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The Tech Deck

Five things that must change in ‘Destiny’s‘ House of Wolves expansion

An in-game photo of The Last Word, an Exotic hand cannon in Bungie's video game
An in-game photo of The Last Word, an Exotic hand cannon in Bungie's video game "Destiny." (Kip Hill)

I promised you, in December, I'd write nothing more about Destiny. That was before the endgame bug caught me, and I ended up logging back into Bungie's universe every night, trying to rank up my characters and weapons to their maximum level.

Michael Corleone
Yeah. My Destiny addiction is that bad.

I stand by my review of the game, which I called more of a science project than a video game back in September. A subsequent report suggesting Bungie tested the game to play up its addictive grinding qualities from Gamesradar only served to confirm my convictions.

Yesterday, Bungie announced that its next major content package in the Destiny universe, titled "House of Wolves," will be dropping for players May 19th. As I'm still hopelessly entranced with Bungie's little experiment, I hope you'll hear me out on the five things the developer could do to appease the game's fans and - hopefully - draw back in those folks who've moved on to other titles.

Just to be clear: I'm suggesting additions that haven't formally been announced by Bungie. We know our vaults are going to get bigger, and I think we can safely say there's a new social space coming in the form of the Reef, despite no formal announcement. These are things Bungie could do to set their fan base on fire that haven't been hinted at yet, aside from a few clues in the game's code and graphical interface.

Prepare yourself. The Reef will be open May 19.

1) Each class gets a new subclass.

This one's pretty much been a no-brainer since the game launched. There's always been a third empty icon next to your character's choice of two subclasses. I originally wrote that the subclasses in Destiny didn't change the way the game was played all that much. That was before long bouts in the Crucible and multiple shots at the raids. Subclasses can significantly alter the way you approach each combative encounter, and adding a new play style to the one slot already coded into the game would make playing as either a Titan, Hunter or Warlock fresh and interesting for players who have spent hours invested in each of their characters. And, even though I didn't mention it, why not add a new trophy or two to the game to take advantage of those new subclasses?

A view of the Destiny character screen.
We've been playing with the same subclasses for too long.

2) More uses for Ascendant shards/energy.

The Dark Below introduced a brand new economy to the game that allowed you to rank Crota's End raid gear, in the form of Radiant Shards and Energies. Do we really need a third type of item to rank our characters, especially with vault space limited as it is? At the very least, Bungie should change what kind of materials drop from daily and weekly bounties based upon whether you have the expansions or not. For now, the only way to attain Radiant Shards and Energy is to run Crota, while Ascendant materials drop with much greater frequency. If you want to make it difficult to rank up gear earned from the new raid, just up the amount of ascendant or radiant materials you need to improve gear. Instead of six shards, make it 18 or 24. But don't give us another economy item that continues to render the materials we get from daily missions meaningless.

3) Employ raid mechanics in missions and strikes.

One of the most exciting things from the first mission of The Dark Below was that it covered you in the Weight of Darkness for the final boss fight, making movement more difficult and requiring you to approach the encounter in a different way. The rest of the missions, with the exception of the Crota's End raid, had none of this. Raids are great because they require different win conditions, which admittedly push cooperative play that may discourage folks from running the House of Wolves story missions. However, if we're going to be playing them over and over again, shouldn't there be something that throws some level of uncertainty into the normal run and gun gameplay?

4) New Crucible game modes.

I wrote this list before Bungie's update later Monday, which clarified what the House of Wolves would be bringing to the table for PvP players. Apparently, we aren't getting a raid with House of Wolves; that will release later. What's taking its place is Arena, which sounds a lot like a three-player Horde mode that will bestow on players endgame gear. While it sounds interesting, I'd rather see Bungie - the kings of console multiplayer - to give us modes inspired by Oddball and Capture the Flag. Radar-less Clash and Control isn't enough. Perhaps Trials of Osiris - confirmed in the update and teased since Destiny's release - will give players a truly enticing bit of new player vs. player gameplay.

Crucible screenshot
We love Control. But give us something new, Bungie. We know you have the tools.

5) More bounties and bounty givers.

With The Dark Below, we got Eris Morn, perhaps the most underused character in the Destiny universe. She's got glowing eyes, for crying out loud, could we get a bit more backstory? Right now, she and Xander 99-40 are the only folks who give you quests in Destiny. We can likely expect the queen, or her emissary, to give us missions with the expansion in the Reef, including Xander's counterpart. But how about a few more folks with Cabal or Vex-centric tasks? And how about a more robust rotation of bounties, including kills with a specific burn type, killing x number of enemies without jumping, throwing knives only on a mission, etc.? The community has come up with some pretty ridiculous bounties for each other, surely Bungie has more in their bag of tricks.

Are you still playing Destiny? If you are, join me against the Darkness. My Playstation4 account is kiphillreporter. And let us know what you'd like to see from House of Wolves and the future of Destiny in the comments below.

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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