written by Jay Hammon (@Gravity_Flux)
Rise of Iron is the latest DLC released by Bungie for their hit Destiny. Releasing on September 20th 2016 Bungie has added more campaign missions, a new raid, increased the max light level and created updated gear. I’ve put in a lot of hours into this expansion in all areas of Rise of Iron and these are my long term impressions on the DLC to date.
The cinematics for this new expansion are pretty slick and they set you up for this new challenge well. Our old friend Lord Saladin is back but not in his usual capacity as the host of the Iron Banner, that job now belongs to Lady Efrideet. Lord Saladin is here to tell us all about the history of the Iron Lords and their battle against a returning dark threat that beckons guardians to keep the city safe. You’ll now spend most of your time turning in engrams, getting mail or picking up challenges in the Iron Temple; your new social hub.
This new-old threat is Siva. Siva is some old world tech that got out of control and the Iron Lords tried to stop but when they realized they couldn’t the Iron Lords decided containment and secrecy were the order of the day. The Splicers are Fallen who have transformed themselves with cybernetics and machinery. Most recently they infused themselves with the Siva virus and are now under Siva’s control; an enemy in Destiny being controlled by a great evil but now with a slightly different skin. If this description reminds you of the Taken… it should. You will now spend most of your missions in the Plaguelands taking down Siva controlled Splicers and restoring the honor of the Iron Lords.
The campaign missions are pretty fun and some of the new terrain and levels are pretty fantastic. There will be sections that are reminiscent of other games you’ve played but that doesn’t detract from their enjoyment. The campaign itself felt pretty short to me but some of the new areas are just too cool to only play through once. I have been playing it through again on hard which is breathing some more life into the new levels which I believe are worth exploring a few times. You’ll still have challenges you can achieve for XP but you’ll now also have your Rise of Iron book which gives you other items to complete for loot and other goodies. You’ll find that the weekly ROI challenges are a bit repetitive even only a few weeks in consisting of doing so many patrols or completing so many runs through Archons Forge.
Archons Forge is another new area inside the Plaguelands which is like the Court of Oryx. Show up here, put in your token and start up a battle of varying difficulty. Two big differences between these two areas are the amount of drops and rewards seems to be better with the Archon Forge and the other is there’s no easy way to see if other players are there waiting to battle or already battling. With the Court of Oryx you could easily look across the level to see if other guardians were there. With Archons Forge you’ll have to travel across the Plaguelands, the new DLC area, and make your way through a Splicer structure till you’re at the forge before you find out if you can hop right in with other guardians or if you’ll need to take a seat and wait. One warning, if you die in the Archon Forge don’t immediately smash the X button to respawn. Wait for your comrades to revive you otherwise you’ll be kicked out of the battle and it will cost you a splicer key to get back in.
While I didn’t find there to be a ton of unique story elements to this new section of campaign I did welcome the addition to the lore of Destiny, the added missions and the awesome cut scenes. Much like with the rest of Destiny’s campaign I don’t know that I’ll spend much time playing this other than to complete specific tasks for legendary marks or special loot. Once I’ve finished my last few tasks in the campaign mode or patrolling the Plaguelands I’ll be spending all of my time on the raid or on strikes hoping for high light level drops.
Rise of Iron brings us a new mode of gameplay for our PVP enjoyment as well as some new levels to battle it out. This new mode is called Supremacy. Remember Kill Confirm from Call of Duty? The same premise is used for Supremacy. Kill a guardian and pick-up their orange crest to claim the kill. Pick-up the blue crest of a fallen teammate and block the points for that kill. Killing an opposing guardian and claiming the crest nets you 2 points for you and your team while only earning the kill or only claiming the crest earns 1 point a piece.
I hate this game mode with all that is unholy, holy or otherwise. If I kill a guardian or 5 I want credit. I don’t want to share credit with someone because they chose to hang back while I do the work just to swoop in like the vulture they are to grab my crests. Mine, mine, mine. Likewise, there is nothing more frustrating than winning an epic gunfight just to have someone plant one shot in your big toe for the kill and then watching them cancel your kill and claim you as a kill. Do you know how much credit you just got for that epic battle? The answer is none.
This game mode is not my cup of tea but at least we all have another game mode to choose from. With that said I do like the new levels for PVP. I feel like we’re really getting a great selection of levels and playing fields for our PVP needs. Thanks, Bungie.
Wrath of The Machine – The New Raid:
Releasing shortly after the launch of Rise of Iron, Wrath of The Machine arrived and gave guardians a new challenge to conquer. Raids unlike strikes require a fireteam and do not offer matchmaking. This can be a bit frustrating if your friends aren’t on at the same time (which is why I’ve not finished the last checkpoint on the final boss fight yet) but due to the length of time and team work required for a raid it also makes sense that you wouldn’t necessarily want a bunch of randos in your party for this. LFG for the save!
Wrath of The Machine, like every other raid, requires teamwork to move forward since most stages require certain tasks to be completed at certain times in addition to combating adds as they spawn. Once your fireteam completes a section you’ll receive a checkpoint so if you all die or wipe you won’t have to start the whole thing over.
The minimum light level is recommend at 360 and each stage increases in difficulty by 10 light level. Make sure you have the gear and the team before hopping into the raid otherwise you’re in for an expletive inducing experience. You’ll also want to make sure to tackle the raid on the standard difficulty to garner familiarity before hard mode releases October 18th. It will be like Wrath of The Machine infused with a rabid house cat that’s had too much catnip; it’s cray cray.
The raid will offer you better drops, loot chests after bosses and numerous hidden chests that will all hopefully help you infuse your armor to higher light levels or just flat out replace some old piece of gear you just won’t let die.
Following on the tails of The Taken King I had very high expectations for Rise of Iron. Maybe the bar was set a little high but at half the price of a full game I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. Even a price tag of $20-25 would feel more in line with the amount of content Rise of Iron delivers. The “new” enemies feel like re-skinned Fallen (which is basically what they are) and you spend a few missions going through familiar areas (changing the direction and traveling the level in reverse does not count as a new level). If you can pick-up ROI on the cheap or as part of a bundle then go for it. Even with the few grumbles I have about ROI I’d still say there is a lot to enjoy here especially in the current gaming landscape.
I’ll see you in raid!