A long time ago in a galaxy far far………wait that’s not what I was supposed to start this review with - or was it? A new chapter in the blockbuster AAA game Destiny has arrived and like with the arrival of The Traveler everything has changed. Well maybe not everything but the game is most definitely not the same as it was 3-4 months ago. New ways to Become Legend have emerged. Now is the perfect time to hop on your Sparrow, wield your favorite weapon (mine is Gjallarhorn) and push back the Darkness. Let us delve a bit deeper into the elements surrounding this new expansion: House of Wolves.
The story of House of Wolves revolves around the Queen of the Reef, two of her most trusted agents (one of them is a Fallen), and the renegade Fallen that revolted against the Queen, led by their leader Skolas. There are a total of five story missions plus an additional quest that you perform early on while patrolling the planet Venus. There are no cut scenes during this story except for when you fly to the Reef for the very first time. I really enjoyed this cinematic as it gave me a sense that the Reef and the Tower were connected now. While there are new places to visit on Earth and Venus, during the story some of the locations will be familiar to you if you played the base game’s story. The biggest of the new areas is King’s Watch, which only opens to Guardians while playing a story mission. True to form, the music in Destiny is also phenomenal. When it comes to video game music I enjoy music that does a wonderful job of immersing you in the moment, making you feel like you are there instead of just watching, reacting to whats happening on the television screen. I’ve seen plenty of tweets asking Bungie to release this music so we can download it to our mobile device, and I certainly hope they do.
The newest social space in Destiny is located in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. There are some familiar elements to this non-combat zone like a Cryptarch for decoding engrams, a Postmaster for messages and lost items, your Vault, and the bounty tracker. New elements include three new vendors: Petra Venj; Variks, The Loyal; and Brother Vance, Disciple of Osiris. Petra is where Guardians report in during Story missions and can pick up new Wanted bounties issued by the Queen. These bounties are only available to complete once per week per character. This is the best way to increase your Queen’s Wrath reputation even though you get reputation during the Story as well.
Prison of Elders
“……..the Queen needs muscle in the Reef. Guardians go where the treasure and the glory is, and an arena of champions is a wonderful place to earn both. Guardians in the Reef deter threats to the Queen…..” - partial transcript from the Prison of Elders Grimoire Card viewable on Bungie’s website or the Destiny Companion App.
Variks the Loyal guides Guardians that venture forth into this Arena and grants occasional gifts to them during certain rounds. There are four difficulty levels associated with this end game activity (level 28, 32, 34, and 35). The level 28 difficulty supports matchmaking and must be played at least one time per character to unlock the higher difficulties, which do not support matchmaking. The loot system for this end game activity is slightly different than previous end game content like Vault of Glass and Crota’s End. The level 28 mode can be replayed as much as you want and you will earn Vanguard Marks, Vanguard (or Faction) reputation, House of Judgement reputation in small doses, and Engrams to decode. Level 32 and higher difficulties are replayable every week though you will only get the guaranteed rewards listed one time per week per character. Bonus rewards are only available at the completion of all rounds if you have a Treasure Key in your possesion. You have a chance to obtain these keys from an Ether Chest that only appears when you kill a specific Fallen during Patrols on Earth, Venus, and the Moon. Armor Cores, Weapon Cores, House of Judgement reputation, and Etheric Light which you need to increase the light stats on certain pieces of armor are the guaranteed rewards you can get depending on which difficulty level you complete. With this new expansion the max level has increased to 34 and can be reached by having four pieces of armor with 42 light per piece. Prison of Elders armor already has a light stat of 42. Etheric Light is used to Ascend any piece of legendary armor you have obtained as well as any legendary weapon. The story must be completed in order to unlock this game mode.
Trials of Osiris
To provide a new option for Guardians to participate in end game activities Bungie has unveiled a Player versus Player elimination style tournament. This mode is restricted for Guardians that have purchased this expansion. Matchmaking is not supported so you must find two trusted Fireteam members to join you before you can attempt the Trials. The only other thing you need in addition to the expansion is a Trials Passage. It costs 100 glimmer and can be purchased from Brother Vance, the Disciple of Osiris when in the Reef. If you have Passage Coins you can buy items that give you certain advantages when playing this game mode. Passage Coins can be awarded in regular Crucible matches, but the best way to get them is by playing the featured Daily Crucible activity. You are guaranteed a Passage Coin whether you win or lose the match. Power does matter just like in Iron Banner events so equip your best armor and wield your best weapons. You’ll need them and plenty of skill/teamwork if you are to survive. One match can feature up to nine rounds. The first team to get five
points wins the match. Once you reach nine match wins or three losses your finished. Depending on the number of wins you have on your Trials Passage when finished determines what you can buy from Brother Vance. The more wins the better the choices. Every week this tournament will be available starting at 10am Pacific on Friday and lasting until the weekly reset the following Tuesday at 2am Pacific.
In conclusion there is something in this expansion for every Guardian whether you play a few hours a week or 20-30+ hours a week. There is a new Strike called The Shadow Thief that takes place aboard a Fallen Ketch on the Moon. There are new Fallen leaders to hunt and kill, new enemy types, new enemy vehicles and weapons you can use. Three brand new Crucible Maps (Thieves’ Den, Black Shield, & Widow’s Court) located on Venus, Phobos (a Mars moon), and Earth respectively. There is a fourth Crucible map on Mars called Timekeeper, exclusive for a limited time on PS4 & PS3 consoles. If you love collecting dead ghosts to unlock more Grimoire Cards there are more of those to find, I’ve already found three of them in the Reef. With the inevitable return of Iron Banner and still something that Bungie hasn’t informed us of yet coming, Destiny and House of Wolves is sure to get even better than it already is and that my friends is certainly not a bad thing. Thank you Bungie for listening to the community and giving Guardians young and old a reason to keep playing and enjoying Destiny.
Let me know in the comments below if you have been playing Destiny: House of Wolves and what you are enjoying most about it. Here’s a slideshow of images I took showing off some of the gear I’ve earned so far since May 19, 2015. The wearer of the ram helmet is a friend I play with from time to time.