The world of Destiny was reinvigorated last week with the release of the House of Wolves expansion, bringing in new content for players to experience. The expansion introduced new story missions, a new social space in the Reef, an all new strike, four new Crucible maps, the Trials of Osiris competitive experience, and the Prison of Elders multiplayer co-op arena…along with new weapons and armor, of course. Despite some players’ hesitation to whip out $19.99 for another DLC, the House of Wolves is actually a good addition to the world of Destiny, giving dedicated players something new to do, and players that may have strayed away from the game a reason to return to the Tower. So, after a week, is the game still worth playing? I’d say yes.
The House of Wolves introduces the new social space in the Reef before you begin your quests. You travel to the Reef and dock your ship at the Vestian Outpost, where you meet a slew of new characters and vendors. Petra Venj is in charge of giving you many of the missions in the new DLC, with Variks from the Fallen House of Judgement providing assistance when needed. There is also a Cryptarch, bounty vendor, mail bot, and Brother Vance for the Trials of Osiris (which I’ll get to later). This new social space doesn’t render the Tower on Earth useless, however; Xur can still appears there on weekends, and you may have to return to the Speaker to get some Ascendant materials, which you can now trade for. The Vestian Outpost is a great new addition for everyone to enjoy…and the view of the Reef is amazing.
Despite the criticism of Destiny’s original storyline, the story that the creators at Bungie developed for the House of Wolves is actually pretty good. In the DLC missions, the Destiny universe was used better than in the original story, with a lot of details that helped create the atmosphere of the aggressive Fallen Wolves. It doesn’t revolve around the Grimoire cards that Destiny has so heavily relied on, instead telling the story through the mission gameplay and the dialogue from Petra Venj and Variks. I wrote a full review of the story missions here – you should check it out.
The Fallen Wolves theme carries over well in the new strike, The Shadow Thief. As with the Dark Below Omnigul strike, the story from the DLC missions snakes its way into the strike’s back story, helping create a more intuitive experience as players fight their way through Fallen to the boss, Taniks, the Scarred. While Taniks himself may be similar to the Archon Priest in terms of combat, the strike is a welcome new addition to the Vanguard strike playlists, and challenges the player with the Fallen Wolves’ aggressive combat style. The Shadow Thief even brings a new playlist with it, the level 28 Vanguard Dragon. If you’d like to know more about the new strike, I’ve written a review of that as well.
For the PvP players, there are four new Crucible maps to enjoy: the Cabal-themed Black Shield, located on the Mars moon of Phobos; Thieves Den, an old Fallen hide out in the Ishtar Sink on Venus; Widow’s Court, located in a European dead zone on Earth; and the PlayStation exclusive Timekeeper, a Vex-themed map on Mars. Widow’s Court provides a new experience on Earth outside the Cosmodrome in Russia, and is definitely my favorite out of the four. The new maps require new strategies from those that seek to dominate Control, Salvage, and other Crucible events.
For those that wish for a different PvP experience, the Trials of Osiris event should quench your desires. This competitive event occurs each weekend from Friday at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT and extends until the Bungie weekly reset on Tuesday. To compete, you’ll need a pre-formed fireteam of three, and all will need to obtain the Trials Passage from Brother Vance in the Reef. You’ll be competing against another team of three in an elimination-style game where the first team to eliminate the other team five times wins the game. If you win nine games, or lose three, you’ll have to get another Trials Passage, but each win after the first gets you a package from Brother Vance. Getting nine wins with no losses grants you access to a special area on Mercury, where you can get some nice gear from a Trials chest. The Trials of Osiris brings a nice new event to the Destiny PvP and gives players something to look forward to each weekend.
Some players were upset about the lack of a raid in the House of Wolves, but you might not have time to be sad in the Prison of Elders. You and two other players are thrown into the Reef’s Prison of Elders, where you fight waves of Vex, Fallen, Hive, and Cabal enemies. There are five rounds of three waves in addition to some objectives to complete within the waves. Each round has a modifier to spice things up; these can benefit you or make the round more difficult. Either way, don’t take the Prison of Elders lightly – it’s a challenging experience that may not take the place of a raid, but adds a great new experience in addition to taking down Atheon or Crota. If the level 28 experience seems too easy for you, try out the level 32, 34, or 35 experiences. Each has their own boss (the higher levels can have more than one), and you get more chances to get gear – whats better than that? Getting the best gear requires an Ether Key, which you get from the random Wolves events while patrolling Earth, Venus, and the Moon.
Speaking of gear, the House of Wolves expansion brings in a bunch of new stuff for your Guardian. The vendors in the Tower and the Reef have new weapons, armor, shaders, and class-exclusive accessories for you to get. Sidearms special weapons make their first appearance, along with other new weapon, armor, and ship designs. And get this: you no longer need Commendations to purchase gear from vendors. If you like the look of your Guardian right now, you have the ability to ascend any pre-House of Wolves legendaries and exotics to the max level using Etheric Light, which you get from the higher level Prison of Elders events. You heard right: you no longer have to wear raid gear to reach the level cap, which is now 34. Bungie seems to be going after that MMO style that they originally wanted.
While many felt the Dark Below expansion didn’t exactly live up to the ‘expansion’ part, the House of Wolves seems to fit the definition a bit better. It breathes more life into the Destiny universe, giving players more to experience. Even after a week of constant play, I’m still eager to hop on to see what I’ll see the next day. Players that gave up on the game may not be convinced to return to the Tower, but those that have loved Destiny at some point would be delighted return to new content.
Now, its only been a week since its release, so we’ll have to wait and see how long this content can keep players interested; I’m pretty confident players that are on the fence about purchasing the House of Wolves have a better reason to get it than the Dark Below. We’ll have a long term review on the House of Wolves expansion as time goes on; keep it here at Gamespresso for more Destiny content!