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A close look at Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion.

May 19th marked the release of two high profile console releases. Firstly the release of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and secondly the next expansion for Bungie’s Destiny called House of Wolves. Such is the nature of video games today that an expansion can hold similar clout to an entire AAA game.

Let’s begin with what the DLC adds to the game:

  1. A total of 5 new story missions and a new social space called The Vestian Outpost in The Reef, with a bunch of new NPCs.
  2. New weapons, gear and armor alongside a new level.
  3. New competitive event called Trials of Osiris, a 6 player event where fire-teams of three Guardians one another in Elimination-style combat. It follows a weekly event schedule and lacks matchmaking.
  4. Three new multiplayer maps called Thieves’ Den, Widow’s Court and Black Shield (a fourth called Timekeeper is PlayStation exclusive).
  5. New co-op mode called Prison of Elders, essentially an objective-based combat arena for a team of 3 Guardians, featuring waves of enemies to boot, exclusive boss fights and new game-play modifiers. The minimum difficulty threshold is level 28 where players have the privilege of matchmaking. Higher difficulties are only for pre-formed fire-teams, meaning no match-making. It seems like Bungie is sticking to its guns, letting the most dedicated of players seeks other players out for engaging in jolly cooperation.
  6. A new strike called The Shadow Thief.

The new content update to Destiny also adds some changes to the basic game, mostly expanding the wares and services that the Tower vendors offer. It also alters two NPCs.

The Speaker now has a bunch of exchange offers, letting you exchange your excess ascendant and radiant materials. A breakdown is as below:

  1. Ascendant Shard (1 Ascendant Energy, 50 glimmer)
  2. Ascendant Energy (1 Ascendant Shard, 50 glimmer)
  3. Mote of Light (2 Ascendant Shards)
  4. 250 glimmer (1 Ascendant Shard)
  5. Radiant Shard (1 Radiant Energy, 50 glimmer)
  6. Radiant Energy (1 Radiant Shard, 50 glimmer)
  7. Mote of Light (2 Radiant Shards)
  8.  250 glimmer (1 Radiant Shard)

The Gunsmith now carries telemetry for all weapon types, an item which was previously reserved to the weekend vendor Xur. Telemetry is the item that speeds up the weapon upgrade process by increasing the experience gain towards that weapon.

Bungie seems to have learned from past mistakes, since with House of Wolves they have not introduced any demanding changes that tax the existing dedicated players. For instance, this DLC has not changed the nature of existing Exotics the way the first expansion did. You just need enough material to gain the highest level upgrade of those weapons. Though the lack of a new Raid is disappointing, Bungie’s confidence in the new PvP and co-op modes seems reassuring.

The Destiny DLC packs – The Dark Below and House of Wolves – cost £19.99 a piece when bought separately or £34.99 if bought together as part of the expansion pass, both available now.

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