When Destiny first launched, there were a lot of “little things” that created a frustrating experience for players. In Bungie’s latest Destiny expansion, the “little things” are what make the game far better than any of us expected.
The Taken King (TTK) has impressed a lot of people since launch, so much so that poor Jason is having a hard time coming up with snarky opening sentences for his articles. There are a lot of welcome new features, great new missions, tons of cool new gear, a huge new area to explore, and of course, an awesome new raid.
I don’t want to talk about those things.
Let’s discuss some of the “little things” that TTK brings to the table that make Destiny more fun to play. Here are some “little” features and additions that have surprised and delighted my wife and I (who helped me write this list) during our Taken King journey since the September 15 launch.
POTENTIAL MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!
As you replay missions, you may notice that the voice-over work is not always the same. I have heard at least 4 or 5 different lines from my Ghost as I’ve approached the final boss area in the “Shield Brothers’ strike, and the same applies to other strikes and missions. Sure, at some point you’ll hear the same lines as before, but the fact that there are now several lines of dialogue for a given mission moment instead of just one is really cool! Many of these varied lines have made me laugh out loud, which leads to my next new TTK feature...
Yes, Destiny now features humorous moments! Many people blame Peter Dinklage’s delivery for the lack of humor in vanilla Destiny. I’m sorry, but bad/cheesy writing is what it is. In fact, some of my best laughs in vanilla Destiny came from Dinklage’s deadpan delivery of especially bad/cheesy lines (“The wizard came the moon!”), something that is often lost in Nolan North’s performance of the old content. The writing in TTK is much better, and North’s performance (NorthBot? Norbot? Norbit?) benefits greatly from it.
In TTK, some of the funniest lines are actually funny on purpose. A lot of the humor comes from the wordplay between Cayde (Nathan Fillion, being Nathan Fillion), Zavala (Lance Reddick being his usual serious authority figure), and Ikora Rey (Fillion’s Firefly co-star, Gina Torres). Take those three, thrown in the overly-serious Eris Morn (voiced by Morla Gorrondona, who also voices some of the hive!), and you have some pretty funny moments that are able to make light of Eris’s doom-and-gloom outlook on everything.
There is a self-aware charm to the writing and VO delivery in TTK. And let’s just be honest, hearing Nathan Fillion in the “roguish commander” roll again sets my heart aflutter in all the right ways.
Bungie mentioned that they would be mixing up some existing strikes when TTK launched, but I had no idea it would be so dramatic, and so fun! In addition to randomizing where and what enemies spawn in each strike, some strikes can feature completely different mid-mission bosses. For instance, in the Cerberus Vae III strike, guardians normally need to defeat a giant tank before making their way to the final boss. In one instance of the strike, I fought a giant Taken Vex boss instead!
I can’t wait to see remixed versions of the rest of the strikes in the future. Taken enemies are tough, and manage to make even the oldest strike feel challenging and fresh. Speaking of the Taken...
I have heard the criticism that Bungie copped-out with their new TTK enemies because they are just “different versions of the same enemies we’ve already fought.” I beg to differ. Taken enemies are dramatically different to their normal counterparts, with crazy new abilities that make you approach fights in very different ways.
Think about it - Bungie could have just created a single new race of enemies. There would have been 4-5 classes of this new race, with varying new abilities. Instead, we got new versions of every single existing enemy race at one time, each with at least one new ability. Cop-out my shiny, Titan ass!
When the crazy alternate ending of the daily “Lost to Light” mission was discovered, the Destiny community exploded. Bungie took a mission that everyone has already played and added a completely optional, alternate ending that was incredibly challenging... for one day only.
A few days before, I followed a quest I received from Eris to replay a Taken King mission in the “Salt Mine” area of the Cosmodrome. The mission seemed to end normally, when suddenly the floor gave away and we found ourselves on a giant elevator taking us even deeper into the mines, where we fought a mini-boss. It was short, but it was totally unexpected, and totally awesome.
It seems that Bungie is taking a Super Mario World approach to level design, allowing players to sometimes exit levels in unexpected ways, and that is never a bad thing. Who knows how many future in-mission events will happen, or how many other secrets we will discover in daily/heroic missions and strikes?
Part of the process of the daily Destiny grind is landing on one of five patrol areas and completing scattered “patrol missions.” At random, in any patrol area (new or old), your Ghost can receive a mystery transmission. This will activate an unknown patrol mission that usually shows “0%” and “??????????” on your HUD. It is up to you to figure out how to complete the mission. Sometimes it requires you to get headshots, sometimes it requires you to collect items from specific enemies, and other times it simply requires you to use one of your emotes. No joke!
These missions require several steps to complete, and doing so gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Even some normal control missions have been beefed up with time limits or multiple steps to keep things interesting. It’s a great way to mix up the daily patrol grind!
The overwhelming amount of quests to complete when you start up TTK is certainly impressive, but even more impressive is the trickle of quests and bounty missions after you’ve completed most of the main story missions. New quests and bounties link to a variety of factors, whether it’s collecting a certain number of items, beating a specific boss, or discovering an item on the Dreadnought. You can even receive patrol mission drops from felled enemies. Either way, there is almost always something to do.
The Dreadnought, the new patrol area in TTK, is chock-full of secret chests, secret bosses, secret missions, and more. Whether you’re summoning a boss, finding a key to a mystery chest, or solving a riddle to make a door open, there is almost always something to do on the Dreadnought. It’s so full stuff to do that it makes me hope Bungie will go back and add that kind of content to the original four patrol areas at some point.
Seriously, that would be amazing. Bungie pls read kthx.
Yes, they’re short. Yes, they take place on a Crucible map. Yes, they are damn cool!
Do you have any cool “little” features or content that surprised you in The Taken King? Leave them in the comments and I’ll update this article!
You can get in touch with Matt “smi1ey” Dunn on Twitter @thesmi1ey.