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As someone who has been accused of being both a Destiny naysayer (“does that guy ever have anything positive to say?”) and a Destiny cheerleader (“9/10? You must be kidding bruh”), it appears I’m now moving into the latter camp once again, after being in the former for quite a while.
The more I play Warmind, the more I’m realizing that Destiny 2 has turned a corner. Most importantly, the game is finally not just playing catch-up to Destiny 1, but it’s finally starting to do new things to build on top of it.
Warmind is a good expansion. It does have its issues, as I’ve already discussed, including Destiny’s usual story problems, the continued bad design of dual primaries, and current annoyances like the lack of a midgame power grind. But overall, I am supremely impressed with what Warmind has brought to the table, and even more impressed that it’s Vicarious Visions, not Bungie, which has spearheaded this effort.
Of the highlights of Warmind we have:
- A new patrol zone in the Mars Hellas Basin that is among the most interesting areas in the game, which feels full of life and mysteries, the polar opposite of Osiris’ Mercury, and far more substantive for “small” DLC than anything we saw in The Dark Below and House of Wolves.
- The feedback loop just works on Mars. There’s always something to do between public events and Escalation Protocol rotation, and completing patrols and other events given out items that lead to treasure hunts (singing Warmind caches).
- Challenging but achievable exotic quests have returned in the form of the new Sleeper Simulant hunt, and possibly more to come.
- Exploration is now being explicitly rewarded with an exotic sparrow and an exotic sword the rewards for finding 45 data fragments scattered cleverly around the map.
- True mysteries are back in the game, like an elaborate ARG that ended up with a real-life Valkyrie spear as a prize (and a code printed on that spear implies that quest is not yet over). And no one knows where the exotic Scout Rifle Polaris Lance is yet.
- Exotic Masterworks are a long-term endgame goal that can be genuinely fun to grind for, and you feel like you’re achieving something when you do so.
- The exotic rework has been a blast. It feels amazing to pick up rarely used exotics like Graviton, Skyburner’s and Tractor Cannon and not only have them be viable, but really, really fun. Now armor needs the same treatment.
- The hardest content in the game finally feels worthy of the name. The new raid lair is not only well-designed, but difficult as hell in a good way (though rewards for it need work).
- Ranked PvP is here at last, and while it will go through growing pains (losing streaks are an insane design concept), it’s something the series has needed since vanilla launch.
- Finally, this is the first substantive bit of new content since Destiny 2’s “go fast” update which increased Guardian speed and power which makes the game a lot more satisfying to play, and feels much more like Destiny 1 (even if it’s not all the way there yet).
I could go on, but these are what I see as the major successes of Warmind. Yes, there are some things that need to be addressed, but I genuinely feel like Destiny 2has cleared a major hurdle: It is finally a game that I want to play every day again. It feels like it can be a hobby, and future changes to other upcoming events like Faction Rally and Iron Banner (which will give out emotes, ornaments and exotic catalysts now) will keep that momentum going. And the slow power grind might be tooslow right now, but it’s certainly better than it was before, and things are moving in the right direction.
I have enjoyed parts of my time with Destiny 2, but from roughly a few weeks after launch until the launch of Warmind, there was a yawning gap that included all of Curse of Osiris where it felt like almost everything was missing the mark. But thanks to a series of patches and now this new DLC, I genuinely believe that Destiny 2 is a game worth playing again for fans and new players alike. Everyone often wonders when new content is enough to get players to come back. I was hesitant to say Warmind was that kind of release at first, but now after playing it more, I am willing to say that yes, I don’t think you’ll regret it if you start up Destiny 2 again, or if you don’t have it, if you buy it on sale for $12 or whatever it is now, and buy the Warmind DLC.
This isn’t to say I’m going to stop complaining about stuff. Destiny has only improved this much becauseplayers have complained so much in order to make it happen, and have often spelled out exactly what the game needs. But I’m not so negative that I’m going to avoid calling a win a win, and I do believe that’s what’s happened here. Warmind is great. Destiny 2 is…also pretty great at the moment as a result. Give it another chance.
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