Today in a livestream event, Bungie detailed all of the changes coming to Destiny with its upcoming expansion, The Taken King. The first year of Destiny is about to come to a close and Bungie has been looking long and hard at quality of life issues. This includes the progression and gear systems players have been navigating since launch.
A number of these changes involve treating Destiny more like the traditional MMO it really is. Instead of trying to get creative, Bungie has decided to do things in a more straightforward manner. This is what they've come up with, split up into a few easy-to-read areas.
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The new level cap for the Taken King is level 40. Getting to max level will involve earning experience through story missions, patrols, strikes, and PVP, just like the early part of vanilla Destiny. The secondary Light progression system from the vanilla Destiny's end game has been converted into a new system. Now, your Light Level is now an average of the attack and defense attributes of all your gear, akin to item levels in other MMOs.
Every item matters under the new system, including the all-new Ghost Shell and Class Item slots. Bungie cautions players to not dismantle anything as your Light level includes everything in your inventory. Any Light levels you've attained in Destiny will be converted over to a similar XP level in the Taken King.
There's an item players will find at the Postmaster called the Spark of Light, which will level boost a single character to level 25 and unlock the Taken King campaign. Without the Spark of Light, level 25 is your starting point for the new expansion.
Weapon and armor values overall are going to go through a stat squish, bringing their numbers down by half while retaining their overall power. Strength, Intellect, and Discipline are still around, but the rough percentages are gone. Instead, you'll see exactly how much each stat affects different skills and abilities. (i.e. you'll see how many seconds will be shaved off a cooldown.)
Vanguard and Crucible marks are gone, with a single new currency in their place. Legendary Marks allow you to buy Legendary gear from vendors in the Tower, with a maximum wallet size of 200. Old marks will be converted into commendations, which you can trade for rep. Legendary marks are account-wide, so you can grind on your main for your alt. Legendary marks drop from daily and weekly heroics.
Also, sharding a Legendary item will give you Legendary marks, so there's no need to worry about losing out.
Gear & Inventory
First up, every Wednesday is "Armsday", when new guns will debut. Prepare yourself and your grinding schedule.
The previously-mentioned class items and Ghost shells provide specific perks, like improved experience gain or marking resource nodes. Bungie wants armor to also have new, more specific perks. Endgame gear will require level 40 to even equip, so be prepared to hustle to the end to get that shiny stuff.
Vault space has expanded! I repeat, vault space has expanded! (The crowd goes wild!) You now have 72 slots each for weapons and armor and 36 slots for general items. Bungie is also stepping up with the new Collections feature for stuff like emblems and shaders. You can access these collections through terminals found in the Tower. Your collection will show the special items you've already picked and you can reclaim those items from the collection at any time. In addition, the collection will show you where you can grab other items you may be missing.
Vendors have shifted around and evolved a bit. The Speaker now sells Ghost shells alongside class items. The Cryptarch sells legendary engrams for Legendary Marks (135 according to the stream), which give you a guaranteed legendary items or potentially an exotic. No more rip offs with sub-standard gear!
Banshee the Gunsmith has been completely changed, now offering new Field Test Weapons. You can lease these weapons, take them on the road, and use them to gain rep with the Gunsmith. You can then use this rep to buy Foundry Orders, which give you unique weapons from various manufacturers.
Gear & Inventory: Exotics
Exotic gear is being rejiggered with a new system called Exotic Armor Blueprints. When you find an exotic, it'll be added to your Collection. With this new system, every exotic you've found will be available to you at the cost of an Exotic Shard and some glimmer. This way, you can never lose an Exotic. Blueprints are tied to your account, not your character, so you don't have to feel bad about getting a blueprint for another class.
Some of the vanilla Destiny exotics will be upgraded for year two, but not all of them. You can upgrade to the new version with Legendary marks and the upgrade will automatically apply a new signature perk. Bungie pointed out the Suros Regime, which will be upgraded in year two with a new design and perks.
There's also a new feature called Infusing. This system replaces the ascended weapons feature introduced in House of Wolves, allowing you to offer up old weapons to make the new Taken King weapons more powerful. Bungie says the concept is using the higher-level items as "fuel" for Legendary and Exotic gear.
Bungie realizes that the narrative behind vanilla Destiny was a bit slipshod and throwaway. Most of the major events boiled down to "There's a alien waiting in this new place. Kill everyone in front of it and then kill it. Good job!" Destiny's quest system is being revamped to bring the lore to the forefront, explaining not only why you're undertaking certain missions, but also the significance of certain classes, characters, or places in the game. This means bigger, multi-mission quest lines, just like other MMOs on the market. This also means more characters and more cutscenes to deliver that story. That's why Bungie replaced Dinklage with Nolan North.
Your Quest Tab is where you'll find quests and bounties. From there you can follow up to 32 quests, which will be related to Vanguards, classes, or major story arcs. Quests will also show you their rewards instead of leaving you in the dark until you complete them. A new quest will unlock your new subclass for example.
You now have a total of 16 bounty slots and will be able to track up to four in-game. Bounties are a quicker this time around, with less tromping all over the place to complete them. You can also expect simple objectives that mirror things you'd already be doing in the game, like "get solar weapon kills." Most importantly, you can turn in bounties from the quest tab instead of hoofing it back to the Tower.
Crucible chief Shaxx has quests (as early as level five) and weekly bounties. Complete all five each week to gain Nightfall-tier rewards. (Exotics, people!) Shaxx will also offer up special Ghost shells that are PVP-focused, like offering additional glimmer upon killing certain classes.
The Dead Orbit, New Monarchy, and Future War Cult faction have also been updated. Now you head to each faction's vendor and pledge your allegiance. Like World of Warcraft's tabard system, every time you earn Vanguard or Crucible rep, you also earn rep with your chosen faction. All current Destiny rep is still valid and once aligned with a Faction you can purchase their gear. There is a limitation though: you can only change your Faction once a week.
Faction gear will have new perks, with Bungie hoping the you'll use certain gear for certain encounters. Faction packages? Improved, with a guaranteed legendary and a decent chance at shaders and emblems.
Faction vendors also offer quests, which become available once you hit certain ranks.
Want to look sexy in the Tower? You can now switch weapons, allowing you to show off your big guns. And yeah, there are new dances, but you already knew that. Your Guardian's face can also be displayed inside of of the UI.
That's a whole host of changes to vanilla Destiny, making things a bit easier for players. One of the big issues with Destiny is Bungie tried too hard to reinvent the MMO wheel. Now, it seems the developer has realized that some things are done in traditional MMOs for a reason and Destiny doesn't have to scrap those good concepts.
The beta that was Destiny is almost at an end, my people. Destiny: The Taken King will be coming September 15, 2015. You can upgrade for $39.99. If you're new to Destiny, the Legendary Edition will include the original game plus the The Dark Below and House of Wolves additions for a cool $59.99.