Destiny 2 in December has been…eventful. It noticed the launch of the Bungie 30th Anniversary DLC, which has introduced an entire lot of recent content material to the sport, and has been, in a phrase, hilarious. I have been having a blast within the new Grasp of Avarice dungeon and enjoying Dares of Eternity, the place the dialogue is great. The brand new weapons impressed by Bungie’s previous video games, together with Halo, all really feel nice. Principally, the entire expertise has simply been extraordinarily lighthearted and enjoyable, and I’ve loved each minute of it.
Not every part was optimistic, although. Final week, IGN’s Rebekah Valentine printed a superb, prolonged report detailing tales from present and former Bungie workers concerning the tradition of the studio. It is a lengthy, worthy examine circumstances on the studio each previous and current, and factors out a whole lot of issues from all through Bungie’s historical past. It additionally appears the developer is making some actual enhancements within the realms of its tradition, the protection of its office, its dedication to the well-being of its workers, and its inclusivity. Following the report, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons released a statement detailing enhancements Bungie stated it has made, in addition to strides it’s making towards being higher. Most lately, Bungie’s long-time head of human resources stepped down.
Studies of frat-like tradition, discrimination, and poor working circumstances abound within the video video games trade, and the IGN report exhibits that Bungie has suffered from a whole lot of that very same rot. The studio additionally appears to have been working towards bettering that state of affairs, and I doubt it is a coincidence that Future 2 has improved considerably as a sport throughout the identical interval that Bungie has been making an attempt to advance as a studio. IGN’s report exhibits that the studio has a protracted solution to go, nevertheless, and it is essential to shine a lightweight on tales reminiscent of these to be able to maintain studios accountable and to attempt to assist enhance the circumstances underneath which video video games are made. Hopefully, Bungie actually is making itself the sort of place to work that its builders and followers may be pleased with.
I additionally hope that the unimaginable work everybody at Bungie has turned out over the past 12 months specifically, together with the Thirtieth Anniversary DLC, is a supply of delight, and proof that issues on the studio are getting higher.
Wheel of Adversity, flip flip flip
It wasn’t too stunning, however Bungie Thirtieth Anniversary DLC, Future 2’s mini-expansion to carry us over for the discharge of The Witch Queen, turned out approach higher than it had any proper to. The growth is stuffed with enjoyable and goofy issues to chase, just like the Halo-inspired Forerunner pistol, the completely phenomenal BXR pulse rifle that takes after Halo’s battle rifle, and the enduring Gjallarhorn. The infusion of cool new weapons into the sandbox has freshened up outdated actions fairly a bit within the final couple of weeks.
A shock standout, although, is Dares of Eternity. That is the free new exercise Bungie added for the Thirtieth Anniversary, and it takes after different nice six-player actions from the previous, just like the Menagerie. It is simply easy sufficient which you could run it with anybody and simply complicated sufficient that it would not really feel like one more capturing gallery. The actual cause it is so good, nevertheless, is Xur.
Dares of Eternity imagines an entire new goofy little bit of lore for Future 2, primarily a cosmic sport present that takes place in a black gap and offers out prizes gathered from numerous colliding realities that mix into each other. The “paraverse” is one thing we have not actually heard about earlier than in Future 2–in reality, whereas alternate planes of existence have been a factor for some time, I feel the paraverse is likely to be an all-new idea within the story, though I am not so accustomed to all Future lore to have the ability to say that definitively. It makes for a superb clarification for Halo, Marathon, and Fable stuff displaying up within the sport, and it additionally provides an entire new potential dimension to the Future universe by making alternate realities a definitive factor that would pop up at any time. The 9 certain are bizarre.
There are a whole lot of prospects right here with the potential for parallel universes, however in the intervening time, the paraverse is only one large joke manufacturing unit and I am right here for it. Xur specifically has been wonderful the final two weeks. The enigmatic Agent of the 9 has been displaying up each week for years in Future and Future 2, and we have realized virtually nothing about him. He is unusual on his own–a puppet of the 9, apparently willed into existence by them–but he is additionally been sort of boring. With out actually discovering out something about what Xur’s entire deal is, he has sort of grow to be a non-entity within the universe. He is a pop-up retailer and little else.
Till now, that’s. Xur seems in Dares of Eternity to ship goofy riffs on cliche sport present strains, and all of it’s nice. Stuff like, “From lovely downtown Torobatl, give it up for the Cabal,” “Did you neglect to say, ‘No whammies?'” and, “Although we’re trapped in a formless void, we hope you may be part of us subsequent time on Dares of Eternity” set Xur as one of many weirdest and now funniest characters within the sport. He is beholden to the 9 and the Starhorse–what even is that?–and he is out right here enjoying sport present host seemingly with out even realizing what that’s or what he is saying. It is a large, concerned gag that humanizes each Xur and the 9 in a approach we have not seen earlier than. Plus, it is now canon that the 9–basically sentient beings representing the planets of the photo voltaic system–are followers of daytime Earth tv primarily from the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s. Modify your understanding of the sport world accordingly.
Finest served chilly
Talking of jokes, let’s speak concerning the elaborate, phenomenal prank Bungie has pulled on the Future group: the Grasp of Avarice dungeon. The centerpiece of the Thirtieth Anniversary DLC is a superb new chunk of endgame content material I’ve actually loved working by, filled with enjoyable new mechanics and fascinating challenges. Like Dares, it is also very humorous, most significantly as a result of the joke is on us.
Grasp of Avarice is a protracted, extraordinarily particular dunk on Future 1 gamers from approach again when the sport first got here out some seven years in the past. When Bungie launched Future after having labored on it for years, with a selected imaginative and prescient for a live-game loot grind and a plan for the way rapidly you’ll cross by endgame content material, gamers instantly broke the sport. They found the Loot Cave, which they used to avoid Bungie’s deliberate gear development. Now, granted, the loot development was very tough on the time, and it could undergo years of iterations and enhancements. (The truth is, I hated the grind and I totally admit to being a Loot Cave consumer.) However it could possibly’t be understated that, no matter Bungie had deliberate for these early days of Future, gamers instantly discovered an exploit to bypass that plan–and sort of ruined no matter work had gone into creating it.
Seven years later, Bungie releases Grasp of Avarice, which is a dungeon-length lampooning of all of us who stood in entrance of that dumb cave, capturing what had been primarily Thralls in a barrel as a substitute of truly enjoying the sport. The dungeon is a humorous and good-natured reference to the previous and a few shared notoriety in Future, for certain. It additionally suggests Bungie has been low-key salty concerning the Loot Cave for the higher a part of a decade, and I love that. Easter eggs, callbacks, and in-jokes are rampant within the video games trade (the Thirtieth Anniversary DLC is mainly made from them), however I’ve by no means heard of one thing this elaborate or pointed or straight-up enjoyable, in so some ways.
I wrote an extended piece on the extremely good, beautifully petty dunk that is Grasp of Avarice that goes into an extended clarification of the Loot Cave, so verify that out, particularly in the event you missed these early Future days and don’t know what the deal is right here. Suffice it to say that I like Grasp in each approach, however most significantly as a result of it is a joke aimed toward all us Future veterans. Touche, Bungo.
Spreading vacation cheer
One final thing to speak about actual fast: The Dawning this 12 months is a big step up from what it has been like in current vacation seasons. Normally, the Dawning is about baking cookies to fulfill bounties and getting a few weapons within the course of. The gist is similar this 12 months as effectively, however with way more satisfying story hooks. Simply because the Pageant of the Misplaced this 12 months was extra elaborate and fascinating because of the injection of somewhat ghost story enjoyable, the Dawning appears like one thing that really issues to the higher Future narrative, if just a bit.
The precise components of the Dawning which have added to my enjoyment this 12 months are its two story quests, The Pigeon Provides and Rite of Dawning. Each quests are fairly quick, and so they’re very text-heavy–don’t count on new cutscenes right here. However in the event you take the time to learn by them, you understand they’re pretty pointed story moments that assist the Dawning make extra sense throughout the story framework of Future 2.
In The Pigeon Gives, Eva Levante vegetation the concept with Saint-14 that one thing good ought to be completed for the Eliksni refugees within the Final Metropolis. Saint’s state of affairs within the story in the intervening time is a precarious one, as he is been traumatized by the lack of Osiris, however he is discovered new function within the safety of the Vanguard’s new Eliksni allies. Saint’s arc by final season, the Season of the Splicer, was significantly robust, as he realized that his long-time enemies, the Fallen, are additionally individuals, not simply homicide monsters. And he is made main strides towards being a pal to them, somewhat than a legendary topic of concern of their tradition.
So the search is all about serving to Saint make cookies for the Eliksni by gathering components essential to their tradition. The story is mild and humorous, even when relegated to some pages of textual content, and finally, you get to go work together with Eliksni dad and mom and the infants they put on strapped to their chests, which squeal in delight at your vacation supply. It is an amazing concept that really makes the Dawning really feel a bit extra like an actual vacation event–plus you get Zephyr, the new Stasis sword, on your hassle.
Ceremony of Dawning tells the same story however with the Cabal, with Eva suggesting to Zavala that you just and he do one thing good for Empress Caiatl. We have not heard a lot concerning the Cabal empress because the finish of the Season of the Chosen. She’s popped up right here and there within the lore, however not a lot: She urged nuking the Dreaming Metropolis to kill Savathun in a single entry, however Zavala turned her down; and he or she’s liaising with Crow and having some doubtlessly secret talks with Lord Saladin. Aside from that, although, we do not actually know a lot concerning the state of Vanguard-Cabal relations.
The hunt provides a bit there, with Zavala sending you out to collect some key gadgets to Cabal tradition to place collectively a present for Caiatl. It is a small factor, with just a few enjoyable moments scattered all through, however I actually like what it exhibits concerning the characters. Zavala goes out of his solution to honor Caiatl in the best way of her individuals; Caiatl demonstrates gratitude for that honor. It provides somewhat taste to that ongoing story, refreshes the sensation of alliance between the characters, and hits on the themes of reconciliation and understanding which have permeated all of the Future 2 tales because the launch of Past Gentle.
All of that’s to say that I have been actually having fun with Future 2 within the final couple of weeks. This has been an absolute banger of a 12 months for the game–the greatest I’ve ever seen in years with Future–and even with minor tweaks, it appears like Bungie has discovered nice methods to punch every part up, together with its tried, true, and generally repetitive vacation occasions.
So this is trying ahead to an amazing 2022 for Future 2. The Witch Queen looms and tales are choosing up pace as they rush towards collision. Particularly given the robust end to this 12 months, I am unable to wait to see what’s subsequent.
Tell us what you’ve got been liking with the Thirtieth Anniversary DLC and the Dawning, or the rest, within the feedback under.