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1st Impressions: Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion

Let’s start with the big question: It’s been 8 months since the launch of Destiny from Bungie Studios. Is this expansion worth going back to the game? To me, yes.

I say yes because what we have in the House of Wolves is a brand new social area called the Reef. Players should remember the Reef from the Queen of the Awoken/Black Garden storyline during the Venus, Ishtar Region/Mars Meridian Bay portions of the game. It’s been months since the Garden was destroyed and the Son of Oryx killed in the Dark Below expansion back in December.  This time, the Queen asks for your help hunt down traitors of the House of Wolves who had once sworn an allegiance to the Queen and her Awoken race. Within the new area, bounties, strike missions, weapons, gear, and even a new PvP weekend activity are available; thus, there is a lot to do in this expansion.

The new story mission is to figure what happened to the Wolves and the Awoken. A new Kell named Skolas, a leader of the alien race known as the Fallen, is the main force behind this betrayal. The Queen asks the Guardians to hunt him down and stop his plans. Once you finish the story mission, there are new activities that many players had asked Bungie to bring into Destiny.

First is a new Co-Op activity called the Prisoners of Elders, which appeared briefly in the original story of Destiny. Prisoners of Elders works much like Halo 3: ODST Firefight mode. A team of three must survive in a wave-based (as well a small objective-based) area in order to win the riches of the Reef. This activity is run by a Fallen advisor named Variks, who is loyal to the Queen of the Awoken. You will also gain a new reputation to level-up, such as with the Vanguard, Vendors, and the Queen’s Wrath.

With this, you can earn new ships, shaders, and either clocks, bonds, or sashes for each character class. Everything that you earn represents each of the Fallen Houses in the game, including the Wolves. The Elders come in four difficulty levels, and the server will adjust according your level. A good rule of thumb would be to find a level twenty-eight character to be matched to other players that can help you.  Then you can take on a level Thirty-Two, which you and your friends will need to work together in order to conquer it, and a Thirty-Four and a Thirty-Five for the most challenging battles. Higher levels offer better rewards upon completion. But, before you jump into the Elders, you are going to need an item in the form of a treasure key that can unlock a large Elder chest that sits in the middle of a big room filled with gold.  The chest will offer a great reward like a piece of Exotic gear or an Exotic weapon.  You can find this key by going to Earth, the Moon, or Venus and hunting down the Wolves that show up in random locations.

As far as playing the Elders, my few buddies and I enjoyed it thus far. It’s a lot of fun and, at times, intense when playing the higher levels. Thankfully, with the House of Wolves there are plenty of new weapons to go for. But, you might ask yourself, what about my old legendary weapons that I’ve held on to all this time? Well, Bungie has new way to make your favorite weapons still relevant via a new upgrade system called Ascending. You will need a new material called Etheric Light that can be obtained by doing the Weekly Nightfall Strikes, Prisoner of Elders, Crucible, or a new Weekend PvP mode called the Trials of Osiris. This piece of material can be used to further your levels with the old gear that you love, such as Vault of Glass Raid gear or Crota’s End raid gear.

You can also use this material to increase the damage of your favorite legendary weapons. For example, if you have a weapon with a max attack damage of 300, once you use the Etheric light, it will then be increased to 365. That’s a lot of firepower now that can be really helpful during Raids.

The best part of ascending your gear and weapons is that it costs very little to do so. You can use a small number of planetary materials such as spinmetals, relic irons, weapon parts or gear materials from certain class armor materials (such as sapphire wire or hadronic essence). And, of course, you just need one Etheric Light, and you can ascend your gear or weapon. Exotics can be also be ascended, but you will need one Exotic shard, which can be found in Xur on the weekends.  So, if you love that old Vault of Glass raid gear like me, then you might want to keep it.

As I mentioned this earlier, there is a new weekend PvP mode called the Trials of Osiris. This will start on Fridays until the weekly refresh, which is every Tuesday. You start with a team of three players. You’ll be matched against another team of three, and go in a round-based, team elimination style fight. There are five rounds in each game. You will need your best crucible skills for these trials. There are nine games that you can win and you can track your progress with Trials Passage, which can be purchased from the Trials disciple named Brother Vance, who is located in the Reef. If you lose three games, you will be kicked out until you purchase another Trials Passage coin, which is needed to enter the Trials. In this mode, you will earn new weapons and gear to get you to the new Light level max, which is now Thirty-Four.

To wrap up, these are the three big things that House of Wolves offers:  A fresh new batch of story missions, a new arena of Firefight co-op activity and balls to the wall 3v3 PvP activity. The House of Wolves expansion offers great new rewards and great new endgame activities to keep you locked in and coming back to either the Prisoner of Elders or the Trials on the weekends. And once you’ve amassed this new gear and weaponry, why not do Raids with your friends? Yes, they still matter. If you want to get back into Destiny, now is the perfect time and, for $19.99, this is something that a lot of players have been asking for in Destiny. Glad to see Bungie finally saw it our way. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and am still searching for new weapons and gear. Happy Hunting, Guardians.

by Mike Caraballo

About Armand (1264 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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