Destiny Blog: House of Wolves
House of Wolves is better than The Dark Below. There’s no doubt House of Wolves‘ content and replayability are an vast over that of its predecessor. There’s something hollow about mowing down the Hive’s monstrous hordes and this was compounded by the numbing grind of Eris Morn’s low-reward bounties. The Fallen are teeming with comparative personality and the DLC’s story missions, bounties and patrol additions are generally more enjoyable than those of The Dark Below.
The weekly bounties given by the Queen’s emissary, Petra Venj, are assassination missions spanning the available planets with the ‘wanted’ versions yielding higher reputation gains and better rewards, including the chance to obtain keys that unlock treasure chests found elsewhere in the DLC. There is no new raid this time, but in its place are the new Trials of Osiris and The Prison of Elders modes.
Trials of Osiris is a new, non-matchmade, PvP mode that pits two teams of three guardians against each other in a fight to annihilation. Revives are enabled but, similarly to the Iron Banner, all your gear’s advantages count against the opposition, which means level 34 guardians are absolute beasts. I’ve only had a quick three matches in this mode and was mostly bested by merciless higher level players. Emerging victorious will require communication, strategy and a fair share of good fortune.
The Prison of Elders is Destiny’s ‘horde’ mode and pits teams of three guardians against five rounds of enemies in an arena-like setting. The first, match-making friendly, challenge at level 28 is unlocked upon completing the story missions whilst the others (32,34,35) will require players to assemble teams from their own contacts list. I’ve had a massive amount of fun with this mode and it’s a quality foundation for Bungie to build on. Plundering the treasure room that unlocks upon completion is rewarding although you’ll need a treasure key to unlock the largest of the three chests (yielding legendary/exotic gear).
Many of Destiny’s more frustrating mechanics, such as upgrading and loot-drops, have now been streamlined. Gone is the focus on acquiring rare ascendant energy/shards in order to painstakingly upgrade your weaponry and armour. You now upgrade eight slots to unlock all the item’s perks and then use the new ultra rare item, etheric light, to fully max it out to level 42 light for armour and 365 damage for weapons. Exotic items can be maxed out to ‘year one maximum’ via exotic shards. Thankfully, this process can be used to bring your older gear (if you’ve not already dismantled it all) to bring it back into use. Although there’s still an argument to be made for all modes to offer match-making – this is an area that requires deeper attention as there are many aspects to consider and potential pitfalls to being matched alongside relative strangers.