Heading by the Activision booth on the third day of E3, I had the opportunity to snag some new details for Destiny’s upcoming mega-expansion, The Taken King. Oh, and I also got to take the new Hunter sub-class for a spin in one of the new competitive modes, Rift, set within one of the new maps.
For starters, Bungie is making a strong argument as to why The Taken King will set you back $40 when it releases on Sept. 15. While the number of new missions weren’t mentioned, it’s clear that the fresh dose of narrative content will be more substantial than what’s on offer in the traditional DLC packs, telling the tale of Crota’s father, Oryx, and his quest for revenge. The behind-closed-doors trailer showed off a bit of this bad boy in action, with Oryx being a massive, winged baddie who carries a sword that appears to be the size of three Guardians standing on each other’s shoulders. I figured the battle with Oryx would be the focus of The Taken King’s new Raid, but it looks like you’ll be squaring off against this pissed off papa in the campaign. A new Raid was mentioned, but no details were provided.
As for the story, you’ve likely heard by now that Oryx is building an army to seek vengeance for the death of his son. Sucking various alien races out of the time stream, Oryx is corrupting familiar foes with a glowing dark energy. This energy grants them new powers, such as one baddie splicing into two in an instant.
Once word of this hits the Tower, the powers that be decide it’s high time the Guardians reeducate themselves in some battle skills that were lost to the ages. This portion of the story will lead each class to their new sub-class, complete with new elemental effects, moves, grenades and Supers. As you’ve probably seen by now, the Hunter boasts a glowing bow that tethers enemies to the spot and causes damage. The Warlock can now blast enemies with a storm of lightning, while the Titan can swing and hurl a massive hammer powered by the sun.
You new adventures will be primarily set on the Dreadnaught, Oryx’s massive spaceship. Similar to, say, Mars or Earth’s Moon, the Dreadnaught will be open for exploration, finding secret areas, looting treasure chests and the like.
The video promises “new everything” when The Taken King launches, including Strikes (plural), that Raid I mentioned earlier, firearms, gear, multiplayer maps and more. Speaking of those Strikes—and you’ll have to forgive me for not catching the name of the speaker during the video presentation—the team at Bungie is apparently well aware that fans are tired of simple bullet sponges lording over these big events and are working on new gameplay features to keep missions and battles more interesting.
After the video presentation, attendees were invited to try out some of the new content by jumping into one of the two new multiplayer modes. The new map is reminiscent of the Tower, set atop a high-tech skyscraper with a couple of trees, tight rooms and a handful of catwalks. This condensed location looks like a shotgunner’s paradise and served as a good place to show off the Rift game type.
Rift is basically Destiny’s answer to capture the flag. A spark of energy will form at a neutral location and, once it’s ready, you just need to run up to it and claim it. From there, your job is to make a mad dash to the other team’s Rift and score the spark. This happens automatically, with your guardian launching into third person for a pretty epic slam dunk that causes the surrounding area to shake. If you are cocky enough to run those final few steps backwards, you can do a backflip slam dunk for extra style points.
The other new mode launching with The Taken King is called Mayhem, and it sounds like it’s going to live up to its name. Put simply, you’re taking part in standard team deathmatch, only the charge rate on all abilities and Supers has been greatly increased. This mode seems like it’ll be perfect for folks looking to just good off and have a good time, rather than worry about more competitive play and your KDR.
I claimed my favorite class while running through Rift, the Hunter, and took those new abilities for a spin. We didn’t have much time to explore the menu, but all of the weapons, armor and abilities were marked for the expansion, so it was nothing but new content on display. I ended up with a pretty standard assault rifle and a new sidearm kicked like a mule. The Hunter’s new void-focused grenade engulfed an area in purple flames while that bow felt pretty badass to fire, even if I missed my mark more than hit it. Hey, we were put on the spot and playing with a monitor right in front of our faces, so try not to judge me too harshly. I did manage to lead our winning team in spark scores, however, back-flipping my way to three successes.