To paraphrase the Rifleman’s Creed: This is my High Road Soldier. There are many like it, but this one —
Actually, that’s not right. There aren’t very many rifles like this one.
For those of you who don’t play “Destiny”: This is a scout rifle, a weapon that has a great mix of power and precision. It’s a good mix between the accuracy of a sniper and the power of a hand cannon. Using a mechanic in the game called reforging, I have equipped this one to have an automatic mode, use either high-caliber or explosive rounds and a special perk called Firefly, which causes an explosion when I kill an enemy with a precision hit.
Those of you who DO play “Destiny” know how useless this rifle is now. It was fully ascended. My first Etheric Light went straight into this gun in order to get the game’s highest damage rating. I used to swear by this rifle. Where others relied on their Fatebringer or Oversoul Edict, I took the High Road, relying on its scope and Firefly to take out all the Vex in the Vault and all the creatures around Crota.
But ever since “The Taken King” has been released, it’s worthless. I miss it, big time. I refuse to dismantle it, or even leave it in my vault. It’s right there in my inventory, by my Year 2 Red Death, Boolean Gemini and Down and Doubt, just waiting to be drawn again.
Sure I used it in the first few levels of “The Taken King’s” new story, and it worked pretty well. But it didn’t take long before it started holding me back — “Destiny’s” new light leveling system makes an average determined by the strength of each equipped piece of gear — so I had to put it away. Goodbye, old friend. You might not be able to help take down Oryx like you did Crota, but at least you can watch, bro.
The changes to weapons is one of the biggest examples of how Bungie is changing its game. Even though players are thrilled with how “Destiny” has changed in its second year, I still hear players talk about their old weapons. They miss their Fatebringers, Found Verdicts and Gjallarhorns.
In a nutshell: Every expansion before “The Taken King” has introduced new weapons and phased out others. My High Road Soldier came from “House of Wolves,” and easily and quickly replaced another rifle called Another NITC from “The Dark Below.” But “The Taken King” shook up the Etch-a-Sketch completely by transforming the damage system and throwing all weapons from the first year of “Destiny” in the recycle bin (literally, actually: We can dismantle those old weapons for Motes of Light and Exotic Shards, useful crafting and expendables in the new game).
The changes happened a week before the release of “The Taken King.” That week, Bungie rolled out Destiny version 2.0, which introduced an entire system of buffs and nerfs to the weapons. Those changes triggered a lot of controversy and complaints within the “Destiny” community — the 33-percent reduction in the Wolfpack rounds of Gjallarhorn in particular pissed off a lot of people. But players lived with all those changes for only a week.
I bet all those people who complained about a nerfed Gjallarhorn would LOVE to have it back now.
But that raises the question: Why aren’t they complaining more loudly? The answer is obvious to anyone who has been playing Year 2 “Destiny.” The game is freaking phenomenal now. The drop rates, mechanics, boss variety, quantity of content and even the STORY have all improved dramatically. All the changes were based on feedback Bungie received from players. While they didn’t get everything they wanted from Bungie, they got a massively improved game.
I’ve never seen anything like this. Think about the precedent it sets. Imagine if:
• The makers of the TV show “Lost” go back and change the finale to answer every lingering question fans of the show had.
• Nintendo finds all working “Donkey Kong” machines and updates the software to make “Jumpman” more recognizable as Mario.
• J.J. Abrams is given the keys to the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, removing all traces of Jar-Jar Binks and replacing them with more Darth Maul storylines.
• J.K. Rowling adds a couple of extra chapters to the final “Harry Potter” book, adding at least something to the space between Voldemort’s death and Harry and Ginny taking their kids to Platform 9 3/4.
In contrast, my gravity gun in “Half-Life 2” still sucks (physically, not qualitatively) and punts anything I want the same way, my Unrelenting Force still blows back punks with a “Fus-ro-dah” sound, my Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device still shoots orange and blue doorways, my Excalibastard still shoots massively destructive freeze lasers and the energizer still turns monsters into blue ghosts I can eat.
Seroiusly, I’ve never seen a game change itself like this. I still miss my High Road Soldier, but my raid-bros and I are having a ball exploring the new Dreadnaught, finding little mysteries, seeing how old strikes have changed and discovering new weapons. There are still some problems that need tweaking — tweaks to shotguns didn’t quite work out, there’s an issue with duplicate exotic drops and the battles with Atheon, Crota and Skolas are practically irrelevant — but overall, “Destiny’s” unorthodox changes are a massive success.