Prison of Elders Reveal : The good, the bad, and the yelling

Destiny House of Wolves Prison Of EldersBungie has been doing a very consistent push for their next DLC piece, House of Wolves, with Twitch streams where they reveal the new content. I already did a post and video about the first reveal and how it looks to improve the game significantly with numerous additions and fixes requested by the community. I also remarked that the new game mode, The Prison of Elders, was exciting to see because the community had consistently asked for a “horde” mode. After watching the reveal of the new game mode I can definitely say that Bungie has delivered a fresh piece of challenging content that looks to add some great depth and replayability, two things the game has lacked up to this point. Unfortunately the reveal did have a few factors that really hurt the quality and function as a promotional piece so I will talk about that first.

Professor Yelling Man

I don’t want to get into a bashing session as I genuinely think that Professor Broman is a nice guy. But he did just geek out way too much and yelled so often that the guys in my Twitch stream asked me to mute the Bungie stream so we could chat in peace and I could just talk and commentate. Numerous people on Twitter said they stopped watching because of him and when I changed the name of my stream to say I had muted him I got a huge influx of viewers who came and seconded our frustration. Look, I get it, you got to do what many gamers would kill for. Playing unreleased content on a live reveal in one of your favorite games is something many of us dream about. But it just made the whole thing awkward and really took away from the content. You could actually tell that Deej made a few soft efforts to tell him to calm down, especially when he told him he sounded like a “tourist” after Broman squealed and yelled about the new room they got to walk into. So, with all due respect to Professor Broman, he really hurt this reveal for many people and hopefully didn’t turn too many people away. The stream had 180K viewers at one point so I think many just put up with it, and his mic got significantly lowered later in the stream.

Practice? Practice?!

Yes, we’re talking about practice. What the heck were you guys thinking? I know, the arena and challenges are random, but what in the world happened? Their weapon selection was often so strange and even out of sync with what the enemies were doing it felt like they had never played Destiny before. Deej just kept changing from his primary to his secondary at the weirdest times. It was like he either wanted the game to look more dynamic than it is with respect to weapon usage or he was truly overwhelmed and confused. They also kept stopping and changing weapons and made selections that often had many of us scratching our heads. For example, when you get the benefit of Arc burn, you don’t want your primary and secondary to both be Arc, because when fighting the Hive you need to be prepared for Solar shields on Wizards. So a few times they just didn’t seem to grapple with basic weapon selection strategy.

And they also didn’t seem to understand basic tactics of sticking together and attracting aggro when fighting a dense group of enemies. The first couple of times they scattered and got disoriented it made sense because it was new and they truly didn’t seem to know what to expect. But they died and wiped… a lot. And still, without fail, like the guy in Call of Duty that just keeps running back into your bullets, they would run in, split up, and die. I actually theorized that they chose the harder difficulty and played somewhat disorganized as a marketing mechanic. The Destiny community is known for a strange level of arrogance about playing against computer enemies, and it would have been somewhat boring to watch a reveal where they easily handle a lower difficulty challenge just to show us the mechanics and the rewards. Instead we saw them bumble and die their way through what looks to be a very difficult and ever changing challenging experience. This incentivizes the community to want to sink their teeth into it and show off how much better they are rather than feel like they watched a really boring playthrough. So now let’s move on to the good stuff.

Raid difficulty with ease of accessibility

I’m sure fanboys and cocky players are already boasting about how quickly they will dispatch of these “easy” missions. For the rest of us, if we are honest, this content looks to be very challenging and demanding of your attention and strategy. There will be very few lone gunmen glory moments in The Prison of Elders. And that’s what I really liked about this reveal. You could tell that it is going to be all about teamwork, synergy, and communication. Relying on buddies to cover your back or complete a task while you do the same is going to be a lot of fun. That’s why I say it has a “raid difficulty” feel to it, while still having the ease of accessibility to just connect and keep trying. You start over at checkpoints for cleared rounds, and get to jump right back in after learning from your mistakes. And, like a raid, you are going to need a good chunk of time and a well polished team with good depth of gear to handle the harder rounds and waves. They have already said it will never the be exact same, and we got a glimpse into how that will work. Each wave had potential challenges and objectives that needed completed, and they were ever changing. More than likely these challenges will cycle and not always be in the same order or show up in the same way. This keeps you on your toes and forces you to have a constant awareness and high level of communication with your comrades. Hopefully they let you jump back in at your last cleared checkpoint as many of us might run out of time or a buddy might have to leave. Deej also said that the enemies will change each week, so they fought against the Hive and the Cabal, but he said the other enemies would have their time in the spotlight as well. But yes, it is a horde mode, so it will be repetitious, but in a good way.

Yes, it will be repetitive, now shut up and play

There will certainly be many who criticize the setup of this new game mode as being repetitive and that is certainly true to a point. From what little we saw, it will start to be a “kill all the enemies and stay alive” scenario that Destiny players are all too familiar with. But the ever changing enemies, challenges, and objectives will keep things interesting and always moving. This will not be like a strike where you can eventually do it with your eyes closed, knowing when to duck, hide, and shoot in a purely mechanical fashion. This will always be a highly demanding rumble that will not be easily won by putting on the cruise control. I kept getting frustrated with the way they were playing the content like it was just another Strike, and coincidentally, Deej made a remark about it not just being a Strike. Casual players may find themselves shocked out of the dull stupor of phoning in missions they have memorized and actually have to relearn the mechanics and strategies they used when first navigating some of the harder missions that have now become easier with repetition. There were some pretty intense moments that gave us a glimpse into how certain formidable enemies can just suddenly show up and pound you into the ground if you aren’t paying attention. This should keep things interesting for a while, which is exactly what we want. So long as the experience keeps delivering a changing environment and engagements, players can set their sights on rewards and leveling paths for gear without feeling bogged down by repetitious and boring content. The other plus to the way they’ve built this game mode is that once you level up new guns and gear, you will have a great place to go duke it out with tougher and tougher enemies and challenges, feeling like your end game gear has a purpose and place. Even though the reveal had it’s downfalls, none of them were content related, which has me more excited to dig in and try out the rambunctious and tough Prison of Elders. What dd you think of the reveal?

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