Destiny 2 Year 3 First Impressions

As of this writing, I’ve been playing Destiny 2 Year 3 for 12 hours. There are very good things, and some not so good things. Grab your ship, we’re going for a ride.

The Moon

How are things now on the moon? Well, in short, it’s hell. The geography has gotten even worse with giant fissures where cracks in the ground were once seen. The Hive are even more prevalent then back in Destiny, and they’re more powerful now. Needless to say, they’ve been up to no good up here. I won’t say any more than that because of spoilers. But, it’s a fun challenge.

Eris is still up here, brooding (and so can you if you got that pre-order exotic emote). She’s created a Sanctuary up there, or about as good as you can get on the Hive-infested Moon. Here you can watch her brood, pick up bounties, and some other cool stuff that you’ll discover as you progress through the missions of Shadowkeep.

Brood with me, Guardian, and face fear.

Power Resets

So everyone, whether you’re a new player with New Light, or a veteran who had already reached power cap in Year 2, starts at the new lowest light of 750. This is both good and bad. Good because if you’re like me and haven’t done a bunch of adventures, you can now go do them and get decent rewards for it. Bad for new players because they don’t get the experience of leveling from zero, which to me is essential, but maybe not to others.

Season Pass

Okay, so there has been some controversy over Bungie including a season pass in to the game. Most battle royale style games have season passes which require you to play an absurd amount of games just to get anything good out of it. This one, however, seems to be rewarding both free players and those who purchase it the same at the start. You gain experience here just by doing your normal stuff- campaign, quests, strikes, PvP. It doesn’t take long to gain levels either. In my 12 hours logged (about 2 of those were idle and in menus and such) I’ve gained 8 tiers, almost to the 9th. If you hard push you can gain even faster too.

Free tier on top, Paid tier on the bottom (not my screenshot)

There are two tiers: free and paid. Free season pass is included for everyone and this is where the Season Artifact resides, and it seems pretty well balanced, at the start. There are some tiers where free players get nothing, but up until rank 35 (where you would get Eliana’s Vow) there aren’t many of these. After this, however there are more blank spots, especially as you get above rank 60. Plus, most of the free rewards in the higher tiers are the Nostalgic Engrams from Eververse, so is this really a reward for all the time spent playing?

The paid season pass (included if you bought the deluxe edition of Shadowkeep) is where most of the good rewards lie. Glimmer and XP boosts for you and your fireteam, awesome weapons, and ornaments, as well as more frequent Upgrade Modules are here. Also, if you get the season pass, at rank 1 you get a crate that has Eliana’s Vow and a set of seasonal armor for your class.

Each season can be purchased as a whole set, or individually. The current season is Season of the Undying, which features Vex events and the seasonal artifact- Eye of the Gate Lord- which can be upgraded to give you armor mods and other effects.

Weasels and Squirrels and bugs, oh my!

Squirrels are not good, in this sense, or in legacy Magic The Gathering. If you need context on the latter, Google it. Personal qualms aside, Weasel and Squirrel are error codes dealing with connection issues in Destiny 2. They took down their servers shortly after launch on October 1st because people could not log in. Shut down at 4 pm EST and back up at 9 pm EST, I’d say that’s a decent turnaround for login issues on the first day with new servers on a different service. Bugs are still being found and fixed, including where The Scarlet Keep strike on PC wasn’t performing matchmaking. I ended up beating that strike solo, in just under 40 minutes, and it was actually pretty fun!

Review ongoing

Overall, I’m having a blast with this new year and new expansion. I hope that sometime down the line that Bungie adds more free tier rewards and doesn’t just focus on the paid season pass. I’m wishing them luck that their bugs get fixed quickly, and I hope that those who are playing New Light are enjoying their time in the universe. Eyes up Guardian, we’re just getting started.

Vlast plays Destiny 2 on PC and streams on our Twitch channel! Give us a follow and see him live Friday mornings at 10 am EST.

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Destiny 2 Prepares for Shadowkeep Launch

Destiny 2 is releasing their latest expansion Shadowkeep on Tuesday October 1st. There are a few things players should know before this.

Maintainence

The game will be down for maintainence today, Monday September 30th, for 24 hours. This is to prepare for the move over to Steam and for the launch of Shadowkeep.

From Battle.net to Steam

Remember that you will no longer be able to play via the Battle.net launcher, it will only be available on Steam. If you have not already moved your account over from Battle.net to Steam, you can link your account on Bungie’s website.

Bright Dust changes

Bright dust can no longer be acquired by breaking down Eververse items starting October 1st- they will now break down into legendary shards.

Also, break down any unused mods, they’re permanent with the new update, so you only need one of each.

New Light releases

New Light is the free-to-play version of Destiny 2, meaning that if you’ve been on the fence about playing, jump in! The base game, and all campaigns through Forsaken will be included. Worlds will be unlocked via experience, not campaign progress, with this update.

Pre-load to get a head start

You can pre-load the game on Steam now to get ready for launch tomorrow. It’s almost 80 GB, so free up some space on your drive if you need to.

That’s all, looking forward to seeing new Guardians and returning veterans!

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Beta Impressions

This weekend’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare Beta included all consoles finally and gave us an idea of how cross-play will work in the franchise. I had previously played the PS4 only alpha and beta and also gave this weekends new Ground Wars mode a spin to see how it feels.

I should start off by saying while I’ve always enjoyed Call of Duty games, I’ve never been a huge fan myself. I did buy last years Black Ops 4, but apart from the free games offered on PS Plus (Black Ops 3 and MW Remastered) I’ve never really played that much apart from at friends’ houses. Still, COD multiplayer has always been fun and frantic even for a rookie such as myself.

Gun Fight

During the alpha and both betas I’ve played mostly Gun Fight, a 2v2 mode where every 2 rounds each team is given a new gun with random mods. Usually this means a standard gun with maybe a new scope or extended mag, but sometimes results in monstrosities like a shotgun with a sniper scope. Every round is timed and every person has one life. If one team isn’t dead by the end of the round, a flag is planted in the middle that each side can try and capture to win.

This mode is fast, tense, and honestly my favorite mode. It’s refreshing to play on even ground with everyone else in the match. Obviously someone who is more skilled has an advantage, but even a someone like me who doesn’t have much of a background in COD games can pull off a win. Forcing everyone to have the same loadout allows newer players to know what they’re up against while still letting pro players flex their FPS muscles.

Ground War

Just this weekend Infinity Ward added a new mode called Ground War to the rotation. It’s a 32v32 mode with a huge map and vehicles including ATV’s, tanks, and helicopters. The objective is to capture several points scattered throughout the map and hold them to rack up points while fending off the opposing team.

Unfortunately this is my least favorite mode. The idea is neat and at least isn’t another tacked-on battle royale mode, but it’s mostly a mess. Spawning is horrible. Whether I spawned on someone in my squad or one of our controlled points, I was often immediately murdered without even getting to look around. I also found it difficult to tell friend from foe and other players knew that. Someone would sneak into our base and stand at the back shooting everyone while we all frantically searched for where the attacker was.

Also the map is a waste. Apart from well defined zones, it’s environment is forgettable and mostly unused. At least 90% of the fighting occurs in the central buildings and 3 main control points, essentially making it a standard COD match, just with too many players. The vehicles handle well but apart from the tank only offer a quicker way to get to the centralized fighting. Getting caught in the open is a guaranteed death sentence because snipers (already far to prevalent in COD multiplayer in my opinion) are rampant.

Classic Modes

In its more standard modes Modern Warfare excels though. For years the franchise has been the gold standard for online multiplayer and this re-imagining looks to keep that reputation. Granted I ran into an issue where I could only play one match and then had to restart the game to get into another, the few matches of Domination I played felt good.

The only significant change is in how the game feels. You can hear and feel every action with the gun whether it’s firing, switching, or just reloading thanks to top notch sound design and animation. It’s hard to describe but the guns feel heavy, meaty even. Reloading is harsh and maybe even violent but serves to make the guns feel different from past titles. I think it’s part of why Gun Fight feels so good to me. It showcases how versatile the guns are in modification, and how tactile the moment to moment game-play is.

Technical Stuff

To get even more technical, cross-play is active for the last few days of the beta now. While I seemed to mostly be paired with other PS4 players I did participate in a party of both Xbox and PS4 players and it still played well. We couldn’t make a chat party though which is unfortunate but understandable. You can opt out of cross-play but not controller types which I’m not a fan of. That might be available in the full game, but playing against mouse and keyboard was not an experience I recommend.

Final Thoughts

To finish up, I do wish the beta was available longer so I could play more, which is really what’s important. There are amazing parts of it that I love, like Gun Fight, but the addition of Ground War is a waste I think. That being said, I do think the mode will have it’s fans. It’s not completely broken and there is fun to be had. At one point I got into a turret on the tank and when the driver parked up on a hill I was able to rain fire down on unsuspecting players from a distance. The I got taken out by a sniper and my fun was over before it ever really began.

Still, if you’re a fan of Call of Duty and especially the Modern Warfare series I think this game will be perfect for you. They’ve kept what’s great about COD while adding the right amount of new things and details to keep the series relevant and exciting. Hopefully you’ve had the chance to play the beta before it ends on September 23, but if not you can pick up the game on October 25.

How an Event Pulled Me Back Into Destiny 2, Again

So as of this writing, it’s update day! I figured that while I’ve got some time, I’ll write up something about Destiny 2.

I’ve been a Destiny player since the first game came out, and I’ve had a blast during this whole journey in that game and the sequel. However, I haven’t done much PvP at all because I’m not really a PvP player, so most of my experience in this game has been PvE. I’m usually an on-and-off player, but that changed with this event, the Solstice of Heroes.

With this event which runs until 8/27, a repeat of the event around the winter solstice, you get a suit of armor with specific objectives attached to it. First, Eva gives you a helmet. Then she sends you to a new area called the EAZ- European Aerial Zone.

New Area- European Aerial Zone

The EAZ is a floating island above the EDZ. According to the lore, it is made out of the memories of the triumphs that Guardians have faced. Essentially, it’s a ruined area of the EDZ that is floating in the air, so be careful not to jump off the edge.

Each time you come, you and two other Guardians face a new type of enemy- Fallen, Hive, or Cabal. I haven’t seen Vex here, maybe it’s because not many Guardians in the lore have survived the Vex? Anyways, a new enemy type comes up each time.

Bosses Galore

When you arrive, you have 5 minutes to defeat minibosses all over the map. As you do, orbs will drop according to what element you kill them with. If you match the element of the day with your subclass and pick up 30 orbs, you’ll get empowerment. Each element gives a different state of empowerment- arc gives absurd speed, solar gives a destructive nova, void lets you turn invisible when you crouch, along with other effects.

After defeating the minibosses, the final boss, or sometimes bosses, show up. Some of them are tougher than others, like fighting all three Cabal bosses by yourself while the other two just go AFK… That was an experience, but I did it.

Anyways, during the boss fight, some Taken will show up. Called the Prismatic Taken, once you defeat them, you’ll receive a Prismatic Orb, which instantly gives you empowerment when picked up.

Hunt for Your Loot

After defeating the final boss, a single chest shows up. Open it, and each player receives a Solstice Package, full of goodies like items and currency. But you can’t open it just yet. You need 15 Solar Key Fragments to open it. Depending on how many minibosses you defeated, you’ll have that many chests to find all over the map that contain these fragments, or more packages. Some are easier to find than others, but you have 2 minutes to find them. Good luck, and have fun!

Meanwhile, Back at the Tower

After completing your first round of EAZ, head back to Eva. She asks you to meditate at the statue, which gives the rest of the armor pieces, the Drained armor. Each of these also have objectives, ranging from Crucible and Gambit matches to Strikes in the playlist, to collecting elemental orbs. This took me a couple hours to do, most of it being the strikes playlist and Gambit. I learned that Gambit is actually pretty fun, but that I still don’t really care for Crucible.

While completing these objectives, you can pick up bounties from Eva to earn more Solar Key Fragments, as well as earning them via Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, and Public Events. So honestly, it’s not hard to earn the fragments.

After completing the first set of armor objectives, meditate at the statue again, and you’ll get a Renewed set of armor, and a new set of objectives, this time longer. I’m still working through these, but they’re not too bad, especially if you’re doing it with a friend.

Once more, after this set, return to the tower and meditate. You’ll recieve the final set, the Majestic set. If you complete these final objectives, the armor is Masterworked. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this, but there is good news. Once you hit Majestic level, you get this armor in the new expansion Shadowmoon, and there is a set bonus for it as well.

Overall, this event is really fun, for me. It got me into Gambit, and I’m having fun just running around working towards a new set of armor that I can get in the new expansion.

I’ll be playing this live on the SSG Twitch channel on Friday 8/16 at 10 am EST, so come on by and hang out! You can also find me playing on my personal channel from time to time.

The Outer Worlds announced for the Nintendo Switch

Have you heard of this upcoming first-person RPG called The Outer Worlds, created by former Fallout writers? It was announced today that with a little help from independent studio Virtuous, this title will be getting a Nintendo Switch port sometime after its Oct. 25 launch. If you’ve played the Switch versions of L.A. Noire and Dark Souls, you have reason to be confident that Virtuous will do satisfactory job with said port. If you don’t own the latest console from the big N, you still have the options of playing The Outer Worlds on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.

Bathe in the Fires of Radiation- Thoughts on Fallout 76 Nuclear Winter

Bethesda announced a while back that they were planning new content for Fallout 76 over the course of the year, and announced at E3 that they were putting a new mode in Fallout 76. Enter Nuclear Winter- a battle royale mode of the game to see who can become Overseer of Vault 51. Was this something that the fans asked for? No. Was this a good move on Bethesda’s part? That remains to be seen.

What will draw people in?

One thing that Bethesda did was make the game free to play for anyone from June 10-17. This is a way to get people to play the game, and the addition of a battle royale mode is to bring in a new group of players besides those already playing.

Now, generally battle royale players are only in it for the action, so what would bring them into the Adventure mode of Fallout 76?

The first thing Bethesda did was that you have to create your character in Adventure mode and leave Vault 76 before you can queue for Nuclear Winter. This lets players get a grasp on the controls and gameplay of the core game before going against the challenges of the new mode. You use the same character in Nuclear Winter that you use in Adventure mode, so any S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points you have carry over.

The second thing they did is one of the mechanics of Nuclear Winter is special perk cards. All of them that I’ve seen so far are max rank cards, however you need the right number of perk points in that attribute to use that card. For example: First Aid requires 6 Intelligence points to equip. If you have 6 points in Intelligence in Adventure mode, you can use it. But if you create a fresh character, you only have one point in each attribute in this mode, so you can only equip cards worth one point. Therefore, if you want to equip better cards, you have to play Adventure mode and level up, gaining more S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points.

So why are we all here at Vault 51?

The premise of the mode is that you’re one of the candidates who is vying to becoming the next Overseer of Vault 51. The Vault has been transformed around this unusual style of electing an Overseer, and the residents fight for their lives in the Appalachian Wasteland to be the last man standing. Fun fact: you can actually find the door to Vault 51 in Adventure mode, but you can’t go inside it. What about the giant ring of fire? According to a terminal in Vault 51, the fire storms were caused by the nuclear strikes happening around the area. Seems fitting.

While you’re waiting for the match to start, you can explore Vault 51. However, some parts are locked behind restrictions. Nuclear Winter runs off a ranking system called Overseer Rank. The higher your rank, the better rewards you get, and the more lore you can learn about how this Vault and competition came to be. Items like terminals, corridors, and even holotapes are locked behind level restrictions. Personally, I don’t like this feature because I want to learn the lore as I go, no matter how much I play. I think the reason Bethesda probably did this is to get people to keep playing and get higher ranks in order to fulfill their curiosity.

Fight for your rewards

Now for the battle

When you first enter the mode, you have the option to fill your team with random people if you’re not already in a party of 4, or play solo. Once the timer runs out, the map comes up on the screen and you pick your deployment spot. This isn’t your typical jump out of an airship deployment, you spawn at the location you pick. There are spots that are better than others for loot, but so far it seems that there aren’t specific hot zones where people consistently land every match. This is probably because people are still learning where the good loot spawns.

Keep an eye out for these, and listen for the Best crates’ beeping

Once you’ve spawned, grab a gun and some armor so you can defend yourself. Once you’re armed and armored, move towards the next zone, as in any other BR game. After a timer runs out, the ring of fire begins to close. Stay within the ring, or you’ll take periodic damage to your health, as well as radiation. The longer you stay outside the ring, the faster you die because you can’t heal from radiation in this mode, yet.

Oh yeah, one other thing I forgot to mention- you can launch nukes in this mode. Find 4 nuclear codes plus the nuclear briefcase, and launch a nuke wherever you want. Nuke codes can be found on enemies, in loot crates, and via terminals.

Outside of this, it’s your typical BR game- kill enemies (including AI enemies like ghouls, mirelurks, and Scorchbeasts), loot their bodies for better guns and armor, and survive till the end. But what happens if you’re on a team and you win? Well, everyone on the team becomes Overseer. To me, this defeats the purpose of the battle. I think that if you’re in a team and make top spot, you should have to battle your teammates until there is only one standing. That would fit this mode better because only one person would be Overseer.

So what’s the verdict?

It’s a battle royale at its core, but it still holds the Fallout feel that I love. A couple things that people should know though:

  • Power Armor is the best armor in the mode, but it barely beats out Marine Armor, and you’re not a walking tank like in Adventure mode. Don’t get careless when you find some.
  • Guns spawn at max level and with random modifications
    • The .50 caliber machine gun is the best gun that I’ve found for this mode
    • Automatic guns seem to rule the mode, but snipers are always around too
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings, especially the high ground.
  • Higher cost perk cards give better abilities, and cards from different classes can provide bonuses to the same types of things, such as rifles, explosives, etc.

Overall, I was having a lot of fun in this mode, even though I’m still bad at battle royale games in general. I feel like I have a better grasp on it since I’ve spent a lot of time in Adventure mode, as compared to something like Apex Legends or Fortnite where you have to play the battle royale portion in order to learn the map.

With the free trial until the 17th on PC, Xbox, and PS4, go ahead and give the game a shot. If you don’t like it, uninstall it. If you do like it, spend some time in Adventure mode, learn about the world and the items you can get, and gain some levels so you have an advantage with perks in Nuclear Winter. Fallout 76 didn’t start out with the best launch, but Bethesda is continuing to push free content and updates to improve the game. I still have fun with this, and the community on Twitch for the game is really awesome.

Have you own thoughts on the mode, or Fallout 76 in general? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

-V

Charge Into Battle! Double XP Weekend and Apex Legends Season 2 Details

Today at EA Play 2019, Apex Legends dropped some details on Season 2 of the game. You can watch the full video here. But before that, they detailed the Legendary Hunt event going on now in the game.

Legendary Hunt

The Legendary Hunt event is designed around the top 5 people who place in each match. If you place in the top 5, you are placed into a queue with others who are in the top 5 of their matches called the Apex Elite. By winning these special matches, you can get legendary skins for your guns exclusive to this mode.

There are challenges going on throughout the event to earn cosmetics. Those who own the Battle Pass and win a match in the top 5 will earn a full Battle Pass level once a day. One more thing, there is a double XP weekend going on now through June 9th, so get in the arena!

Season 2- Battle Charge

New Weapon and Skins

Releasing July 2nd, the second season brings back a fan favorite weapon, the L-Star! This weapon is a full auto EMG only available from care package drops. It is powerful enough to open doors, something only grenades could do before. There are also balance changes coming, so maybe the Mozambique will be more than a meme? There are four new legendary skins being released in the Season 2 Battle Pass, so get those levels in.

This was my favorite weapon in Titanfall 2, glad to see it return

Ranked Mode

They are adding in ranked matches into the game finally with Season 2. Now you can grind ranks from Bronze to Apex Predator- 6 ranks in all. You earn rewards at the end of the season based on your tier at the end.

New Legend- Wattson

Equipped to deal with loads of power

Respawn is releasing a new hero with each season of the game. Season 1 introduced Octane, now Season 2 is introducing Wattson. Wattson is a strictly support hero. Her tactical ability uses lasers to create fences. Allies can come through the fences, causing it to temporarily turn off, and keeps enemies out of the fenced areas. Wattson has 12 nodes to create fences in any configuration, so players are encouraged to use their imaginations. Her ultimate ability is a droid who charge your team’s shields, shoot down grenades, and supercharge Wattson’s tactical all while within range of the droid. In addition, Ultimate Accelerants charge to 100% with her, and maybe also for every hero, I didn’t catch it for them.

Respawn is also starting to add in more lore into the game. Wattson and her father built the arena that the matches are played in. The Syndicate was also mentioned in the short clip introducing Wattson, so hopefully we’ll be learning more about who they are and their role in the game as well.

For me, another support hero is welcomed because I’m a support player and it gives me more options. Maybe a hero as unique as Wattson will get more people to play support as well, who knows?

Here’s hoping Season 2 goes well for the game and that more balance changes come so more people won’t be so intimidated to get started. I do like this game more than most Battle Royale games because of its mechanics with the three man squad, plus the lore of the world from Titanfall makes it more familiar to me.

What are you looking forward to in Season 2? Leave us a comment!