Published on: Sep 2, 2015 @ 15:20
The third and final Bungie stream has concluded, and what a ride it was. We got to finally get a peek at the much-hyped Court of Oryx, and for the most part, it lived up to our expectations.
Following the conclusion of the stream, Twitch viewers were also treated to two new trailers, the second of which featured tantalizing teaser footage from the most jealously guarded secret of The Taken King: the King’s Fall raid.
We’ll be highlighting the important stuff from the footage with Laced Up Lauren, Urk, and Ben Wommack, and will continue to update as new information is plucked with a careful eye from a repeat viewing.
Court of Oryx
The Court of Oryx is found in a new area on the Dreadnaught known as the Hall of Souls. You’ll have to seek it out after landing on Oryx’s personal sky fortress, fighting through the resident Taken to even reach it. There’s a very different feel to the Dreadnaught “patrol” than the planets with which we’ve grown accustomed; you can’t sightsee without being accosted from all sides – the atmosphere is much more intense. We were also informed by Ben Wommack that flavorful encounters like cross-faction battles – much like the ones in the Skywatch – will play out regularly, contributing to the feeling that our Guardians are really embroiled in a War.
Once you reach the Court of Oryx, you’ll find a small shrine near the entrance, which houses a slot that will accept any Runes you may have acquired. These Runes are suited specifically to one level of the Court of Oryx challenge. In today’s footage, we got to see the fireteam take on Tier 1 and Tier 2, but the two higher tiers were withheld to save some surprises for release day. Tier 1 contained Level 36 enemies, and is designed to help players get their feet wet. Tier 2 featured enemies at Level 41, and was considerably more difficult.
Antiquated Runes are rare drops in Tier 2, the Nightfall, and Raids. They are used to start Tier 3 events.
— Bungie (@Bungie) September 2, 2015
Before you fret about overleveled enemies, though, remember that because there are no longer penalties for disparate level advantages, it’s your Attack and Light that will be matched up against these baddies, so the penalty will be significantly smaller. However, we anticipate Tier 3 to start stacking the deck against you, so we’ve no doubt those fights will represent some of the hardest content in Destiny.
We were given some idea of the bosses we’d be seeing from earlier statements and tweets, and it was a nice shift away from the speculation to get to see them in action. Ben restated again Bungie’s aim to make each of these bosses have a clever trick that you would need to figure out in order to have a chance to beat them. The first was a T1 Knight Major/Ultra, called Vorlog, who had a mechanic we’ve seen before in the Cabal’s Valus Tra’ug; namely, his shields would regenerate at certain health levels, and come up with a new element each time.
Of course, because the fireteam was trotting in at Level 40 with some quality gear, Lauren made short work of him using one of the most exciting new elements of The Taken King: Swords!
Yes, she was sporting an unbelievably cool Exotic Sword, called “Raze-Lighter”. It featured Solar damage, and could be swung to deal heavy, fast damage to a single target. We only saw slashes in action, so it’s possible it isn’t as versatile as Crota’s own blade. However, there’s no doubt it was as high a DPS item as we’ve seen in Destiny to this date. Rockets have some competition in the field.
As the team familiarized themselves with the environment, we also got a glimpse at some new resources. Lauren’s Ghost Shell featured a perk that highlighted the new planetary material, called Wormspore. Wormspore can assumedly only be found on Oryx’s Drednaught, and will likely be an important material for leveling up new weapons and armor – especially anything you manage to drag back from the Raid or Dreadnaught itself.
Between Court of Oryx victories, the person who started the event and spent the Rune is given the “Summoner’s Exhaustion” debuff, which prevents them from locking down the instance by spacing out the times they’re allowed to commence an event. Bungie also smartly incorporated an anti-AFK measure, that ends any Court of Oryx fight if the summoner is out of the battle for more than 20 seconds. As the Summoner gets the best gear, this discourages Summoners from slotting the rune and sitting back to watch the bystanders handle it. However, it also places a priority on the well-being of one VIP Guardian, even when the event is done in good faith. Keeping the Summoner alive and well is of great benefit to the rest of the team, if they don’t want to have to start over.
After their early T1 victory, Lauren was instructed to open her inventory to show the stream viewers one of the spoils of victory: a Stolen Rune. This rune comes in an “uncharged” state, and requires the holder to banish (or defeat) enemies with “reciprocal runes” in Court of Oryx activities. Put simply: play more Court of Oryx, and you’ll charge this bad boy up. Once it’s charged, it will allow the bearer to summon more powerful enemies, which we take to mean that it will act as a T2 or higher rune.
The team took on a few more T1 events. They encountered zero repeats, with Bungie’s algorithm to cycle through the available challenges doing its job properly. One saw the three wizards we were informed of (Alzok Däl, Gornuk Däl, and Zyrok Däl with their nasty self-revive mechanic. According to Ben and Urk, if you were unable to take them all down just about simultaneously, they would be born from the ashes with full strength.
As all Court of Oryx missions are on a timer, this would almost certainly spell failure for an uncoordinated fireteam. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), we didn’t get to see this in action, as the team whittled their health down and burned them with a cascade of simultaneous Supers.
The second saw two Knights, Cra’adug and Mengoor, prove more than a little annoying to the benighted fireteam, who was doing their best to wrangle the additional enemies while gently trying to coax the Knights into one another’s proximity to combat their unique advantage. These Knights were impervious to damage, unless you could get them close enough to one another. At this point, it was anything-goes and the team was smart to save their most damaging heavy weapons and Supers for the occasion.
Finally, it was time for T2. Ben explained that T2 fights contain multiple bosses randomly selected from the T1 list, who were powered up for their reinsertion into the fray.
Tier 1 bosses in the Court Of Oryx are around level 36 difficulty, Tier 2 are much harder, similar to Nightfall difficulty.
— Bungie (@Bungie) September 2, 2015
A one-level gap in Year1 between player and AI was a huge difference. The Year2 Combat equation is based on Light now, so don't sweat a 41
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) September 2, 2015
The first fight contained our old Knight friends, and a new Ogre, Krughor, who could only be damaged by Cursed Thrall explosions. This turned out to be half-true: his shield was impervious to everything but Cursed Thrall explosions, but after taking it down, he could be damaged just the same as any other enemy. Again, the Sword came in handy here, easily dicing him into low health early on in the fight. The Knights were a little trickier, but couldn’t stand up to the three blades of the assaulting Guardians in the end. Lauren received a Legendary quality “Calcified Fragment”, but it’s use is currently unknown…
It’s safe to say that T1 and T2 will be manageable for small squads. As Bungie stated, the maximum amount of players that can tackle a Court battle is a whopping nine; of course, fireteam limits for patrols are still restricted to three. Still, the prospect of three fireteams taking on the T3 events is very promising.
The team had just enough time to tackle on more T2 event, and it was a doozy. Vorlog, the resilient Knight from T1, made his return, but a new boss called Bracus Horu’usk was the real thorn in the team’s side. The Taken Centurion couldn’t be damaged until all of the additional enemies on the field were dispatched. For this reason, the team was forced to come out of cover frequently, and it proved to be a lot harder than the previous fight. By the time the team had scrambled to revive their dead allies, avoided the damaging blasts from the Taken dropship, and clean up the tenacious Taken adds, it came down to the literal last second before they achieved victory.
On the topic of variable difficulty, the Court of Oryx is refreshingly unpredictable. Because it is remixed randomly, certain combinations of bosses are going to invariably be more difficult than others. While you can head in and just cross your fingers, preparation and strategy will be worth their weight in Glimmer.
When the final boss was felled, the Summoner and her companions were granted their rewards. For T1 and T2 events, we noticed that all of these were rare quality items, along with some reputation for Eris. Until now, most Guardians have long since maxed their Eris reputation, so this could mean she is being given another cache of goods with new items to acquire – but it’s hard to know at this juncture. Beyond the blues, no one received a Legendary weapon, piece of armor, or ghost shell. Lauren got a rare ghost shell, the “Blue Spine Shell” and a “Tome of Nothing”, which sounds like an artifact. Ben Wommack assures us that the T3 rewards will be of the highest quality, to match the skill it will undoubtedly take to emerge victorious.
The team was all geared up and ready to go for a T3 attempt, but were cut short by David “DeeJ The Party Crasher” Dague, who reminded us that he promised to hold back some of the good stuff for release day.
Instead, we were treated to two exclusive trailers for the Twitch audience. The first was a gorgeous compilation of many of the cutscenes we’ve seen teased, with a powerful VO introducing the Queen’s role in the fight. There were a few juicy seconds of new footage, but all-in-all it represented the culmination of TTK’s hype in a single trailer.
The second trailer was all new. Luke Smith gave us a short teaser introduction, and then we got to see the briefest of flashes into the King’s Fall Raid. It did indeed appear to be gigantic, with sprawling rooms, a massive wall for Guardians to climb, and all of the atmospheric intensity that had previously been jealously hoarded by the Vault of Glass. We saw a fireteam ambush some unwary supplicant Hive, a team of Guardians holding back waves of thrall knee-deep in a pool of water, and a sinister Ogre firing blasts of deadly Void energy in a dark cavern. There appeared to be more platforming elements, too. A lift vaulted a Guardian into the dark unknown, while others made their way up a series of platforms in a towering circular room. Unfortunately, it ended as quickly as it came on. There’s not enough to really go on, but just enough to whet our appetite for the King’s Fall, which was announced to be dropping on 9/18 – just three days after the release of the expansion!
We hope this review has been informative and accurate. If you didn’t get a chance to see the stream, it will be posted again tomorrow with Bungie’s weekly update. In the meantime, we’ll do our absolute best to continually update our site with all the little details we can find – along with anything we overlooked. As always, we appreciate your patience and your feedback!