As of 3am Australian Eastern Standard Time, a Bungie Twitch stream was initiated in which the developers of this new adventure delved into a general overview of the ins and outs of the next challenge that faces Guardians.
The new set of quests that is present within this hyped new expansion revolve around the missing Iron Lords and the dark foes that they sacrificed themselves to, in order to halt their advance. You are invited to join Lord Saladin, as the Last Iron Lord to help him once again halt this invasion before it reaches catastrophic and unstoppable levels. The new threat that has been unleashed is a technologically advanced plague that was sealed deep within the Cosmodrome and subsequently unearthed by the scavenging alien race known as the Fallen. This plague was known throughout the stream as SIVA and is not a plague in the traditional sense that overtakes both the mind and body of its victims but instead is a plague force that can be harnessed by willing species to enhance their physiology to allow them to be more technologically advanced and so more dangerous. The Fallen with their ability to create technological constructs out of scavenged parts is evident with their skiffs and even their Ketches.
The new area is known as the Plaguelands and is a harsh wintery realm that definitely isn’t a wonderland. Within it the Fallen have constructed fortresses, towers and traps that were made possible by their integration with the SIVA plague. This new open area of the Cosmodrome has been packed full of new patrol missions, public events and even a new landing zone. Our Guardians are pushing back the Darkness, one segment of the planet at a time. On top of this we are gaining access to a brand new Strike mission as well as a variety of old and updated Strikes that are entering top tier levels and providing continuing challenges for our Guardians. Now we have to clear the Plaguelands before the plague consumes the strength of our combined Light.
Speaking of Light, the max Light level able to be acquired by Guardians of the Traveller is going to be increased by a significant degree, however what that number is, still remains a mystery to the Legion of the Light.
With the reveal of this new expansion came several announcements about certain events and modes that are coming to alter the way Destiny is played to a significant degree. First of all, being the Commander and overseer of the Iron Banner, whose flaming gong and intense competition have graced the Tower for as long as anyone can remember, this expansion would have to some sort of PVP focus within it. And we are not disappointed, with the addition of new maps and a new game mode type. For the record, I believe it will be of such a nature as to tie in with the story and that scoring points and kills within the game will provide you with technological upgrades and bonuses that can alter the way your Guardian plays, such as being able to stick to walls with a certain hook function or gaining a little boost to movement speed with the peg legs we see within the trailer.
However, PVE goers do not fret, as Bungie, within this stream has confirmed that we will indeed be gaining a new raid that is a tie in with the newfound Fallen incursion. One of the main images, featured below, showcases a giant mechanised horror that Guardian teams will have to subvert and conquer. Within the trailer we witness this mech in action and it is clear that it has a lot of hidden mechanics of which we see a wrecking ball launching out towards Guardians. It also, based on the picture below, appears to have lasers mounted on the very top of its ‘head’ and most likely has the ability to shield while waves of enemies force you to divert your attention away from the main boss. Now the Raid will most likely be set on top of the Wall, as the Wall is opening up to become a new playable area. In the picture below we can clearly see that there is nothing surrounding the mechanised death machine except clouds and the expanse of blue sky as well as Fallen Skiff’s hovering in the background of the shot. On top of this, the trailer allows us to witness a team of Guardians jumping towards a chasm along the top of the Wall which suggests that the Raid spends at least some time with your team galavanting across the apex of it. We will have to wait and see for this exciting piece of content.
The new or more accurately, updated faction that showcases in this expansion are the Fallen. These Fallen variants, like all Fallen are quite obsessed with technology and quite capable of moulding it to suit their needs, evidenced by the very construction of their Skiff’s and Ketches that have been made from repurposed parts. However, through their digging of the southern area of the Cosmodrome, they have unearthed a dormant plague that have upgraded the Fallen with a new series of abilities and weaponry. The Fallen have utilised this plague known as SIVA to enhance their already formidable abilities to better ensure that they can overtake the Guardians and make Earth their abode.
This SIVA is seen to be linked somewhat to Rasputin as there is a series of web like structures within the bowels of a bunker that is presided over by Rasputin, evidenced by the iconic diamond shaped doorway. Now the appearance of Rasputin isn’t a massive shock as the Warmind is tied in to the very fabric of the planet Earth and it begs the question, did the wakening of this Warmind have something to do with the SIVA leaving its dormant state or possibly vice versa. This speculation would fit with the timeline as Rasputin came online again rather slowly and the new found plague wouldn’t have been fast in providing its hosts with the technological augmentations. However it could be quite possible that SIVA is a product of a Warmind or Warminds to be a biotech virus as a last ditch effort to eliminate hostiles in a given area. The reddish thread is of a similar colour to the red haze that was seen to precede the appearance of one of the new bosses within the trailer who was of a larger size so as to associate with a Kell or Archon. This haze is of a homogeneous nature to the smoke that leads to the entrance of the Vex and so belies the nature of the technology that has now been infused within the new and improved Fallen.
We can see from the above screenshot that the Fallen Dregs presented there have a few modifications, the main one being the attachment of ‘peg-leg-like’ structures in place of their now removed legs. However they still maintain the use of their shock daggers that they have held for aeons. The fact that the weapons of the Dreg have not been changed presents to me, that the hierarchal system of which the Fallen is governed, could very well apply to these SIVA augmentations. It is known throughout the encounters and lore of Destiny that the Fallen gain power and strength from their life sustaining ether which is generated by Servitors, and the higher portion of ether goes to the strongest types of Fallen who are un-coincidentally the biggest of the race. In the Twitch stream we are introduced to a high level Fallen/SIVA being that appears to be of a Kell or Archon rank. This Fallen ultra has undergone extensive augmentation with the lack of arms on the left being replaced by some sort of flamethrower or shock cannon device and one of the legs being removed so as to make room for the new powerful limb complete with what appears to be an extensive hydraulic system. Continuing along that vein, it is seen that there is a gigantic Servitor in the background. This could be a long dead Prime that the Fallen house had worshipped as well as being a victim of the SIVA plague in order to make way for the new Lord of the Fallen House. In this way it could represent that the old Fallen and their ways of gaining strength have died away and been replaced by the plague, and so the strongest Fallen are afforded the most technological upgrades to further increase their strength.
It has to be mentioned as to what the Fallen House that has stumbled upon SIVA are called. While it is never explicitly stated within the stream who the Fallen are, it can be theorised that they are the House of Devils. I believe a comment was even made by Deej to that effect. However I would not be so quick to assume they are entirely Devils. While it is true that the Fallen House of Devils has the largest presence on Earth, the fact that the colours surrounding the new Fallen are red does not conclusively prove that they are one and the same. We can see that with the markings on the clothes of the new Fallen as well as the symbol on the mechanised machine in the Raid that it is most likely the symbol associated with the augmented Fallen and the SIVA itself. It is a distinguishing factor against the lesser Fallen Houses. Due to their being a combination of two major Houses on Earth it could be that the House of Kings is either partially controlling the new found Devil Splicers from the shadows as they are won’t to do or the larger and potentially stronger House of Devils has pressed the House of Kings into service under new leadership.
Armour and Weapon Sets
Moving on to the arms and amour that your Guardian will acquire throughout this new expansion, we are presented with a large variety that will keep us wanting to earn more in order to gain that signature look. In our battle against SIVA augmented Fallen we will be able to gain SIVA style armour sets like the one that the Titan above is wearing. It is of a very geometric style and appears quite futuristic and powerful in its application. The emblem of the SIVA is emblazoned along the shoulder piece and it is that very feature as well as the Fallen themed raid that leads me to believe that the SIVA sets of armour can only be acquired throughout the new raid. Coupled with the red coils and red faceplate, it almost seems that your Guardian will be augmented in a similar way to the Fallen.
The armour that the Hunter is wearing is of a very medieval nature, primarily with regard to the helmet and chest-piece. The helmet having mostly flattish features but for the raised segment that runs down the middle of it, possibly acting as a nose guard. It is quite reminiscent of a type of helmet that was worn by Knights in the Middle Ages. These inspirations are further drawn with the chest plate on which is presented a stylised cat, gold in colour. It is a simplistic design but once again is sired from the Middle Ages in which knights would often place their banners and crests onto their very armour to showcase to the whole world who they were and what family they belonged to. In this very vein, the gold wolf could exemplify to the Darkness and its minions that you are a Warrior of the Light and fight for the Iron Lords. The pauldron (shoulder piece) is so obviously a reference to the an Egyptian style piece with the cat design that is quite ornately made and a point of major interest with this armour set. While drawing from Medieval links, this armour with its elegant flowing features contains many Egyptian elements as well that could quite possibly be a new addition to the Trials of Osiris Armour sets.
With the Warlock, we are presented with an armour set that is strongly derived from the Scandinavian Warriors known as Vikings. The horned helmet is of a very badass and intimidating nature and is once again a rendition of what a Viking helmet is theorised to look like as it is not known what they actually wore. The Warlock is covered almost head to toe in a fur underlay that is a design adaptation from those Nordic tribes and what they utilised for battle in the colder climates. On top of this, the greaves, vambraces and presumably the chest plate showcases the Iron Tree which is the associated sigil of the Iron Banner and before that, the Iron Lords. As such it is a fair assumption that these armour sets will become available from Lord Saladin either as a vendor or through quest lines or even as part of the hopefully still recurring Iron Banner.
There were two notable weapons that were presented within the stream. The first being the flaming Battleaxe that everyone was introduced to with the alleged leak a little while ago.
This axe created a lot of buzz and many theories as to its purpose were thrown about. It has now been revealed that the Battleaxe wielded by Lord Saladin and soon, your Guardian is a relic, similar to the Sword of Crota, Aegis and Scorch Cannon. In this regard it will be found throughout the Plaguelands with a certain event and it might make an appearance in the raid. Within the stream we were introduced to a sample of its attack which is a solar ground pound that delivered devastating damage to surrounding enemies.
The final weapon which for many people is going to be the deciding factor as to whether or not to get the expansion was the exotic Rocket Launcher that lives on in legend, known as Gjallarhorn. This exotic which dominated the year one environments is a specialised Rocket Launcher that on top of having impressive impact and tracking for your rockets, also has wolfpack rounds that splits the main rocket into mini rockets that home back in on your target. Bungie has announced that anyone who preorders the Rise of Iron will gain an Iron Gjallarhorn.
However everyone who does not preorder will still have a guaranteed chance to gain this exotic as a quest requiring you to forge your very own Gjallarhorn will become available within this expansion.
A larger part of the hype train was dedicated to the possibility of getting your own Wolf companion that could possibly fight by your side or at least accompany you into the world. Alas the only one with the power to tame these proud predators is Lord Saladin but Wolves will be present within the Iron Temple, walking around the budding Iron Lords.
The Rise of Iron is going to have a new Social Space that is known as the Iron Temple. This Temple is located at the top of Felwinter Peak and is where the Iron Lords kept vigil over the Cosmodrome. It showcases statues of the brothers and sisters of the Iron Lords and is the abode of Lord Saladin. There is a tree near the back of the temple that is reminiscent of the Iron Banner symbol and has definite links back to Norse mythology and Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. A post by the Tumblr blog, The Mothyards, goes into these connections in detail
It was revealed that the new social space will become active after your retake it from the augmented Fallen and make it habitable for the Legion of the Light. After this new social space is open it is fair to assume that new vendors will become present to help assist you in your journey. It was also hinted at that you will gain a greater insight into the lives and deaths of the Iron Lords and gain possible rewards from the Iron Lords within the Iron Temple on Felwinter Peak.
The Rise of Iron expansion will be released on September 20th 2016 for those Guardians on Xbox One and Playstation Four for $30 US. This expansion will sadly not be for last gen players so if any last generation Guardians wish to play this expansion, you will have to upgrade your console.