There I was, 4:45 AM on Tuesday morning. The coffee was brewed. That sweet, sweet nectar. I sat at my desk and waited as the clock ticked closer to 5 AM, closer to Rise of Iron. I flew to the tower to organize my engrams and to see what was going on. The tower was packed, filled to the brim. I organized my inventory, grabbed more than a few engrams from my vault (All blues though, don’t get too excited). After my micro managing was done, there was a dance line starting, who was I not to join in? As I danced the minutes away I was unaware that this would be my best experience for the next three hours. Once the clock hit 4:59 everyone pulled out their ghosts (God, I hope it was their ghosts). Everyone said their final goodbyes to the Taken King and went to orbit.
As my fireteam assembled in Party Chat, I got a pop up on my screen that said “Destiny: Rise of Iron, ready to start!”. It was like Christmas all over again, until the servers shut down. Instead of becoming an Iron Lord, I became a Salt Lord as I waited for the servers to comply with my request for entry. After entering a que and getting booted from said que over four times in the course of an hour and a half, my fireteam and I all went back to bed in frustration. Rise of Iron had turned into Rise of Ire. I awoke at 9:30, I hazily prayed to Christ that I’d be able to log into Destiny. (My exact words were “F**king Christ, If i can’t get in, I’m done with this game”). To my delight, I was able to get into the game with ease, and so began my journey to becoming an Iron Lord.
There are only five story missions and the story it told was the classic “destroy this or everything is doomed”. The Fallen have taken center stage this expansion as the race is to figure out who uncovered a powerful nanotechnology called SIVA. SIVA is a powerful technological virus that can be used to make powerful weapons, enhancements and also has regenerative properties. The SIVA has a will of its own however and wishes to infect everything. Bungie attempted to tell a very impactful story very quickly and the pacing felt very wrong. The iron lords lost almost all their members fighting SIVA and still failed, but I took care of it in five missions by myself. About halfway through the new story line I realized something, this is the Halo storyline. The Fallen are the covenant and SIVA is the Flood. I enjoyed the level design, the missions were fun and the AI felt more refined. The ending cutscene was the coolest thing however, as you gain the title of Young Wolf and become an Iron Lord. While the story didn’t resonate with me, the missions were fun and I look forward to playing them again for Legendary Marks.
Bungie has done a huge fan service in this expansion and brought back Gjallarhorn. Players from year one will instantly recall what this weapon is, the devastation is wrought unto our foes. This time around, you will earn it through a quest line that involves collecting iron medallions and SIVA fragments along with with a few quests to track down its schematics. I thought this was a great way to reclaim what we lost so long ago.
Another fan service introduced in Rise of Iron is the exotic primary, Khvostov 7g-0x. The first gun you use in Destiny is a common Khvostov and players have yearned for an exotic version since year 1. The quest line for the Khvostov 7g-0x is much less involved than the Gjallarhorn but the ending is way more impactful than even the main story line. Once you get your Khvostov, you’re instructed to go to a Fallen Ketch and test out your new weapon. Once you dispatch of all the enemies, a new quest objective pops up, “Enjoy the View with Ghost”. I was curious so I approached the objective spot and Ghost started to talk. He reminisced about our adventures, about how long he spent looking for me and at the end of this emotional walk down memory lane he said “Thank you, thank you for being my guardian”. This was a great way to end Destiny’s story until Destiny 2 launches in 2017.
The new Plaguelands is the snowy Cosmodrome you never knew you wanted! It’s a welcome addition to my patrol rotation. With it comes the new Archons Forge. I tried my hand at the forge last night, hoping to earn that sweet, sweet higher level loot. My fireteam and I played four rounds back to back and I personally received nothing for my efforts. I walked away with low level blues and disappointment. I realize this was an atypical experience as someone in my party chat was “swimming in purples” but that made the salt all that much stronger. Archons Forge is a really fun activity to do with your friends, much like a more refined Court Of Oryx. Now if only I could get a decent drop from it.
All in all this is a top notch expansion. Everything feels refined and it seems that Bungie is listening to the players and taking what they say into account. The new raid “Wrath of the Machines” launches on Friday and I’ve been working very hard, grinding away to get to the recommended light level to participate. I’ll be writing a separate review just for the raid, as it will be the main reason to play Destiny for the foreseeable future. If you never played Destiny, now is the time. You can Buy Destiny: The Collection for $60.00 and it comes with every expansion, including Rise of Iron! That’s all I got for you fine guardians today. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my usual “What should you play this weekend” and there are some great titles that you won’t won’t want to miss. Stay classy everyone!