Destiny's Age of Triumph Brings Back Both the Raids and the Memories

Destiny's Age of Triumph Brings Back Both the Raids and the Memories

Bungie comes so close to capturing the Year One nostalgia.

Destiny, Bungie’s strange and wonderful shooter, is coming to an end. Age of Triumph, the game’s most recent update, is the last major update. For a living, online game like Destiny, this is a goodbye, but what a goodbye it is.

Age of Triumph is a major update that brings some of Destiny’s most loved items and events back from obsolescence. If you miss guns like Fatebringer or Vision of Confluence, or if you’ve ever wondered what the old raids would be like at current difficulty levels with new challenge mechanics, Age of Triumph is nearly everything you could hope for. It’s also a bittersweet goodbye.

To understand what makes Age of Triumph so remarkable, you have to understand Destiny.

When Destiny launched in 2014, it was met with mixed reception. Bungie’s audience had high expectations, and the game struggled to meet them. The systems were needlessly obtuse; the content was lacking; many design decisions were baffling, and the game’s design was different enough that players had a hard time adjusting. Halo, Bungie’s last series, made sense with its story-driven campaign and separate, tightly-balanced multiplayer mode. Destiny’s lines were blurred; the game demanded that players accept it on its own terms.

Despite this, Bungie’s pitch-perfect shooting mechanics, incredible raids, and fantastic weapons proved to be compelling. There’s just something special about partnering up with two friends, jumping into the nearest nightfall, strike playlist, or raid, and blasting your way through hordes of aliens. Destiny guarantees its players a good time.

That wasn’t always the case. Players who opened legendary engrams might find, to their dismay, that the items inside were of a lesser rarity. Raiders could go weeks without getting new gear. The grind was real, and to many, it wasn’t fun. But Bungie worked tirelessly to improve Destiny. The heavy ammo glitch, where players would lose precious ammunition upon spawn, took ages to resolve, but it was finally fixed. Inventory space was improved. The light system was redesigned. Destiny got better about dropping loot too; playing guaranteed progress.

This is where Destiny shines. No matter who you are, where you’re at, and where you’re going, Destiny has something for you. Want to play for a few minutes while on a break? Cool, have some nice little bounties to try. Feel like shooting the breeze with your friends for a few hours? Bungie has you covered. Want to play through a grueling, challenging fight? That’s what the raids are all about. Casual or hardcore, you name it, Destiny has it. No matter what you do, you will always feel like you’ve made progress. Few games have ever been as satisfying.

Over the years, and, with the thousand-plus hours I put into the game, I’ve made (and, on one occasion, lost) friends. I’ve had good nights and bad nights. I’ve found the roles that are right for me. Whether it was trying that infuriating jump to pick up one of the game’s hidden ghosts, or picking up the relic in the nick of time, saving our squad despite being blinded, Destiny’s always given me plenty of stories to tell.

Age of Triumph celebrates all of that.

In the Age of Triumph

First, and most importantly, it brings all the game’s raids (though, disappointingly, not the Prison of Elders Skolas fight from House of Wolves) to 390 light—Destiny’s highest difficulty level. All the loot that drops takes advantage of the game’s new loot system, which means it will always drop near, usually above, your current light level. Legendary weapons like Vex Mythoclast and Vision of Confluence have been stuck at 170 light, functionally useless in the game’s newer missions, strikes, and raids. They’re finally back.

Raid challenges, first introduced with King’s Fall, have been introduced to Vault of Glass and Crota’s End. The exotic item chance booster item, the Three of Coins, now works on these raid bosses as well, in addition to new exotic elemental primary weapons, and a whole host of new loot to discover.

Nightfalls, challenging strikes that feature unique modifiers and the rarest loot, will now receive the Daybreak modifier every fourth week. Daybreak adds significantly tougher enemies, but also gives players near-constant super energy, allowing them to let loose with their chosen class powers, which should be awesome. Year One players will be glad to know that Destiny’s finally bringing back the reputation bonus for Nightfall completion.

There are other changes, too. Nechrochasm, a gun that was legendary for being hard to obtain and also terrible, has had its perk changed to be significantly more useful: any enemy it kills will explode. Destiny has changed the daily Heroic mission to a weekly heroic mission playlist. Crucible bounties have been improved. A new Age of Triumph completion book has been added, with plenty of new emblems to unlock. Players who finish the book will be able to buy a unique, limited-edition t-shirt.

In case you missed anything from the Eververse money shop over the years, it’s all back too, though it doesn’t seem to be working right now. I purchased some of Destiny’s silver currency, and despite getting my receipt, it hasn’t shown up in game yet. Supposedly, the new loot crates have a high chance of dropping items you’ve never got before, which is awesome, and if that doesn’t work for you, you can always convert purchased loot into silver dust that can be used in the silver dust kiosk.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, however. Back in 2015, with Weapon Update 2.0, a lot of the game’s most fun and interesting perks were nerfed. The Vault of Glass and Crota’s End raid weapons relied heavily on those perks to be interesting. Vision of Confluence, for instance, used to carry 27 rounds in the magazine with the Field Scout perk. Because Field Scout no longer increases magazine size, Vision of Confluence, a gun practically defined by its giant magazine, becomes less interesting.

Likewise, Bungie is not bringing back the legendary elemental primaries. A big part of the fun in Destiny’s first year came from blasting through Nightfalls with elemental burns active. Players looked forward to raids in part because it meant getting one of the game’s extremely rare elemental primaries. The toughest content in the game guaranteed the game’s most exciting weapons. Now, Bungie has reintroduced elemental primaries as exotics, which means you cannot equip them alongside other exotics, like you would in Year One.

In other words, the guns you know and love aren’t going to be as exciting as those Year One versions. The perks aren’t as good. The exotic limitation means you won’t be able to equip them and classics like Icebreaker or Gjallarhorn simultaneously.

Despite this annoyance, Age of Triumph is awesome. Exciting loot was a major part of what made Destiny such a great game; but even without it, the chance to go back to refreshed raids and discover new ways to beat old bosses is too exciting to pass up.

Destiny’s swan song may not be everything I wanted it to be, but it’s enough. Getting back into the routine of the Tuesday Nightfall and the Saturday raid is something I’ve missed for too long. I can’t wait to spend the next few months slaughtering my way through hordes of angry aliens while shooting the breeze with my friends. Destiny was never perfect, but it worth the hundreds of hours I put into it. It feels great to be back, even if it is just for one last hurrah.

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