Destiny 2: Warmind on PlayStation 4
For Bungie, Warmind is an opportunity to hopefully repeat history. After the initial launch of Destiny 1, fans were looking to The Dark Below to a shake up a routine that was quickly starting to get stale. While The Dark Below was competent, much like Curse of Osiris was, it wasn’t enough. House of Wolves though came through and added a host of new enjoyable new content such as the Prison of Elders and the Trials of Osiris. House of Wolves, although not perfect, was enough to at least safely transport Destiny 1 intact to The Taken King which solidified the original game’s status as one that wasn’t going away anytime soon.
While the goal shouldn’t have been to follow this blueprint again for Destiny, if you ask Bungie now after all the flak they have received recently, they would probably sign up for a repeat of House of Wolves in a heartbeat. Especially since a second time through this rigmarole, fans have been less patient and have moved on at a much faster rate. It’s 2018 now, not 2014-2015, there are plenty of other great games to choose from after all. Unfortunately, history is not repeating itself here.
Destiny 2: Warmind repeats many of the same problems that plagued Curse of Osiris. The story is shockingly short. Like under two hours short. I completed it even faster than Curse of Osiris which I thought had a problematic story length. Though that said, Ana Bray’s journey to understand the nature of Rasputin, and get it back into the fight for the Light is admittedly more interesting then wandering around the Infinite Forest over and over. Rasputin, we learn, is pretty badass, and Ana has more personality than the team of Sagira and Osiris. Also, unlike Curse of Osiris, the conclusion of Warmind contributes something to the overall narrative which is more than I can say for Curse of Osiris.
What was especially frustrating though is that once again, story missions are being reused as strikes. It was a consistent complaint in the last DLC, and I can’t imagine Bungie actually thinks people prefer to have missions reused in this way. I have to believe that it’s only being done out of necessity and time constraints on Bungie’s end. Either way, it’s an issue I hope is over with after this first year of content.
On the positive side, Mars is far more fleshed out than Mercury was, and it actually feels like a brand new location worth exploring instead of a giant boring disappointing donut like Mercury was. The planet is sectioned off, like any good Destiny 2 location should be, and has secrets to uncover that are tied into new exotic quests that are reasonable, fair, fun to progress in, and have worthwhile rewards. Solid!
At the end of the day though, like every MMO-structured game out there, what matters is what is available after you complete the game’s story and Destiny 2: Warmind certainly falls into that category. The big hook outside of the addition of the new raid lair, Spire of Stars, is Escalation Protocol. Designed as a highly challenging public event, Escalation Protocol tasks you with taking down waves of increasingly difficult enemies with whoever is in your fire team and happens to be around you. Cool idea, but in practice, it’s really not all that fun.
Although technically a public event, it’s nigh impossible to fully complete it with a pick up group of random players that happen to be hanging around. It’s total chaos for the most part, and requires just as much strategy and coordination as the raid to complete, albeit with a much shorter time commitment. This wouldn’t be a problem if Destiny had a halfway decent mid-game, but it doesn’t yet. I was hoping that Escalation Protocol would be an event that helped bridge the gap between the soft cap activities that we’ve been doing since launch, and raid activities. But alas, it isn’t. It’s not even a decent solo end game activity that people can do in lieu of the raid. Unless you get incredibly lucky with who is in your game instance, you’re going to have a hard time completing this activity fully without the same level of support you would need to complete the raids.
Arguably, the best parts of this new expansion aren’t even technically part of the expansion. The new exotic weapon changes are great and finally start to add weapons that are worth grinding for. Weapons like Graviton Lance, Crimson, and D.A.R.C.I. have risen from the ashes and are now incredibly powerful, and exciting weapons to use and I can’t wait to see what they do with the exotic armor changes next. Events like faction rallies and Iron Banner are much improved as well, but again, all that stuff isn’t part of the Warmind expansion, it’s a Season 3 change. Anyone playing can access that. And even if I wanted to count it as being something that was ushered in the “Warmind Era,” that alone doesn’t save the game from devolving into the same old routine after a while.
What Warmind really needed (again), is something that really took the Destiny 2 routine, turned it upside down, and mixed everything up. Most importantly, something that gave players some direction and motivation to continue to play after completing all of their milestones. There’s the raid, which is out of reach for quite sometime thanks to an oppressive soft cap, and even if you remain interested enough to grind to an appropriate light level, it is inaccessible if you don’t have a dedicated team. Getting in a group of five others coordinated players is a feat for many Destiny 2 players, it’s been that way for a while now. Escalation Protocol isn’t any more accessible; in fact, it might even be more difficult and frustrating to find competent players for than the raid lair if completion, and not just participation, is your goal.
Outside of hardcore players that will organize for Escalation Protocol, and those that still enjoy raiding, Warmind doesn’t really add anything else that will hold your interest in the long term. As an expansion it’s serviceable. Like Curse of Osiris, it’s harmless, and will give you some new things to see and do for a little while. But there will likely be lots of people that find that once the Mars honeymoon is over, it’s right back to doing your milestones, and hoping that you can land a group to the complete good stuff like the raid. Otherwise, you’re left with nothing to do that’s worth your time. Destiny 2 is still lacking depth, and Warmind doesn’t provide any.
Now that we’re a month into Warmind’s release, the question of whether it holds up largely depends on the kind of Destiny player you are. If the recent reveal of Forsaken has you itching to play Destiny 2 again, and you’re not already roped into the Season 1 expansion pass anyway, then sure, grab Warmind as it will give you access to more events to keep you busy over the summer. Spire of Stars adds to what has been stellar raid content in year one of Destiny 2, and Escalation Protocol is a unique, challenging event that can be fun if you can find the right group for it. However, if you’re disillusioned with Destiny 2, and just want to see if Forsaken makes it fun for you again or not, you won’t miss much if you skip Warmind. It doesn’t do much to change the Destiny 2 experience at the end of the day, while Forsaken actually looks like it might. Plus, if recent memories from Destiny 1 hold true, Warmind will probably end up being dated content later this year anyway.
Score: 3/5 – Fair
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