Apart from the recent jaunts back into Final Fantasy XIV brought on by our amazing Free Company house… I have been spending most of my time this week with the Iron Banner. There are a whole lot of things that have changed from Destiny 1… most of which for the better. For me at least in D1 Iron Banner was this holiday event in part because I knew that I could get gear that would help bump my light level up. Unfortunately that is not the case with D2, and this is all part of a larger discussion I want to have at some point about the general problems with the way progression feels. In D1 the only way you made progress through the ranks of the Iron Banner reputation was by winning, which meant that if you hit a frustrating unlucky streak you could stall out complete. Gear drops were rewarded as part of bounties that you could get on each character, and as random drops at the end of matches. On average I seemed to get a new piece of gear every three or four matches… but you also had dry spells where you could go upwards of ten games without seeing anything. In D2 this situation is largely resolved by shifting everything to token based loot. It takes 20 tokens to get a package with one iron banner exclusive item and then the potential of getting a random filler legendary and/or some shaders. You gain 2 tokens for a loss and 5 tokens for a win, so if you can manage to get on a streak you can rack up several packages in a row. Additionally there are challenges that can be completed each day and turning those back in to Lord Saladin rewards 15 faction tokens.
My goal so far has been to earn at least 2 packages a day, and in part this is only because I cannot really handle a bunch of crucible in a row. So far in Destiny 2 the length of time I can reasonably play crucible matches back to back lines up almost perfectly with the amount required to get the Call to Arms engram. My biggest problem is that I need a breather every so many matches because I notice that my own abilities start to wain greatly as the stress and anxiety sort of catch up with me. As a result I notice that I am completely all over the map when it comes to my ability. I also have certain maps that I am just not good at, or do not fit whatever it is that my play style actually is and as a result my Destiny tracker profile is a mess. The biggest problem for me is that the core reason why I spent so much time playing Iron Banner was the overarching goal of increasing my viability in the game by getting more powerful gear and infusing it into stuff. With this gone… some of my drive to keep playing is largely toast and at this point my goal is to get 10 packages so I can unlock whatever it is that I earn by doing so. Right now I have opened five packages and gotten the same auto rifle twice… which admittedly was the primary weapon I was interested in… as well as helm, chest and a grenade launcher. I thought I would take a moment this morning and talk about the two weapons I have seen so far.
The Forward Path looks like the Origin Story which is ultimately what initially got me excited about the weapon, but winds up being a vastly different weapon archetype. It lives in the 600 rpm bracket which means its most direct competitors are Scathelocke, Ghost Primus and Martyr’s Make… at least of the rifles you see in regular rotation. All of these weapons are really closely grouped on most of the stats but The Forward Path has significantly more handling than most of the other weapons in this class. The big take away from me after using this a good deal is that it feels really reliable and easy to hold on target… especially with a moving target. It benefits significantly from the Tap the Trigger perk which grants increased accuracy and stability the few moments after pulling the trigger. When I am taking down targets at max range I tend to habitually pump the trigger firing off short bursts… a habit that I picked up from playing the early FPS titles and this weapon plays directly into that instinct. The only negative is… this feels like a PVE weapon… that is being rewarded by a PVP event. There is just not a case where you would not choose to take Scathelocke or Origin Story in your kinetic slot because High-Caliber Rounds and Rampage are just that good. However Armor-Piercing rounds makes this thing a beast for strikes and other PVE content where the mobs are shielded because this gives you the ability to easily break shields with both Kinetic and Energy weapons. I am super glad to add this weapon to my arsenal, but it is right now a weird mixed bag for me… and in truth I am probably going to rock Ghost Primus/Scathelocke in a lot of the situations I would normally use it.
Grenade Launchers need a great deal of work. As it stands this is my least favorite weapon type and is voted most likely to get sharded on sight when one drops into my inventory. I’ve found exactly one Grenade Launcher that I actually like using and that is the one from the crucible/packages Play of the Game. The reason why this weapon shines above all others is because of a single perk… Proximity Grenades causing the payload to detonate when it gets close to a target rather than hitting it. Grenades are insanely unwieldy and bounce like mad… making them completely unreliable other than being used “for funsies”. The Day’s Fury suffers from all of these problems with grenade launchers in general… but is increased by having a fairly small blast radius and perks that don’t really help make up for the weaknesses of the genre. You have Mini Frags which increases reload speed and magazine size at the cost of blast radius, or Spike Grenade that inexplicably increases stability. When I think Spike Grenades I think some sort of a claymore mine action where it hurls shrapnel into nearby enemies when it explodes… which would have been awesome and maybe would have made this weapon reasonable to use. As it stands this just ends up being vault clutter that I will end up holding onto because it was hard to get… hoping maybe they will turn Grenade Launchers into something useful in the future.
Have you gotten anything cool from the Iron Banner? What are your thoughts of the event so far? Drop a line in the comments and let me know.