Who you gonna’ call? (Lord Saladin)…
So we’re right in the middle of Week 5 of Destiny 2, and with it comes the announcement of the return of the fan-favourite PvP mode: Iron Banner. Alongside Iron Banner comes the Prestige difficulty for the new Leviathan raid, offering a tougher challenge which in return will reward you with…something. This will be the first of many articles covering the depth and breadth of the content of Destiny 2’s lifespan, offering my own opinions and views on the direction that the game will take over the coming months and years.

The introduction of content over the past few weeks in Destiny 2 has been spot on so far; the raid was released in spectacular fashion, Trials of the Nine launched for the hardcore PvP crowd and Week 4 saw the return of the Tower’s three factions, battling for dominance in a weeklong event known as a Faction Rally, which crowned Dead Orbit as the winner following this week’s reset. So far the constant flow of content is something that the original Destiny was sorely missing, going months at a time without anything new or refreshing. With the changes made to Destiny 2 regarding weapon and armor rolls, the lifespan of the game could potentially be lesser than that of Destiny (no more chasing that god roll Matador) and as such a ready stream of fresh content is very much needed this time around, and to Bungie’s credit they seem to be delivering just that thus far.

On Thursday last week, Bungie’s weekly blog post confirmed the return of the fan-favorite PvP game mode Iron Banner, as well as Lord Saladin’s return to the tower with the promise of themed gear sets ‘wrought in the forges of the ‘Iron Lords’ taking heavy inspiration from armor worn by the Samurai. The mode will make a return this Tuesday (October 10th) at 10:00 am BST following the weekly reset, however, there are some key changes when compared to the original this time around. The biggest is probably the exclusion of power level benefits, meaning your higher level weapons and armor won’t mean diddly squat this time around, meaning your skill with a gun will take precedence. The traditional 5 ranks have also been removed in favor of the token and engram system, which for the most part is well suited to iron banner given that the previous title had a similar system in place, albeit for losses only. However, in Destiny 2 you will get tokens regardless of the match outcome, with you obviously getting a few more should you be victorious.

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Iron Banner: The gear sets this time around are heavily inspired by Samurai armor.

My biggest concern with the Iron Banner this time around is the aforementioned removal of the light level benefits that were present in the first title. Arguably it had very little impact in the later stages of Destiny’s lifespan where everyone was running around at 400 light, but in the early days it put the Crucible in an interesting position where the gear that you spent so long grinding out actually made an impact on the PvP gameplay, which was a refreshing change of pace in comparison to the ‘balanced’ gameplay found in the vanilla crucible. It’s removal this time around will potentially make the event a bit too similar to the regular crucible, stripping away the whole point of the event in the first place. Another concern that was being voiced by the community was that the blog post made no mention of Iron Banner weapons whatsoever, leading many to believe that they may be absent this time around; thankfully this has been proven not to be the case, as in an article with GamesRadar, Bungie has confirmed that we will get some new weapons to play with, and alongside the great looking armor sets they will be themed. Even though some questionable choices have been made regarding the nature of the event, this is Bungie we’re talking about, and chances are they have something up their sleeves to make Iron Banana feel as fresh and interesting as it was in the early days of Destiny 1.

Additionally, this week’s reset sees the inclusion of the long-awaited Prestige difficulty for the Leviathan raid, offering a tougher challenge which will reward the player with “unique rewards to help you shine”. Whether Bungie means this literally with new Auras similar to the one gained in the Prestige Nightfall, new Shaders or even Armor with unique ornaments (akin to the Age of Triumph raid armor at the end of Destiny) is anyone’s guess; one thing has been confirmed however, there will be no power level increase beyond the current cap of 305 coming with the harder difficulty which makes little to no sense whatsoever seeing as in-game gear states that the cap is marked as 350. Regardless, the increase in difficulty is what most players want more than anything, as a great number of the community already have the mechanics of the challenges locked down to a T, and while Bungie has stated that the change to mechanics will be very minimal, don’t expect the Prestige version to be a cakewalk, as it will most likely be the most difficult PvE challenge that the community has faced in years.

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The Leviathan: Emperor Calus won’t be pulling any punches when it comes to the 300 power version of the Leviathan…

While some of Bungie’s decisions are questionable, this Tuesday is going to bring some long-awaited content to the game and as such, will no doubt make the crucible all the saltier as gamers compete against each other for that ever precious loot. Going back to one of my earlier points, If Bungie continue with what they’re doing Destiny 2’s lifespan and the player base won’t be dying down anytime soon, that’s something that I can personally guarantee.

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