Destiny House of Wolves Review

• written by Krist Duro
Destiny House of Wolves Review

It's out, finally!

House of Wolves is here people and it's fricking amazing. Now before you go on and comment, "People are still playing Destiny?!" and "Destiny sucks balls", just stop and well, f*ck you. Yes of course people are still playing Destiny and if someone has stopped, House of Wolves is the reason to get back into it as soon as possible.

To be completely honest, vanilla Destiny sucked well, at least for a while. A hard Vault of Glass plus couple of patches plus The Dark Below DLC plus a couple of other patches later, the game was relatively good. Throw in the recently released House of Wolves and let's say Destiny has become great, really really great and that's for a couple of reasons. First, the story in HoW it's good and makes sense. Skolas, the butthurt badass looking House of Wolves leader wants to unite all of the Fallen Houses under his domain and hopes to achieve that by using ancient Vex tech to pull his armies through time. This would mean the destruction of the Tower and the Reef once and for all and that is something that the Queen cannot allow. So she opens up the Reef and invites all the guardians to go on the hunt for Skolas resulting in his capture and shipment to the Prison of Elders during the final mission.

The story makes sense as it happens in real time, you go on the hunt for someone or something that wants to destroy everything so you have a great motivation to find him and kick his ass, it just makes sense. This is painting it in broad strokes, but if you want you can dive deeper into this story, just be sure to fully hear what Petra Vanja, the Queen Emissary, has to say during the missions and for even more, go on and read the new Grimoire cards. Also the new strike, The Shadow Thief, as it is called apart from being a lot of fun, gives a cool backstory that ties in with the Archon Priest strike so look out for that. There are also two new quests, like the one The Dark Below had, where you can earn some legendary loot and a key for the Prison of Elders.

Speaking of Prison of Elders, which btw is the second reason and the new PvE activity, this is something you should be excited about...for weeks maybe even months to come. Ok, House of Wolves does not have a raid, that's a bummer I know, but after playing through the four different tiers of the Prison of Elders, I can say that it totally makes up for the lack of raid, heck it's even better. So there are four different tiers, 28, 32, 34 and the final level 35 in which you can compete. The mode is very simple to explain as it is well, basically all of Destiny's missions structure. You with two random people if you do the level 28 one or two friends for the other levels are thrown into the prison to fight and hold on for three waves against Hive, Fallen, Cabal or Vex in four respective areas. There are five rounds, six in the level 35, you have to complete in order to unlock the treasure room, an actual treasure room Scrooge McDuck style with three chests to open, two small ones which give out strange coins and other random goodies and a large one which the first time you open, no matter the level, will always drop an exotic weapon, legendary House of Wolves weapons, etheric lights, legendary shaders and ships etc. all depending from the level of the Prison of Elders you completed.

The first round of each Prison of Elders is easy as the only thing you have to do is kill everything to pass on the next wave. However that changes from the second to the sixth (in level 35) where apart from killing everything, you have to complete a random critical objective like destroy or dismantle a mine or kill an enemy before he reaches a point and failing to do that result in a round restart. The first two levels, are easy enough to complete, but the two other ones, 34 and 35, can be quite difficult so communicating with your friends and mix and matching your subclass with your gear is necessary to successfully complete it. At the fifth and sometimes the fourth round you have to fight against a boss. This week's bosses are a Pilot Servitor which follows a Serviks Prime style, a large Vex Minotaur Zydron style, a Cabal Varus (whatever) who can switch his type of shield from solar to void to arc, a large Hive Cavalier Sardok Style, and the two main bosses Urrox and Skolas.

Urrox is like Sardok, meaning that he has a large cannon which can obliterate you in one shot, but has another very interesting ability. Every two minutes he can scorch the floor meaning that if you stay grounded you will die in a matter of second. It's interesting because it changes how you and your team play, you have to jump around for 10 seconds or use a Titan bubble effectively if you want to survive, you can just stay behind a cover and go all Gjallarhorn at him. The other boss, the final boss of the level 35, is Skolas whom you capture during the story missions. He also plays differently, his scorch cannon does a ton of damage and can one shot you if you aren't leveled up. Again, there are a couple of strategies out there you can use, just know that fighting against him or the hordes of ultras that come before his is, hard, fun, satisfying and make the rewards taste you get from the chest 10 times better. Oh I almost forgot about the modifiers. What are them? Well, each round has a different modifier, sometimes two, who can change how the round goes drastically. Elemental plus damage from both parts, increased/decreased grenade charge times, increased/decreased ability charge times, bonus damage from primary/secondary weapons, more damage done/received if airborne etc. are some of the modifiers which will make or break your Prison of Elders run.

The third reason are the Trials of Osiris, which is the new PvP mode in House of Wolves. Think what Iron Banner Skirmish without respawns would be like and you have yourself the Trials of Osiris. It is an "exclusive" timed mode, one which opens only on weekend and to enter you have to buy you passage in the Reef Vestian Outpost from Brother Vance. Once done that, team up with two other friends, two who know what they are doing, and head to fight on the Trials of Osiris. You can only lose three or four matches and you are out, you cannot restart it with that character. However if you win, you unlock stuff to buy from brother Vance that go from random blue loot packages to a Osiris armor piece, a legendary Osiris weapon and legendary packs that can drop Etheric Lights. Also at the end of the matches you can drop legendary loot as you normally do in the Crucible. So how does this event differ from the other Crucible or Iron Banner events? Well, if you win 9 consecutive times, without losing a match, you are granted special access to travel to the exclusive new social place in Mercury, The Lighthouse. As you can clearly see in the video down below, I managed to get there first try, part because I'm a badass in PvP (not a badass, but great), but mainly because of my awesome team members and let me say that it was awesome. The Lighthouse is a fantastic beautifull social place, that at the moment I went there, was desolate since I was the only on in my team to get 9 consecutive wins and the rewards were even more awesome. You have the chance to drop a 365 damage legendary weapon, an exotic shader, a badass ship and more.

Power level matter in Trials of Osiris so you better choose your gear and perks wisely. Also communicating with your friends is a must in order to obliterate the enemies. One wrong move and you may be the cause of losing, but one excellent use of your Titan's Fist of Havok and victory. You and your team mates must choose wisely, which path you go, where you camp, what weapons you use, when to use your super... believe me it's the most tense Destiny will ever get and it is fricking awesome.

I mentioned a 365 damage weapon, yes? Well, the fourth reason House of Wolves is great is weapon and armor ascending. Remember when The Dark Below released and to get your weapons to 331 damage you had to grind for hours and spend a ton of materials/glimmer on Xur? Well, all that is gone now since the ascending system has been streamlined, meaning that the process to level up gear is as easy as it gets, given you have the correct materials. So to ascend legendary items, you have to use Etheric Lights which drops during the high end activities such as Prison Of Elders, Nightfall at level 32 and in the Trials of Osiris. Once you get that you can ascend a piece of legendary gear, weapons to 365 damage and armor to light 42, so you can manage to reach the new level cap of light 34. In the other hand, ascending the exotics is easier since the material you need is the exotic fragment which if you have been playing Destiny, you would have a ton by now or you can buy them directly from Xur. What this allows, which I really like, is choice. Before HoW, everyone looked the same, everyone donned the Crota armor, but now everyone looks different. The Factions sell new gear which looks amazing, but there is a chance you can still drop the old pieces from the packages so there is also that. Also the new beautiful shaders are plain fantastic and worth to be grinding to unlock.

The fifth and final reason House of Wolves is great is that it just adds a ton of content in Destiny. Yes, the game is still a grind fest, but it is way better than it was. Bungie added a ton of new things apart from the missions, strike and the PvP/PvE. Things like new legendary and some excellent exotic gear, new Queen bounties, new public events in patrols, new level 28 strike playlist, the Gunsmith now sells telemetries, the Speaker now exchanges materials, Xur exchanges coins for motes and so much more. Oh, also they added three or four if you are on Playstation new Crucible maps which are mostly good, depending on the mode you playing. From small to big things, Destiny is becoming better with each patch and expansion pack and by the looks of it, it is only going to get better.

Now putting a score to House of Wolves is hard, because we have not seen the full content it has to offer. This is only the first week, by next week the Prison of Elders will change, new bounties with new enemies will replace the current ones as there are 15 more bosses/minibosses locked in Grimoire cards and Bungie has specifically emphasizes that House of Wolves have some secrets still to be revealed. So giving it a score, does not work well, at least for now. Maybe it will do in a couple of weeks, but until then just know that House of Wolves is amazing and if you haven't picked it up yet, what are you doing?! Thanks for reading!

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