I found the reveal a little flat, to be perfectly honest, because I think I was overhyped about the entire thing. But, upon reflection, I think Bungie’s doing a couple of interesting things here. First, what are we getting?
If you’d like to watch the vod of the livestream yourself, you’ll find it here. More useful as a recap of what we’re getting, though, is this – a landing page that Bungie’s set up to discuss the April update. To summarize:
– A Light level cap increase to 335
– New bosses in a Level 41 version of Prison of Elders
– A new Prison of Elders mode with a scoring system called Challenge of the Elders
– A new quest with the Blighted Chalice Strike
– A Taken version of the Winter’s Run strike, added to the Heroic Strike playlist
– King’s Fall normal lot can drop at 320 light
– King’s Fall hard mode loot can drop at 330 light
– Court of Oryx artifacts can drop at 335 light
Even if this wasn’t what I was expecting or even hoping for, it’s certainly a meaty update. Especially since it’s free, this is a good, solid chunk of content. And I really think it just might tide me over until the paid expansion drops at the end of the year. Here’s what I think of the update (so far).
The Reef feels relevant again
I rarely play Trials and I haven’t unlocked Petra’s bounties yet so there isn’t a reason for me to visit the Reef much. Which is rather sad, because it’s a much more interesting looking hub than the Tower.
I have virtually no House of Judgement or Queen’s Wrath reputation simply because grinding Prison of Elders would have done very little to improve my light level enough to make playing King’s Fall possible – and after The Taken King, that was always the goal. With the update placing so much importance squarely on Prison of Elders, it’ll be fun to hang out in the Reef and explore content that, because of the need to be 310+ light, I haven’t been able to invest much time in yet.
335 Light doesn’t feel like a ‘significant increase’
I was expecting 350 to 375 at the very least, but it’s also higher than the jump from vanilla Destiny to The Dark Below to House of Wolves – so I suppose that’s something. Still, with ‘significant increase’ bandied about so much, I was expecting a higher number.
Challenge of the Elders sounds interesting
I like that they’re implementing the PvP scoring mechanic in a PvE mode; it makes slaughtering the waves of enemies in the Prison of Elders feel more useful. Plus, the addition of bounties in the mode is a nice touch, encouraging different playstyles and the use of specific gear in the same way that the Nightfall and the raids do. If nothing else, it should increase the mode’s longevity and, since are 16 possible unique encounters (bosses + modifiers) Challenge of the Elders should feel new for a good while.
Guaranteed loot is nice
I wrote about Bungie needing to do this and I’m very glad they’re actually implementing guaranteed loot in Challenge of the Elders. Offering two sets of rewards – one for the high score and the other for the cumulative score. Achieving the former results in a guaranteed weapon, while the latter is the guaranteed armour piece.
We’re also shown one of the possible drops from getting the high score; it turned out to be a 335 arc sniper called Her Fury, which isn’t on the list of Year 1 Prison of Elders weapons. Bear in mind, though, that the person who collected it was at 335 light already; I have no idea if these drops will always be 335 Light and I doubt they will be. I have no idea if the level 41 Prison of Elders also has guaranteed drops, though.
Existing loot, King’s Fall and Court of Oryx are still relevant
The buffs to difficulty and rewards in King’s Fall and Court of Oryx means that they’ll still be worth playing, not just for fun but for the drops as well. And since the Taken feature so heavily in the new content, the weapon drops off of King’s Fall will still be useful in the new content.
I do wish Vault of Glass and Crota’s End had received updates as well; I hope that’s addressed in the upcoming expansion. It seems like a waste to leave the Year 1 strikes and raids behind because they really are a lot of fun.
So, to sum this up …
Since the livestream only focused on Challenge of the Elders, the updated version of Winter’s Run and the new Blighted Chalice strike weren’t discussed at all, which is unfortunate. Perhaps the two livestreams due over the next two weeks, will explore them in a little more detail.
So far, though, the new content seems interesting. I’m not super excited about it, but I can’t imagine that I will be until I actually get to play it. What I like most about it is that it gives me new reasons to play Destiny, which is a game I’ve come to love with a passion that surprises even me, sometimes.
For what some of the more popular members of the community think, check out this video from Professor Broman’s channel. His group are perhaps my favourite Destiny streamers and I really like their perspectives on the new content.
What do you think of the April update so far? Will it bring you back to Destiny if you left? Does Prison of Elders interest you at all? Drop a line in the comments and let’s talk about it.