As exciting as it is to see Destiny receiving a much needed overhaul through The Taken King, it must be understood that it was no easy task. The Taken King looks to expand Destiny by giving players more to do and eliminating a large portion of the frustration that comes with the RNG nature of the game’s loot system. Giving a much more direct and immediate understanding of what players are working towards is how Bungie is doing this, and the tools being used have been in the game since day one: vendors.
When Destiny was released last year, there were vendors populating the Tower (the game’s social space). Faction vendors, Crucible vendors, Vanguard vendors, the Cryptarch, Gunsmith, and a few others sat around waiting to collect your glimmer. For some, the wares were random, and for others, they were predefined. Although they were pretty good, they sometimes lacked that extra oomph players were looking for.
For those with a reputation system (Vanguard, Factions, Cryptarch, etc.), there was a chance to get something with every increase in rank, but we can’t stress the word chance hard enough. Receiving a vendor package was rarely a cause for celebration for most and mostly proved to be another source of frustration after tons of grinding. The Taken King puts an end to that…mostly.
While there is still reputation and ranks, as well as a random vendor package each time your guardian levels up, there is much more to these individuals than a storefront. The Taken King makes them a more critical part of the Destiny experience, as well as an answer to one of the game’s most glaring issues: rewards.
The first major change to vendors was with the factions in Destiny (Future War Cult, Dead Orbit, etc.). Before, players had to wear a specific class item in order to earn rep with a faction. This granted Guardians the opportunity to earn randomized packages as well as the ability to purchase that factions specific weapons and armor. All it did was add a grind to a store. With The Taken King‘s introduction of allegiance, things will play out much differently.
Once you pledge allegiance to a faction, you once again gain access to their wares, along with something extra. Factions will provide bounties and specific quests to the player so it feels more like a relationship with a group rather than just a grind to buy guns. You’ll work for that faction, grow with that faction, and be granted actual rewards alongside the randomized ones.
Of course, The Taken King isn’t giving factions all of the attention. The Gunsmith is also getting an overhaul, and if anyone needed one it was the Gunsmith. For the first time ever, Guardians will be able to earn favor with the Gunsmith in The Taken King. How? Take one of his Field Weapons for a joyride and complete some challenges. This will earn players some packages, as well as the ability to place Armsday Orders. These are Legendary Weapons that you can purchase where you actually get to choose the type, so no Engram randomness (although perks are randomized).
Speaking of Engram randomness, everyone’s favorite Cryptarch has a few new tricks up his sleeve, and this time he may just make Guardians a bit happier. He’s still going to be as random as before with his decoding, but he also sells Legendary Engrams now that are guaranteed to give you a legendary item (and can maybe provide some Exotic goodness).
Last, but most certainly not least, are the Vanguard representatives. That Warlock, Titan, and Hunter that sit around that large table strategizing, and providing Guardians with much needed equipment are going to feel more like representatives in The Taken King. These guys and gal will offer class specific quests and bounties providing more variety to those who play with multiple classes. Granted, class specific bounties are nothing new, since Eris Morn provided some when The Dark Below released. But having a much more steady flow of them with varying rewards, as well as actual quests (including one that earns players their new subclass) is a big addition.
For a long time, a lot of Destiny‘s elements felt like background dressing. They were in the game, but they weren’t part of the experience aside from feeling like barriers to the things you wanted. Chief of these dressings were the sorely underused vendor characters, and this week proved that The Taken King has taken notice.
Vendors are now an integral part of the experience. A source of weapons, materials, bounties, quests, and information, these vendors are living parts of The Taken King. They inject some much needed life into Destiny and provide ways for players to get more out of the experience as a whole.
Using what was already available to them was a stroke of genius by Bungie. They managed to expand the game in a way that brought characters players may have been curious about to the forefront, and that’s a smart move. It may help with that other issue Destiny has suffered from (::cough::story::cough::).
So what do you think of the expansion of vendors and their influence on gameplay in The Taken King? Excited about them being more than glorified store menus? Think they could be even more than what they’re becoming? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.