After months of wondering what Destiny 2’s future content would look like, yesterday we finally got our answer. Black Armory, the first of the planned Annual Pass content, is out in the wild, and it depending on who you ask it is everything fans wanted, or a mess.
For the uninformed, instead of doing formal mini-expansions as in year one of both Destiny and Destiny 2, or doing… well, basically nothing as in year two of the first game, Bungie is going for core-content focused middle ground this time around.
There aren’t any expansions planned for Destiny 2 any time soon. Instead, a $34.99 commitment gets you access to meaty content updates that are going to forego time consuming development projects like stories and cut scenes, and instead focus on gameplay. The idea is that it’s content centered around giving Destiny players more things to do and work towards.
It’s a plan that, on paper, is on step with what players have been begging Bungie to do for years now. Coupled with the lore-rich Forsaken expansion doing the heavy lifting on the story for the next year, it finally seems like Bungie has a blueprint that they could feel comfortable replicating for future years.
I’ve been pretty satisfied with what I have played so far, personally. However, I’ll freely admit I haven’t gotten through much yet because of the high power level requirement for clearing the first forge mission, Volundr Forge.
Essentially, unless you were 600 power level or close to it when Black Armory dropped yesterday, you’re going to run into a brick wall in terms of progression.
625 power level enemies await you at Volundr Forge, and even if you are at 600 with all of the right guns, it takes a well-coordinated, likely raid-quality experienced three-person fireteam to succeed.
Whether or not this is something that should be celebrated, or criticized or something in between, it’s a topic that many Destiny 2 fans are debating in the 24-hours since launch.
Of course, there have been a lot of “great ideas” that Bungie has tried over the years that wound up blowing up in their face and, rightfully so, they have had to hear it from the community.
For example, the changes to weapon loadouts, uninspired expansion packs, and messing with weapons that don’t need to be messed with, are just a very small handful worth naming from over the years.
This time, though, count me among the ranks of those defending Bungie. For years, and especially so after Destiny 2’s shift to a more casual-friendly audience, there was growing concern that the importance of power levels was being nullified.
You could finish Curse of Osiris in one sitting, after all, and then be left with nothing interesting to do but wait for the raid, and then just wrap that up within a week too. Also, the Lost Prophecies was another one of those great ideas gone bad.
Moving forward, people bemoaned the possibility that there wouldn’t be enough worth grinding for, and when new content dropped, older content would feel obsolete and you’d wrap up everything in an afternoon.
Black Armory, at least as far as I can see at the moment, is absolutely not like that. It appears to be rewarding, with cool and at least looking at them, strong legendary weapons that I want to go for.
I was able to get a taste in day one of what the process is going to be like, and OK sure I hit a wall, but that’s only because I haven’t been consistently leveling up since Forsaken launched. That’s on me.
As long as the prize at the end is worth grinding for, and the progression process is enjoyable (which since Forsaken it definitely is), then I really have nothing to complain about.
I’m happy that I’m not going to just be done with Black Armory in one afternoon. I have a purpose for grinding myself up to 600 and beyond finally thanks to all the good weapons that are waiting for those who get that far. That was a major problem in old content additions, and it’s actually addressed here!
I don’t know people who are unhappy about this want. I guess it could just be a completely different group of Destiny 2 fans that preferred it to be very casual that are now speaking up.
But it’s exhausting to observe Destiny 2 finally trending in the right direction and still have to see a sizable, vocal part of the community up in arms. It must be doubly exhausting for Bungie who are constantly flailing back and forth in design philosophy trying to appease a group of fans that just seem insatiable now.
I’m not saying that Black Armory is flawless and perfect. I understand the viewpoint of some other prominent Destiny 2 writers like Paul Tassi has. That it is a bit strange and perplexing that there is no significant build-up to this super difficult boss fight. It’s just a brick wall right away and it could have been added in a little better.
However, as he says himself in his article, this is an extension of the current endgame. It’s not going to be a long-term problem.
There was a lot of anticipation going into day 1 of Last Wish, and lots of fireteams had ambitions of clearing the raid on the first day, or at least taking out a decent chunk of it. That obviously wasn’t the case.
People got over it though by the next reset or two. After taking a deep breath, lots of people I’d like to think, considering the overall positive reception towards Forsaken, appreciated how good Last Wish was (or rather is). Grinding up to the appropriate power level, and eventually clearing it, was a satisfying accomplishment.
So once again, can we (the Destiny community) please wait a week, get another reset under our belt before breaking out the pitchforks and saying that Black Armory is a mess? Because remember, Bungie is listening, and if we collectively send the wrong message, we might end up sending ourselves back to the dark ages of post-launch window Destiny 2.