Destiny 2 : Warmind Expansion Review
In Bungie's latest DLC expansion to Destiny 2, "Warmind," Guardians have a lot to grind for. This is a good thing, as the lack of endgame content has driven many players away from Destiny 2, but "Warmind" is still lacking that oh-so-special thing that Destiny -- and even vanilla Destiny 2 -- had. That being said, let's jump right into our exploration of the newest expansion.
With "Warmind" comes a new campaign to experience, and it is a great improvement from the short and lackluster campaign of Destiny 2's first DLC expansion, "Curse of Osiris." The main campaign of "Warmind" is around 2 1/2 hours long, 2 if you fly through it with a Fireteam. Despite being shorter than I would have liked, this story is full of lore and very unique characters (Rasputin being a personal favorite). We join the famous and refreshing Hunter Ana Bray, who comes from a family that had created many facilities on Mars during the Golden Age.
This campaign is what Destiny 2 needed. It feels like a campaign from Destiny 1, with the long and strung-along missions, boss fights, and new mechanics -- and that is what the community was asking for. The last mission has players going up against a Worm God that rules over the Hive, and this brings a nostalgic feel as this is similar to when the Guardians slayed the Heart of the Black Garden back in Destiny 1. This is what we need Bungie, just give us more than a taste.
With every new expansion, we are given new enemies to fight. This time, it's a new variation of the Hive: the Frozen Hive. Destiny has often suffered from a lack of adding brand-new enemy types, but the Frozen Hive are a fresh take on a race that is all about death and dark rituals. These new types of Hive are updated and improved versions of the common types of Hive we have fought in the past, such as knights with swords and shields, new sniper Acolytes, and cursed Thrall that freeze you when they explode.
It comes as no surprise that along with new DLC, we get new Strikes. This time around, it's only three Strikes being added, but in all honesty, it's really only one new strike that's exclusively for PlayStation 4 players: "Insight Terminus." The other two strikes, "Will of the Thousands" and "Strange Terrain," are story missions that have been tweaked slightly to become Strikes.
This was an issue for players in the previous expansion, and it seems Bungie has done it again. This is seemingly lazy, but it can also be viewed as incorporating the Strikes directly into the story. There is a better way of doing this, as we have seen in Destiny 1, where this was done in a more seamless manner. This has also soured some players to the expansion as PC and Xbox players are locked out of the only new Strike.
The Strikes are not only recycled but have been made harder, with loot that drops lower than its light level. Heroic Strikes require you to be at light level 350 but only drop gear at 340. This is a turn-off for players since it is not easy to get to light level 350 without grinding for days.
Grinding & Endgame
Grinding seems to have gotten much harder -- and not in the good way. Yes, Destiny 2 lacked proper endgame content, but the new endgame is difficult to access because getting to the proper light level isn't easy at all to achieve.
Normally, grinding Strikes and doing milestones weekly and daily would help those who are under-leveled get up to the right level, but that isn't the case anymore. As stated earlier, Heroic Strikes require 350 light level but will drop only 340 gear, and that is a major turn-off as that is the only way to grind to get gear.
Doing your milestones helps, but when you're done for the week, you can do much after that outside of the raid. Speaking of the raid, we have received two new pieces of endgame content: the raid lair "Spire of Stars" and a new hoard mode activity called "Escalation Protocol," which is a 7-level hoard type of encounter that has many different mechanics and will reward players at levels 3, 5 and 7. It is a 9-player encounter and gets harder and harder with each level beat. This is undoubtedly the hardest endgame content Destiny 2 has to offer, but it's very rewarding and represents just what we wanted. Still, it causes a sour taste in the community's mouth since you must be a certain light level to even start these activities.
The Crucible has been changed drastically as there are now ways to level up your ranking that are similar to how you can Prestige in Call of Duty. With "Valor" taking the place of quick-play matches and "Glory" taking over competitive matches, players can rank up to unlock new gear and bragging rights.
This is a great change, as increasing your rank in "Glory" requires you to win to gain points, but the kicker is that you lose points if you lose games. This makes the competitive scene much more intense and fun. With "Valor," losing doesn't take points away, so it caters more to those who are casual PVP players. This is a great addition to the Crucible to shake things up.
Of course, the most important part of any expansion is the inclusion of new loot to grind for. Not only did players receive new exotics, such as the Huckleberry submachine gun and Worldline Zero exotic sword (the only exotic sword in Destiny 2), old exotics make a return. It's no surprise that the insanely OP fusion rifle Sleeper Simulant makes a comeback, but fan favorite auto rifle Suros Regime does, too. There is a slew of new exotic armor sets and weapons, but the biggest change is the addition of exotic Masterworks.
Some exotic weapons get new Masterwork versions that involve finding their specific Catalysts to then grind out their specific objectives to create the Masterwork. One example is getting kills with Tractor Cannon to turn it into a Masterwork Tractor Cannon. Not only do they become Masterwork versions that can make orbs of light like the rest, but they also get unique extra perks, such as increased range, increased magazine size, etc.
Along with new loot, there are new quests to go on to get exotic and legendary gear. Quests were always a fun part of the grind, and the addition of new ones really helps give players another incentive to grind and unlock loot in hopes of finally getting the one piece of gear or weapon they were searching for.
Although Destiny 2 "Warmind" is a fun and much-needed improvement to the overall game, it is still not enough to keep players satisfied until the fall, when the next major release drops. The expansion hits some points that needed to be hit, but it lacks in story length; fresh and original Strikes; ways to grind and reach higher light levels; loot drops from existing activities; and lore expansion surrounding the world Bungie has created.
What are your thoughts on "Warmind"? Sound off in the comments below, and for more on all things Destiny 2, stay tuned to GameSkinny!