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The Tech Deck

Destiny ‘House of Wolves’ check-in

The House of Wolves is the second expansion for Bungie's
The House of Wolves is the second expansion for Bungie's "Destiny," and was released May 19, 2015. (Kip Hill)

After more than 250 hours logged with Bungie's "Destiny," I finally attained the weapon that is a consensus favorite as the best in the game.

The Gjallarhorn rocket launcher, when fully upgraded, tracks targets like stink on roadkill and on detonation splits into several so-called "Wolfpack rounds" that cause additional damage to bullet-sponge bosses. Though it's an elemental solar weapon, the burn on your enemy doesn't matter. This thing shreds the Darkness (whatever the hell that is) like a hot knife through butter.

An in-game screenshot of Gjallarhorn, a rocket launcher in Destiny
Lock this. Immediately.

I say this because Gjallarhorn dropped for me, after a long pursuit, as part of Destiny's new expansion, the House of Wolves. You may remember I wrote about my desires for this new content back in April, where I outlined five things it would need to do to keep my attention. I've played through most of the story content at this point, and though I've yet to enter the Trials of Osiris I think I have a firm handling of what you can expect with the DLC. In spite of receiving the long sought-after rocket launcher, I'm not looking at this content through rose-colored glasses. It's good, not great, and I think it's finally time I come up for air and start looking at what else my Playstation has to offer.

Wish No. 1: Each class gets a new subclass.
Did it happen? Nope.

One could argue the new player v. environment activity, the Prison of Elders, makes the existing subclasses more important, forcing players to attain proficiency with all special abilities in the game. That doesn't change the fact that we're still playing with the same supers and mechanics that have been available since launch. Bungie dropped the ball here, though it may have been unfair to expect such a game-altering feature would be available with this expansion.

Wish No. 2: More uses for Ascendant shards/energy.
Did it happen? Yep, to an extent.

The new leveling system is really the House of Wolves' greatest addition to the Destiny game. Gone are the need for ascendant and radiant materials to upgrade the new armor and weapons, instead requiring just one item - a piece of Etheric Light - to upgrade any legendary weapon or armor in the game. The drop rate for this new item is pitifully low, however, and requires you to play the upper levels of the Prison of Elders with friends, sans matchmaking. If Etheric Light becomes more copious in the world, this problem will go away. Big props for allowing the Speaker to exchange whatever materials you want, too. That was a great idea.

An in-game screenshot of the House of Wolves
Scorch Cannon. Very rare, indeed.

Wish No. 3: Employ raid mechanics in missions and strikes.
Did it happen? Yep.

Beware, there are spoilers for the story ahead (obviously). Bungie threw us back into the Vault of Glass and gave us Oracles, a quasi-jump puzzle and and boss modifiers in Prison of Elders. Clearly the team understands the Raids are what bring longtime players back, and though they haven't given us a new one, they did incorporate elements from end-game activities into the story. Bravo.

Wish No. 4: New Crucible game modes.
Did it happen? Yep.

I haven't played Elimination yet, but from what I've seen of the mode, it adds a level of tension to the action hitherto unseen in Destiny. Elimination is the only game mode added, however, and there's no denying it's a simple deathmatch with a little more flare. While I'll give Bungie credit for trying to give PvP players a truly rewarding experience, this is a tad skimpy.

Wish No. 5: More bounties and bounty givers.
Did it happen? Yep.

More modes for you to play and objectives to complete, yes? Variks is a really cool character, and though Petra is grating during the campaign, she does give you the option to hunt down Wolves and other specific enemies in tasks that are very different than what was offered in the base game. That doesn't change the fact that the bounties offered are a protracted (and somewhat underwhelming) hunt for Treasure Keys to use in the Prison of Elders. While extremely fun for the first few days before House of Wolves released, now that I have the exotic I really wanted (see above) I have no desire to continue hunting chests for a shot at another No Land Beyond.

An in-game screenshot from the House of Wolves expansion
There are new bosses to take down, but don't expect anything too crazy.

There you have it. Bungie addressed many of the things I wanted to see in the House of Wolves expansion, but they did so in a way that is frustratingly similar to other improvements in the game. I've seen several folks sum up House of Wolves with the opinion that this is a step in the right direction. I'd call it more of a shuffle that way. When does Batman come out?

Verdict: 2.5/5 stars

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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