So a lot of information has been coming out bits and pieces at a time regarding Bungie's new "Mega-Expansion" the Taken King for it's Destiny platform. Specifically, Game Informer is releases chunks a few times a week. So rather than create a thread for every individual piece of news. I thought I'd collaborate it all here.
Update: Bungie is going to show off TTK over Twitch on the next 3 Wednesdays.
DESTINY YEAR TWO - 19 AUG 2015 - 11AM PDT
How will your own personal highlights from the first year of Destiny translate to the second? What will your Guardian's lifestyle be like in the new and improved Tower? How will your Guardian become a more powerful snowflake over the course of your next journey? Is it true that Character Level and Light will rise in exciting new ways? All will be revealed and explained.
Pro-Tip: Don’t dismantle anything until the full developer briefing.
STRIKE THE DREADNAUGHT – 26 AUG 2015 - 11AM PDT
What’s it like to infiltrate the Dreadnaught? What surprises do the Taken have for us in combat? How are boss battles different in The Taken King? Join us for a new Strike against a rival Cabal invasion force. See the new Guardian sub-classes in action. Witness the action that will begin Year Two.
COURT OF ORYX – 2 SEPT 2015 - 11AM PDT
What mysteries lie in wait within the cavernous hull of the Dreadnaught? How can Guardians plunder the treasures secreted away in its hideous labyrinth? Come along with us on a Patrol of the newest destination in your Director. Learn how Guardians can instigate Public Events. Behold the challenges and the rewards that await you on board the capital ship commanded by Oryx.
Item 1: Let's talk about Vanilla Destiny.
Because of the way Bungie updates their game, almost all of the Quality of Life improvements made to Destiny actually applies to all players of the game. What I mean by that is if you only own Vanilla Destiny, or any combination of the existing expansions, you'll gain the benefits of the following:
The original game is being reworked with Taken King's new quest structure. While we don't know the specifics, we do know that Bungie is making an effort to streamline the original game's story in a way that makes it easier to understand what little story there was.
Bungie mentioned adding quests to unlock your characters original 2nd subclass.
The amount of Bounties you can hold in the game is being doubled. You will be able to turn bounties in without visiting the tower.
The amount of currencies in the game is being reduced. Plasteel Plating, Hadronic Essence, and Sapphire Wire are all being replaced with a single "Armor Material" component that is used across all classes. Vanguard Marks and Crucible Marks are being combined into "Legendary Marks". While the Game Informer article said marks, I think it was possibly confused with the Commendations.
In addition to clearing out currencies, shaders and emblems will no longer be something you have to carry around taking up space. Vendors are being installed that allow you to simply choose from a list of unlocked items. It will even show you the items you don't have unlocked and explain how to obtain them.
Cut-scenes will now be able to be skipped.
Nolan North is replacing the voice of Peter Dinklage as the main character's Ghost. According to Game Informer the lines from Vanilla haven't changed, and Nolan's ghost sounds a little like Elijah Wood.
Year 1 PSN exclusive content will be made available to XBL users at release. This includes, but is not limited to: Hawkmoon, Monte Carlo, 4th Horseman, Strike-Dust Palace, Strike-Undying Mind, PvP-Exodus Blue, PvP-Timekeeper
Bungie has added more PvP announcer lines. Shaxx will now drop the old favorites of announcing multi-kills and sprees to you.
Item 2: Let's talk about the Story
The Taken King's Story portion is mostly driven by 8 Missions. Note that Vanilla had 12 missions for it's main story (3 per planet). Of those 8 missions we know that not all of them take place on the new Dreadnaught location. We've seen some missions on Mars, Mercury, Earth, and Mar's moon Phobos. While Phobos is a playable space, it is not a new full destination in the same way the Dreadnaught is.
During these missions communication between auxiliary characters has greatly increased. Now when someone else is talking, you'll see their name in the corner. We've seen glimpses of the first missions and there is a lot of communication between Com. Zavala and Eris Morn. We also have glimpses of a cutscene between Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion's character) and Holliday the shipwright. We've even seen a cinematic cutscene with the Awoken princey-mc-douchebag. Again, cut-scenes are all now skippable.
After the main story missions are done, Act 2 will start up with the Taken War. This is a large collaboration of quests and side missions and strikes.
We've gotten glimpses of story stuff in Act 2 as well. Mild spoiler following: The Hive are not a unified race. Oryx keeps an old rival of his on the ship imprisoned who turns out to be the boss of the Sunless Cell strike. Through this strike we learn that Oryx fought for his position, and that not all Hive are blind followers.
The game will now have objects and/or creatures that can be scanned (ala Metroid Prime) and prompt Ghost to read off some information or back-story regarding the object you just scanned.
Item 3: Let's talk about Character Progression
Taken King is removing the current leveling system that was in place with Vanilla Destiny. Originally when a character hit level 20, they had to gain armor pieces that gave them stat points towards their "Light". A player could then gain Light Levels in an effort to reach level 34 (the current cap). Taken King does away with all of that and lets every level up normally to the new cap of 40. If you've played Destiny before, you'll start TTK with your character at a level equal to the highest light level they had achieved prior. Thus, most of us will be started TTK at level 34.
Besides levels Bungie is letting the majority of old gear expire. While we could upgrade old stuff to House of Wolves levels, Bungie opted out of that system in an effort to start fresh. From what we've seen, this only applies to Legendaries. They've been very specific to say Legendaries up to this point, so it could be safe to assume exotics are going to be okay.
While this means all legendary armor is going to be worthless in the long haul, legendary weapons may still have a purpose. Remember that PvP has 11 gametypes where all weapons are normalized, so any old legendaries will still be just as effective in these areas.
As a work around for some RNG issues. Bungie is now giving the weaponsmith his own reputation and quests. Once you've been approved by the weaponsmith, you'll gain access to something call Armsday. Armsday lets you order a specific legendary weapon that you want and have it "shipped" to your character later that week. It requires a time investment, but the RNG factor is entirely gone.
Xur will also begin selling a new item that increases the chance of an exotic drop on your next boss kill. No idea what percentage this will be at all. This reads more like Bungie attempting to get people to cash in their stores of Strange Coins they've been holding on to.
We also know very little about a weapon upgrade system that involves sacrificing 1 weapon to boost another. We've just been told by Bungie to not clear out our inventories just yet, and more details will come soon.
Characters stats like Strength, Intelligence, and Discipline are being rebuilt with a tier system and will actually tell you exactly how much time you will be shaving off from your cooldowns.
Characters no longer required to wear faction class items for rep purposes. You can simply pledge your allegiance and wear whatever you want.
Item 4: Let's talk about game mechanics
A big issue a lot of people have/had with Destiny is the lack of engaging PvE encounters. A large portion of the game was very similar in the way it played. Go here, defend this, move up, kill that. All finishing very similary with a giant bullet-sponge boss at the end. Bungie has heard the criticisms and is working to make the new stuff very engaging. Below is a brief summary of the new Strike boss mechanics:
The following list is a minor spoiler, so feel free to skip if you want to go in fresh.
- The Sunless Cell
The Boss Fight for the encounter takes place is very low lighting. A Hive Knight with an axe is hunting us. We're talking real "The Darkness Stuff" here.
- Echo Chamber
A giant vex similar to the Templar in Vault of Glass slowly rotates in the room. If you don't keep up with him, you'll die from his force wall. Stay behind cover to avoid his death beams. You can see glimpses of this in some existing trailers.
- Fallen Saber
Least information known. We know it's the giant shank that was seen at E3.
- Shield Brothers
Two Cabal leaders fight together. 1 has a giant mortar and a bubble shields that makes Titan's humbled.
Bungie has also confirmed that they want to go back and tune up some older strikes. We do know that the 2 Playstation exclusive strikes are getting new alternate versions so it's possible the comment was in regards to this.
As well as introducing more complex mechanics in strikes, Bungie is also adding variation to strikes. Where the first time you run through you might encounter Cabal in an area, the next time you might find Hive or Taken. Voice-overs that happen during strikes are also being recorded to have variation. So you might hear different tidbits each time you play. Mostly stuff to break up the monotony.
As of this time there are no plans to add matchmaking into the high end PvE content (specifically raids). Bungie has it on their list of very important things to the players, and are very aware of how the player-base feels about it.
Bungie is also adding in 3 new PvP modes. Rift acts like Halo's classic Neutral Bomb. An orb needs to be picked up in the middle and carried to the enemies base. Mayhem is the new chaos mode. All character cooldowns are reduces by like 500% so supers and grenades are almost always active. Zones is a more traditional territories style game. It was specified as Control without getting points for kills.
We've also seen glimpses of new a new weapon type. A Heavy Weapon sword. We haven't seen it in action yet, just glimpses. We've also seen a lot more sidearms added into the mix. It's expected both of these weapon types will become fully fleshed out.
Item 5: Let's talk about purchasing
Unfortunately, Bungie has sort of dropped the ball here with ways to purchase the Taken King.
First, let me mention that characters are tied to accounts and not consoles. If you bough a disc before and now want to go digital, you will NOT lose anything in the transition. Characters are tied to your PSN/XBL account so if you have been playing Vanilla on your PS3 and want the Legendary edition for PS4, all your characters will still be there for the transition.
If you have never bought a Destiny product before and want to start now, congrats! You're the ideal customer. You can buy the Legendary edition for $60 ($50 from Amazon Prime or Best Buy) that includes Vanilla Destiny, Dark Below, House of Wolves and Taken King. Correction! I've been shown that the Legendary edition is available for Digital purchase on Sept 15th. No pre-orders available.
If you've bought everything up to this point, you're in the second best situation. Chances are you're already a Bungie fan, so you wont mind dropping $40 bucks on the TTK stand alone.
Now, if you are not either of the two scenarios above, it gets complicated. Taken King requires you to have all the previous DLC, so if you only bought Dark Below or House of Wolves, you'll have to purchase them on top of TTK. Which is roughly $57.50. Which basically means you may as well buy the Legendary Edition.
Then comes the issue of Digital vs. Physical. The Legendary Edition is only physical, but the disc is just Vanilla Destiny with 3 codes for the 3 expansions. Expect to download 13 gigs (rough estimate) before you start playing.
Item 6: Let's talk about Game Informer and other sources
Game Informer has been giving us a pretty good feed of information. Updating us almost every day. Here are some links to their articles if you want to read up:
Intro and Teaser video
Talking about replacing Dinklage with Nolan North. (Hint: Bungie flat out said they needed someone more accessible)
A light-hearted rapid fire video Q and A with Lead Designer Luke Smith
Showing off one of the new Exotics of TTK
In Depth interview about building a story and learning from past mistakes.
Two guys from Game Informer spent a whole day with Bungie and talk about everything they got ot play/see.
Very quick look at all 8 new PvP maps.
Next Game Informer update is Aug 14th. Usually they come up around 1pm Eastern, but have shown up later on occasion.