By: Lynda McDonald
In light of Bungie’s recent announcement of new DLC Rise of Iron, I am sure some players are holding off rejoining Destiny until September. Destiny’s April update (more affectionately known by fans as “The Taken Spring”) brought a lot of small changes to the game that created a big shift in its playability. Unfortunately though most casual or ex-players won’t hear the word update and think they should start playing again. This is a huge shame because this free update really added a lot to the game. The update introduced a lot of content for players to sink their teeth into until Rise of Iron is released in September.
Light Level and Gear
The most obvious reason to get back into the game is the light level increase that came with the update. Players can now reach 335. Light level in Destiny is based on the gear equipped and for a long time, this meant that players could really only reach the maximum light level if they completed “The King’s Fall raid. This also meant that almost everyone who was at max light level was wearing the raid gear set. For some players, this is a huge turn off – one gear set for everyone that doesn’t really look all that different even with coloured shaders applied. The April update ushered in the age of the gear set as we see two entirely new sets added – the Taken set and the Chroma set. The Chroma set allows players to add whatever colour chromas they want to their armour allowing for more customisation. All Faction gear sets and Prison of Elders gear have been updated and the new infusion system (which I explain in the paragraph below) means that players can infuse any gear set they want to 335 allowing everyone to wear whatever they like much more easily than before.
Finally, the update also reintroduced a long list of legendary and exotic weapons and armour from year one. This is a great move from Bungie, although it was long overdue. Considering how few exotic armour pieces The Taken King offered to players before this (one exotic chest piece for Titans, really Bungie?!). The list contains a couple of my personal favourites – Khepri’s Sting Hunter Gauntlets and the legendary shotgun The Comedian.
Before the update infusion was tough. If you wanted to increase the light level of a piece of your gear or weapons you had to infuse it with a piece that had a higher light level but the infused piece only received a portion of the light level depending on the difference between them. This left the non-hardcore players in a rut of constant infusion slowly creeping up in light levels. After the update infusion was changed so that the gear being infused received the full light level of the other piece i.e. if you infuse a piece of gear that is 300 with a piece that is 305 the infused piece is now 305. This makes the game so much friendlier to casual and new players who would have struggled to reach the higher echelons of the game.
Play The Game You Want
Before the update, the only way to get really high-level gear was to complete the raid. Every now and again players might get a good drop from the crucible or vanguard strike playlist, but they were incredibly rare. This was one of the main reasons I began to get bored with the game as I found there was no reward for playing these game types anymore. Since the April update, we have seen a definite increase in high-level drops, especially during the Iron Banner events.
This small update to the game is extremely significant because it allows players to reach 335 without having to raid. It gives them the option to play the game the way they want to play it without essentially being penalised for abstaining from the raid.
The new questline that was introduced with the update wasn’t exactly very lengthy, but it was free, ties into the Blighted Chalice Strike and results in the Dreadfang sword dropping at 320.
Winter’s Run Taken Strike & Blighted Chalice Strike
Winter’s Run was one of the strikes that had gotten a little old, at least in my opinion. The Archon Priest moved around the same way every time and didn’t really present much of a challenge. The updated version sees players release the Priest as a Taken with new mechanics with Taken spawning during the boss fights, making the strike feel fresher and adding a little bit of life into the strike playlist. The Nexus strike also got some notable new spawn updates outside the final boss entrance.
We also saw an entirely (or at least mostly) new strike called Blighted Chalice. Where players face a Taken boss called Malok. The strike includes some interesting mechanics that involve blights filling the room and slowing down players unless they clear them from the area.
Prison of Eldars
Since the release of the Taken King Variks has not had much of a role to play in the game, and to be honest the only reason I found myself visiting the reef was to find Xûr on a Friday. The Prison of Eldars became defunct as players maximum light level rose and the Prison really wasn’t a challenge anymore. The gear sets Variks offered were left behind with no ability to be infused making them obsolete past a certain level. The April update renewed the gear set and introduced the “Challenge of the Eldars” game mode that includes a loot drop of 335 if players reaching certain score levels in the challenge.
Difficulty Increased Across Most Events
Players also saw an increase in difficulty level across most activities including Heroic Strikes, Nightfall and the King’s Fall raid, which now drops up to 320 loot in normal mode and hard mode dropping up to 335. Court of Oryx also saw an increase in difficulty and now drops loot up to 335.
HUD is now Optional
HUD is now optional across game modes. This is great for players that want to improve their skills by playing without the HUD. It also means we can take screenshots or videos unobstructed by the HUD.
The April update introduced more than enough new content to tide players over until Rise of Iron’s release in September, there was even more to the update than was covered here, such as updates to certain exotic weapons and reduction to overshields. More importantly, it introduced enough changes to potentially pull back in some old players that are excited about the upcoming DLC. The reintroduction of year one gear along with new updated gear sets also shows that Bungie is listening to their fans even if it does take a while for them to implement the changes.