The Road to Destiny 2

Destiny, part 20

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally here.

Time is a Construct

Ever since Bungie’s big reveal, it’s been on our minds almost constantly, and the beta did nothing to sate our hunger for the game; merely made us thirst for the experience.  Days passed by in blissful melancholy as we knew what was to come, and what it was we would lose at the beginning.  But today, our ritual gives no comfort.  For today, before us, our “god”, The Traveler, was seized and we lay weakened without its touch.  But before we get into that, let’s back up a bit…

No bueno

You Betta Work

All day at work, I was texting and messaging nearly everyone I knew to try to find out if anyone was going to be available after I got off work to go to GameStop so I could pick up my copy of Destiny 2: Extreme Justice (because this game needs a damn subtitle.)  But person after person was either working or would already be in bed by then, so I was close to giving up.  Then it dawned on me, I have Uber installed on my phone but I’ve never used it.  There’s a first time for everything, right?  As it got closer and closer to 10:30, I started to become more and more anxious.  Was an Uber driver even going to be available at that time of night?  If so, was he/she going to be a nice person?  Or clean?  I would soon find out.

I clocked out on the dot and rushed home as fast as my legs would carry me.  As soon as I was inside I plugged in my dying phone and booted up the app.  After a nervous few seconds, I gave in to the pressure and requested my first ever Uber ride.  The lucky winner’s name was John.  As I dashed about the house throwing my work clothes in to wash and putting something on that didn’t reek of my sweaty body, I sat nervously and watched the little car icon drive closer and closer to my house.  As I saw the bright headlights vanquish the darkness of my street, I locked my front door and walked out to meet my new friend.  He was a lovely old southern black gentleman who had very good taste in music.  The interior of his car was practically spotless save for the wet floor mat which was understandable as it had been raining off and on all day.

After guiding him back to interstate (the exit near my house is weird and usually needs some explaining to people that have never been there) we were on our way.  The trip was quick and the conversation was pleasant to say the least.  John was from around here but briefly lived in Baltimore for a few years of his life and decided to move back to be closer to family.  He was divorced and currently retired save for his side job as a driver for Uber.  As we talked and got to know one another, I nervously eyeballed the clock as it was getting closer and closer to 11:30.  I had received a call from the manager at GameStop while I was at work several hours ago about the release for Destiny 2 and she told me they would be giving out the game until 11:30 then they would be closed.  I thanked her for the information and went back to fretting about whether or not I was going to be able to get my copy today or not.  Well, here I was at 11:20 pulling up to the front door of GameStop, relief filling every part of my body.  I thanked John for getting me there, gave him 5 stars and a tip and rushed inside to what I thought was a lackluster turnout.  But then again, since it was late at night I imagine that everyone that wanted their copy had been there hours ago.  I had to be a stupid responsible adult and go to work.  Fuck me, right?

I honestly thought my Uber experience was going to be like this.

After getting my game and finally getting the last of the Destiny Funko Pops I pre-ordered, I walked out of the store into the damp darkness of the parking lot.  I had hoped that I would be able to get a ride back home with my friend Glenn who works at the nearby Sheetz, but his replacement didn’t show up so I gave Uber another go.  John once again came to my rescue (he fortunately hadn’t gotten too far away) and got me back home safe and sound.  5 more stars and another nice tip under his belt and I came home to face what was to come in Destiny 2: Fist of Humiliation (coming to theaters this fall!)

Long live The Taken King

Sweet Emotion

I quickly logged on PS4, inserted the disc and anxiously waited for the patch to download.  I joined my brothers in arms in party chat and sucked down a soda and some microwaved mac n cheese (with bacon…mmmmmmm bacon) while the patch downloaded and installed.  I also redeemed my pre-order codes and then twiddled my thumbs until the moment had arrived.  I was not at all prepared for what happened next.  Being that I’m a veteran player and I’ve been here since day one of Year One, I was treated to a wonderful bit of reminiscing that made me burst into tears as I watched the slideshow play out.  I don’t have the words to describe how sweet it is that Bungie recorded all of this stuff, so I’m going to share the screen shots that I took of everything and you can judge it for yourself:

My first thought upon completing the main story quest was ‘that’s it?’

Story wise, things got much worse.

4/16/2015 was a red letter busy day for me

Before I met the 3 guys I completed this raid with, I almost gave up on Destiny completely.

Mora Sov is one badass bitch!

I remember this night fondly.  It was almost to the end of Year One and defeating Skolas was the last Moment of Triumph that I needed to complete before Year Two began.  I managed to complete it with only a few days left before the release of The Taken King.

Still the BEST expansion for Destiny, no contest.

I remember this night fondly too.  Thanks to the compassion of a girl from the U.K. named Claire, I got my first King’s Fall clear.  After that night I was determined to help as many people get through this raid and learn it as I had.  I wanted to help people the way Claire had helped me.

The second best expansion to Destiny, though to be honest I’m still disappointed by it.

I still hate this raid, though without Phil’s help (and bitchiness) I probably never would have learned it or completed it.  Phil is to Wrath of the Machine as I was to King’s Fall.  Every night for months after the release of Rise of Iron he was sherpa-ing a new group through the raid to help them get Outbreak Prime, the hardest Exotic you could get in Destiny.  Thanks for your tutelage Phil, you taught me well.

They took the time to record not only the dates of when I completed every single major event in the game over the last 3 years, but who I completed them with.  I remember each of these victories, each of these days and how each of them made me feel at the time.  That’s class.  I muted my mic though the others knew what was happening for they had already each been dealt the blow before I got back home.  Once I was done having my moment and I completed the opening mission it was finally time to see what happened next.

I’m not going to spoil anything as the game is new and I don’t want to be one of those people that ruins everything for everyone else, but I will say it was good to have the band back together again.  I’m glad that they took all the data from the beta tests and put it to good use.  Everything feels buttery smooth and refined.  There’s so much for us to explore and do that it’s probably going to take months to finish.  I look forward to new adventures with my Guardians.

Oh, hello DADDY!

Welcome to a world without light

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Reset Terminus

Destiny, part 19

Tonight is the last weekly reset for Destiny before Destiny 2 hits next week.  I know it’s not like they’re going to turn Destiny off once part 2 begins (at least they better not, I know a certain someone that hasn’t done any of the raids yet) and it will still be there if I ever want to go back and play it.  I take comfort in that.

I thought, for the sake of posterity, I would record the state of the game for this last reset.  A sort of snap shot, signaling the end of a 3 year long journey, before the beginning of our fourth year in Bungie’s sci-fi universe.  Without further ado:

The Featured Raid:  King’s Fall

Challenge of the Elders:  Catapult, Precision Kill Bonus, Small Arms

Nightfall:   The Wretched Eye with Epic, Fresh Troops, Match Game, Catapult, Exposure

Heroic Strikes:  Heroic, Arc Burn, Specialist, Exposure

Weekly Story:  Dark Champions playlist with Heroic, Berserk, Brawler

Crucible:  Mayhem Clash

Missing Persons

Destiny, part 18

After playing the beta, I decided to compile a list of all the NPCs from Destiny that I will update as I play Destiny 2 once we are aware of their whereabouts.  Until we know, I will consider them missing or killed:

The Tower

  • Master Rahool
  • Banshee-44
  • Xander 99-40
  • Tess Everis
  • Eris Morn
  • Lord Shaxx
  • Arcite 99-40
  • Ikora Rey
  • Cayde-6
  • Commander Zavala
  • Roni 55-30
  • Arach Jalaal
  • Amanda Holliday
  • Lakshmi-2
  • Eva Levante
  • Executor Hideo
  • The Speaker

The Reef

  • Petra Venj
  • Variks, the Loyal
  • Master Ives
  • Brother Vance
  • Sentha 55-30
  • Berg 99-40
  • Mora Sov

The Iron Temple

  • Micha 99-40
  • Shiro-4
  • Gabi 55-30
  • Lord Saladin
  • Tyra Karn
  • Lady Efrideet

Destiny 2

Destiny, part 16

It’s been a little over 3 weeks since the gameplay reveal of Destiny 2, and I figured it was time to put in my 2 cents on what we’ve seen so far.

I am freaking excited to play this game!

It was a little soul crushing to see the Tower in ruins, my home for the last 3 years, gone.  It was exciting to see the Vanguard in action;  Ikora blasting the Cabal ship with her Nova Bomb, Cayde firing the Golden Gun and Zavala using his Ward of Dawn to try to save everyone in the Vanguard room when the Cabal attack.

I’m excited to see what is (or was) in the north part of the Tower when I get my hands on the game and to explore what’s left of the Tower before we leave it behind.

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Definitely going to main one of these guys first!

I’m also excited to play the new classes and learn how their abilities work and interact with each other.  I’m a little bummed that Warlocks can’t self resurrect anymore, but I’ll trade it for being able to rain swords of fire from the air.  It’s definitely going to make things interesting trying to raid without the usual linchpins of self rezzing Warlocks, bubble Titans and tether Hunters.

I also can’t wait to explore the new planets and zones.  I’m happy that public events will have on screen timers now instead of having to rely on 3rd party apps that may or may not be accurate.  I’m looking forward to exploring the places and seeing what I can find.

Like this lovely place for example.

I’m happy that the director got a face lift and looks pretty snazzy now.

Slick!

And I’m so happy that we don’t have to go to orbit anymore to go to a new location.  We can just pick a new place and BAM! off we go.

A new raid, new strikes, new locations, new classes.  I can’t wait for September to get here.

In spite of all the negativity floating around the internet about the game, I can’t wait.  All the haters and trolls can suck it.  If they don’t like what they see then they can play something else (like the next Call of Dudebro)

IMG_2373

I can’t wait to play one of these guys either!

The Age of Triumph

Destiny, part 15

So, with the recent announcement of Destiny 2, Bungie decided to give Destiny a proper send off, with style.  Over the course of the last month, every week one of the four raids has been the featured raid.  What does that mean?  Well, if you complete each of the challenges in the raids it means extra loot drops and new ornaments for the Age of Triumph armor pieces as well as new exotics.  On top of that, they’ve finally brought back elemental primary weapons in the form of Adept weapons from each raid (the aforementioned “new” exotics) as well as raising the Light Level for the featured raids to 390.  The difficulty feels like being back in Year One all over again and for the most part I’m enjoying every minute of it.

The first week of the Age of Triumph introduced us to a 390 version of Crota’s End (why they didn’t start things off with Vault of Glass as it was the first raid in Destiny, I don’t know) and also brought us a new modifier for Nightfall:  Daybreak.

rewards_2

(Pictured here: armor from Crota’s End with full ornaments)

Daybreak means that everyone’s super charges ridiculously fast, so it made doing the Nightfall that first week rather enjoyable despite having all 3 burns active.  As for the 390 Crota’s End, that was interesting to say the least.  All of our old exploits have finally been patched out after 3 years:  no more flying across the bridge gap while the rest of the team stays on the other side and wipes, no more running the lamps solo, no more killing Crota in one sword, no nothing.  The lamps must (well, not must, should) now be run as a group to help fight off the increased amount of Thrall.  That was a “fun” learning experience to say the least.  After that, the bridge must be formed the legit way.  No big deal.  Then came both of the challenges for 390 Crota:

  • Deathsinger Challenge – kill ir-Yut last after killing all the other adds in the room, but you must use a Hive sword dropped by the last ogre.
  • Crota Challenge – use different Fireteam members to bear the sword.  No one person may hold the sword twice and dropping the sword to do something else counts against the challenge.

Needless to say, the Deathsinger Challenge was an anxiety fueled nightmare the first time we tried it.  We have to split into 3 teams of 2 (2 people each on the left and right wizard/shrieker combos and 2 others out in the central area killing everything out there in sight.  If more than 2 people die, it’s a party wipe as all hands need to be on deck to fight off the adds and the eventual 3 ogres that spawn at the end, one of which will drop the Hive sword needed to kill the Deathsinger.  Even if she’s at full health, one swipe is all it takes to kill her and then, challenge complete!  Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, my record in the Age of Triumph book (more on the new book later) is 2 minutes 11 seconds for Deathsinger’s Challenge.  To be successful, you have to complete the challenge in under 2 minutes.  Hopefully the next time Crota’s End is featured I’ll get it.

The Crota Challenge was a bit easier to handle, even if the mechanics of the fight have been altered.  In order to succeed, different people in the Fireteam have to be the sword bearer.  So far, we’ve been able to do it in 3 swords.  The fight mechanics have been changed a bit too:  sword bearer grabs the sword and the chalice, calls for the team to shoot Crota with rockets, then when he goes down the sword bearer attacks and then backs off just like before.  Then after that is the twist: once Crota gets back up, the fireteam has to shoot him with rockets then immediately switch to sniper rifles because he activates the Oversoul and it must be stopped in order for the fight to continue.  If you don’t stop the Oversoul, it’s a party wipe.  Once the Oversoul is stopped and the sword bearer attacks then backs off, it’s back into the crystal chamber as before.  Then after sword #2 is change #2 to the fight: the party must then split into 2 teams of 3 and duck into the base of the right and left towers to deal with the ogres as that phase has been moved up a step in the sequence.  After the ogres, the fight goes on to sword #3 and hopefully, Crota’s demise and a nice pile of loot.  At the time of this writing this is the only 390 raid that I’ve managed to complete all the challenges.

One humorous incident of note with this raid:  upon our first completion, everyone on the team switched characters for an immediate second run.  Hilarity ensued as our team consisted of 5 Defender Titans and one Nightstalker Hunter.  Needless to say once we got to the end of the lantern maze, we were pretty much invincible on the final plate before exiting into the next room.

Age of Triumph week 2 saw the Vault of Glass come to the spotlight and brought with it 2 new challenges for the community to deal with:

  • Templar Challenge – keep the Templar from teleporting (a bit easier said than done)
  • Atheon Challenge – every member of the Fireteam must shoot and kill 1 Oracle when Atheon opens the Timestream and splits the team in two.

The Templar Challenge isn’t really that bad as long as you can keep the team alive during the continuous onslaught of Vex while wailing on the Templar.  As for the Atheon Challenge, this has to be one of the 2 most sinister raid challenges in Destiny (the other being the Golgoroth Challenge in King’s Fall) and is sadly on the list of challenges I have yet to successfully complete.

rewards_1

(Pictured here: armor from Vault of Glass with full ornaments)

Age of Triumph week 3 saw my favorite raid, King’s Fall, take center stage, but this was met with some bittersweet reception by others as they apparently still find the raid to “take too long” and “is too complicated/complex” but those are the very reasons why I enjoy this raid.  I was a little happy and a bit disappointed that the same 3 challenges from Year Two were put into effect for the featured raid slot:

  • Warpriest Challenge – no one on the fireteam can have the damage bubble more than once
  • Golgoroth Challenge – everyone on the fireteam must hold his gaze during every damage phase
  • Oryx Challenge – detonate all 16 bombs at the same time then kill Oryx.

I was happy to see that the challenges were already ones that we knew how to do, but a bit disappointed that they didn’t come up with something new (and that Golgoroth’s challenge hadn’t died in a fire like I would have hoped) but it is what it is.

After several days of total failure and some heated words in the thick of battle, I was not able to complete the raid like I would have liked.  I took my reward of a couple of Adept weapons and a couple pieces of Warlock armor and called it a day.  Hopefully the next time that it’s featured we’ll have more success.

 

rewards_3

(Pictured here: armor from King’s Fall with full ornaments)

That brings us to this, week 4 of the Age of Triumph an the featured raid of Wrath of the Machine.  The challenges:

  • Vosik Challenge – use one of the last 2 SIVA bombs to close the door to the clean room during the end of the round.
  • Aksis Challenge – kill everything in the room, don’t die, make sure you stun Aksis, make dinner, take a shower, try to balance your work and social life and shove a broom up your ass and sweep in your spare time (in other words I don’t know how this one works)

Have, on my part, been met unanswered as I don’t particularly care for this raid and I don’t really know why.  I guess because I just don’t really find it fulfilling like the others; there’s nothing new to learn even in 390 mode as it’s just additional irritation on top of being an anxiety fueled nightmare even on normal mode.  I’m sure with the window of time we have until Destiny 2 (September 8th) I’ll just have to suck it up and do the raid and challenges whether I want to or not (especially if I’m going to get those new Adept weapons.)

rewards_4

(Pictured here: armor from Wrath of the Machine with full ornaments)

At the time of this writing, I have acquired 4 out of the (I think) 16 new Exotic weapons but I hope to get them all before the end of Destiny’s life.  We haven’t reach a consensus as to whether or not we’ll keep playing once part 2 is released, so I might have time to get them, I might not.  If I don’t I won’t cry about it since nothing from Destiny is going to carry over to part 2.  Still not sure how I feel about that, but, it is what it is.  Maybe Bungie will make something that’s so great that we won’t want to go back, or maybe it will fail spectacularly and will be the final nail in the coffin.  All we can do now is wait and see.

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On launch day for the Age of Triumph, a new 13 page book was introduced for us to chip away at, only this time instead of intangible in-game rewards for our accomplishments we are met with a new carrot on the stick: a shirt with our gamertag on it!  I didn’t really care about this at first, but at the time of this writing I’ve reached the final rank in the book (rank 7) and I’m at 96% complete.  You can still get the shirt without “completing” the book, the catch is that the price tag is astronomical ($777,777.77 without the discount code you get from the Age of Triumph book versus $20 with the code.)  If I do succeed in getting the code from the book and decide to buy the shirt, I’ll most likely put it in a shadowbox and hang it on the wall instead of actually wearing it.  I just hope I don’t have to actually do everything in the book because I could care less about the Trials of Osiris and Crucible pages and I’m hesitant to delete my alternate Warlock for a new Hunter.  So if those 3 pages are out, that leaves me with trying to finish the Raid page and the Warlock page if possible.  I’ll see what happens in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Days of Iron, part 5

Destiny, part 14

Not much to report on the Destiny front.  2016 ended with a new winter/Christmas event called The Dawning in which they added strike scoring to the Nightfall and Weekly Heroic Strike playlist.  They also brought back (and made permanent) Sparrow Racing League.  They also, finally, brought back Ice Breaker for Year Three, but you have to reach the gold score for Nightfall and finish the strike in 30 minutes or less just for a chance to randomly get one from the Weekly Heroic bounty that Zavala now provides.  So far the gun has eluded me and considering the state of the group of people I play Destiny with, it will elude me for some time.

The Americans that I play Destiny with just can’t really get along and some of us aren’t talking right now and others are no longer friends.  Maybe after we’re done taking our break from Destiny and from each other we can get back on track to trying to get Ice Breaker and finally completing Wrath of the Machine.

Scorecard:

Wrath of the Machine completed runs:  New Zealanders:  1 / Americans:  0

Number of Outbreak Primes completed:  1 of 3

Percentage of Rise of Iron book completed:  all but the Wrath of the Machine pages

Days of Iron, part 4

Destiny, part 13

One of the things about Destiny that’s bugged me since day one is exactly how far into the future is the game supposed to be set?

I finally had the idea a few days ago to do some Google searches to try to figure out how far from now the game is set, so I decided to start my search with ‘how long does it take for a building to decay’ since there’s a lot of decayed structures around the ruins of old Russia.  The first result that I got [http://ask.metafilter.com/51124/How-long-before-a-skyscraper-decays] is a lengthy back and forth in some forum and it seems that the consensus is anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 years.  So I assume that Destiny is a minimum of 10,000 years from now considering the state of old Russia.

The second thing I thought to search for was ‘how long does it take for metal to rust’ and it seems that it only takes a matter of days if near an ocean due to salty sea air (which the beginning area of Destiny is.)  So most likely the cars from the beginning that are left outside the wall were completely rusted out a few weeks after the collapse since the whole area is next to (what I assume) is the sea.

Until Bungie decides to give us a concrete number, I’m just going to assume that events in the game are about 10,000 years in the future.  That being said, if it’s that far in the future then how are any of the computers and machines on Earth still functional?  Since computers are relatively new in the span of human history, it’s safe to say that we have no idea how long it would take for every computer in the world to stop working completely.  This is definitely a thought experiment that might never be answered and we’ll just have to chalk it up to space magic.  I enjoy this game a lot, but some of the science in it is very bad.  I’m still trying (after 3 years) to get my head around the whole idea of turning Venus into a habitable planet and Mercury into a garden world.  But, again, space magic.

Hopefully when Destiny 2 comes out some of the time questions will be answered.