E3 2015: Hands-On With Destiny: The Taken King

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During my visit to the Activision booth at E3 2015 I was able to get hands on time with Destiny’s largest expansion to date, The Taken King, which is set to launch on September 15, 2015. Unlike the previous expansions that have come to Destiny over the last year The Taken King is set to change the way you play the game. I was also fortunate enough to get an interview with Deej Bungie’s Community manager for Destiny.

 

New Content
In what I believe to be the very first mission you will embark upon in The Taken King, you’ll be sent to the Mars moon of Phobos. There is a Cabal distress signal and the Vanguard has sent you to figure out what is going on.

The expansion doesn’t change the visuals of the game. It looks the same as it always has, which by the way is awesome. As you progress into the Cabal base you hear multiple explosions and find that it’s currently being evacuated due to an attack from unknown enemies. In your ear you hear a new voice actor who appears to be the leader of the Vanguard (name unknown to me at this time). You also will be hearing the familiar voice of Eris Morn. This is the main character that was added to the game in its first expansion, The Dark Below.

Eris begins to tell you that she believes that Oryx has returned to our galaxy and wants revenge for the death of his son Crota. As you move through the Cabal base you’ll encounter small tears in the environment that appear to be like black holes. After progressing deeper into the base you face off with your first enemy. This is a new enemy but it has a familiar look.

Oryx has taken over selected enemies from each race (Fallen, Vex, Hive and Cabal) and ripped their souls from them. This new race is called “Taken” hence the name of the expansion The Taken King. The Taken react somewhat similar to the prior life before being altered but also have a new ability to split into multiple copies of themselves. All of the Taken have a new grayish black look to them and have slight jitters like they’re struggling with what Oryx has done to them.

Upon completion of the mission you find out that Oryx truly has come back to seek revenge on the Guardians that killed his son Crota. Eris Morn has the sound of terror in her voice and you see Oryx’s ship doing massive damage to the Cabal base.

Nothing major in terms of gameplay appears to be changing with this expansion but there will also be a new six man raid coming. It appears that this raid will be taking place on Oryx’s Dreadnaught, the floating fortress that is said to be vast and filled with loot. There will also be a few Strikes and Story missions. Bungie has not confirmed the number of Strikes or Story missions as of the writing of this article.

subclasses

New Sub Classes
You are currently not a strong enough Guardian to face off against Oryx so you need to become more powerful. You will need to find the power of the old Guardians. To that end, each class is getting a new subclass. Subclasses are elemental based and as the game stands today each class has two subclasses. Warlocks have Solar and Void. Hunters have Arch and Solar. Titans have Void and Arch.

With The Taken King, each class will go on quests to find their missing power. Titans will be getting Solar, Hunters Void, and Warlocks Arch. With new subclass comes new Super abilities. The Hunter gets a Void Bow that binds enemies in a Void vortex when damage is dealt and holds them in place for you or your teammates to finish them off. Warlocks summon a storm of Arc that is shot out of their hands in a Infamous-gamelike fashion. Titans get a Solar hammer that gives them the ability to do damage from a distance by flinging it or they can get up close and personal to pound away at their enemies.

Titan

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warlock

Each class is also getting a new style of play. The Hunter has his first support based class. The Warlock is getting an in-your-face style of play and the Titan is getting is mid-range attack class. Destiny has done a great job of making all three subclasses different and balanced. They each have their positive and negatives.

Crucible
Tied to the launch of The Taken King are two new Crucible modes. Mayhem Clash is a team death match with very quick cool-downs on all Supers, grenades, and melee abilities. The word mayhem is a great way to describe this mode. While I was playing I got something like six to eight Supers in each round and this was without getting a decent amount of kills. Mayhem Clash is an awesome way to show off the new Supers you get with the new subclasses.

The other new Crucible mode is Rift. This is a Destiny capture the flag objective-based player vs. player mode. In the center of the map a spark spawns and charges. Once charged, it can then be picked up by any player. While carrying the spark you have access to all your weapons and abilities. Your goal is to get the spark to your opponent’s Rift. Once you get there you have the choice to dunk the spark into the Rift by walking into it or you can try to enter the Rift backwards which activates a backflip for extra style points for you and your team. Both of these modes were fun to experience and play and I feel this will add more replay value to the Crucible helping to bring some new players to the PvP aspect of Destiny.

PlayStation Exclusive Content
The Taken King begins year two of Destiny. All exclusive content from Destiny and the first two expansions expires with the release of The Taken King. However there will be a new round of exclusive content coming to the game. As of now it has been confirmed to be a new Strike, a Crucible map, weapons, armor, and another exotic weapon. More details will follow over the next few months.

The Taken King is available now for pre-order on the PlayStation Network for $40. There is also a disc or digital based bundle that has all the prior Destiny content along with the new Taken King content available for $60. There is also a GameStop exclusive Collector’s Edition for $79.99 that includes three Exotic Guardian Class items featuring XP bonuses, three class-specific emotes, and three armor shaders to customize every Guardian class.

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