Destiny’s first expansion, The Dark Below, was a disappointment to say the least. Yes, people have sunk many hours into the DLC, but one can’t deny that all we were presented with were lackluster story missions, a Raid so broken that you’d have thought it was part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a Strike that turned out to be more annoying than Cerberus Vae III and an item upgrade system that might have been the worst in video game history. So, does House of Wolves follow in its predecessor’s footsteps or is Bungie on the right path?
Let’s begin with the story. You’ve been called upon by the Queen of the Awoken in the Reef, Mara Sov, to hunt Skolas, the Fallen Kell of Kells who has led an uprising in the Reef. It’s not news to anyone that Destiny’s story consists of someone telling you to go somewhere and kill lots of things for reasons you’re never told. Unfortunately, it’s essentially the same in House of Wolves. While the missions themselves are light years beyond The Dark Below in terms of fun, the story is only a skeleton that is never fleshed out.
The next piece of content we have is the new Strike, The Shadow Thief. Honestly, I was expecting another horrible strike like Will of Crota but instead I was pleasantly surprised with what we got. The strike has you chasing down Taniks, the Scarred. The thing that makes it so interesting is that you’re fighting the boss throughout the whole strike and at the end you finally take him down. It’s honestly the most original content in the DLC.
Next, we have the new social events that occur on various planets. Since the 1.2.0 update went live, when you’re present at the right time on certain planets, a social event will occur where Fallen Scorch Captains and their subordinates spawn. Kill them, and after a few more waves of Wolves, the leader will spawn. Kill the leader and you will be granted a 90 second buff called Ether Key, which allows you to open a newly spawned Ether Chest that has a chance of dropping a Treasure Key used to open the big chest found in the Treasure Room under the Prison of Elders. Proper rewards for activities is something Destiny’s Public Events had been lacking since launch. Hopefully, Bungie will see how many people enjoy these new events and update Public Events to give worthwhile rewards.
The Prison of Elders is next up on my list and is one of the two new endgame activities. I won’t lie, I was one of the people who was upset that Bungie wasn’t releasing a new Raid in favor of a Horde Mode. Raids test both your individual skill and your team’s cohesion as a unit. Prison of Elders tries to do the same but, like many other aspects of Destiny, it just doesn’t measure up. Prison of Elders has four levels of difficulty: 28, 32, 34 and 35. The level 28 Prison of Elders offers matchmaking while the other levels do not. The activity is only for 3 fireteam members, unlike previous endgame content, so plan on leaving some of your friends out of the fun. PoE is five rounds in length and each round consists of three waves of enemies while a critical mission objective, such as disarming a mine or killing a high value target, takes place during waves two and three. Finally, round five always consists of a boss fight. If you’ve played any Destiny content then you’ve played Prison of Elders already. Nothing new here… Except the new weapons, which are worse than weapons from the Vault of Glass…
Trials of Osiris is the other endgame activity that Bungie is offering in House of Wolves. You might be wondering “how can PvP be an endgame activity?” Well, it offers endgame loot like a Raid or PoE if you’re able to fill out your Trials Passage card, and even more so if you can do it flawlessly. Trials of Osiris sees you and two friends pitted against another team of three in a first-to-five gametype with one life per round and revives enabled. This is definitely for you if you’ve been looking for that true competitive PvP experience in Destiny. There are still some balancing issues, which isn’t a problem with Trials, but rather with Destiny PvP itself. It’s definitely a lot of fun and frustrating trying to beat your own high score and go for that flawless run! Trials is definitely a hit for those who enjoy PvP, and with a few tweaks it can only get better!
Finally, the new upgrade system. I was scared about how this was going to work after how terrible the last DLC handled it, but I’ll be frank, it’s amazing. You simply ascend your exotic gear with exotic shards that you already have, and ANY legendary gear with Etheric light that you get from Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris. No longer does every class look the same. I know my Titan looks like no other and I love it!
House of Wolves isn’t bad DLC, it’s just more of the same when I was hoping for something new. It’s hundreds of times better than The Dark Below and Bungie is definitely learning, but they’re not quite there yet. Luckily, their foundation is solid enough to keep me, and millions of others, playing longer than we probably should be. I’ve played every aspect of House of Wolves so far, but I’m sure that won’t stop me from playing more and more each week. Pick it up. You’ll enjoy yourself for a while.