Last night I spent a not insignificant amount of time playing Destiny 2 Warmind. You will have to excuse the garbage screenshots but I was largely chilling on the sofa with my laptop and it runs the game at the potato resolution of 1366 x 768. I say potato because scaling down to that from the 4K display I have upstairs is quite the adjustment. It however allows me to be flexible where I am gaming, and last night allowed me to hang out with the mrs while still getting to do the thing I wanted to do. I’ve had a bit of a falling out with Destiny 2 over the last few months and I am not entirely certain why. It is just like after the release of Curse of Osiris I lost my forward momentum and stopped caring that I was no longer getting those engrams every day. Based on the fact that I was the only person online in my clan for most of the night… I am guessing everyone has had this same thing happen to them.
That said I was extremely interested in this expansion because it is the return of three things that I love in the Destiny universe… The Hive, Rasputin, and Clovis Bray lore. The last bit takes the form of our companion during this expansion Ana Bray… a heir to House Bray and former golden age scientist turned guardian. There is a rule among the guardians that they are not supposed to go digging into their past life before they died and were resurrected with the light, but when you are a Bray… this gets a lot harder knowing that so much golden age tech that remains was potentially created by your hands. As a result you get the impression that Ana Bray is no longer a Vanguard member… and not even a real guardian in the eyes of Zavala… because she broke the rule and started digging into Bray tech when she first realized it recognized her and would respond to her commands.
I am not far enough into the story to fully understand the other parts of the equation that I love… The Hive and Rasputin. The polar ice caps of Mars seem to hide a group of frozen hive that include several new troop types and modifications to the others as well. There are now Knights that wield a shield making it extremely difficult to attack them, and versions of the Acolyte called Adherants that seem to snipe you with long beams of energy. In addition there are more heavily armored versions of the Ogre, but this might just be one of the boss models for this expansion that gets used on ultra units. The map area itself is a little bit bigger than Titan in scope… which is somewhat disappointing but a significant step up from the tiny and repetitive Mercury.
What I enjoy the most so far is that it feels like this is as tightly packed with secrets as the Dreadnought was in The Taken King expansion. I’ve already encountered a bunch of objects that say I need to have a specific item or buff to be able to interact with them, meaning there are secrets to be unlocked hidden out there much like the Skyburner Deployment Codes. On the director map there is a note out to the side saying that I have found 0 or 45 Latent Memory locations, so this feels like something along the lines of the Calcified Fragments or SIVA Clusters of old. This is the sort of stuff that Destiny 2 desperately needed, to give us a downtime activity to strive for in getting out and exploring the world.
There are of course a bunch of cool items that came in with this expansion. At one point I got to choose from three weapons… one of which was essentially Uriel’s Gift minus high impact rounds but with Dragonfly… so I had to take it. I’ve not finished the main campaign and not hit level 30 yet so I am not super focused on gear at the moment. That said I have picked up a bunch of cool items through the eververse doodads you get while leveling up. My Ghost is now a floating mirror ball that I eventually colored neon green via a shader. I’ve similarly picked up an exotic ship and an exotic speeder as well. They seem to have tweaked these exotic shells a bit so that they have the same two perks…. the first being summons your mount faster and the second being universal elemental telemetry. The last perk seems to now be some sort of a cache based perk for a given planet. This mirror ball for example works on Nessus, which is handy since that happens to be the weekly zone.
I have to say I really like the set of gear that you get through turning in tokens with Ana Bray, and I can already tell this is going to be something I try and collect in its entirety. So far the story has been interesting, but I have a feeling that I am nearing the end of it… and if that is the case it is also very very short. Maybe there is more going on than I think there is… and maybe the boss I am just about to face is only the midpoint. However it certain feels like it is pushing me towards a supposedly epic conclusion… and the way the NPCs speak sounds in terms like we are doing this massive struggle… when it feels like I only just arrived on the planet. Reading a little blurb on Reddit just now confirms that I am in fact on the final quest… so essentially there are five quests in a chain that had I not been dawdling probably could have completed in an hour and a half.
Granted I like the other parts of the game more than I do the story… but it feels like a bit of a let down. During Destiny 1 the justification they gave for the need to reboot the game and create Destiny 2… was that the way D1 was build was particularly difficult to build content for. They blamed the tools for the fact that we kept getting recycled areas instead of completely new maps and raids. The problem is… neither Curse of Osiris with its rampant recycling of the Infinite Forest and its tiny planetary area… nor Warmind so far really prove that the sacrifice the players made was worth it. I say sacrifice… because in coming to Destiny 2 we gave up a lot of things that we still have not gotten back. We were promised a better gaming experience and on some levels it is… but on other levels it is just a less interesting game.
Ultimately I will be around for awhile because it did feel good last night to shoot things. The new event type that they touted however was a bit of a let down as well… given that it is mostly just another planetary event that involves hunting wave after wave of hive and doing some stuff to destroy crystals. Sure it was fun but also I can see it will get pretty repetitive. However it does fill that Archon’s Forge/Court of Oryx niche in giving something repeatable that can give decent rewards. The protect the Warsat event type is back and I had missed it greatly. I am not exactly sure how you can push that one into heroic mode, but I am sure it will involve something silly like blowing up one of the hive ships. There is an open world version of the Hive Ritual event that seems really cool because I was so used to doing that in the one space it appeared on Titan. All in all I was happy to be playing again… but still a bit grumbly about how cool this game could have been.