House of Wolves: Do or Die

Published on: Mar 23, 2015 @ 3:46

With House of Wolves not so far around the corner, all eyes have turned to one question: what can Bungie do to alleviate the Destiny fatigue? But while discussing House of Wolves with members of the community, I also began to wonder if our expectations for the next expansion were entirely realistic.

I found myself saying things like, “If House of Wolves doesn’t have A, B, C… then I’ll be truly disappointed,” and when looking back, I realized asking so much in such a short span of time would mean guaranteed disappointment.

But House of Wolves is not the last expansion we can expect from Bungie. “Comet” should come a few months after HoW, and will bring even larger changes and content additions.

We’ll focus on the immediate future by considering House of Wolves, and then turn to the foggier Comet and what we hope comes with it.

House of Wolves Necessities

What we want to do is look at what House of Wolves must have to satisfy our itch, and also what changes or additions we’d be willing to wait on for Comet’s release.

Please let us know your must-have list as well, because the more voices we have, the better. Perhaps Bungie will hear the masses and take heed.

First let’s talk about some changes we feel are integral in the short-term to keep us interested. These might be from problems the community has been vocal about for a long time, or they might simply be around content we’ve seem so much that it has lost its luster. Boredom is as much a killer as frustration, so these are our top ways to hook us again.

Meatier Storylines

It’s not enough to just toss us a few lines of intro dialogue and an NPC or two handing out bounties. Nope, at this point we’ve got to see Bungie step up their storytelling chops in missions and raids. There’s a whole list of ideas on how this can happen in our story analysis, but the central theme is the same: We need to understand that Bungie is capable of weaving a tale.

The Dark Below, while it gave us interesting lore behind the Hive, Crota, and whatever is going on beneath the Hellmouth, it didn’t do enough to give us interesting characters or root us in this world.

A stronger storyline is a must, if for nothing else than to restore confidence that Destiny is more than just a solid shooter. Will the new social space be an integral part of the House of Wolves story?

Improvements in Handling Gear

Limited high-level equipment options, the nightmare that was Exotic upgrading, and raid gear losing its usefulness the moment new expansions hit – everyone has been burned by the issues with gear. When every level 32 is indistinguishable in appearance, when hours of work sunk into raids just to get and upgrade a full set of gear is lost in a moment, when almost everyone ignores Exotic leg armor and gauntlets, you know you have a problem.

If Bungie subjects its players to more of the same, we’re not sure people will stick around. There are multiple ways of handling the problems, some of which involve light shards used to upgrade gear instead of light embedded in the equipment, and one of our community members has created a viable way of bringing Queen’s Bounty equipment back with minimal effort.

Thankfully, Bungie has already acknowledged a lot of the issues and are making plans to improve them, but how? That question mark is concerning. But one thing is certain, if it means our options for getting maximum light levels are just as limited, it might just break us.

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New Raid Approach

Sure, Crota’s End isn’t perfect, but at least it’s different than Vault of Glass. The problem: it’s different in a more generic, nearly mediocre way after the intro. If we’re to enjoy the new raid as much as we love Vault of Glass, it has to have an approach that involves more of the players in a meaningful way.

While I love firing rockets when one guy with a sword yells, “Rockets!” as much as the next guy, when that’s all five people are doing for the final boss on a raid, creativity has taken a sick day.

We’d love to see new mechanics that involve everyone in different, dynamic ways during raids. The sparrow is great, but why not larger-scale vehicular combat? Or give us some interesting puzzles that require teamwork to survive.

Whatever they think up, something different that involves all six people in unique was is a must.

Variety in the Crucible

The general approach to expansions for multiplayer boils down to new maps and maybe a new game type, but House of Wolves is going to have to do better. The fact is, very few people even play the Dark Below exclusive maps, and the game types they have are growing thin.

So instead of a few more maps, we need to see new life injected into the PvP world. That means different game types. No, not variations of Skirmish or Control, but Capture the Flag or King of the Hill. Anything that will integrate some fresh maps in interesting ways. Thankfully we most likely will see Trials of Osiris with HoW, which also will introduce a new Exotic scout rifle.

And then there’s the drop rate in Crucible. If it is going to be a serious alternative to PvE for players, the drop rate needs to be improved. Statistical analysis has been done to compare Crucible drops against Strikes, and the difference is almost comical. This shouldn’t be, so players who prefer PvP are going to need incentive to stick with it.

There is much more we’d like to see from the Crucible, but we don’t expect to see it all in House of Wolves, which leads us to our expectations for Comet.

Our Comet Necessities

We now consider changes we still consider essential, but that we’re willing to wait a bit longer for. Some of these require more time to implement, while some are lower priority. We understand beggars can’t always be choosers, so these are things we want to see, but other things take precedence.

Revamped Storylines

Most of us still do story missions and strikes, regardless of our levels. New weapons and equipment need experience, and experience sometimes means taking bounties and retreading old ground. What we’d love to see is another reason to revisit those old stomping grounds.

Imagine Bungie goes through and implements interactive storytelling techniques into old environments. Projections on the walls of Guardians who have gone before. Fallen Ghosts with bits of lore you can skip or listen to. NPCs joining you on missions or scattered with information throughout maps.

There are an infinite number of ways to make grizzled veterans say, “Hey, I don’t remember this being here,” and Easter egg storylines are one of the most satisfying. Oh, and bring those Grimoire cards in-game. While not essential, it can only improve the experience at this point.

We expect Comet to be a game changer, which means breathing new life into things that have grown stale, and the story is an ideal place to start.

house of wolves features

Custom Crucible Games

It’s a bit baffling why this hasn’t been included to-date, but the time is ripe for some custom game lobbies for the PvP sections. While it might mean excluding the MMO atmosphere, it would give the PvP a much-needed leg to stand on. Players expect custom lobbies with friends and modified rule sets in this age of multiplayer shooters, and by barring that option, Bungie has limited how much time players are spending with the game.

Sure, it might mean no drops, but does anyone really mind? The sheer joy of mucking about with friends, the ability to learn map, heavy weapon and capture zone layouts, and increase in skill without the constant reminder that everyone is infinitely better than you would only improve the experience.

Oh, and while we’re piling on things: a theater mode and forge system would be great too. We don’t need them, but we can dream, right?

Re-imagined Content

While new content is a given for Comet, we’d love to see those old strikes and raids we’ve been doing to death get a facelift. This could be anything from new enemy layouts, a few new enemy types, or even changing boss tactics. Anything to give those cracking walls a patch-up job and fresh coat of paint.

And let’s not forget bounties. While we can probably endure the same rotating set until Comet drops, it’s unlikely we’ll be so content if things aren’t mixed up considerably after that. There are several neglected story mission in the bounty set, and we’ve become very adept at gaming all the others.

If I have to suffer through The Dark Beyond mission with DinkleBot screaming, “We’ve woken the Hive!” much more just so I can knock out four bounties, I’m likely to snap.

Give us a reason to re-experience those old missions and you can bet we’ll take the opportunity. Add some more experience bonuses (or better yet, double XP weekends!), or some crafting materials – anything to make those oldies good again.

Your Wish List

Now it’s your turn. What make-or-breaks do you want to see from House of Wolves, and what can wait until Comet decides to plunge upon us and change everything? We’ve already seen a ton of great ideas from the forums, but what are the things that have gotten under your skin the most, and what do you think is reasonably for Bungie to fix by the time HoW comes in a couple of months?

Just remember, HoW isn’t very far away, and the amount of drastic changes Bungie can likely cram in that time frame is pretty small. That doesn’t mean we can’t get creative (creativity might be just what we need) but it does mean we should be realistic. Sure, six new strikes would be awesome, but it’s probably not going to happen until something major like Comet.

And speaking of Comet – well, all bets are off – which kind of makes it even more fun. So let us know what would really knock your socks off for the big one, and we’ll chime in with our own as they keep coming!

Taylor Bair
I write about the intersection between the games we love and the lives we live. When I'm not working on websites and marketing projects, I'm writing with a hot cup of chai tea in one hand and a computer in the other. Makes typing exceedingly difficult, let me tell you.