Day Two

If you missed Day One, you can check it out here.

I’ve spent the day at work talking to coworkers that have just come back to the game and are giddy with the new features (“omg wolves!” was uttered more than once). Settling in for the evening, I’m ready to really sink my teeth into this expansion. Perhaps I’ll actually manage to unlock the patrol tonight?

Wild-Kit got up early this morning and played through the missions I’d already completed. It was cool to watch and appreciate all the subtle (and not so subtle) changes Bungie have made to the world.

A barren landscape has been blanketed in snow, a massive Fallen ketch (space ship) is sitting in the sky, and Splicers have carved through the iconic wall of Old Russia.

It was also great to see that all connection and server issues had been resolved. Now logging on for the evening, there’s no queues, no nonsense, just Destiny.

19:00 A couple of clan members have taken time off work, and as we log on for the evening, we’re hearing that the campaign itself is incredibly short. Epic… but short.

Perhaps Bungie has focused less on story, and more on accomplishments for the Year Three Record Book? Guess we’ll find out.

Beyond completing the campaign, one clan member is sporting the shiny new Gjallarhorn, while others are close to finishing the exotic Khvostov quest. Seems like exotics are raining from the heavens already.

19:30 The third mission had us kick the Fallen out of a bunker from the Golden Age and purge the SIVA virus which was activating the artillery cannons. The mission culminated with an epic Fallen SIVA Tank battle, and I have to say, the design of that thing is phenomenal.

It looks like a Fallen engineer was listening to some goth industrial techno while working on the assembly line. There’s sharp metallic triangles covering the body and legs, and a wicked red glow emanating from between each one. The turret is pretty mean too, spewing out SIVA energy which shreds you in one hit if you don’t get out of the way. Nasty, but very cool.

20:00 We’re off to Mars to trace the Fallen’s steps and learn how they discovered SIVA. Searching through some labs on Clovis Bray, we encounter some Cabal, and the respite from SIVA enemies is nice. Expanding the story beyond The Plaguelands is also great, and gives the feeling of history and consequence.

Leading up to the release of Rise of Iron, Bungie launched a fun little ARG that saw Guardians infected with a nanomite virus. The virus’ progress could be tracked on the Owl Sector Website, with some interesting transmissions being shared between ingame characters. In the logs, the virus is traced back to a lab on Clovis Bray, and it seems that I’m now standing in it within the game. A very nice touch.

The mission ends quickly, as the Cabal aren’t exactly a challenge these days, and a nicely placed nova bomb from Wild-Kit takes care of the horde of enemies, and we’re on our way back to Lord’ Saladbar.

20:30 Time to go take out the SIVA Replication Complex. It’s the same place that claimed the lives of the other Iron Lords, so this campaign feels like it’s drawing to a close. There hasn’t really been any challenges or setbacks, which could have made SIVA more of a threat, but who knows what’s in store from the end-game content.

21:00 Holy shit, that is a phenomenal ending. The fight is intense, but the emotional underscore is incredible. I won’t spoil it, but I will say this is easily the best campaign climax Destiny has ever seen. Well done, Bungie.

21:10 We’re back at the tower and Lord Saladin has given us a sweet new exotic sword. Upon completing the main campaign, I see that my Record Book is now only 3% complete, with plenty of collectibles, milestones, and unlocks left to do. Patrol for The Plaguelands has finally unlocked, so I’m going to jump down and check out the new zone.

22:00 Crap, that last hour went by too fast. It’s crazy how just the simple wandering is sometimes the most enjoyable. We came across some new events, stopped a few SIVA rituals, and even got to swing a badass flaming axe.

While The Taken King had a more comprehensive campaign, and brought a serious revamp to the game’s architecture, Rise of Iron seems to be playing the long game. Rather than investing resources to make further changes to a system that’s already working just fine, it would appear the developers have focused more on delivering a quick campaign as setup for a more sustained period of play. Milestones in the Record Book will keep people busy for quite some time, while the raid will present challenges and further story when it launches this weekend.

I’m taking my time with this expansion, so I won’t be gearing up to raid this weekend. But I’ll certainly be jumping in to take on the Death Zamboni when the clan is ready to go. For now, I’m happy to just stop and smell the SIVA blooms.

To be continued...

Check out Day Three here.