again to get it to the new damage ceiling of 330 or so, ending with another exotic shard for the last damage upgrade. People shouldn't be surprised at this type of method. It's clearly a way to increase the grind so they can brag about players playing their game, and is an unfortunate part of MMO like games. Most games have some type of system like this, and we all know that 99% of Destiny is a grind so we shouldn't be surprised. It's a shame that Bungie's changes and "expansions" usually are in the form of forcing you to grind some more but that seems to be the pattern. If you don't like it, stop playing.

They haven't released the hard version of the raid yet. This is probably a good thing although I think it's only done for their benefit, not the players'. I believe the reason they did this is twofold: They don't want to be shown up again and see that their hardest content can be beaten in less than a day, which it surely would have been. And they wanted some time to see how people beat it and find cheesy ways of beating it so they can patch it all so to make it extremely hard to beat it when it finally comes out. They also haven't released the raid legendary primary weapons, which will only drop in the hard raid. Oh well. I am still looking forward to trying to get the new stuff as I'm sure they are awesome, but it will be frustratingly difficult I'm sure. If Bungie spent half as much time just improving their game rather than trying to make sure players have a hard time beating it or preventing exploits, Destiny could have been something amazing. It's all part of the business of gaming these days. I also don't really like the new precedent of their definition of a hard difficulty is just to make the enemies be a level higher than you can possibly get. The hard raid I believe will end with lvl 33 enemies, and we can only get to 32. That's not really a good way of making something hard, it's a cop out. Make it hard through gameplay, not simply giving everyone a 20% decrease in damage.

Overall I think the expansion is still worth the money. I will definitely spend enough time playing the new stuff to warrant the cost, even though I have a sneaking suspicion it's more due to the addicting nature of the game rather than actual enjoyment, but I am still having fun playing with friends and meeting new people from all over the world. I really hope Bungie will listen to fans and try to make this game better in good ways and if not with this game, then for Destiny 2, but until then I will slog on towards my quest of getting and doing everything. As of this writing Bungie did make it so we can replay the 1st expansion mission which was previously unavailable, so that's good. It was probably an error but I'm glad they fixed it. Until next time, happy gaming!

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