With the campaign out of the way, it’s time to clean up some quests and really get a feel for the world I’ll be inhabiting for the foreseeable future. With the conclusion of the expansion’s story, I’m still only sitting at 3% completion in my Record Book. Let’s see if I can’t make some progress on that.
18:00 Jumping back in where we left off, Wild-Kit and I head back to patrol The Plaguelands. The geography of the place is still quite foreign, so navigating to places like the Archon’s Forge is a bit like fumbling in the dark.
There’s a few quests tell us to complete patrol missions, which is a nice way to get a feel for the new quarantine missions – if not a cheeky way to pad out the gameplay a bit.
We head into the Archon’s Forge – the new arena mode. There’s a few players already in there, so we jump in and give it a try. The first couple of attempts are incredibly easy, and I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of enemy mechanics at play. The Court of Oryx from TTK had a number of great fights that required coordination, and that doesn’t seem to be the case here.
Archon’s Forge plays out more like a horde mode, and we felt pretty confident with the first few encounters. That was, until someone triggered an event that had us hiding in the corners, trying not to die. OK, so it looks like there is some depth to this arena. I’ll get some better gear and come back to see what it’s like when I’m not being killed in a single shot.
18:30 We finish up the quests related to patrol and head back to the Iron Temple. Word has gotten out about the jumping puzzle, and the cliff face behind the area is littered with player names, as they attempt to scale the mountain. Kit and I give it a go – in part for a quest item towards our Gjallarhorn – and soon find ourselves at a staggering height. It’s pretty damn breathtaking up here, with a frosty vista stretching out below. You almost forget that this game is about aliens, space magic, and lots and lots of shooting.
19:00 Grabbing a fellow clan member, our fireteam of three head into the new Strikes. We shoot the shit on voice chat as we play through the new Wretched Eye. It’s fun and has a lot of verticality to it, but the overall strike was rather forgettable. The final boss fight had some nice moments where a blind ogre bumbled around the area, threatening to hulk-smash, but you could mostly ignore him and focus on the Splicer Priest Kovik. Tether, headshot, headshot, rocket, repeat.
19:30 Moving onto the next strike, we queue up for Sepiks Perfected, the newly revamped version of The Devil’s Lair. Being the very first strike players encounter, it has a lot of nostalgia for the Year One Guardians, and those that participated in the open beta.
Sepiks Perfected hits quite a few of the right notes. It’s trimmed some of the fat from the original so you’re not standing around as much. There’s only two waves of enemies when you’re trying to get through the laser doors this time, and you’re facing off against the Hive, not the Fallen. Similarly, it’s just waves of Hive that you have to fight through, instead of that Fallen Tank that seemed to take way too long to kill. Sepiks itself has a new dynamic with elemental shields that brings a bit more complexity to the fight than just ‘shoot it in the eye’, but the encounter is still pretty simplified. All in all, it’s a nice quick run that you don’t need to pay too much attention to. Perfect for that time when you’re playing with a friend and just want something to do while you chat.
20:00 I’d been holding off the new Crucible mode for a while, as I’m not the strongest at PvP to begin with. I can hold my own on the best of days, but prefer to play at range with a scout rifle. Supremacy really takes that strategy and throws it out the window, as most of my kills were denied, as a player’s crest was scooped up by their teammate. I was sitting at the bottom of the table for a couple of games until pulled the ‘f*** this’ card, pulled out a full-auto shotgun, and got a little more up-close-and-personal.
It’s certainly a great mode, focusing more on territory and strength in numbers. The fact that players will typically run in groups also results in some truly satisfying moments when you pop your super and melt through all of them. I mostly ran as a Gunslinger, with an exotic giving me four golden gun shots, but near the end I switched to Bladedancer, and the resulting multi-kills had me bathing in both enemy crests and Guardian tears. No wonder Master Rahool is so addicted to them…
22:00 Time sure does fly in the Crucible. A number of matches in and I’m working my way up the scoreboards. A quick glance at my Record Book shows me at 9% completion, so there’s still a lot to do. An entire page is dedicated to the Wrath of the Machine raid which goes live this weekend. The clan isn’t racing to get into it, but we’ll certainly be looking at running some more social stuff on Friday night...