Bungie and Activision have released the first downloadable content expansion for Destiny, The Dark Below. There has been a great deal of controversy and fervor over the game since launch. The expansion is the first look at the sign of things to come for the game. Apparently, Bungie has a 10-year plan for the game, and one imagines that continuous expansion packs, similar to those in World of Warcraft, are part of that. However, Destiny is a much different game than World of Warcraft. It is an interesting new hybrid between a first-person shooter and a massive multiplayer online game.
My main issue with Destiny at launch was the flawed story. It was incredibly lacking and vague. That said, the game is very playable and easy to get into. It is fun to advance and level-up your personal Guardian character. However, I do not enjoy the more repetitive grinding aspects of progressing the status of the Guardian.
The new game provides new story quests and missions in the form of Eris. Eris is a Guardian who ascended with her unit into the depths of the Hellmouth on the Moon, in order to destroy the Hive alien threat. Eris was the only survivor. She is now an ally at the Tower and sends the Guardians on missions to quell the Hive threat and to stop their leader, Crota. Most of the story missions relate to dealing with Hive threats in Old Russia on Earth or in Hive bases on the Moon. Guardians prevent the Hive from taking over the computer AI Warmind, Rasputin, and also apparently prevent an attempt by the Hive to revive Crota. Events climax with the first Strike mission, where players exterminate the Hive wizard Omnigul. Overall, I liked the progression of the new story missions for The Dark Below. There is a nice sense of mythology around Eris and her failure to stop the Hive. She definitely has a much more well-rounded characterization than the other allies in the Tower.
Gear and weapons have changed for The Dark Below. The player level cap is now 32 instead of 30. It is a bit of a grind, and I am still hovering at level 29. There are some additional player quests that players can accomplish for Eris to earn new gear and weapons. While playing the game, I acquired an awesome weapon– a new fusion rifle called the Murmur. The Murmur can switch from solar damage to arc damage. It is a very powerful Legendary class weapon, even without upgrades.
Along with The Dark Below expansion, Bungie updated some other features. I like the fact that upgrade materials are now available for purchase from vendors at the Tower. Unfortunately, Ascendant Shards are still too difficult to obtain. It is a bit of a drag to get this slow struggle to level 30 or higher.
I did try the Crota’s End Raid, but I was severely over-matched; even in a team with other members who were level 30 and level 31. The first part was insane. The Guardians are stuck at the heart of the Hellmouth. Scores of Thralls surround the Guardians and attack in droves. Players have to run around and stand next to lighted pillars. Eventually, the pillars explode. Then, players must avoid, kill or dodge more Hive aliens and get to a platform to open up a bridge. At this point, it appears that you have to be level 30 or higher to beat Crota’s End at this point. Hopefully, I can raise my character stats to beat it later on.
Overall, I enjoyed most of what The Dark Below brings to the table. The new missions and new Crucible maps are fun to play through. The Crota’s End Raid provides a very significant and tough challenge, and I look forward to tackling it more later. The Dark Below is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360.