'Destiny: The Dark Below' Adds New Exotic Upgrades System

Destiny Exotic Upgrade System DLC

For weeks we have been saying that Destiny's The Dark Below expansion was set to introduce some big changes into the world of Bungie's MMO/FPS. But, not knowing how exactly specific features would work, we were operating more so on hope than firm knowledge.

Now that Bungie has revealed more about The Dark Below it appears those assumptions were correct. But digging deeper into The Dark Below info has also revealed some changes that may be simultaneously exciting and deflating to players.

Most of the latest Destiny DLC details come courtesy of Game Informer, who had a chance to go hands-on with all of the expansion's new content. They played all three new story missions, the new Strike, and part of the new Raid as part of the preview.

However, while full impressions of the story content are likely still on the way, GI did reveal some pretty interesting changes to weapon upgrading and weapon drops. In some ways, these changes will improve Destiny's experience, while in others they may rub players the wrong way.

First up are exotics, which will soon have a completely new upgrade path. While gamers will still be able to upgrade an exotic weapon or piece of armor the old fashioned way – minus ascendant materials – there will be a new system to make exotics even better.

Destiny Plan C Fusion Rifle

Starting on December 9th, players will be able to trade in their exotics to Xur for an upgraded version of the same weapon or armor piece, but it won't be easy. Players will need the old exotic, 7,000 glimmer, and an exotic shard to complete the transaction. It might seem steep, but once this new exotic has been fully upgraded (which requires another exotic shard to complete the tree) it will have a higher attack power/defense power than the old version of the exotic.

The goal with this new system, Bungie says, is to make sure that exotics carry more weight than ever before. Where some Destiny players could do just fine with a suite of legendary weapons, Bungie wants to make sure the exotics live up to their name moving forward.

Speaking of those legendaries, Bungie has some new changes in store for them as well. With The Dark Below, Bungie will be splitting legendary weapons into two distinct categories: legendary gear and raid gear. Legendary gear will stay relatively unchanged (i.e. upgrade with ascendant materials), but raid gear will now need raid materials for upgrades. These raid materials will be split into two categories - radiant energy for weapons and radiant material for armor - and those materials will ONLY drop during the Crota's End raid. No word on if this change will extend to The Vault of Glass.

It may seem like an additional headache having to juggle two more types of upgrade materials, but Bungie ensures players that they can trade one material for another (e.g. radiant shards for radiant energy). At the same time, the developer also says that the new Crota's End raid will try to make the random drops of the experience more fun.

Destiny DLC - Crota

Whereas the Vault of Glass has been a constant battle with the RNG gods, Bungie says that Crota's End will try to keep track of what items the player has so that they don't keep getting the same drops. As well, the raid will evaluate how long it's been since a player received a "fun" drop, which in essence will ensure players don't go too long receiving only shards and energy.

All told, it sounds like The Dark Below is adding a lot to Destiny, but whether that's a good or a bad thing is yet to be determined. The idea of gaining stronger exotics is appealing, but the upgrading could lead to a lot of busy work. And while a decrease in randomness in the raid is no doubt welcome, we can't help but wonder why this wasn't in the game from the beginning. Even so, another set of upgrade materials is unlikely to go over well with anyone.

What do you think of these new weapon-focused changes for The Dark Below? Are you growing more or less interested in the expansion?

Destiny: The Dark Below releases December 9, 2014 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.


Source: Game Informer

Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina

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