My Date with Destiny: House of Wolves
Michael Mays / Jun 4th, 2015 1 Comment
It’s been a little over two weeks since the release of Destiny House of Wolves, and many Guardians are beginning to get a feel for what the new content is all about. But has Destiny’s latest DLC lived up to the hype?
New Social Space: The Reef
For months now, Guardians have only had one place to buy items, consort with other players outside of battle zones and waste time kicking a ball around until it inevitably gets pushed off into unplayable space. With House of Wolves, there are now two places to hang one’s hat. The Reef is home to the Queen of the Awoken, her brother with the emo haircut, the rest of our fair-skinned friends who have not been blessed by light, and now Guardians.
If you’re looking for an experience that is vastly different from the Tower, you are out of luck. There are some new characters to speak with, new items to buy and the ball you kick around looks like a Servitor now, but this is basically just the Tower with a new coat of paint. However, a new coat of paint is all hardcore fans need sometimes.
In House of Wolves, the Queen of the Awoken, Mara Sov, has opened up the aforementioned Reef to the Guardians so that they may help her and the rest of the Awoken exact revenge on a group of Fallen that have betrayed the throne. Now, for all the strengths of the game, Destiny is not exactly known for having players on the edge of their seats with compelling storytelling. This DLC, however, actually provides some refreshing changes of pace in that department.
One of the first things I noticed was the fact that there was a hint of emotion in the voice acting, something that had been mostly absent from the game up to this point (sorry Peter Dinklage). In The Dark Below, Eris Morn would occasionally show some emotion in what she would say to the player, but that mostly came through as sexual zeal whenever Crota had been defeated. In House of Wolves, the characters from the Reef that you interact with the most, Petra Venj the Emissary and Variks, a Fallen from House of Judgment, seem pretty excited about the justice the Guardians are about to dole out to the rebellious Fallen. The enthusiasm is infectious, so I found myself committing mass murder against the House of Wolves with glee.
Another positive aspect of the new story missions is that it adds a little bit of darkness and edge to the seemingly non-stop feast of all things light in Destiny. Let’s face it, Guardians are the Boy Scouts of the galaxy and grimoire points are our badges. This can leave some players wanting a little more in the age of the anti-hero, an age where more people over the age of 20 had posters of the Joker than of Batman after the release of The Dark Knight.
The House of Wolves story doesn’t suddenly turn Destiny into Fallout or Infamous, games where players can basically become a villain with their choices. However, it allows you to take on the role of a mercenary working for a merciless Queen as opposed to simply being a member of a church choir with a fusion rifle.
In addition to the main story missions, players are able to pick up weekly bounties from Petra Venj that send them on a big game hunt for some of the House of Wolves’ more serious offenders. This gives Guardians another faction to level up in hopes of getting loot such as ships, shaders and a romantic night on the town with the Queen herself (I might have made up that last one).
Prison of Elders
When it was announced that the House of Wolves would not include a Raid, Guardians around the world were up in arms. But with Prison of Elders, Bungie has given players something challenging and frustrating enough to satisfy that need. At first glance, fans might have passed off PoE as a typical, garden-variety horde mode. They quickly find that it is slightly more complex than that.
In the Prison of Elders game mode, players are pitted against the different races of enemies in the game (Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal) in survival mode-esque waves. There are four levels this can be experienced on (28, 32, 34, and 35), all giving players a different challenge and a different boss. What makes this experience truly unique, though, is the inclusion of various modifiers that can either make or break a Guardian. For example, I marched forth into a battle with a fireteam against the Hive with a Solar Burn modifier active. This seemed like a gift due to the fact that the Hive really don’t utilize solar weaponry. When the boss fight began, we quickly realized that this modifier was much more curse than gift when after 15 or 20 seconds, the floors were engulfed in flames for a few seconds at a time. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I survived to share this story with you.
Once the five or six rounds of waves have been completed in the PoE, the floor will open up in the main foyer, allowing you to drop down into Scrooge McDuck’s vault, swim around in gold and open treasure chests. Make sure you have a treasure key if you want to open the big one. The loot ranges from mundane to the all important Etheric Light, which allows you to upgrade legendary weapons and armor to max level. Yes, that means Fatebringer with 365 damage.
Trials of Osiris
Trials of Osiris is an addition to Destiny that may just be for the most ardent PvP enthusiasts. In a nutshell, Trials of Osiris is a three-on-three deathmatch between teams of Guardians where players only respawn after death if a teammate revives them. Once all three players on the opposing team have been eliminated, the round is won. The first team to win five rounds is victorious.
What makes ToO so alluring is the loot players can receive through success in battle. A player receives a passage token that allows three losses before it must be turned in. The amount of wins one can accrue before those three losses determines the quality of the loot that you can buy from Brother Vance in the Reef. The best players will get an even greater opportunity. If a player is able to win nine games without a loss, he or she will receive an invitation to a Lighthouse on Mercury with even more booty to plunder.
To help make getting these wins a less daunting task, Guardians can buy three different items from the Reef that help rig the scorecard. One will give you an immediate win on the token if bought before the beginning of your first match. Another will forgive your first loss on the token. The last will count your next match as two wins (provided you emerge victorious). These items cost three passage coins, which are items you receive by playing other Crucible game modes.
Trials can be as frustrating as it is rewarding but is ultimately a lot of fun. If your ego can handle some of the beatings you are likely to endure until you get the hang of the game mode, you will most likely really enjoy it. If your ego is fragile, you might want to consider spending your time elsewhere.
The news that House of Wolves would not include a new raid came as quite a blow and lowered many players’ expectations for the DLC. But it overcomes the initial skepticism and has added quite a bit to the game. The Prison of Elders is every bit as entertaining as any of the raids that the game has to offer. Trials of Osiris added an addictive wrinkle to PvP that will cause many players to forgo a social life on the weekends. The story missions, while not quite at the level of other games, are certainly the best that Destiny has offered up so far.
As a whole, House of Wolves certainly does not disappoint. But only time will tell how long this content can hold players’ attention.
tags: destiny , Destiny DLC , Destiny House of Wolves , House of Wolves , opinion