Published on: Aug 26, 2015 @ 14:32
Bungie’s latest stream was short and sweet. Despite an initial power failure, Mr. Fruit, Cozmo, and Claude Jerome were all game to give us a quick peek into the new subclasses and then to tackle Bungie’s newest Strike, Shield Brothers.
While they breezed through the challenge a little too quickly due to being level 40 in a level 36 difficulty, we got a chance to hear some of the design decisions from Bungie’s head Strike designer, James Tsai, and it explains a lot about what we saw today. Without further ado, here’s our recap of the important stuff we learned.
If you missed the stream, you can watch it here:
The Coming War
Not shown on stream, this is the first Y2 Taken King story mission you’ll play!
- Most of the fireteam, at Level 40, had Legendary gear of Attack quality 200 equipped. This is not representative of the ATK/DEF of most Taken King level 40 gear. They had all of their items downgraded due to them being over-leveled; this simulated levels that actual level 36 Guardians would have.
- Subclass icons have been redesigned. It may seem small, but the old subclasses have gotten a facelift when it comes to their respective avatars. Whether or not the change is good is, of course, up to you!
- We learned a lot about the redesigned subclasses. We’ll have full reviews up for each subclass just as quickly as possible. An example of a notable change? We learned Suncharge can be used “a bunch of times” straight from the mouth of Claude Jerome, and he claims it’s a lot of fun!
- We got to see the Sunspots of the Sunbreaker in action. The AOE field they leave is actually localized in mid-air, and deals AOE damage to anyone nearby, while providing an Overshield to a properly-spec’d Sunbreaker who remains closeby.
- Artifacts, Bungie’s newest equippable piece of gear, were finally explained. Luke Smith stated in a tweet that they will grant your Guardian different ways to generate orbs for your teammates.
- We can only assume this means that we’ll be seeing these perks on individual pieces of armor a lot less, which will help variety considerably! The examples we saw in the stream granted the potential to generate an orb when killing an enemy with an elemental melee: Arc for Stormcaller, Solar for Sunbreaker, and Void for Nightstalker.
- All Taken King Strikes will likely follow the pattern for difficulty that we saw in Shield Brothers in the stream today. The Normal mode will be set at Level 36, and Hard Mode can be assumed to be at Level 40, though we did not see visual confirmation of this today.
- On the subject of the Shield Brothers, we were told a brief summary of the “plot” of Destiny’s newest Strike. As James said, the Strike takes us “right to the heart of the Dreadnaught” where a couple of bold (or crazy) Cabal officers are leading a brute force invasion of Oryx’s personal sky fortress. Of course, when the Cabal are preoccupied with the Taken, this leaves the Vanguard with an ideal time to spoil both sides’ fun. We’re tasked to eliminate the two Cabal bosses, who have long been a thorn in the side of Guardians the world over, while fending off the pernicious Taken who are looking for any excuse to kill.
- The fireteam tackling Shield Brothers will touch down in the Mausoleum, as foreboding a name as might be expected from Oryx’s Dreadnaught. They’ll progress, following the waypoints to where the two Valuses are already engaging Oryx’s forces. Along the way, they’ll have to be alert for any straggling Taken enemies who are looking for a fight, as well as some environmental hazards, as Mr. Fruit’s amusing and untimely early demise alerted us.
- One Taken tool to be wary of is the Acolyte’s Eye, a stationary turret that can be deployed by Taken Acolytes. It will fire bolts of Arc Energy that will quickly overwhelm your defenses if you aren’t quick in dispatching it.
- As a fireteam makes its way to the first big encounter, they will encounter groups of Cabal and Taken battling it out. They’ll have to be smart about choosing when to engage, lest they’re overwhelmed by both forces at full strength.
- James reminds us that Strikes have evolved to provide a less static experience. As we know now, there will be several “variable encounters” in which different enemies may be spawned from different locations to provide a new challenge. To accent these changes, we’ll be given different voiceovers too, providing information that differs from Strike to Strike. This isn’t news, but it’s good to hear it from the mouth of the Strike lead himself.
- Once the fireteam progresses through Cabal territory, battling encroaching Cabal warriors, into a hangar of sorts, the first mini-boss encounter will begin. It consists of a Cabal Goliath Tank forced into a small area (Think Wolf Walker and The Shadow Thief), along with a healthy amount of additional foes to handle, all while avoiding the lethal blasts from the Tank cannon. Mobility will be key here, as staying still long enough for the Tank to get a lock could spell immediate doom.
- Mr. Fruit picked up a white engram that contained a brand new item, the “Skyburners Command Beacon.” It resembled a key, so we’re guessing it maybe has something to do with getting you a new ship or sparrow. He also scored several new common-quality Taken King guns, which we understand will be stronger than our current weapons.
- DeeJ prompted James to discuss the more meaningful rewards system set up in The Taken King. Strike bosses will now reward the Guardians who conquer them with distinct Armor and Weapons, as trophies that prove that they were killed. James hopes this makes Strikes feel more like a hunt, with collectable unique gear as the ultimate incentive for their completion.
- Back in the Strike, Guardians will progress through rooms of Cabal and Taken battling it out, making their way through the imposing halls of the Narthex, on their way to confronting the first final boss, Valus Mau’ual. He acts aggressively, launching himself via jetpack toward whatever Guardian is closest. His speed is his strength, but he is in no way a “poopy bullet sponge”, as Mr. Tsai so elegantly put it. Bungie is making a sincere effort to avoid these – and from what we saw of this Strike, they clearly succeeded.
- After the fireteam damages Mau’ual sufficiently, he’ll call for reinforcements, and eventually flee. This staged and chaotic design is a welcome improvement over a stationary boss with adds that simply constantly trickle out. Whether the fireteam is ready or not, the Arc-howitzer wielding Tlu’urn trots in. He’s more heavily armored, and his constant barrage of energy is designed to punish anyone standing still for too long. The next phase consists of damaging him while handling adds.
- Finally, the two will combine their strengths while summoning all the support they can muster. They each possess new abilities, though we disappointingly didn’t get to see too many of them on display, as Fruit and the Gang proved to be adept at avoiding damage while dishing out enough to end the fight on their own terms. James seemed like he wanted to describe some of their “Bond” abilities, but the stream was ended rather abruptly following the completion of the Strike.
- We saw a brief glimpse of the Sword in action, as Mr. Fruit took on some Cabal head-on. He quickly exhausted his Energy, and we’re anxious to see it again!
Bungie didn’t hold anything back. We’ve already seen an entire Strike from The Taken King, and it’s a marked step up from the days of Vanilla Destiny. While it went by pretty fast, we have to remember that our fireteam was overleveled, and that this Strike had no unusual modifiers or very difficult Epic enemies to deal with.
We hope the juicy info on Artifacts, Subclasses, and Strikes has whet your appetite for further TTK footage. We’ll be sure to update this with anything new we find while re-watching the stream, and to work hard on getting those Subclass reviews up, too! Thanks for reading.