I’m a lapsed Destiny fan. I love the feel of the shooting mechanics and absolutely adore returning to the game when there’s something worthwhile to do. With Rise of Iron’s impending release, my pre-order counts down to the inevitable moment when I launch Destiny for the first time since January. At least, with an intent to actually play. The live team’s efforts to extend the game’s lifespan have been lack-luster at best. Self-referential masks and limited-time, half-hearted racing modes can only keep somebody interested for so long. In my case, both of those were about half a day. So as the road to become an Iron Lord is paved, I find myself asking: Does Rise of Iron Matter for Destiny?

What Do I Mean by “Matter”?

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Destiny is overdue for its sequel at this point. According to the original contract, we should already be knee-deep in second-game sauce. Of course, it’s unfair to hold this against Bungie, and technically they’re still on that schedule. Many things have been left unsaid in regards to what the original game was supposed to be, including what led to the delay of the first game by roughly a year. Given how the original Destiny was received at launch, it behooves both Bungie and Activision to take and allow all of the time needed to flesh out that initial experience.

With that in mind, the release of Destiny 2 is still set for 2017. Though Rise of Iron is taking the first step to phase out the last generation of consoles, changes to the foundation of Destiny would be a waste of time with a sequel on the horizon. So what exactly is Rise of Iron? How long is this expansion supposed to tide fans over? Will the live team deliver more engaging content? These are just some of the questions on my mind.

A Series of Small Disappointments

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As a result of poor marketing, the original Destiny suffered from grand expectations. Fans sought a Warcraft-like scale because Bungie addressed Destiny as a living world. The messaging seemed to point at a first-person shooter MMO game, and the release couldn’t have been further from the mark. The story campaign could be completed in less than a day and the end-game didn’t exist. These points could be forgiven had the game delivered a satisfying journey, but all the original plot ever did was question itself more than pose questions to its participants.

Following the mini-expansions of The Dark Below and House of Wolves, the cadence for Destiny appeared to be set: small pieces of the world, akin to other game’s free patches, were to be released from time to time for about £19.99. These releases had their highlights. I still enjoyed the second raid “Crota’s End”, particularly attempting to solo the first section with the Hunter invisibility perks. House of Wolves also introduced the Prison of Elders: a wave-based Player vs Enemy arena mode well-suited to highlight Destiny’s fantastic gameplay. That said, both were woefully short despite their positive additions.

The Impact of The Taken King

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Then came The Taken King. With expectations having hit an all-time low, Bungie presented an enjoyable narrative and some welcome extensions to the gameplay aboard the brand-new Dreadnaught area. Nathan Fillion’s Cayde-6 performance and the replacement of Peter Dinklage as Ghost by the man of many voices: Nolan North seemed to go down well with the community.

Admittedly, I didn’t have an issue with the Dinklebot, but realistically, getting Peter Dinklage in for additional dialogue recordings would be much more difficult in comparison to a voice-acting veteran. Your Ghost was suspiciously quiet during the first two smaller expansions, after all.

That aside, the Crucible (Destiny’s PvP system) received two engaging new modes. Co-operative players could dive in to the Dreadnaught for several activities. The Court of Oryx was an impressive addition, as well as the King’s Fall raid. Solo-players could dive deep in to the new Quest system, an expansion on the much lighter “Bounties” that Destiny had before and maintains to this day. There was a lot to do, and Bungie wasn’t done.

Introducing the Live Team

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It finally happened. Micro-transactions had invaded the Tower. Guardians everywhere gasped. “Is it going pay-to-win!?” “What are they going to charge for?” “VAULT SPACE!”. You know; some things don’t change.

Bungie revealed that the silver system would serve to fund the Live Team. In turn, the aforementioned would produce exciting content to keep the player’s attention. At times, this was true. The quest for the Black Spindle exotic weapon, hidden within a daily mission, was brutal and incredible all at the same time. Other times, the Live Team faltered. Sparrow Racing just didn’t feel good, though that’s a problem with how those things handle. Halloween masks seemed like more of an incentive to spend money on silver. Valentine’s Day events didn’t seem to fit. More stumbles than victories, in my opinion.

The positive connotation of a live team did exist, however. Their existence meant that Bungie were on the right path. A path of meaningful support between larger expansions. They just hadn’t nailed the “meaningful” part. Still haven’t, I’d say.

Return of the Lapsed

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Rise of Iron’s announcement reinvigorated my dying passion for Destiny. A deeper lore had always existed. Hidden, needlessly, on the Bungie website. We’d been exposed to a piece of that with The Taken King, and kudos to Bungie for recognising the need for more.

Lord Saladin’s story will hopefully serve to deepen our personal investment in the Iron Banner: Destiny’s occasional PvP special event. Really, that’s all I personally want from this expansion: a reason to care about this world.

A neat compilation by Samit Sarkar over at Polygon can fill you in on what’s to come. A new raid, new strike, new weapons: basically improvements to what we already know with some expected, new content. I don’t know a single lapsed Destiny fan that isn’t at least curious about Rise of Iron, though I’m sure they exist.

It Doesn’t Matter, Though.

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Despite how excited I am, I can’t see Rise of Iron as a meaningful inclusion to Destiny. As it stands, it appears to be a stalling point until Destiny 2 is ready to knock our space-socks off. That’s not to say the content won’t be satisfying. It looks great. But it doesn’t matter. It could just as easily have never existed and lapsed fans like me would still have returned to Destiny 2. In fact, I’d honestly resigned myself to that very situation. Nevertheless, I anticipate a fun time with my newly-tempered expectations. I also hope to be proven wrong.

Come, Tuesday! My Titan, Warlock and Hunter await you.

It’s not just my opinion I’m interested in. What do you think of Rise of Iron? What’s got you excited or will you refuse to take up the flaming great axe of Saladin? Let us know!

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