Buried in the snowy ground beneath the Winter Cosmodrome’s perpetual blizzard, the Devil Splicer’s proving ground glow with an eery red light. We’ll have to explore the Plaguelands and fight our way into the Fallen’s burning fortress to gain entrance to this player activated public event, but you can’t show up to the party empty-handed.
Once we complete the main storyline missions, Devil Splicers on patrol will begin randomly dropping SIVA offerings, of varying quality and types, and those are what we need to collect. Bungie indicated that there are a wider variety of SIVA offerings than Runes, and that the encounters we face will also have more variety than we saw in the Court of Oryx. This evidently means unique encounters for every Splicer unit type, unique bosses, and Archon’s Forge exclusive rewards as well.
The maximum duration of any given encounter shouldn’t exceed 5 minutes, suggesting that many encounters will be even shorter. Bungie compared this event to the “Enemies moving against each other” public events that occasionally happen in other Patrols, with massive waves of enemies spawning in, and utter chaos in all directions. The mechanical difficulty we saw from the Court of Oryx bosses is replaced with the sheer weight of numbers, which brings its own measure of challenge and should be a relaxing change of pace – one we hope encourages cooperation even among players who aren’t sharing chat, as that was a key struggle in the Court of Oryx experience.
The level design is strongly reminiscent of Prison of the Elders – it sounds like the map was actually based on a Prison map at its base, and then filled in with original structures, details, and mechanics to bring the Archon’s Forge to life. We’ll see a number of familiar Fallen structures and design elements, including the giant metal hemispheres from which Variks spawned bosses for us – though unfortunately he’s not doing any announcing here.
Another unique mechanic we saw showcased was a punishment for dying – players are apparently respawned into a sort of observation booth, cut off from their comrades by the Fallen laser grids we’ve seen elsewhere until they complete some kind of unknown actions or objectives to free themselves and rejoin the fight.
This “penalty box”, along with other mechanics and design elements, is deeply rooted in the Fallen story and culture. The Archon’s Forge is a proving ground for up-and-coming Splicers to demonstrate their worthiness to ascend in rank, much as the Prison of Elders was a proving ground for us as Guardians. This continuity between the House of Judgment and the House of Devils builds on the history and lore of the Fallen, and we look forward to learning more about them when Rise of Iron launches on September 20th.