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Destiny 2's mysterious Black Armory expansion doubles down on putting 'hobby' players first



Until today, the details of Destiny 2's next expansion have been cloaked in mystery. Beyond a basic Battle.net listing that a new activity called 'The Lost Forges', the usual shopping list of new quests and exotics, and a picture of a robot vendor, there's been little info about what the DLC actually contain. Which is pretty weird when you consider it coming out on 4 December-ie next Tuesday-and it's even weirder when you consider that Activision recently expressed disappointment at the "underperformance against our expectations" of Forsaken, the big expansion that was released in September.

A good reason for the silence is that Black Armory is not going to be structured like Destiny 2's other small expansions-the lackluster curse of Osiris and the better Warmind, both of which have added a suite of campaign missions with cutscenes. Back in June, Bungie announced that for the second year of Destiny 2's life, in addition to the free season updates that all players get, such as revamped pinnacle weapons, new content would be delivered via an annual pass That costs $ 34.99 (£ 29.99), and includes three expansions that otherwise can not be bought separately.

These three expansions-Black Armory, Joker's Wild and Penumbra-do not feature a traditional story campaign, and the content will be parched out over a couple of months each, rather than all being released on day one. All of which will have been burned by the players who have been burned by the last year (so many players). Today, Bungie has just lifted the veil on Black Armory, giving us a glimpse of what's in store via one of its developer vidocs, which you can watch embedded above.

We now know that robot vendor is an ADO-1 called ADA-1, and she'll be our gun dealer in Black Armory. Over the course of the season of the Forge, which is the originator of the Lost Golden Age weapons created by three different families of weaponsmiths with Norse, Japanese and French lineage (you can see a couple examples of their work among the new exotic weapons in the gallery below). The search will lead you to four Lost Forges, each of which is a new activity that will be reminiscent of the Destiny 2's other takes on the Forgotten Well, with the Lost difference being that Lost Forges will have three-player matchmaking-so no hanging around like a spare dick at a wedding.

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

Izanagi's Burden is a kinetic sniper that lets you trade a magazine of ammo for a single overpowered shot. Click here for full screen

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

Anarchy is a fallen-themed sticky grenade launcher which can create lightning traps. Click here for full screen

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

Le Monarque is a void bow that rewards precision shots with damage over time and AoE poison effects. Click here for full screen

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Black Armory will include 5 exotic weapons

Bungie has also published a new roadmap, next year, including free updates for all players. You can find that below.

Is that a hand cannon in your pocket, or …

The Lost Forges takes place in new areas of existance, meaning they will unlock over the course of the season (see roadmap). Which may sound like a fun throttler, but given the speed with which the Destiny's most committed players chew through content, it's an approach aimed at avoiding the major releases that have blighted Destiny from the beginning.

The Black Armory also raises the power cap to 650 and comes with a new exotic quest line for a returning weapon, in a similar vein to the recent hunt for Thunderlord, but hopefully a little more involved. The quest starts on 29 January and the reward will be The Last Word, a beloved fan-fire hand that the PvP players have been clamoring to see return. Bungie has definitely got better at the fan service over the last couple of expansions, but hopefully there will be some less expected surprises in the Black Armory too.

"Hello, yes, I found this in a chocolate bar and claim entry to the magic gun factory."

For the truly dedicated PvE crowd, Black Armory brings a new raid on 7 December. Bungie has dropped the 'Lair' moniker when describing the next raid because it's billed as bigger than Spire of Stars but smaller than Last Wish. Beyond that, all we know is that it will be set in the ruins of the Last City on Earth, and that it'll feature vehicle sections using your sparrow jet bikes. As for precise specifics on how much gear Black Armory will contain, that remains to be seen. I do not know that it will not feature any new strikes, which is a given a bummer given that one of the new pinnacle weapons requires grinding that playlist.

New ways to play

David "Deej" Dague

Yesterday, I talked to Bungie's longstanding communications director David "Deej" in a bid to pin down how Black Armory differs from previous expansions. I started by asking about the inherent tension between creating a full of secret stuff, and trying to persuade people to earn money for the annual pass. I started by asking whether he could even write exactly what's on the expansion on a piece of paper and give it to me.

"No, we can't-and I think we are fine with the year pass being a thing that delivers on its promise over time," said Deej. "Season of the Forge is a chance for players to come back to this new weapon and this new gear, leading to the quintessential Destiny question, 'Hey , that's awesome, where did you get it? ', then new players will be able to encounter ADA-1 in the Black Armory and get on those quests to discover those Lost Forges. "

We're fine with the year pass being a thing that delivers on its promise over time.

-Deej

I asked Deej about Activision's stated disappointment with Forsaken's performance in recent earnings call, and how an expansion like Black Armory would be able to bring in new players, given it looks designed to appeal to existing ones: "I'm not a business analyst and I'm not quite sure what those other statements were about, "he said. "We're always looking to make Destiny a fun game that keeps people activated with their imagination and earning new rewards and enjoying themselves and if their love of that game bleeds over into other people's lives and they invite their friends to play with them, that's all a welcome evolution. "

We also talked about the change in structure, and whether it will represent as much raw value in terms of new gear and things to play. Here Deej was adamant that Black Armory offers a better deal, largely because of the replayability of its activities. "I think it's going to serve far better in terms of sustain the destiny endgame than that is a number of hours and is embraced, mastered and cast aside by a community that wants a hobby more than that comes and goes over the space of one week. "

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I do not want to say that what Destiny 2 does not need now, but their mechanics are rather more interesting than the Blind Well unless the Lost Forges will grow stale. At least every Forge will have its own loot pool, the lack of which was one of the biggest problems with the Well.

Generally I'm bullish about Black Armory's prospects. Forsaken, as per our review, righted the majority of vanilla Destiny 2's sins. It's now a more hardcore experience, providing plenty of reasons to take it to the Dreaming City to reveal its mysteries. Also, by ditching campaign missions, Bungie can now focus on creating more of those compelling, repeatable activities like the Whisper of the Worm mission and the Shattered Throne dungeon. In short, my hope is that Black Armory doubles down on pleasing those players who stuck around through the bad times.

Towards the end of my chat with Deej, I nailed some more specifics with a series of rapid-fire questions. Here's how he handled them:

PCG: Are machine guns going to get ammo reserve and scavenger perks?

Deej: Yes.

PCG: Will you be brought back more Year One Legendary gear and armor to bulk out the loot pool?

Deej: Do not need to.

PCG: Are we going to get some kind of clock that used to sell?

Deej: That's subjective!

PCG: Based on the screenshots, are the titans no longer going to have pads the size of hatchback cars?

Deej: I do not know.

The new Lost Forge activities will seemingly involved in throwing whatever these balls are around.

PCG: Who is [notorious Destiny leaker on Reddit] 'anonthenine', and how much trouble did he cause you personally?

Deej: Me personally?

PCG: Yeah, you're the comms guy.

Deej: I have a German Shepard who loves me a great deal and when I go home at the end of the day, that's really all I see-so he was no trouble to me personally. I was a Bungie fan before I joined Bungie, so I understand the allure of that … But I'm always telling people in the community: "We're really going to achieve when the time comes, you 're welcome to your conversations between now and then. "

I have, on rare occasions, reached out to friends of mine in the community and told them that they need not waste their time with the ambient beeping in the farm, it's not Morse code that leads to an ARG-but in terms of Reddit theories and wild speculation, that's all part of the culture of the internet, and people who live and breathe their hobby playing a videogame, so I do not mind it as you might think.

PCG: Why would I use an Eagle's Burden sniper rifle over Whisper of the Worm?

Deej: Because you dig it. Maybe you're an impractical player, like me. Maybe you like the way it sounds! I have a dead Orbit shotgun, it's not the best, but the crack of the back of the plate of the shell … it awakens something inside of me.

The Armory opens

I tell him I feel the same way about the Gambit sniper rifle. As an inveterate addict with over 1,500 hours in Destiny 2, I'm of course excited to jump into Black Armory. It's somewhat hard to see what's on the bunker's black-headed "re-engage the core" (bleurgh). But honestly, that's the accountants' problem. For me the biggest problem with Destiny has been the impossibility of Bungie creating enough stuff to keep players in the in-between months. Black Armory and its sibling expansions seem completely aimed at tackling that question. We'll see exactly what the answer looks like next week.

The new armor looks sweet, and the new exotic fusion rifle middle guardian holds.


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