Bungie Studios knew they were in for the long haul when they came out with Destiny. Now they’re getting ready for the third expansion with “The Taken King” launching exactly one year from the date of the game’s initial release, and it will be quite literally a game changer.
From gameplay, weapons, and even the high-profile voices of characters, Destiny as it was even after the latest expansion in May, will be fundamentally different. Bungie has shown time and time again with this game that they are actively listening to the players and the community. With each update and expansion, they show how willing they are to add or change something based solely on players wants and needs. So in that regard, what Bungie is doing is kind of unique to the gaming industry in this day and age. For instance, one of the biggest notable changes will be the “deletion” of one of its highest profiled voice actors, Peter Dinklage.
When the game was released, Dinklage’s involvement as the voice of “The Ghost” (a small floating device that acts are narrator and companion to the player) was a big selling point. The most elaborate collector’s edition of the game when it was released actually gave you your very own Dinklage-voiced Ghost. But when “The Taken King” launches, gone will be Dinklage and instead, veteran voice actor Nolan North will be taking his place. This change doesn’t affect just “The Taken King,” but Bungie actually re-voiced all of the Ghost’s dialogue. Fare the well, Dinklebot. Nolan North you might recognize for his work with Uncharted as Nathan Drake and Assassin’s Creed. He is of course excited at the role, but the bigger story is the fact that Bungie was willing to scrap all that work done with Dinklage for the sake of improving the game for fans.
Another big gameplay feature is the abandonment of “The Light” system for leveling. In what was a unique system, players had traditional XP counters up to level 20, then the game shifted to a gear based leveling system in which better gear had more “Light” and increased your levels that way. The true level cap was 30, then 32, and now it’s at 34. That all goes away in September. With this expansion, a character progresses from level 1 to level 40 using the XP system exclusively. Bungie explains that there was a lot of confusion about the system and ultimately, they decided to stick with a well understood traditional XP format. Bungie does promise a smooth transition that won’t be jarring for capped players and the overall plan (in my own opinion) is to make it easier for new players to the game.
Finally, weapons and armor drops will FINALLY be more mindful of drops you currently possess. In other words, the game will recognize that you already have gotten your 4th drop of “No Land Beyond” and will account for that in the loot you receive for your hard work. This should improve the gear you get incrementally as well and give you more incentive for doing more strikes, Crucible, etc. Again, Bungie is apparently listening and is doing what they can to respond.
In an age where a game is often a short-lived entity, Destiny just keeps rolling. With the upcoming “The Taken King,” it’s the best evidence yet that Bungie is excited and willing to not just abandon the game and make a new one to replace it (I’m looking at you Call of Duty series) but instead, there is no apparent limit to just how committed they are to their fans and community and the lengths they are willing to go to to give fans and players a better game. One thing is for certain, the future of the game seems promising and Bungie seems willing to get us there.
Now, if we could just get raid matchmaking and custom color shaders for weapons, am I right?
“The Taken King” makes his way to Destiny and your console of choice in September and is available now in various outlets on pre-order. Check out the E3 trailer below.