Self Exodus

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Here comes some random commentary.  I have for the most part been in support of the Epic Games store and snagging some of their exclusives…  like for example Hades and Ashen.  Those are games for which pre-orders had not started on any platform and announcing that they would only be available on this somewhat new storefront was perfectly reasonable.  I was largely okay with The Division 2 but I felt it was a little shady to shift gears a few months before the launch of the game.  I had not pre-ordered, and if I had been planning on doing so… I would have probably just ordered through the UPlay store to cut out the middle man.  However what just happened with Metro Exodus is in the “shady as fuck” territory, given that the game is roughly two weeks from launch and had been in pre-orders since at least E3.  That is way too late in the game to be massively shifting gears like that and THQ Nordic the sub company should have known that they would be screwing things up for THQ Nordic the parent company.

Still I am largely cool with Epic Games store as a vehicle for grabbing games.  Sure it feels a little spartan, but it is still a way better store front and client than Origin…  a point that has been reminded of late given how much I have had to fiddle with that client thanks to Anthem.  The problem I have is with the practice of taking pre-sales way the hell ahead of the games release, because frankly the term pre-order is a lie when it comes to digital software.  You are not plunking down $5 to reserve your copy of a game…  you are handing over your credit card information and often times being charged up front for the purchase.  The thing is… whenever that process starts those vendors should be locked in stone and unchanging.  If you didn’t want to support Steam six months ago…  then you shouldn’t have allowed sales of your product to begin.

In truth I don’t so much fault Epic for making offers, but the company for taking that offer in Bad Faith.  I get a regular stream of offers from people wanting me to place links on this site to whatever the hell it is that they are pushing…  often times some sort of a casino.  I don’t take the quick money because I feel like it would be violating the trust my readers have in me.  I don’t necessarily have a dog in this fight however because while I have been looking forward to Metro Exodus… it was never really a day one title for me and instead something I would play considerably after release.  However for those who were harmed by this action…  I get the outrage.  The biggest part I am confused by however is how they have stated that Steam Pre-Orders would be fulfilled and the game would be updated through that platform…  but the game itself would no longer be available there.  That just feels really odd and awful.

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As far as gaming last night… I got the Blue Mage to 40 through lots of grinding that was relatively boring and not worth talking about.  Then I swapped over and played some Destiny 2 where I completed a bunch of bounties… one of which being the weekly for Eververse.  I lucked out and managed to pull the Last Word ornament…  which will sit there waiting until I complete that quest chain.  I did manage to push through the step where you collect a bazillion hive cores or whatever it was we were collecting.  I also managed to make a little progress on the Malfeasance where I believe I am on the final step involving killing Guardians and getting invasion kills in Gambit.  I had fun… but man movement felt weird after getting used to Anthem.

Speaking of which…  who all will I be seeing in the weekend test happening Friday-Sunday?  I’m BelghastStern over on Origin so hit me up with a friend invite.

Bungie Divorce

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I had a totally different post planned for today, but since the news of the Activision and Bungie split was announced yesterday…  there really wasn’t another topic that I would be discussing today.  I also committed memery last night and cobbled together this…  since yeah it is sorta relevant.  So the details that we know…  in 2010 Bungie entered into a 10 year publishing deal with Activision.  Over the last few cycles Activision has been making a point of announcing that Destiny 2 as a franchise has been failing to live up to expectations.  Behind the scenes for quite some time Bungie devs have been leaking tidbits about them feeling constrained by that relationship.

So at this point we really don’t know how the split was started…  did Bungie buy out the remaining two years of the contract?  Did Activision decide that Destiny 2 looked bad on their balance sheet and kicked them to the curb?  Bungie learned the lesson with Microsoft and seemingly retained the rights to their intellectual property going into the arrangement with Activision, and as a result it appears that we have a newly liberated Bungie with all of the rights to keep making Destiny 2 and in theory Destiny 3…  but I will talk a bit more about that later.

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I think the question on a lot of minds is going to be…  who’s idea was Tess Everis and the Eververse store…  and will this change see the focus on this as a monetization vehicle lessen.  In truth I think this was a “both of them” sort of decision and not necessarily something we can really pin entirely on the Activision Evil Empire as it were.  Going into Destiny 2 I think Bungie knew they had to have some vehicle for long tailed sales… and this new version of Eververse was their answer to that.  Now the shop has vacillated back and forth between being grossly unfair at release…  to honestly having the deck stacked greatly in favor of the player in its current state.  I talked a bit about my thoughts there in the Bright Engrams Revisited post, but I think we have seen all of the tweaks we are going to see to Eververse.

The hard truth is… there will not be a major game release that lives in the MMO space that does not include some sort of pay for cosmetics or loot box scenario.  The fact that Destiny 2 hands those Bright Engrams out like Candy for playing through the content, and the fact that you can break down anything into Dust and pick items up as direct sales during the weekly resets…  means to me at least that the system is actually pretty reasonable already.  Sure people would prefer to simply cherry pick the items that they want each season…  but I am okay with the amount of friction that exists.  It gives us a reason to keep checking the store each Tuesday and to keep doing the weekly Eververse Bounties to stockpile bright dust and whatever the cores are called that unlock items from the list.

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The other burning question is…  who’s decision was it to move away from story driven content?  This is another one that I don’t really know the answer to either…  but I would tend to land that one more in the lap of Activision, given that they just pushed out a Call of Duty game with no single player story in it.  I would love to see them return to story beats each time we get a major update, rather than a purely activity driven focus.  I think ultimately we will have to see what Penumbra ends up being like to determine if everything is going to be like the Black Armory going forward or not.  With this change however I have a whole bunch of wish list items…  some of which are wildly speculative but would be amazing.

Shared Game Saves

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If I understand it correctly… the Playstation exclusivity deals were between Activision and Sony…  and Bungie was not necessarily a party to them but in turn constantly effected by them.  I think what this means in the short term is that soon all of the formerly Playstation exclusive content will trickle down to the other platforms as soon as everything is finalized.  What I hope this paves the way for however is a shared save state between all of the platforms.  Sure I would love it if all of the platforms could play together at the same time…  but as an easier hurdle…  I would love it if I could log into my PC characters on the Xbox or PS4 so I can keep playing with friends on those platforms.  At this point it would require an account merge system but I could see various ways where that might work.

Since the game largely uses an entitlement system now instead of actual items for everything but Forsaken forward…  you could do some sort of a system where you choose a primary account and every other account would simply just copy over the achievements and entitlements.  Of course at some point I want the ability to play with my PS4 friends while playing on the PC… and with the consoles moving further towards accepting keyboard and mouse as an input option (something both Xbox and PS4 support in limited ways currently) it might be a reasonable option.  At the very least it should be completely fine for any PVE activity… with PVP being the outlier where they might still have a segregated “Console” and “PC” play lists.  Look we are setting up a wish list here….  so even if it is unrealistic at this very moment…  it still definitely falls on it.

Bring Back Destiny 1

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It is as simple as it sounds…  I would love to see all of the patrol zones and activities from Destiny 1…  make an appearance in Destiny 2.  They have been cherry picking elements from the first game already, but a lot of us players from Destiny 1 felt a great sense of loss in losing all the places we loved from the first game.  It will take some work, but in theory they could start shimming in zones here and there as they release other content.  I would love to be able to do Prison of Elders again or take on Oryx.  You could even bring in some sort of a time walking like mechanic that lets you run older content without effecting the flow of the current storyline.  What if there was an ascendant realm that contained pockets of these old settings or something of that sort.  The Destiny story is kooky enough to be able to support it via space magic.

Table Destiny 3

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Along the lines of the last topic…  I would honestly love to see them completely table the discussion of a Destiny 3.  Hell at this point my preference would be for them to rebrand Destiny 2 to simply be “Destiny Franchise” or something of the sort and start treating the game like a more traditional MMORPG with semi-yearly expansions that keep adding new content without doing a nuke from orbit reset every few years.  Sure a new game gives players a chance to come back into the game on the same footing of every else…  but I legitimately do not thing we will be gaining a much larger audience than the game already has.  Destiny 2 was a big push and burned a lot of people…  and getting those players back won’t happen with a new numerical release.

Keep the Course

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I like the roadmaps that they are now doing… and I like that there are little trickles of new things flowing into the game every so often.  Ultimately my hope is that we will see more content without the thumb of Activision…  but quite honestly I am not sure that is realistic.  The company will be getting a larger share of the profits…  but those initial purchase profits are already a sunk cost.  They are going to have to prove to us that annual pass is worth it at this point, and I am not entirely certain that Black Armory did that.  Additionally they are going to have to give us other things to purchase to keep the cash flow incoming.  It will be interesting to see how things move forward as we clear the rest of this year.

If they straight up released Destiny 1 for PC as a stand alone game… I would probably throw money at the screen and buy it.  However if they released the content FROM Destiny 1 as an expansion to Destiny 2 that was not part of the Annual Pass content…  I would probably throw MORE money at the screen.  I do however think they might need to rework Eververse drastically however to give us more reasons to give them money.  That does not mean that I think they need to fuck with the math and make Bright Engrams stupid, but instead offer other avenues.  Like for example… if I could spend bright dust/silver to unlock shaders permanently…  I would probably do that.  SWTOR had that functionality of buying things as unlocked for your entire account, so in theory they could do something similar.

Additionally I would throw lots of money at the screen if they created an expansion that added better cosmetic options to the game, and allowed us to create outfits of our favorite gear appearances…  decoupling them from what we happened to be actually wearing.  Basically there are ways that they can keep improving the game, but also creating vehicles that get us to spend money with them.  There are folks that are predicting a switch to a free to play model like Fortnite, but I question if that would actually work.  Destiny 2 is not exactly a game that is great at onboarding new players, and they would have to think long and hard about how to address that problem.

At this point I have rambled at length… but these are some of my thoughts.  What are your thoughts about this announcement?

Seasonal Light Cap Get

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As promised yesterday, today we return at least for a bit to proper gaming news…  or more so the news of the gaming I have been up to over the break.  I’ve been spending a significant amount of time playing Destiny 2 which is not terribly shocking.  That said I did manage to hit 650 light, the current cap for the rest of the current season and even have managed to push up my standard loadout of Breakneck, Ikelos Shotgun and Thunderlord to that level as well.  Now begins the slow process of bringing the other things I care about up to that level as well.

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I also managed to get my Hunter to 50 and have finished the Warmind content now and am slowly chewing my way through Forsaken.  I’ve swapped over 650 weapons and am using them to slowly push up her light level which I have managed to get to 625 in a day of trying to do this.  I will probably be spending a good deal more time working on her than the Titan seeing as I hit my initial goal of hitting the light cap during the break.  At some point I will probably also start working on pushing up the Warlock, but seeing as that is my least favorite class to play… it always ends up lagging behind significantly.

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The core problem I am having with Destiny 2 is a pretty good one to be having.  There is more content to do each week than I have time to really do it in.  At launch time I could push through all of the powerful gear options in a single night, and could easily run out of things that I felt were “worth doing”… and as a result spent a good deal of time working on alts to spread out that list of things to do enough to get me through the week.  With the current state of the game there is no way I have enough time to do all of the things that could create progress so instead I just focus on the things I feel like doing in a given night.  I am leaving so much progression on the table in a given week that I am having to learn to be okay with it.

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Lastly I have been tooling around with a weird Dark-Soulsian game called Ashen that is currently only available on Xbox One and the Epic Games store.  Once you get over the fact that all of the characters are faceless poppets, the game does a much better job of making you care about the world that you are exploring in the fact that you are essentially recovering after an apocalypse.  As you roam around you meet new people that you can help and in turn they join the village that you are building.  They start to offer you whatever it is that they can do from forging weapons to letting you futz with your stat layout.

There are times the game reminds me of Breath of the Wild as well…  albeit with way more hardcore combat.  It is very easy to die in this game as pretty much everything in the world hates you.  This can get a little frustrating because in my rush to attack before  they can attack me…  I have accidentally killed a few NPCs.  I am enjoying myself quite a bit, but I am not really playing it anywhere near as much as some of the other games I have on my plate.  I still thought it was worth mentioning in case anyone else was interested.  They have managed to create a game that is very much in the Dark Souls genre… that is also very hopeful and not quite so soul crushing. I linked to the original trailer above.

Forging Stuff

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A couple of weeks ago I talked about my general disappointment in The Black Armory and how it does not really have any content that players can participate in immediately.  That much is largely true but as far as disappointment it is waning.  Once I hit 620 light the Forge Ignition sequence went from nigh impossible to pretty much a guaranteed thing.  The actually event itself is honestly pretty great, I just wish it would have scaled in a similar fashion to the way that strikes appear to, giving players a brand new activity to do at a much wider variety of light levels.  Now at 630 light burning down the final boss feels much like burning down a Public Event Boss…  somewhat time consuming but largely trivial.  Granted I have yet to ignite any of the forges other than Volundr, but I am up to the point where I should be doing Gofanon tonight.  I could have in theory done it last night but I spent my evening trying to mop up any remaining powerful gear rewards that I had available.

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The Hammerhead is your first reward for taking down the boss and while I didn’t get an amazing roll…  I didn’t get a horrific one either.  I’ve since ignited the forge a few more times to get some of the blue weapon frames which apparently end up as one of a handful of weapons per type of activity being completed.  I did one that required doing three lost sectors on the Dreaming City and another that required taking down a couple high value targets in the Gambit and in both cases it rewarded a weapon from the pool from those activities.  I am working on one for collecting a bunch of materials, and as a result I am assuming it will be rewarding one of the planetary weapons as a result.  Now for some quick show and tell of some of the weapons I have picked up from the armory either as drops or as frames that I forged.

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This is the weapon that I forged from a blue frame that involved running three lost sectors in Dreaming City.  I have to say I love this weapon so much in both look and the way it feels to use it.  I’ve infused it up a bit and it has more or less become my new main hand canon to go to.

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The other weapon that I got from forging a blue frame is Bygones…  which weirdly enough is a weapon I had yet to get from any of my Gambit packages.  This one comes with kill clip and full auto and so far has been a blast to use because it honestly feels like you are firing a really slow rate of fire super accurate auto rifle.

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As far as random drops…  Bad News was never an amazing Hand Canon to start with, and this way cooler paint job version isn’t necessarily amazing either.  The roll I got has explosive rounds and range finder… which is okay-ish but the reload speed largely precludes me from using this very often.

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Baligant is also not an amazing shotgun in general but this version with Field Prep and Moving Target seems particularly bad…  I mean I guess you could slide to reload but not really my cup of tea.  I tend to ignore all shotguns that are not full auto.

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Lastly I finally wrapped up my Hand Cannon Headshots in Crucible… and then completed the rest of steps and unlocked my Ace of Spades.  Yes I realize this is like six months behind the curve but whatever…  it knocks another exotic quest off the list.  I still have several that I need to do including the Rat King which simply requires me to go find some other people with the Rat King and do activities.

Have you gotten anything cool or interesting from the Black Armory Forges?

Prison Break Problems

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First off I need to start this mornings blog post with a spoiler warning.  If you have not played through the first mission in the Destiny 2 Forsaken expansion, then there are going to be spoilers included.  Granted probably nothing more than was already spoiled with the Forsaken trailer, but I just felt like I needed to throw that out there.  This weekend I spent some time playing Destiny 2 and while working on the Heroic Story mission queue I noticed one of the missions was “Prison Break” the first mission in the Forsaken storyline, and something I had not played through in awhile.  I remembered really liking it a lot and opted to go replay it for powerful gear credit.

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It was around this point that I realized the core problem with Destiny 2 and its story.  It functionally operates in two modes…  pretending that you never played Destiny 1 and re-educating you in all of the basics of the universe, or assuming completely that you were a Destiny 1 lore hound and giving you a big ole deep dive with little room between the two.  The “Prison Break” episode plays out completely differently for players who were new to Destiny with the PC release and players who were veterans of the original game on the consoles.  This disconnect begins from the very moment that you are treated to a cinematic between Uldren Sov and Cayde-6.  This really hit me at the moment of the above screenshot…  the “How’s your sister?” line either is extremely powerful or makes no fucking sense depending on your perspective.

“Prison Break” is a mission that almost exclusively references things that happened in Destiny 1… and worse things that were never introduced up to this point in Destiny 2.  Sure if you went around scanning everything your ghost indicates you can scan you might have gotten snippets of information here or there but if you base things entirely upon what you see in the normal flow of Destiny 2 there are a bunch of problems.

  • The player has no clue who Uldren Sov is – we last saw him in the introduction to Taken King expansion for Destiny 1
  • The player has no clue who Mara Sov is… because again we last saw her in the introduction video to Taken King in the big Oryx space battle
  • The player really has no clue what the Reef is
  • The player has no clue that the Awoken were working with the Fallen and have no clue who Variks was/is
  • The player has no clue what exactly the Prison of Elders is
  • The player has no clue who Petra Venj is and why we already seemingly know her

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These are all things that make this mission extremely confusing if you view it through the lens of a “brand new to Destiny 2” player.  For veterans however this mission is a big romp as you roam through this place that you only managed to see a piece of before when doing trials for Variks.  This is a destination I think that we all wanted to see more of and I was completely staggered by the sheer scope of the place when I first played the mission.  For those who are not already familiar with it… it is just another busted ass location that is being blown up for some reason and that is largely hand waved away.  There is no time spent on explaining what it is other than a Prison, and no time spent explaining who Petra Venj is other than someone who can apparently levitate her knife.

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This is the core challenge of this expansion and why I think it had such split reactions.  For me it was an amazing romp through places I had been and quite honestly miss greatly from Destiny 1, and for others… it is just another string of locations that were never really explained.  The game does a really bad job of telling a cohesive narrative that does not require you to have watched every single Byf or Myelin lore video to understand.  I was one of those players that gobbled up every little bit of lore about the first game… and as a result I sounded like a madman half of the time when I talked about it trying to defend it to the rest of the AggroChat crew as being this deep masterpiece.  The game doesn’t just let players know these things, but instead requires them to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to be able to interact with the content.  The Book of Sorrows is really interesting science fiction horror reading…  that thankfully has been collected into an easy to read PDF or EPUB format…   but to get it initially you had to roam around the Dreadnaught in Destiny 1 collecting over 40 Calcified Fragments.

The problem with this style of storytelling is it sets up a dichotomy of players.   You have players like me who are willing to track down the story and chase it across various in game assets and other websites that help to summarize and condense the content into easily understandable chunks.  You also have what I feel is the majority of players who just straight up bounce off of the story when it never quite pays off on the deep secrets they have heard people talking about through its storyline.  If you were a lore hound, you immediately understood who the frozen hive were and why it was super exciting to see them.  You also understood a lot of things about Rasputin and at the very least knew who Ana Bray was enough to be interested in meeting her.  You also knew all sorts of things about Cayde-6 and his background and how someone becomes an Exo, and why Clovis Bray is the home of some really dangerous technologies.

 

As a new player… which is especially true for the PC crowd given that there was no option of playing Destiny 1 on that platform, you are simply treated to a list of names that have no real meaning.  These are proper names which is at least an upgrade from Destiny 1 which treated you to “the traveler”, “the speaker”, “the exo stranger”, and “the darkness” among others.  The names themselves however don’t have meaning attached to them if you didn’t dig for said meaning.  Sure for the right kind of player this sets up a delectable puzzle that they are going to go digging for to find the answers, but you can’t expect EVERY player to want to do the leg work required to make any sense of it all.  In the end I will defend the story that is being told as ground breaking, because the sum of all parts is amazing…  but the game does no favors in actually helping players find it.  It took me a long time to really see this point of view, but replaying through “Prison Break” was a bit of a wake up call to them simply not explaining why we should be caring about anything in this game.

One Crazy Sled

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Yesterday I talked about the initial quest of delivering cookies to Zavala to cheer him up, but the rabbit hole goes way deeper than that.  When you turn that quest in you pick up a second one from Eva Levante to get a secret blueprint from Amanda Holiday for a new sort of sparrow.  I also covered all of the recipes yesterday but the quest asks you to deliver Vanilla Blades to Shaxx, Chocolate Ship Cookies to Amanda Holiday and Eliksni Birdseed to Hawthorne as well as bake a grand total of 12 gifts.  Now I am not sure if these need to be unique gifts or if you just need to bake twelve in total.  Regardless I set about making one of everything yesterday and delivering them, and currently the only gift that has not been delivered is the one for Xur who of course will not be available until Friday.

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Your reward for baking one of every possible recipe is that you can “Masterwork” Eva’s Holiday Oven.  This essentially lowers the dawning essence cost from 15 per item to 10 per item…  which is nice…  but still it seems like this holiday is way more about grinding dawning essence than any of the other individual components.  It does make it way easier to craft individual items once you have learned all of the patterns which show up in a drop down as I am showing off in the above screenshot.  Something interesting of note… the counts seems to be tied to your account and not individual characters because as soon as I collected the quest on my Hunter this morning for the purpose of getting screenshots… I was able to Masterwork the Holiday Oven and showed that I already knew all of the patterns.

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Once you have baked all of the cookies and delivered them to everyone needed in Eva’s quest you can go to Holliday and get your Dawning Cheer sparrow.  It does in fact look as silly in game as it does in this screenshot and it has a bunch of seemingly unique animations that make it seem way more cumbersome to drive than various other options.  Now the thing with this sled is it is not quite complete when you get it… there are three talents that you have yet to unlock and those are started by completing a few quests for Amanda Holliday.

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I’ve photoshopped them all together so you can see the requirements.  Essentially in order to get all of the talents you are going to need to start making a TON of gifts…  120 in total but thankfully they seem to be cumulative and not separate achievements.  This is one of those situations where I am not sure if this is also account based, but I plan on getting the hunter through the first part and getting her sparrow tonight as a test to see if you can effectively bake them on all of your characters and count towards one total.  Essentially you are going to need to at a minimum give another round of Gifts to Ikora, Sloane, Devrim, Asher, Banshee and Failsafe…  and then a bunch more gifts on top of that to whoever you want until you reach the magic 120 in total.

Now the positive is each time you turn in a gift you get a chance at getting interesting gear…  as I picked up a new roll of the Avalanche HMG that I talked about yesterday by turning in a package to Sloan last night.  All in all I like this version of the Dawning quite a bit, but I miss the sparrow races greatly.  They really need to bring that concept back to Destiny 2.  I am however enjoying doing stuff… and then getting random bonuses from doing said stuff…  which in truth is going to keep me engaged in this event way longer than it probably should.  I want the nonsense tricked out sparrow that causes glitter to spawn when you do stuff…  so I guess I will be baking 120 gifts?  So far Crucible and Gambit seem to be the best use of my time for the purpose of farming Dawning Essence…  and I have objectives that I need from both of those so I might be farming those tonight.

 

 

The Dawning Arrives

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As I assumed yesterday, the Dawning was in fact waiting on me when I got home from work and logged into Destiny 2.  For the uninitiated The Dawning is effectively the Destiny universe Christmas event, covering the tail end of December and the beginning of the new year.  It has meant a lot of different things, including really awesome sparrow racing in the past.  Unfortunately that event did not make a return, but instead we get a fun mini game that asks us to go out into the world and do various things.  It also signals getting bonus seasonal bright engrams each time you level up, so doubling the opportunity for bright dust and related rewards.  Unlike past years however this feels way more rooted in game activities and not just another attempt to pry money from us in the cash shop.

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The event signals the return of Eva Levante to the Tower, who for those of us that date back to Destiny 1 will remember was the shader and emblem vendor.  Weirdly in Destiny 1 she was associated with the Festival of the Lost more than The Dawning… but I vaguely remember her also being the starting place of this event back in the day as well.  What Eva asks of us this year is to collect various ingredients and make baked goods for the denizens of the tower and all of the various NPCs scattered throughout the solar system.  She also offers a series of daily bounties that reward ingredients and at least one of them rewarded Powerful Gear, but I assume that is a weekly or one time reward only.

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Eva has given us a portable oven that fits in our inventory and asked us to go out into the world and start collecting ingredients.  She starts us off by giving us the ingredients and a recipe to make Gjallardoodles for Zavala, to sort of show us the ropes of how the system works.  After finishing that we are asked to collect the ingredients for Vanilla Blades for Lord Shaxx and Eliksni Birdseed for Hawthorne, and both of the quests tell us specifically what ingredients to go collect.  Effectively every recipe has three parts, a common material that drops from a specific enemy type, a rare material that drops based on the sort of damage you are dealing to the mob, and then dawning essence which drops from various activities from Public Events on the planets to match made activities like Gambit or Crucible.  Here is a quick rundown of the drops for various mobs and damage types.

Common Items (Green – Mob Based)

  • Cabal Oil – Kill any Cabal Enemies
  • Chitin Powder – Kill any Hive Enemies
  • Dark Ether Cane – Kill any Scorn Enemies
  • Ether Cane – Kill any Fallen Enemies
  • Taken Butter – Kill any Taken Enemies
  • Vex Milk – Kill any Vex Enemies

Rare Items (Blue – Kill Damage Based)

  • Bullet Spray – Kills made with “Machine Gun” type weapons – Auto Rifle/SMG/HMG
  • Delicious Explosions – Explosive kills aka Class Grenades/Rocket Launcher/Grenade Launcher
  • Electric Flavor – Arc Damage based Kills
  • Flash of Inspiration – A kill that generates an Orb of Light – Supers or Masterworks
  • Impossible Heat – Solar Damage based Kills
  • Null Taste – Void Damage based Kills
  • Perfect Taste – Precision Damage Kills – aka Headshots
  • Personal Touch – Melee Based Kills or Melee Abilities like Thrown Weapons
  • Sharp Flavor – Sword Kills… not sure if Hunter Knives can proc or not

These are then combined with Dawning Essence which drops from pretty much anything, and crafts an item that begins a quest chain.  Now a lot of these won’t show up on the map as a quest but it will cause the icon for a given vendor to start blinking.  You turn in the baked goods and get a package that usually includes some Dawning Essence and a Blue or Purple.  There are Triumphs associated with finding each of the recipes and delivering it to the respective NPC.  As I said before you are only given three recipes from the start, but as you experiment with putting different items together you start unlocking the specific vendor items.  If you put together two items that don’t make a tasty treat…  you end up with Burnt Edge Transits which Master Rahool will take off of your hands.

Recipe List

Collecting materials can be time consuming… since they do not by any means drop every single kill.  So as a result here is a list of all of the recipes, since if you are like me you are going to ultimately want to craft one of each to get the triumph for the holiday event.  All of the recipes will take 15 Dawning Essence to craft so not listing that, just know it is a requirement for everything.

  • Alkane Dragee Cookies (Sloane – Titan) – Chitin Powder and Bullet Spray
  • Burnt Edge Transits (Master Rahool – Tower) – Any two ingredients other than those of the recipes below aka the failure state item
  • Candy Dead Ghosts (The Spider – Tangled Shore ) – Dark Ether Cane and Flash of Inspiration
  • Chocolate Ship Cookies (Amanda Holliday – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Null Taste
  • Dark Chocolate Motes (The Drifter – Tower) – Taken Butter and Null Taste
  • Eliksni Birdseed (Hawthorne – Tower) – Ether Cane and Personal Touch
  • Gentleman’s Shortbread (Devrim Kay – EDZ) – Ether Cane and Perfect Taste
  • Gjallardoodles (Zavala – Tower) – Ether Cane and Delicious Explosion – This was a freebie though and the mats Eva gives you
  • Ill-Fortune Cookies (Petra Venj – Dreaming City) – Dark Ether Cane and Impossible Heat
  • Infinite Forest Cake (Failsafe – Nessus) – Vex Milk and Impossible Heat
  • Javelin Mooncake (Ana Bray – Mars) – Chitin Powder and Sharp Flavor
  • Radiolarian Pudding (Asher Mir – Io) – Vex Milk and Electric Flavor
  • Strange Cookies (Xur – Varies Weekly) – Taken Butter and Electric Flavor
  • Telemetry Tapioca (Banshee-44 – Tower) – Vex Milk and Bullet Spray
  • Traveler Donut Holes (Ikora Rey – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Flash of Inspiration
  • Vanilla Blades (Lord Shaxx – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Sharp Flavor

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Now yesterday I was musing exactly how we would be getting the Legendary Heavy Machinegun associated with this event, and if it would be some sort of a grind like the Haunted Forest was during Festival of the Lost.  It apparently is super easy to get because it becomes your reward for essentially doing the very first quest which is to craft Gjallardoodles for Zavala.  Aka you can get this weapon on pretty much all of your characters “just for participating”.  As I thought however it drops at 600 light the same as the Festival of the Lost Auto Rifle, but it appears to not be equitable by lowbies the way that weapon was.  I am going to try doing the intro quest tonight on some of my alts and seeing how this weapon varies.

One minor thing that I have noticed however is that it is impossible to deliver every recipe if you do not have the DLC content since  Ana Bray is associated with Warmind, Spider with Forsaken… and Petra Venj with having beaten Forsaken unless you can turn in to one of her earlier incarnations that hangs out in Spiders Lair.  The season of giving challenge however asks you to deliver 12 baked goods… and with Master Rahool not counting towards this because it is a failed state of the quest…  that leaves 15 possibilities…  so they have effectively made this available to folks without the expanded content.  You just cannot get all of the triumphs/achievements associated without expansion access.  Largely good on them for allowing vanilla players to be able to get all of the rewards.  Ultimately you are going to spend the majority of your time farming Dawning Essence since you need so much to craft any given item.

 

Last Minute Shotty

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This morning I don’t really have a lot to talk about because it seems like I do this thing where Monday I make a gigantic post…  and then Tuesday I am always somewhat lacking for content.  I posted about this last night on twitter, but now you can see a new screenshot with a shader applied.  This is the IKELOS shotgun, which is gained by defeating the boss at the end of Escalation Protocol Wave 7.  Each week you are given a different boss that drops a different weapon…  with one week giving a shot at dropping all of the weapons.  I have been farming this week because it was Shotgun week and I largely wanted this because of the fact that it has 8 rounds of ammo capacity…  which I feel is a huge benefit to the various forge modes.  Now this is not what I would call an easy farm because it requires a bunch of circumstances to fire just right.

Firstly you have to find a patrol zone on Mars where people are doing Escalation Protocol…  and even more than that you need to find one willing to build up from Wave 1 all the way through Wave 7.  Better yet if you can find one that is willing to farm Wave 7…  because after killing the boss you have the ability to drop back down to 6 and work back to 7 again.  All told I spent a significant amount of time on Mars this week and probably got in somewhere between 20 and 30 boss kills.  I had largely given up on getting it and thought while waiting on my wife to get home… I would give it one more shot and helped a group work up from Wave 1.  As my wife was pulling into the driveway this thing dropped and you cannot fully encapsulate how much joy I felt in seeing it drop.  Now I am trying to decide if I want to try farming the other weapons for not to collect the complete set.

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The Dawning event gear showed up on Tess Everett, so I am guessing today when reset happens we will begin to see those events happening in the tower.  The Dawning is legitimately some of the weirdest looking gear you can get…  and the Titan set looks like some sort of crazy rhino beetle?  There are a few exotic ships again this time, one of which that looks really freaking cool.  More than that however there is a legendary heavy machinegun that we can grind for and that is pretty much going to be my central focus.  They did this for the Festival of the Lost, and I am wondering if this one will be similarly max light and equipable by all of your alts.  Even if it is just 600 light it will be a good option for alting, and truth be told I need a legendary HMG since I have yet to actually get through the forge.  I am so damned close but burning the wave three boss is now the problem.  I may random into more of that nonsense tonight.

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Lastly I have been playing a little bit of Super Smash Bros Ultimate…  but the truth is I have no clue what I am doing.  The jumping mechanics feel really bad so I need to sort out if there is a better way to configure the controls… because it feels like it has way more play in the jump than a traditional fighting game.  All in all right now I am playing Marth, but also largely just playing World of Light.  In theory I could unlock the characters faster through other modes, but I kinda like playing this as an adventure game.

Weekend Weapon Haul

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Pretty much the highlight of the weekend for me was that I got to join in the shenanigans of the Last Wish raid in Destiny 2.  This mornings post is largely going to be a rundown of the items that I got to drop this weekend.  It was also the farm weekend for the IKELOS shotgun, and unfortunately as of yet I have not seen one drop.  I have lost count on just how many times I have killed the level 7 escalation protocol, but it has been enough that I am starting to doubt it exists.  Like the paranoia in the back of my head keeps telling me that I must not be keyed for getting loot of the boss.  I do however have a huge stack of shaders that drop every single time you down it.  I sincerely doubt that tonight I will get enough kills of Escalation Protocol to make a difference, and in truth it seems to be hard to find anyone actually doing it.  My friend Warenwolf managed to pull me into a group, so I am guessing this is regional?  I wish there was a decent matchmaking option for it.

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As far as the raid itself…  it was some crazy nonsense.  One of the things that Bungie does almost better than anyone else is create some interesting and imaginative raid encounters.  I don’t want to go into too much detail but there were of course jumping puzzles and timed burns and of course some relay race sort of encounters to unlock sections of the raid.  All of which seemed doable for me who was a complete nub, but unfortunately…  I am also one of those people who simply does not grok something when someone explains it.  I have to do it myself to be able to understand the nuance of it, and while I feel like I still have a long ways to go before mastering the encounters…  I feel like I would also do a lot better the second time in.  Thankfully none of the jumping puzzles were anywhere near as stressful as the ones in the King’s Fall raid.  An interesting mechanic is that first timers get an extra piece of loot at the very end, and as a result I wound up getting 4 pieces of armor and 5 weapons…  one of which dropped from random trash but that still counts.  Now I am going to play show and tell with each of them.

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A really cool looking rocket launcher that I will never actually use because it doesn’t have cluster bombs.  I could say more but really… that is the core problem and I would have used it as infusion fuel if it wasn’t a raid weapon.

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This is quite possibly the weirdest feeling auto rifle I have ever used, because it is so freaking slow firing…  which you would assume to be extremely stable and it is not.  On PC with mouse and keyboard controls it is completely manageable, uncertain what controller would be like with this weapon.  It was fun the little bit I played with it, but it also takes the same slot as my beloved Misfit so I doubt it is going to see much play.

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This is probably the favorite of the weapons that dropped because it has a decent stat package with triple tap and the ambitious assassin that all of the weapons appear to come with by default.  I used this quite a bit this weekend trying to complete the crucible headshots step of the Cayde-6 quest chain, and had some luck.  The problem with that step is that I am just not good at crucible anymore, but this is a perfectly reasonable weapon to be using.  I also really dig the look and feel of it.

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The biggest challenge this weapon has going for it is that it is a scout rifle… and all of the reasons why I would use a scout rifle are largely demolished by the inclusion of bows.  This is likely never going to get play from me because even before the introduction of bows… I was not a huge scout rifle fan.  That said I won’t infuse it because I tend to collect interesting weapons.  It does however have rampage which is a positive that it has going for it if you can get into a situation where you can pick off adds easily.

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While this technically didn’t drop from a raid encounter, I saw a shiny golden engram while we were doing the Riven fight and this was waiting in my mailbox after we left the raid.  This weapon has some issues, but the majority of the problem is that this time around this is a heavy weapon.  In Destiny 1 this was a secondary weapon, which would have greatly improved its utility were we able to equip this in the energy weapon slot.  As it stands… it is competing with other Heavy Weapons and comes up very short against both the Thunderlord and the Sleep Simulant that are just better weapons.  What made this interesting before was that it was a fusion sniper rifle…  which I guess became the linear fusion category as a whole.  If they ever tweak this weapon to be energy slot equipped then it will see some play, before then however… it just isn’t worth giving up that slot against arguably better weapons.

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I still have not ignited the forge, but one of my attempts over the weekend got me a Two-Tailed Fox to drop, which again suffers from some of the problems that I just talked about.  It is a really interesting weapon that is useful in specific niche situations…  but I can’t see using this over the sleeper or the thunderlord.  Still very happy to check this off the exotics bucket list.

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Finally I completed the Nascent Dawn quest chain over the weekend and wrapped up the Polaris Lance.  All in all I dig the feel of this weapon, but I would probably use the Legendary Masterwork version that you get in the quest chain step before the Exotic as it would free up the exotic slot for one of the two heavy weapons I keep mentioning over and over.

We also recorded a podcast this weekend as usual and some of the things we talked about are…  Black Armory, Last Wish, The Game Awards, Hades by Supergiant Games, Epic Game Storefront, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  If you are someone who likes to listen to podcasts check it out… otherwise zero shame in giving it a skip.  I personally find youtube the easiest way of passing along the link, but in the sidebar of the blog is an RSS feed for those who want to use a traditional podcatcher style app.  Listening to me ramble on is an acquired taste so perfectly cool with folks skipping if that is not your thing.

Destiny Nostalgia

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With my general disappointment I have over Black Armory and the direction the game seems to be going now…  with focusing only on the end game and not actually giving us anything new that we can do the moment a content update drops.  It got me feeling notalgic about Destiny 1 and some of the things I miss that have never quite made it over to Destiny 2.  So I am going to take this morning as an opportunity to rifle through my vault and pull out the things I would love to see over here.  This is mostly just me posting a bunch of pictures of weapons and talking about them, so if that is not your thing then today’s post is likely highly skippable.

Legendary Weapons

Destiny was largely a game about collecting the exotics, but there were a handful of legendary weapons that stood out and that I coveted.  I figured a handful of these definitely needed to be talked about.  There were a lot of them that I liked, but these were the weapons that I absolutely loved.

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We are going to start things off with the weapon that I bring up so many times…  my perfect roll Haakon’s Hatchet, or at least what I considered to be a perfect roll.  It came from Year 2 Iron Banner and still has one of the overall best looking Iron Banner weapon visual aesthetics.  It had Range Finder, Perfect Balance and Counterbalance so was insanely stable and while relatively short range… it could melt targets especially in the Crucible or Iron Banner.  This also doubled as probably one of my favorite PVE weapons for just dealing a bunch of reliable damage to targets.

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The Haakon’s Hatchet was eventually replaced with the Genesis Chain which dropped on my first time through Wrath of the Machine when I was super carried hard by my friends in Tequila Mockingbird.  I admit a lot of why I used this weapon was because it looked cool and it had an interesting perk called Focused Firefly…  which was essentially a much bigger version of the normal firefly that caused targets to explode when you to a precision kill.  It also had this super satisfying noise that it made when you triggered one of these explosions…  which I think is the real reason why I kept using it.  It sounded sorta like the ping of kicking brass out of a Mosin Nagant in all of the WW2 era FPS titles with a bunch of reverb at the end.

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I generally hated the look of all of the Year 3 Iron Banner weapons…  there is just something about having a bunch of bits crudely cobbled together that didn’t do it for me.  This is weird because in general the Fallen weapon aesthetic is very similar…  but somehow works with all of its spiky nonsense.  The main reason why I loved this weapon was its absolutely crazy high impact, and the fact that enhanced battery took the available shots up to 6… and with performance bonus it had a chance of refunding some ammo.  This could just straight up melt any target in front of you, and was a pretty good option to help burn elites.

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My heavy weapon of choice has usually always been a machine gun because it always feels like you have a lot more versatility due to the larger magazine size… or in the case of most of them drum size.  Once again this gets a strike against it for the horrible asethestic of year 3 Iron Banner weapons, but it has a lot going for it when it comes to stats with Extended Mag, Hand-Laid Stock and Counterblance giving me a fairly high impact and very stable machine gun.  Not much else to say about it… it was very much a utilitarian burn option that wasn’t flashy but got the job done.

Exotic Weapons

While we have ended up with a large number of carry over from Destiny 1 in the Exotics department, there are still a handful that I really enjoyed using that it would be nice to see reborn in one form or another.

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I have to give an initial shout out to Hawkmoon, which was the very first Exotic that I ever got to drop.  Now rumor has it that we are getting this back at some point in the upcoming seasons… but for the time being an equivalent does not exist in game.  It was a high damage high capacity hand canon made interesting by the fact that two of the bullets would deal extra damage.  Ultimately I replaced this in my line up with the Eyasluna which was essentially the legendary version of Hawkmoon allowing me more leverage in where I chose to use my exotic slot.  It still bears mentioning however for introducing me to how cool exotics could be.

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Another weapon that was also near and dear to my heart that absolutely no one else liked playing with…  was the Fabian Strategy or the Titan exclusive exotic.  I have always been a very run and gun player and as such was regularly closing the gap on a pack of mobs, which triggered crowd control and the front lines perk that increased weapon stability and rate of fire.  The fact that a portion of the ammo was reloaded into the magazine on kills meant I could storm the castle and maintain a killing screen while taking out minions.  This all fits my general play style and made me love this weapon far more than I should have given how many other people kept telling me it was garbage.  Proof again that weapon choice is absolutely a personal preference thing.

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Red Death was my go to for whenever I needed to sustain my life in a situation where I knew I would be taking a significant amount of damage.  This made it the ideal weapon for those affixes that would cause your shields not to regenerate normally, or anything where there was a aura effect that would be slowly damaging you over time.  Sure we got Crimson which is effectively a Hand Canon version of this weapon, but it feels lousy to play with in my opinion and as such doesn’t really count for me.  I would love to see the original Red Death back.  Given the storied past of this weapon it feels like the perfect option for a lengthy chain to unlock it.

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Now for the weapon that inspired this post…  Thunderlord is awesome and does a great job of melting a bunch of minions because of its arc damage proc…  but the best version of that was on the Zhalo Supercell.  Not only was it a really stable auto rifle, but the chain lightning proc made it perfect for clearing waves of mobs.  It also held a special place as one of the few elemental primaries that survived the year one cull, which made it amazing for arc burn weeks.  I would love to see a version of this gun back with a similar proc, especially given how many horde mode encounters we are getting in the game now.

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While I never got to experience the grandeur of year one Gjallarhorn because I stopped playing shortly after launch…  I fell in love with this weapon during Year 3 and it is impossible to make a nostalgic post without mentioning it.  There was just nothing cooler than watching an entire pack of mobs melt to wolfpack rounds.  During much of Year 3 this was pretty much the dedicated exotic that I used for everything because even if it was not solar burn week… it still was the best option for killing all of the things at once.  Sure one might say that made it too powerful, but it was insanely fun to play with so it deserves on this list.

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Another weapon that I would love to have back that we will probably never get back… is Invective or the shotgun that regenerates ammunition over time.  Sure this and the Icebreaker the sniper equivalent were a little broken…  but I loved this weapon so much in The Crucible because I didn’t have to care about the meta of trying to camp the special ammo.  It looks amazing as well which as we all know goes a lot way to making a weapon feel good to use.  Party Crasher+1 was the only shotgun I used regularly other than this one, but for most of my iron banner nonsense it was this in the special, Haakon’s in the primary and some machine gun in the heavy slot.

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Sure we got a version of this with the Curse of Osiris DLC called Machina Dei 4 but it is nowhere near as good as this classic exotic version.  It also looks nowhere near as cool.  I would love to see a version of the original return, because again… this was an epic quest in the original Destiny and would give ample opportunity to make it a seasonal quest to recover the weapon.  Everyone loved the Stranger’s Rifle and this was just an updated version of that, so would love to see it back.

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These next two are largely situational, but I felt like they were unique enough that I wanted to include them as well.  Touch of Malice was a must have raid weapon for the Taken King expansion, given that there were many burn phases where you were given an invulnerability effect allowing you to effectively pour rounds into the target without reloading with this weapon.  It’s special effect allowed you to drain your own life and convert it into a bullet to keep firing after you have essentially emptied your magazine.  This mean’t that it was super useful in a few clutch situations, but also was a great way to kill yourself if you were not paying much attention.  In either case it was fun for the entire family.

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Lastly we have Bad Juju that had two situations where it worked amazingly well.  String of Curses did two things… firstly kills caused your ammo to reload and give you a damage buff.  Secondly this effect when procced caused you to gain additional super energy, allowing you to charge your super significantly faster if you could be put in a situation where you had to kill waves of mobs.  This made this the go to weapon in situations where you needed to have your super up regularly, which came in super handy in Prison of Elders and similar activities where you were both fighting a bunch of stuff and also getting additional credit for using your super.  Other than that I was not a huge fan of the weapon, but I liked it because it filled a specific niche in my armory.

What were some of the weapons that you miss from Destiny 1?  I largely excluded the elemental swords because I would have had to have included all three of them… because they were all great in their own way.  Drop me a line in the comments below about your favorite Destiny 1 weapon that we have not seen yet in Destiny 2.