Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Upgrading stinks with Destiny: House of Wolves

I've been playing Destiny: House of Wolves (HoW), the DLC for Destiny. And one thing stands out. The way to upgrade weapons and armor stinks. Bungie has now made their first person shooter a futile effort in gaming.

First, let me go over how upgrading weapons and armor before last week's DLC. The max level for weapons was an attack rating of 331. The max level for a character, that is her overall armor rating was 32. Now to get to 32, you needed four 32 level pieces of Legendary armor which are helmets, chest piece, gauntlets, and leg armor. Now, you can substitute one Exotic piece of armor but only one. There were two ways of getting 32 Legendary armor. One way was to get them in random drops from the Crota's End raid. Armor from the Crota raid were upgraded with Radiant shards from that raid. The other way was to get armor from playing in The Iron Banner, a team player versus player tournament. Those armor pieces were upgraded with Ascendant Shards. Those shards were obtained from the Daily Heroic mission which guaranteed two Ascendant materials at the highest level, playing in the Vault of Glass raid or as a random drop by completing Public Events around the map. While the Crota armor was more difficult to upgrade due to there being one place to obtain Radiant shards, the Iron Banner armor was much easier. A single player could farm Ascendant materials from the Daily Heroic mission and Public Events.

But with the new House of Wolves DLC, one can upgrade all Legendary weapons and armor to a maximum of 365 and level 34 character, respectively. Now you can upgrade Vault of Glass raid gear which only maxed out at 300 and level 30. (Exotic gear can be upgraded to max levels with one Exotic Shard.) To upgrade gear you must "Ascend" them with one Etheric Light piece. (Byf video below) This all sounds good until you see how it's done.

You see, you have to find Etheric Light. You can get them right now from four places. It can be awarded by doing the very difficult Nightfall strike as a random drop. According Byf's video below it's also random in the elite Trials of Osiris, a weekly team deathmatch. It's also guaranteed with the cooperative Prison of Elders at the highest levels of difficulty, levels 34 and 35. Prison of Elders is arena based combat ala Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. Iron Banner is supposed to award Etheric Light at levels three and five but we don't have all the details on that. Plus it rolls around about once a month.

Unlike farming maps for Ascendant materials which you can do by yourself. you are forced to do it in the three ways described above. None of those methods can be reasonably done alone. Trials of Osiris cannot be done alone since you need a three man team. While the Nightfall and Prison of Elders can be attempted alone, they are so difficult that you would be crazy to try. Prisoners of Elders is difficult at the lowest level of 28. I've completed level 32 Prison of Elders, with two very good players. It was painfully hard. So think how hard it is at levels 34 and 35. To show how difficult it was, Forbes reported that Bungie employees could not complete it at level 34.

But there's one more big problem. THERE IS NO MATCHMAKING FOR TRIALS OF OSIRIS, THE NIGHTFALL STRIKE AND THE PRISON OF ELDERS LEVELS 32, 34, 35. You must have friends to play at the time you want to play. That makes it almost impossible for a sole player to upgrade his gear to maximum levels. Under the old system it was possible. One may hold out hope for Iron Banner but will you get enough Etheric Light to upgrade much of your gear and weapons? What's worse, what happens if it is a random drop? Plus, if you don't like The Crucible, Iron Banner's game mode, you will have to suffer through it. I did. That being said, I doubt it will be a random drop but if it's just one piece of Etheric Light at each level three and five, that will make upgrading a painfully slow grind.

I'm continually frustrated with Bungie's micromanaging the way to upgrade weapons and your character. Bungie continually sets goals and puts obstacles in your path. While this may sound like a way to keep you coming and addicted, eventually it will backfire. Bungie better watch out. Players may end Destiny's run at year one.

1 comment:

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