290 Power and More Weapons

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Destiny 2_20170921063131

Last night I pushed through and hit another Milestone in Destiny 2, and that is hitting the 290 light barrier.  While our clan lead seemed to hit this practically over night… it has been a long slog for most of us.  I’ve talked about this before but the gearing process slows down greatly at 265 and then each additionally point of power seems to be a struggle to obtain.  This is going to be the phase of the game that loses most people because if you have never dealt with how rough Destiny 1 was to get light…  then this is going to seem like a chore.  For the most part I am enjoying the process because I like watching the numbers go up.  For frame of reference however…  the game was released on September 5th and sixteen days later I have logged roughly 57 hours of play according to Destiny Tracker.   Now for additional point of reference I spent just shy of 500 hours playing Destiny 1 on the PS4 and just shy of 50 hours on the Xbox One.  Basically all I am trying to say here is that 290 power level is a significant investment of time, but in theory you could probably also get there just by focusing on the few powerful gear rewarding objectives that you can do each week.  My process has involved a lot of doing random stuff hoping to get exotic engrams that then push me up every so slightly.

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As far as things to talk about this morning I don’t have much.  I thought instead I would share a few new weapon pickups that I am enjoying.  Each week I do the crucible milestone so that I can get the luminous engram associated with it.  During one of the many matches I had to play to get 100% completion to get my loot…  I managed to get this gun to drop.  As far as I know this is only available from the crucible itself or from turning in crucible tokens for faction with Lord Shaxx.  This gun is amazing in PVE and I imagine similarly amazing in PVP given its propensity for one-shot killing almost anything but yellow bars, and even then a single shot will usually strip their shield.  I was using it last night while running around on Io and straight up 2 shotting Vex Minotaurs…  one to drop the shield and one precision shot to kill them.  It did similar magic on Taken Centurions, except their shields seemed to take to shots to drop them.  If you get this gun, I highly suggest you play with it a bit before sharding it because I think you are going to like it.  I also love the name because its a play on two infamous guns from Destiny 1:  The Devil You Know and The Devil You Don’t.

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As the reward from completing the nightfall, I managed to pick up an Origin Story.  I have no clue what weapon I chose at that step in the quest chain…  but I know it was not this gun and whatever I did wound up as infusion fodder somewhere along the way.  At this point in my life I was deeply connected to Scathelocke and could see no other weapon taking that primary gun crush position for me.  However after hearing people talk about this gun, I decided to play with it a bit before using it as power level fuel.  I am certainly glad that I did because my god this gun is amazing.  It is a much slower rate of fire archetype as compared to the Scathelocke…  so if that is the Haakon’s Hatchet then this is closer to the Suros Regime or Genesis Chain.  This has quickly taken my primary slot and the only time I am not using it… is when I am rocking Better Devils.

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A weapon that I have loved for awhile but was not using a lot at the time of the last post is Uriel’s Gift.  I try really hard not to run double auto rifles because it limits the things that I can do, however there is a period of time when I did.  Now that I have started using Better Devils a lot more this is filling in as my secondary slot.  Similarly I am using this a lot in crucible because it just has an insane time to kill.  Out of the gate the gun has really good stability in spite of what looks like on paper a relatively low stat… or at least it has a very predictable recoil pattern.  This allows me to choose High Caliber Rounds to get the stagger effect against enemies.  This has been the game where I suddenly greatly favor Omolon weapons.  In Destiny 1 I always thought they looked cool, but never really liked the way they felt.  This time around I am digging both.  Functionally my two primary setups are Origin Story/Manannan or Better Devils/Uriel’s Gift and I swap back and forth between those as needed.

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This has been the version of Destiny where pulse rifles are just not that good.  I’ve tried a bunch of them and none of them really feel like they used to…  or have the ability to shred enemies like they used to either.  Of the pulses I have tried, I have largely standardized on using the Nergal because it feels the best and seems to perform the best out in the field.  I’ve actually used it a bit in crucible and it works well enough…  the problem is it is just outshined in every way by the Auto Rifle options I have now.  I have this feeling that we are going to see an Auto Rifle stability nerf which will clear the way for the pulse to shine a bit more.  Previously Pulse was the stable multi shot option… and Autorifle was all about learning how to ride a bucking bronco into battle.  If you are looking for a pulse however I highly suggest you check this one out.  I get it regularly from the gunsmith, and it seems to be on a pretty generic drop table.



Dark Math and Infusion

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I finished the night last night at 287 power, putting me well within striking distance of at least 290 this week… and with some additional luck in getting some really good drops 300.  For the moment I have standardized on the gear set that I am wearing and I have been eating everything that gives me slightly higher light levels to pour into it.  This morning I thought I would talk a bit about the infusion game in Destiny 2 and my frustrations with it.  The longer I play Destiny 2 the more I think of it as a continuation of the previous game to the point of largely feeling like a big smooth reboot.  There is a lot of gnashing of teeth over this point but I have reached a sort of equilibrium in my attitude.  I realize there are going to be some people that cannot get past this fact and I am guessing they really were not that big of a fan of the original game in the first place.  There are certainly things that I am not the biggest fan of, but overall I am really enjoying my time spent wandering around…  and weirdly looking forward to starting over with the PC launch and doing all of the things that I wish I had done this time around.  For me at least the chronology of Destiny looks a little something like this.

  • Year One – Destiny Launch/Dark Below/House of Wolves
  • Year Two – The Taken King
  • Year Three – Rise of Iron
  • Year Four – Destiny 2 Launch

Now back to the original topic I wanted to discuss…  Infusion.  During Year One it was not really a thing even though there was a limited form of it available in the ability to “power up” weapons with ascendant shards…  which was less a version of infusion and more a version of delayed gratification making you level your weapon further after getting it.  Side note… they are doing something like this system with an exotic shotgun that you get from the raid but that is a discussion for another day.  During Year Two they introduced the infusion system but made the calculations behind it extremely frustrating.  The closer you got to the level cap the less light you were able to squeak out from each infusion.  I remember keeping a vault full of random gear to step new items that I got up… without losing a bunch of potential light in the process.  For those who didn’t live under the system… say you had a 300 light level exotic item.. and you wanted to infuse a 335 item into it…  the resulting item would be 324.  If the first item was a legendary item…  you would end up with 328 making this weird penalty on using exotics.  During the tail end of Year Two and all of Year Three this changed and you started to get the complete face value of every infusion, meaning in that same scenario… of a 300 exotic and a 335 infusion fodder… you would end up with a 335 exotic gaining full credit for the item you were pouring into it.  The previous infusion system was pretty straight forward in that any primary could infuse into any other primary…  with the same being true for armor pieces.  Meaning I could throw my trash at my alts and help funnel their light level up.

Now we scan forward to Year Four and a bunch of things have changed that make the system as a whole way less beneficial to the players.  Year Three was pretty much the pinnacle of the system as far as I was concerned, it felt good and didn’t cause needless strife to the players.  In Destiny 2 however… they made a bunch of tweaks that seem like nonsense.  Firstly they removed the element of simplicity, meaning it was no longer slot based infusions and instead depended upon the specific item type.  This means if you need to bump up your auto rifle… you are going to need another auto rifle.  Similarly it means that if you want to pour additional power into your hunter arms…  you are going to need another pair of hunter arms.  To further confuse things they added a system of mods into the game, and at face value these seem like awesome things.  It lets you take one piece of gear and tailor it to your exact needs without having to wait for the ideal item roll to drop.  Where this complicates things however is when it comes to legendary mods, because not only do they add perks to an item…  they also had 5 power levels.  This means that if you have a 200 item without a legendary mod and a 225 item with a legendary mod…  feeding the 225 item into the 200 item will result in a new power level of 220 because the mod gets consumed in the process.  The first time this happened to me I was confused as hell and extremely angry because it felt like they had taken a step back to the lossy days of item infusion.

Where things get even weirder is the fact that in the past there were hard item level caps that you could not breach.  For example right now in Destiny 2… blues stop giving you upgrades initially a 260 and purples at 265.  That however is a somewhat fungible barrier, because as your power level trickles up…  so does the level at which items start dropping.  I am not entirely certain why things drop at the level they start dropping… but for example last night the maximum power I could hit was 287 but the blues I kept seeing were 277.  The lowest power item I have equipped is a 282 helm…  so I do not think it is based on that given that there was a period of time where I kept getting items that I could infuse into my lower armor pieces to keep pulling my total up a bit.  There is some manner of dark math happening behind the scenes and I think that is what is making this process feel less certain and because of that less “good” than the previous system.  We reached peak infusion during year three and all of these tweaks just feel like they were screwing with a solved problem.  I am hoping at some point we revert back to just having slot based infusion rather than item type based.  The whole item levels and drops thing however I am not even sure how to straighten that out because it seems super wibbly wobbly.  All of this said however…  Bungie has tweaked things significant given time and I have a feeling that they will also tweak this product to roll back some of the weird parts.  It is just a little frustrating at this point however to be entering what is legitimately year four of the game, and it feels like they forgot some of the lessons they learned during the first three years.  I mean maybe this is the influence of Blizzard, since they seem to love fixing systems that were not broken by ripping up the pavement and installing brand new and improved pavement that requires a completely different car to drive on it.  Whatever the case I am still loving the game and have been spending almost every non-work waking moment playing it…  but there are just frustrations that build up as with any new experience.  I thought I had gushed for awhile… and its probably time for me to start unpacking some of my baggage as well.

Destiny 2: Favorite Weapons So Far

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This weekend was a weird mix of leveling characters and slowly incrementing that light level up there.  Saturday I spent most of my time working on the Warlock and I managed to get the light level up to 282, then I turned around Sunday and caught my titan main up and can now hit 283 if I swap a bunch of gear around.  I potentially should have taken a new screenshot this morning, but largely I took this one to show off the gear that I finally stabilized with, or at least enough to feel like I could use some shaders to blend everything together.  I’ve been using the Doom Fang Pauldrons as my exotic armor piece because of the benefits it gives to Sentinel.  The shield throw is rather potent and giving me an ability to do more than one per super is something I can seriously get behind.  The rest is a blend of Wild Wood armor and Kerak Type 2, which gives me the sort of heavily armored but also a bit piecemeal look that I was going for that the Doom Fang Pauldrons already had.  Another thing that I spent a significant amount of time was sitting on Io and testing weapons out trying to determine what I want to keep and what I absolutely hate to use and can shard.  As far as the “why Io” part it just happened to be where I was when I decided to start down this rabbit hole.  The end result is that my vault is greatly less cluttered, and that I have settled on a number of what I consider my favorite weapons.  I thought this morning I would talk about some of them.

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Scathelock is the weapon that I keep going back to and for all intents and purposes can be called my primary gun.  I loved this weapon in the beta and one of my happiest moments was when I got my first copy from Devrim Kay, and quite honestly from that point on its been in pretty heavy rotation.  It is really hard to compare weapons from Destiny 2 to Destiny 1 but as far as feel goes this is somewhere in the range of my beloved God Roll Haakon’s Hatchet and Zhalo Supercell.  It is extremely fast and relatively accurate… and if you land precision shots you can melt four or five oncoming minion type mobs without reloading.  The only negative is that there is sometimes this weird pull to one side…  which can sometimes make it a bit hard to track mobs that are moving.  However I have learned to adjust and completely love this weapon, especially with the cool copper and black shader setup that I am rocking right now.

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The other weapon that has become my default energy slot item is the MIDA Mini Tool.  You get this weapon as part of the new quest chain that ultimately leads to the MIDA Multi Tool, and I absolutely love the look of it.  My default crucible loadout tends to be auto rifle and submachinegun, and for the most part I tend to treat subs as the new shotgun.  They offer you a way to completely melt a target at close range in a very short period of time.  As far as for PVE purposes, this also melts enemy shields and tends to be a bit more accurate than the average submachinegun is.  You are going to use this in close to medium range engagements however, because there is no way you are accurately hitting something across the room from you.  This thing is awesome for melting Vex Minotaurs and Cabal Centurions specifically.

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Yesterday I heard this weapon referred to as the new Gjallarhorn, and while in some ways I agree with that…  I am afraid no weapon in Destiny 2 is ever going to be nearly as powerful as the Gjallarhorn was.  Merciless however comes really close and if you absolutely need to destroy a boss target, then this thing is going to be your go to.  It has a really tight cluster of shots as far as Fusion rifles go and this means that more than like a single shot is going to take down any non-boss yellow bar.  When it comes to bosses however that’s where the perks of this weapon really shine.  I talked about this a little Friday when I did my Xur post, but Conserve Momentum is the exotic perk and it causes non-lethal hits to speed up the weapons charge rate.  This is EXTREMELY noticeable and after a few hits the weapon starts to feel more like a pulse rifle than a fusion rifle.  It is going to be extremely useful for fights where you have a limited burn window to take down as much ammo off the boss as possible, and if you use hunter dodge or titan shield reload you can keep up the damage without breaking the effect.  I’ve managed to get a couple of these so far from Exotics and I have a feeling as we go deeper into the game this is going to be that weapon everyone wished they had gotten when Xur sold it.

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I am really not much of a fan of scout rifles in general.  They are great for using as a psuedo sniper rifle, but I would just much rather have a harder hitting hand cannon or a more buzzsaw like auto rifle to whittle down mobs.  The Manannan sorta plants itself in a territory that I actually really enjoy using.  Once again it is super hard to compare a weapon stat for stat to Destiny 1, but this feels like a much harder hitting Year 2 Hung Jury SR4.  Explosive payload makes this weapon help quite a bit on add duty which is where I feel scouts tend to fall down a bit next to the weapons I am used to using.  It’s weird, that during Destiny 1 I was not really a big fan of most of the Omolon weapons… and WAS a huge fake of Hakke.  This time around it is pretty much the exact opposite… where I am finding myself sharding very few Omolon weapons and sharding almost every single Hakke item I get my hands on.

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Speaking of Hakke weapons…  here is one that has absolutely earned its slot in my inventory.  Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun…  is a mouthful but so far it is hands down the best shotgun I have come across.  The primary reason being that just like Destiny 1…  Full Auto is where it is at and this thing is super useful for pouring a bunch of hits into a boss in quick succession.  It has shockingly decent range and a decent magazine size for a shotgun.  I’ve sharded a bunch of shotguns because they never really gave me much reason to use them…  and I was completely spoiled by Destiny 1 weapons like the Invective or Party Crasher +1.  This shotgun however absolutely sits nicely on the same level as those weapons, and if you get it…  you might think twice before tossing it aside as you are probably not going to find a better shotty.

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I’m going to close things out with something that I happened to find while cleaning out my vault, that I apparently hurriedly tossed in there without really trying it out.  This is another one of the few Hakke weapons that I have kept and I did so largely because this hand cannon has damned near maxed out impact at 92 out of 100.  The only weapon I have with that same stat is the exotic Sturm… that I just picked up and have yet to really use much.  Basically think of this weapon as a Legendary Sturm much the same way as Eyasluna from Destiny 1 was a Legendary version of Hawkmoon.  If I had to choose between using Sturm and using Merciless…  then I am absolutely going to be equipping Pribina-D and having that exotic in the heavy slot.  More than anything though this weapon proves that you should in theory at least give some test time  to every single legendary weapon that comes across your path.  You are going to find some gems that at first glance you thought nothing about.

Happy First Xursday!

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One of the tidbits of information that we knew going into Destiny 2 was that Mister Shadow Tentacles himself…  Xur the Agent of the Nine would no longer be showing up in a social space.  That meant that we would need to find him somewhere on a planet.  At first I thought this would be somewhat of a scavenger hunt, where we had to scour the planets to find where he was hiding.  However that does not appear to be the case because they put a familiar IX logo on the director map.  This week Xur is located on Nessus in the Watcher’s Grave area, and in this case he is up high in a tree next to a golden vex scannable item.  The other things that we didn’t know were the level of items he would be bringing….  and the cost.  We knew that legendary shards would be the universal currency for lots of different things and now replace the familiar chase item…  Strange Coins.  It appears that everything is 270 and I have verified with a few videos of Xur that regardless of the players power level he seems to be handing out that same static level.  The basic set up is similar to Destiny 1 in that he is bringing a single weapon and a piece of armor for each class.  This week we have…

  • Merciless – Fusion Rifle – 29 Legendary Shards
  • Raiden Flux – Hunter Chest – 23 Legendary Shards
  • Doom Fang Pauldrons – Titan Arms – 23 Legendary Shards
  • Wings of Sacred Dawn – Warlock Chest – 23 Legendary Shards

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If you only have the Legendary Shards to pick up a single item… I would say buy this thing.  I was lucky enough to get it as an Exotic Engram drop while leveling… and this thing is amazing.  It has a weird perk on it that speeds up the recharge rate until you get a kill.  This combined with a perk that increases your damage if you reload after getting that kill..   makes it a machine to melt mobs.  Especially on bosses the fact that it keeps getting faster lets you pour some insane damage into the boss in a very short period of time.  This thing completely decimates the ship that flys in on the Cabal extraction event for example.  This was one of the first legendaries that I infused up, simply because I like using it that much.

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I went ahead and picked these up because I didn’t already have them.  Effectively when you are in your super mode… kills with the shield bash reset the cooldown of your shield throw.  I could definitely see this being useful since in general you only get one throw per sentinel super.  Similarly melee kills help give you super energy… and since I run around punching everything already this should be a good exotic for me.  The only problem is…  I am currently using another exotic just for the light levels so in theory I need to find something to replace it with before I can rock these.

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For the Warlock Xur is selling the Wings of Sacred Dawn, which is one of the fanciest chest slot items I have seen in game so far.  The truth is however that I largely just bought this for the item level to help give my Warlock I am currently leveling a power boost, so I can start double dipping on those sweet sweet powerful engrams.  The perk is Tome of Dawn, which causes you to suspend midair while aiming while you are in your super.  Precision hits extend this effects duration allowing you to stay up in the air frozen longer.  Since I don’t really like Dawnblade as a subclass and went Voidwalker the moment I got it as a drop and have never looked back…  this really is all about the 270 light level for me and nothing else.  If you like Dawnblade your mileage may vary.


I had to swipe an image of this one online, because I have not even begun to start my Hunter leveling…  since it is probably the class I like the least in Destiny 2.  I went ahead and picked this up however because I had the shards…  and once again it will be a power level boost when I finally get around to leveling and equipping a third class.  The perk on the item is called Synapse Junctions…  which causes quick successive attacks with Arc Staff to increase damage output and the duration of your super.  In truth this is probably a good item for me since I mostly like the Arc Staff super ability.  Again however…  its really about the 270 light.

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One of the slight disappointments comes not from the exotics themselves…  because I really do think that he brought a decent load out of items.  What I am a little disappointed in is the fact that he ONLY brought the exotics.  Previously in Destiny 1 there were a ton of other items that he sold…  most of which are no longer still in the game.  What I would have loved to see him sell in their place however were maybe some really nice gear mods to help those players who have yet to hit that 280 plateau get there.  Additionally I would have loved to see him offer Fireteam Medallions as an alternate way other than Eververse dust currency to get them, since they appear to be the replacement for three of coins.  The best method of getting Exotic engrams appears to be running one of those and chaining heroic events.  Speaking of which… I need to do a lot more of that.  Anyways regardless of anything else… I am just happy to see the Friday tradition of finding Xur continue into this new game.


Warlock and Worm Gods



I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about this morning.  I had a relatively chill night playing Destiny 2 without a whole lot of focus on any more serious adventures.  The first part of the evening I finished a milestone that involves doing a bunch of challenges.  Most of these I got yesterday morning while doing a little crucible, but I wound up finishing up in the EDZ knocking a few out there.  After that I picked back up with the main story quest on my warlock and leveled my way through the end of the EDZ, all of Titan and Nessus and have the starting quest for Io.  The only problem there is that I have been way less meandery this time and am sitting just shy of level 10.  In order to accept the IO quest you need to be 11…  so I am going to spend some time wandering Nessus and taking down stuff there I think.  Titan as a whole is not really a great event running zone, given that things are so broken up due to the various platforms that everything happens to be on.  Nessus and EDZ seem like they are for the long run going to be the best spots to get pick up events, but even then…  now that Nessus is the flashpoint it seems to be way less active than the EDZ was last week.  That said there are still a ton of people running events in the EDZ, which might ultimately be the best place to settle into.


The other thing that I wanted to talk a bit about this morning is something I had seen in a video before.  There is a mission on Titan where you end up essentially going down into an underwater base.  There is this one place where you drop down to a platform below…  and if you are following the flow of the mission you are focused on the objective that is behind me in this screenshot.  However if you turn around and look behind you…  you see this translucent bank of windows and can see something swimming by in shadow that is massive…  and has tentacles.  Now if you have not read the Books of Sorrow this probably will mean nothing to you.  If you want to know the lore of the Hive, then I highly suggest either watching the video series by Byf or the one I actually watched ages ago from Myelin games.  If you prefer to read it yourself, then the full text can be found here as well as I believe all of the Grimore cards from Destiny 1.  I like the video options because I am a sucker for dramatized radio play style text readings…  which is probably why I am a fan of podcasting and public radio in general.  Now we are going to enter some spoiler territory so if you do care to experience the Books of Sorrow yourself come back later.  In the books you find out that the Hive long ago crashed landed on a Water Giant world that they refer to as “The Fundament”, and they ultimately sought the help of the worm gods that lived deep under the water and were creatures of darkness.  I think it doesn’t really make sense that Titan would be “The Fundament” because otherwise we by all accounts should have had to deal with the Hive in full force long before they actually found us.  Instead I am wondering if what we are seeing underwater swimming up against the arcology is a similar Worm God.  Others have talked about this maybe being an Ahamkara, but everything indicates that they were dragon like…  not Leviathan like.  I would say that maybe all of this is for nothing and this is just native life…  but few things that Bungie does are for no actual reason.  I have seen time and time again how they have planted the seeds of something that is yet to come…  in the background of something we have already seen.  During several of these missions the Ghost says that these Hive are different than the ones we had encountered before, which makes me wonder if a certain character that keeps getting mentioned…  has sought out more Worm Gods to make a pact for more power.  Again if you have not dove pretty deep into the lore of Destiny not a damn word I have said today will make much sense.

A Little Luck

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Last night the loot gods were very good to me.  Weekly reset is a time where the impossible seems possible…  or at the very lease you have a new round of milestones that can reward “powerful gear” otherwise known as Luminous Engrams.  For the unindoctrinated… these are a weird cross between purple and gold and contain gear that is always a significant upgrade over whatever you happen to be wearing.  This always probably needs to have its own caveat given that when you hit the current hard level cap of 350…  this will in theory constantly keep rewarding you maximum power items.  These right now seem to be the primary method of moving the needle forward… and I guess that makes sense given that the normal mode of the raid is 260 to 280 power.  This makes sense due to the general difficulty increase as you progress through raid bosses and the hope that you will be slotting in items you get on the first few bosses to keep ratcheting your power level as you traverse the content.  This is the point where I am going to apologize because I will inevitably for a long time keep calling it Light instead of Power… and while I am trying my best to catch these several of them are going to slip through the cracks.  Functionally now that we are all arriving at 265 we are settling in for the long game of slowly incrementing our levels each week through doing events.  The folks that are pushing 300 right now did some sheer madness…  namely I know it was super popular in the reddit circles to roll 3 of exactly the same class so you could swap gear and get three times the weekly engrams…  greatly increasing your chances of moving things forward.

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What I did not expect was for Cayde-6 to pay out this week the way that he did.  For the also unindoctrinated…  once you hit level 20 and complete your main story quest each of the traditional NPCs does a specific thing.  Ikora Rey for example lets you replay three missions a week and then in turn rewards engrams based on the faction tokens you get from doing this.  Zavala is once again all about the strikes and the nightfall, and Cayde-6 unsurprisingly is all about sending you on a quest to gather up loot he has stashed.  He sells 5 maps per week for 5000 glimmer each and they are always going to be in whatever zone happens to be the Flashpoint area.  This week for example it was Nessus and when you purchase them a series of Spade icons appear on your map with no real indication of how to actually get there.  Other than a few rare cases these icons are “breaking the border” of the map… meaning you need to figure out if they are in a cave system or if you need to climb up somewhere and jump out in what is officially unmarked space of the map.  Occasionally there are gimme chests like the one this week that is literally in the middle of a structure that is impossible to miss…  but I won’t go into any spoilers about any of them.  Last week I got one exotic engram, one legendary… and a bunch of random junk that Cayde-6 will buy back from you…  like a Spinfoil Hat.  This week was insanely good loot wise because not only did I wind up getting four legendary engrams and one exotic, I also got a 271 weapon.  So that means in theory you could possible get power level increasing upgrades from him going forward.

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Since I was functionally gifted almost the right number of items for a specific quest…  I decided to make last night all about trying to catch up on the various exotic weapon quests.  When you finish the main storyline there are a number of blue crown icon quests that start showing up on the various planets.  From what I understand each of these ultimately leads to an exotic.  I had already been working my way through the one that rewards first the MIDA Mini Tool submachinegun and eventually the MIDA Multi Tool scout rifle made famous in Destiny 1.   The quest where I needed all of the engrams however I am still working my way through by doing silly things on Nessus.  However one of the first steps in the chain involves going to Master Rahool in the tower and decrypting 5 legendary engrams and 1 exotic engram.  The quest itself pays out one legendary engram, so I knew that this was one of those times where it would be easy to move forward in the quest chain since I had everything sitting there and ready to go.  The only quest that I have not started is the one for the Rat King, but I will be doing this soon given that I am hearing this is a decent week to try and get through it as one of the steps requires you to make insanely good time in the Nightfall.  I feel like I am still making progress, but a lot of that progress is slow and incremental.  We’ve entered the cold winter phase of Destiny, when every few points of light requires a large amount of effort.  I’m completely fine in this territory because I have been there before, but I am wondering if we end up losing a few people in the post 265 slog.

Destiny 2 Heroic Event Triggers

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Yesterday Pete asked if I could do a post about the various heroic event triggers, and this morning I am going to attempt to do just that.  Last night I was able to get a few reasonable screenshots of the objectives for several of the events.  Others I have simply looked up and will attempt to explain because I don’t have good imagery for them.  At this point though I now feel relatively comfortable in my knowledge of how to launch any of the events into heroic mode.  I am posting a picture of my own character at the start of this post largely because I am happy that for once I have most of a matched set of gear.

Glimmer Extraction – Fallen Event

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This is more than likely the very first event you ever complete in Destiny 2 because it spawns right out in front of the church.  Essentially a Ketch will drop off a Glimmer Harvesting team and you have to take out the extraction teams.  Each team will consist of 3 mobs followed by a mini boss type mob.  Then the ketch will drop another ship in a new location.  There will be three different locations that the Fallen attempt to harvest and if you take down all of them you defeat the event.  In the Heroic mode however things change.  In the above screenshot you can see a little engine looking thing with a stream of glimmer going into it.  There will be one of these at each location the Fallen attempt to harvest, and to trigger heroic you need to destroy them before you have defeated a given waves miniboss.  From there the goal changes to guarding a pile of glimmer until your folks can transmat it out.  Someone has to be standing on the pile at all times to make sure the bar is progressing.

Weapons Exchange – Fallen

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This event is pretty straight forward.  In Destiny 1 we learned the ins and outs of fighting Fallen Walkers…  hit the armor plating on their legs until one section falls of and then the carapace covering the control module slides open and you can pour damage into the unit.  In this event there are 3 energy fields protecting a total of six scorch cannons.  Each time you bust open the carapace on the Walker, a number of arc orbs will spawn at its feet.  In order to trigger the heroic phase, you need to take those orbs and carry them to the receptacles that look like the object in the screenshot above.  It will take two orbs per shield, and once you have dropped all three shields…  a second walker gets dropped on your location.  The goal is to have the first walker almost dead when you drop the shields so that you can grab a scorch cannon and finished both off extremely quickly.

Ether Resupply – Fallen

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This event is another one that is pretty straight forward…  kill the giant Servitor.  During the event a number of smaller servitors will spawn in and start interacting with the bigger one.  The first one has to be killed because he shields the Servitor from any damage.  There is a second phase where three spawn in… and in theory you can leave these up if you are just taking down the Servitor normally.  However if you kill them it starts the heroic phase…  which causes the Servitor to take greatly reduced damage…  talking 10-15 damage per shot in a vulnerable spot reduced damage.  The goal here is to get the servitor down pretty close…  then kill the three mini-servitors…  then drop the big guy to close out the event.

Excavation – Cabal

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This is one of the least straight forward of all of the events.  The goal of the Excavation event is to stand hear the mining lander and progress the bar to 100%…  all the while avoiding waves of progressively more difficult mobs and missiles that are coming in from the command ship hovering over the location.  At various points in the fight a Thresher gunship will fly in and start attacking anyone defending the location.  In order to trigger the heroic phase of the event you need to take down this gunship… and in my experience you have about two flyby phases to do it in before you have progressed the event to 100% and ended it naturally.  Essentially everyone needs to focus fire this thing down whenever you see it.  If you are successful a major cabal centurion boss will spawn in… and wreck him to earn your heroic chest.

Injection Rig – Cabal

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I am not honestly sure what the non-heroic goal of this event is, because from the start it is telling you to drawn down the Infiltrator Valus…  which is what happens if you trigger heroic mode.  While this event is going on there will be a giant cabal shield that spawns over the drill, and every so often giant vents will open at up to four spots on the rig.  If you are in the bubble you start burning, and the ultimately goal to trigger heroic mode is to destroy all four of these vents before you end up dying in the process.  About the most that I have seen taken out in a single go are two vents at a time, so that means it will take a few passes to get them all down.  It helps if you have a really good ranged power weapon like a fusion rifle or rocket launcher.  If you are successfull Infiltrator Valus will spawn and you wreck him to get your chest of goodies.

Spire Integration – Vex

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Much like the Fallen Walker event… this is a reboot of a classic event from Destiny 1.  In the Spire Integration event your goal was to prevent wave after wave of Vex from integrating with the spire that you were guarding.  One of those does in fact exist in this event, as does the objective of preventing anyone from integrating with a wiggle room counter of 10.  However to progress the event to the Heroic mode you need to also help build shields around these additional spires.  There will be 3 glowing rings scattered around the event… standing in one will begin to capture the point and raise a vex shield around you.  Once you have captured all three of these the Heroic mode will trigger and you have to destroy progressively more nasty Vex until the timer runs out.  Prepare to have Minotaurs and Cyclops to spawn in addition to all of the normal yellow bar Vex types.  Stay alive and prevent 10 integrations to win your heroic loots.

Taken Blight – Taken

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This one is really hard to explain visually so I am posting a picture of the objective you are trying to destroy.  Essentially the goal of this event is to destroy an number of taken blights that spawn in.  In Destiny 2 the blights work slightly differently in that they are protected by a bubble and in order to actually damage the blight you have to step inside of it.  During this event while standing in one of these bubbles you will get a brief buff called “Blight Receding”.  There is another giant blight bubble that will spawn near the other blights… and this one is protected by a shield and if you attempt to hit it you get “invulnerable”.  However while you have this Blight Receding buff you can deal damage to it.  Functionally you need to alternate ducking inside the bubble to get the buff and going out and damaging the big blight until it is destroyed.  If you are successful this will trigger the heroic mode and summon a Taken Major for you to destroy.  If you defeat it then you get shiny loots.

Witches’ Ritual – Hive

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This one only spawns on Titan and I believe only in one specific location near where you spawn in at the arcology.  The goal is to prevent a pair of hive wizards from opening a portal… the only problem is the wizards are shielded and invulnerable.  You will notice however there are two hive sigils on the ground, and standing in one causes the corresponding wizard to lose its shield.  After you take down the wizards a bigger more powerful wizard will spawn in.  In order to trigger the heroic version you need to then recapture the sigils and use it to destroy two crystals that were previously invulnerable to attack.  If you do this successfully another Hive Major will spawn in the Darkblade Knight.  Defeat it to get your tasty loots.

Destiny 2: Thoughts after Beating Story

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There have been many points during my leveling process where I looked pretty damned cool.  However in my current state I look a bit like a rejected He-Man toy from the 80s.  The important thing however is that I am sitting at 265 power…  which is effectively the first soft cap you can hit…  or more or less means you are “done with blues”.  Now I will have to rely on a much smaller list of items that I can get potential upgrades from, but even then… it does feel like I am stalled out.  The next plateau is 280, which unlocks the Nightfall and some of the advanced features of the Gunsmith, and I might have to wait until the weekly reset to be able to get there.  At this point by my estimations I have spent over 30 hours in game, but the PS4 doesn’t really have a proper way of tracking this time spent.  Unfortunately Destiny Tracker seems to have some issues with the API currently and is only showing the most recent information.  I officially “beat” the game on Friday when I crossed two different finish lines… the first being level 20, and the second being the completion of the main story quest.  Both of these are important for different reasons…  level capping of course lets you start gaining power level which is the TRUE leveling system of Destiny 2.  When you beat the story however the flood gates open with a ton of options that were previously locked…  including one of my favorite Destiny 1 activities…  Patrol Missions.

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The thing you probably want to hear about however is the story, since that was the chief complaint about the original game…  or at least the lack thereof.  I personally enjoyed it greatly but your mileage may vary.  It is hard to separate the part of me that is a lore junkie from the original game and poured over countless YouTube videos, grimoire cards and is even in a discord group specifically for…  pieces together the story.  Objectively the story works significantly better than that of the original game, because you are given a more traditional plot structure.  Going into the game you have an event that has thrown your world into turmoil, and you are presented a very clear nemesis that is responsible for those events.  From there it sets a path in motion, first of survival and then of figuring out a way to fight back.  All of this works pretty well, and the game crescendos during the last four or five missions until you reach what feels like a pretty damned epic climax.  More importantly than all of this…  you are invested in the people you meet along the way.  In the first game… especially in the year one content…  everyone was just a name without any attributes really associated with them that would make you start to care.  Now you get introduced to a bunch of new characters along with the characters you already knew… and at each step of the way you are given little bits of story about them that make you start to care about their situation…  not just how they might benefit you.  There are several NPCs in Destiny 2 that I genuinely like and enjoy doing further content with and for… because I get to hang out with them again.  Functionally this is a world I start out much more invested in, and it isn’t up to me to go digging through the debris to find meaning…  the game keeps delivering that on a silver platter.

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As far as “end game” content goes there seems to be plenty of that as well.  The above screenshot is of part of the director map for European Dead Zone, the little blue diamond represent events…  and in truth all of these have yet to actually start.  You can over your cursor over a given event and it will tell you what the rewards are and how long until it starts… or in this case you can look at the orange ring around the outside of the diamond because that also serves as a visual timer.  You tend to get about five minutes notice before an event starts and the white circle symbol with the big triangle and small triangle represent transmat warp points, allowing you to quickly jump around a map without the need to traverse the whole thing like in Destiny 1.  Additionally the orange icons on the map represent the adventures that I have talked about in other posts… which are functionally story missions that occur “in world” where one of the NPCs will direct you through a sequence of objectives and then gives you some rewards at the end.  I need to spend some time doing these because several of them reward upgrade points…  which are ultimately the way you unlock “powers” on your sub classes.  Additionally each of the original vanguard members gives you some sort of end game activity that happens on a weekly timer.  Ikora Rey for example has you replay missions from the main story, each time gaining a little faction and in my experience doing an entire batch of three gives you enough currency to get one of her faction packages.  Cayde-6 lets you purchase treasure maps…  which unlock a series of chests…  that can reward you everything from an Exotic engram…  to a spinfoil hat with varying degrees of “worth it”.  Additionally there are other quests that start to open up that lead to good old fashioned Exotic weapon quests…  like one to regain the MIDA Multi Tool for example.

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The Crucible is still very much a thing, but seems to have way fewer options than before.  Right now you functionally choose between two different lists…  Quick Play or Competitive…  the difference being that the first is supposed to be for casual play and the second is supposed to feed into their ultimately ranking system.  The only part that is jarring about this is that in Quick Play you alternate between game types… so you might do a Supremacy and then the next match might be Control or Clash.  There are times I feel like I am getting the hang of the four player crucible experience…  and then there are times when I feel like I know nothing.  The positive or negative of this experience is that the game is getting me to play Crucible by danging rewards in front of my face.  There is an item called a Luminous Engram, that can be achieved by completing a handful of weekly milestones…  one of which being to play a number of crucible matches…  which seemed to be something in the range of 10 of them.  This is also potentially gated on your performance because I never seemed to get the same amount of percentage advancement in the milestone each match.  Regardless the reward was enough for me to spend my afternoon yesterday doing matches until I got my shiny reward at the end…  which is effectively a really powerful faction package that is a marked jump in your overall power level… generally up to 10 power levels over your current rating.  The Crucible is just one of many of these that effective have you out doing different kinds of content chasing these big rewards.  Effectively I like that the game is going to dangle big enough carrots in front of my face to make me want to do things…  that normally I would not.

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Another system that is shaping up to be extremely important is that of Clans.  Right now the roster is screwed up as is the clan membership count, but what is working is Clan Experience.  Effectively doing anything out in the world grants you a certain amount of Clan Experience, and in the second screenshot in this post you can see a little blip on the right hand side of the screen denoting that I earned some.  There is a cap that you can reach each week for the total contribution towards your guilds leveling process, and if you do so… there is another one of those Luminous Engrams waiting for you.  Where the Clan system really gets cool is that it functionally rewards every member of the Clan for the activities of its members.  They turned on the Clan system Friday and by that evening we had maxed our our total experience for the week and pushed the Clan to level 2, and additionally when one of our members completed a Nightfall it unlocked a Legendary Engram for everyone in the clan.  Similarly when someone finished the Crucible Luminous Engram…  everyone got a Legendary Engram…  and in theory the same will be true for the Raid and the Trials of the Nine which are not open yet.  Its really rather cool that there is this sort of “share the wealth” type system that lets players who are maybe not as progressed as their clanmates have a nice hand up in that department.  The Experience cap for the week was low enough that functionally it took three players capping their weekly contribution to get there… so in theory this is not going to be one of those systems that greatly favors massive Clans and screws the little ones with a handful of members.

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Lastly I wanted to close out with the Shader issue again.  I still am not super happy with the changes to this system, and I am hoping they come to their senses and tweak how it works.  I would be fine with something along the lines of once you discover a shader, you can then purchase them from the various faction NPCs for glimmer.  Once I dinged 20 the drop rate of these did in fact increase, and after 20 your experience bar effectively rewards you a Bright Engram each time you “level up”.  This happens often enough that I’ve gotten somewhere around 10-12 of these just by going out into the world and playing through content.  Additionally the NPC Faction packages and the random spawn chests throughout the world seem to reward a lot of them specific to a given planet.  Prior to dinging 20…  I had two different colors… and at the time I took this screenshot I had 27 and a good number of them with enough to actually dye a full set of armor.  Basically it doesn’t seem like it is going to be long before I am absolutely swimming in shaders, like I seem to currently be with mods.  Please note… I still don’t like this system change, but it also doesn’t seem to be the end of the world I originally thought it was going to be.  Especially given how damned often I seem to be getting “free” bright engrams that are the same thing as you purchase with the in game currency.  I’ve even managed to pull one of the exotic sparrows…  of which a screenshot will be inserted below.

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In the grand scheme of things…  I could not be much more happy with my Destiny 2 experience.  In the podcast I called it “The Destiniest Destiny” and this still holds true.  If you didn’t like the original game…  I am still not entirely certain you will like Destiny 2.  Everything about this game is an iterative approach to the original… which things being so much more fleshed out and wildly more “stuff” to do…  but it is still very much the same overall game play experience.  If you were one of those players that sat back and thought “I like Destiny, but in order for it to be playable it would have to change drastically”… then this game is very much not for you.  Calling the game Destiny 1.5 or 2.0…  really is appropriate than really thinking of this as a sequel.  I am completely fine with this notion and at this point I am absolutely chomping at the bits to start over from scratch on the PC.  Very shortly I will begin working on the Warlock and Hunter on PS4 so I have the ability to get multiple characters worth of luminous engrams per week.  There are some players that are even creating three of the same class to maximize this further…  but I think I will stick to having three classes.  All in all the game is still grindy but I find that specific brand of grind extremely fun.  I am hoping that at 265 I can actually see the raid… but I am thinking that the more likely power level will be 280 which means I am going to need to do a bit more leap frogging in power level in order to get there.

The Shader Situation



Yesterday I briefly mentioned the issue happening right now with Shaders, but I had a few people ask me directly what exactly was going on.  So I thought I would take a moment this morning to explain the issue from my perspective.  In the original Destiny Shaders were an item that dropped that when applied effected the color scheme and sometimes physical properties of your armor.  It was a purely cosmetic system, but one that the players latched onto with both hands.  The Shaders themselves dropped from all manner of activities and occasionally were attached to achievements.  This happened with enough relative rarity that when you got one…  you noticed and immediately started playing with it.  Each Guardian could carry a total of nine shaders with them at any given time… and I personally found myself swapping back and forth between shaders on a regular basis to fit my current mood or to coordinate which whatever  weapon loadout I happened to be rocking that night.  To say I was engaged in the system is probably a bit of an understatement given that I had 103 of them according to the achievement that tracks such progress.  I was by no means the most prolific however because there were folks in game who had literally every single one… and you can see in the above photo… the ones that are greyed out are ones I had not found yet.  The system itself was pretty limited and some shaders looked good on some armor sets…  but absolutely horrible on others.  However it was something that gave us some license to stand out in the tower from the other Guardians also wearing Iron Banner gear.


With the lead up to Destiny 2 there was so much talk about how improved the Shader system was going to be.  It was announced that we would be able to apply shaders individually to armor pieces and even our weapons.  As a long time supporter of cosmetic systems this seemed amazing, because it would finally give us some level of granular control over our appearance.  In Destiny 1 it was annoying when your chest-piece looked amazing with a specific shader applied, but your boots or arms looked completely horrible.  This was especially true when rocking the various combinations of black and white like I regularly did…  and it would have allowed us to swap around until we found a specific shader that worked for each individual item.  While playing the “Demo” I found it curiously lacking that they didn’t show off the new shader system, but given this was a build of game originally shown at E3 I thought maybe it was simply left out because the system had not been finished at that point.  It was not until launch that we actually saw the system at work…  and realized that shaders were not a single use consumable item.  The above image is of my shader “collection” in Destiny 2, and all of these so far have come through the starter packages that you keep getting handed by the Eververse vendor at the Farm each time you reach a specific level plateau.  Why the community is going to war over this minor point is the fact that Bungie took what used to be a very good but limited system… and turned it into a potential cash grab.


Yesterday Luke Smith released a sequence of statements on his Twitter account talking about the issue…  and the answer feels less than satisfactory.  Luke is literally the only person who thinks that doing “shader farming” is a good idea.  That sounds miserable especially when it means that you now somehow need to rope five of your friends to follow you down a rabbit hole just so you can have pretty armor for the week.  It is hard enough to convince people to run old school World of Warcraft raids when only transmog items are on the line…  let alone run a 2-3 hour long Destiny raid that never really trivializes…  for armor paint.  Now up until this statement I was taking a wait and see approach and in part I still am.  I noticed that all of the planet faction NPCs had shaders on their loot table that you can get from engrams.  Maybe as he says as we start to grind faction we will be swimming in armor spray paint, but more than likely there is still going to be a sizable number of shaders that are only available through bright engrams.  Bright engrams for reference are the new RNG loot box that the Eververse sells for Silver.  Right now the equivalent conversion rate is $5 to 3 Bright Engrams… and while these drop organically each time you fill up your xp bar again post level 20… that is going to be a less than enjoyable grind to get them.  While I have not actually opened an actual Bright Engram, I have been opening the assorted packages that Eververse gives you in the farm and through those I have received a bunch of shaders enough to make me think that this is going to be the easier way to get them.

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As of last night I hit 15 and probably will push through to 20 tonight, so I should start to see this supposed increased shader drop rate shortly.  What is frustrating to me is that everything else about the game is really amazing.  However that amazing is slightly tarnished by the fact that I know one of my favorite systems has turned into something I looked forward to using…  to something I will probably hoard and never actually use.  You change out gear in Destiny constantly… and even on my maximum light cap 400 characters in the original game…  I was regularly tweaking and fiddling with my build out each time I got some new interesting piece of loot.  There is never going to be a point where you can set your armor selection in stone, knowing that you will likely never get something that works better for you.  Each patch Bungie tweaks this or that making it likely that you are going to be swapping gear our to optimize whatever you happen to be going for this week.  There is never going to be a point where you have enough of your favorite shaders…  nor will you have the freedom to swap them around at will just to do silly things like have everyone raiding in Glowhoo or that hideous McDonald’s looking shader.  Shaders were fun and one of those few non-gear rewards that you loved seeing at the end of a Crucible match or after a strike.  Gone are the days when you cannot wait to try on the new shader you just got to see what it looks like.  Now instead it is going to be a stack in your inventory that keeps going up in number…  but you still feel like you maybe shouldn’t use yet because there is a really awesome item waiting around the corner that you might want it for.  So that in a nutshell is the situation with shaders and why the Destiny 1 player base is frustrated by it.

Destiny 2 PS4 Launch Impressions

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At this point I’ve played Destiny for somewhere in the range of five hours.  I’m not sure if an actual way to tell and the third party sites like Destiny Tracker don’t seem to be keeping this information.  Regardless I have played a bit more than I had when I sat down to talk about it yesterday morning.  At this point I am level 10, have some reasonable gear, and am a few missions into the second planet.  During the course of this mornings post I am going to try and keep spoiler information out of it…  but what classifies as a spoiler is very personal.  For me the things that I generally consider spoilers are story beats or surprising revelations.  However I do not consider any mechanical and nuts and bolt sort of stuff spoilery, so be warned there might be something here you don’t want to read if you are wanting to go into the game completely blind and are waiting for the PC release.  Disclaimer out of the way…  I am really enjoying myself.  Yesterday my friend and fellow blogger Isey made a post talking about how disappointed in general they were in the game.  It is weird how one experience can be translated in very different ways based on a given players perspective.  For me the fact that Destiny 2 is very much Destiny 1 done better…  is a good thing.  Now we are going to get into the details that I largely left out yesterday as to why I was brought to tears playing this game.

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This is a little spoilery but for players returning to the game it presents you with a series of “memories” of big accomplishments you completed.  This is the point where I just lost my shit yesterday and started crying.  I remember each of these firsts in game and who I was with when I did them…  like this raid I remember being completely in awe of the feeling of going through the raid.  I remember the frustration of trying to learn the ship jumping puzzle for the first time.  Basically King’s Fall was a package of emotional baggage waiting to be unwrapped and to know that the game remembered me…  was just more than I could handle in whatever state of mind I happened to be in.  Then when I got through the sequence of memories and was confronted with my guardians sitting there waiting for me..  I really lost it.  I was prepared to lose everything going into Destiny 2 and more or less I did… and the game really grinds this point home…  which is in part why I think Isey had problems with it.  However for me…  the fact that I had “my” guardian sitting there waiting on me…  in a game that remembers what I did…  was enough to bond me to the experience instantly.  In the games I play… the characters I play matter to me.  It matters that I am playing “my shepard”… and when I game tries to make me play someone else that is very much NOT me…  I bounce pretty hard from it.  All I have ever wanted in a sequel is to be able to dust off the team that I had in the previous game… and go out on one more grand adventure and Destiny was sitting there waiting for me to start.

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It feels lame to say… Destiny 2 is Destiny the way it should have been.  However that is the best possible description I seem to be able to muster after playing it.  This is everything I had hoped Destiny was when we first started playing it, and seems to support all the ways I really wanted to play it.  I’ve talked before about how deeply connected to the Patrol zone experience I am… and how I have spent something like 77% of my game time running Patrol missions.  This game takes that notion and expands it in every meaningful way by giving us large planetary zones to explore.  I found my first Lost Sector last night before I even knew what a Lost Sector was…  I did what I always did in Destiny 1…  I went exploring.  There were areas of the Cosmodrome that I knew like the back of my hand, and places that I went exploring in that I had no real business exploring…  each time being slightly frustrated when I encountered a closed door indicating that the area behind is for a strike or raid…  and otherwise not accessible right now in patrol zones.  I set those same instincts to work…  and as I wandered through a building I happened to find a path that took me down into a sub basement… and then continued following that around until I found a room full of Fallen… and ultimately a mini boss that I killed.  Sitting there in the room was a shiny chest full of loot…  marked with what I ultimately came to learn is the symbol that marks a Lost Sector.  Even more than that… the chests you find randomly in the zone are actually useful now.  Previously you had a shot at a little glimmer, some resources from that planet and maybe just maybe if you are insanely lucky a ship schematic.  Now the random spawned chests in an area drop actual usable gear as well as a currency used in a given zone making them super useful to gather up.

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Another huge boon to the overworld experience is the addition of what I believe they call High Value Targets.  Basically as you are fighting around the world you will occasionally come across what looks to be a miniboss in the open world.  Upon taking one of these down they drop a special loot chest that contains glimmer, the zone currency and most of the time in my experience a couple of pieces of gear.  Similarly the zone events have improved and feel both more challenging and more rewarding.  I feel like Destiny was the game that has lead to my enjoyment of Guild Wars 2… in being willing to just go with whatever events happening to be occurring in a given area.  I did this while out on patrol and often helped defend the warsat or take out a specific target…  and in Destiny 2 I’ve found it extremely enjoyable to play in the same sort of way.  The best part about events…. is you can now see what is up and available on the director map making it no longer a thing to keep zoning back and forth between two areas to see if something has kicked off yet.  So far I am a little sad that the actual patrol beacons no longer be a thing…  I used to always have one ticking away while doing other activities.  However the system that it feels like has replaced them is Adventures, and if I had to give up patrols to get that I am thinking it is a reasonable trade.  It’s hard to describe what these are… but think of them as missions that happen while you are out in the open world.  Once you kick them off you will be directed through a series of events by one of the actors in a given zone.  In the EDZ these largely involved retaking certain parts of the zone or attempting to make them more habitable by setting up fortifications or radio towers.  I am hoping that these respawn over time, because right now I only have access to a very limited number of them.

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The most important part of Destiny though are the guns and how they feel to use.  In the “beta” experience I was not a huge fan of all of the weapons.  There were a few I really liked and then much like Destiny 1… others that I couldn’t really stand.  A large chunk of the original game while leveling, you spent time using what felt like pretty lousy weapons.  This time around… it feels like you hit the ground running with a bunch of interesting options.  In the original game I was not the biggest fan of the Omolon weapon foundry other than the infamous Hung Jury scout rifle.  Who would have known that I apparently love their Auto Rifles…  or at the very least whatever archetype the Jiangshi happens to belong to.  I am really hoping there is a legendary version of this gun, because I pretty much love everything about the way it feels.  Right now I have largely been surviving in game on the large number of Pulse Rifles available from various vendors…  because the game keeps handing me Scout Rifles via loot drop.  I am really not a huge fan of Scout Rifles…  and while I like having them for ranged attacks… I need either a Pulse or an Auto to make me happy.  That said I have tried out a whole slew of weapons… and adjusting for personal taste they all seem to be pretty good versions of the weapons I knew before.  The whole auto sidearm thing is pretty great, and I am in fact finding a lot more in the field.  Similarly I have come to really like the Sub Machinegun archetypes, but those are largely an up close and personal weapon for me…  and not great for the distance I am trying to keep mobs at while playing through the story missions.

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Which leads me to the Story Missions as a whole.  So far I am enjoying them quite a lot but I don’t want to get into a lot of details for spoiler reasons.  They feel better than Destiny 1, and so far they are a lot more involved than they were previously.  Homecoming… the mission that we got to experience during the Beta legitimately is a good representation for how the story missions as a whole are going to feel in this game.  It is not some weird one off mission that is hyper focused on story elements.  The later missions don’t have the cute in mission cutscenes with major story characters showing off how awesome they are…  or at least I have not encountered any yet.  That said there is a lot of comms traffic interaction with multiple characters from a given planetary area, and you have interesting things to go out into the world and be doing to move the overarching story along.  Still I feel like I need to drill home the point that…  if you did not like Destiny you are probably still not going to like Destiny 2.  This is very much a Destiny game and feels like the continuation of the first game… where they roll out and fix everything that was broken with it.  This is not a completely different game experience and while there is a ton more story interaction… and they are making it clear that they want to help explain concepts to the player…  it is not a vastly different experience.  For me… it was exactly what I wanted in Destiny 2.  For others it will still fall short of whatever measuring stick they keep trying to hold it up to.  Right now the only frustrating part of the game is that they seem to have fucked up the shader system… and replaced it with a single use consumable.  There is quite a bit of backlash from the community and I can only hope that maybe they revert this change by the time the PC game comes out.  Chroma was a dumb system…  and they got Chroma in my Shaders and made it a dumb system too.  Other than that however live seems to be peachy in Destiny land.  Now I am going to hit publish on this and play some more before I have to run off to work.