Dispatches From the Tower: Gjallarhorn, Year Two Exotics and Swords

Welcome guardians to the first in a fortnightly column focusing on news and events from the world of Destiny. Over the next few weeks we here at MMOGames will keep you up to date on all the latest comings and goings from the Cosmodrome to Venus, all the way to whatever angry things Luke Smith has had shouted at him this week. For the next few weeks in the build up to Destiny: The Taken King we will be going over just what Bungie can and are doing to improve everyone’s favorite world class punching and rocket launcher experience. Speaking of rocket launchers…


Xúr is Truly Santa With a Tentacle Face


Gjallarhorn, or ‘the Yelling horn’ to give it its much worse sounding name, is the horn sounded by Heimdallr (better known as the subject of everyone’s racist uncle’s angry Facebook rant when Thor first came out) to either warn everyone about ice giants or tell them the world was ending.

Well, at least it was. Contradictory ancient poems be damned, because now Gjallarhorn, or Gjally for short, is best known as being the undisputed king of when you absolutely positively have to kill every mother-hubbard in the room. An Exotic weapon and the unobtainable murder dream of hundreds of thousands of guardians from around the world, known as much for its not dropping as it was for its unmatched power and ability to render even the worst bullet sponge into a burning streak of exploding fun that would bring a tear to Michael Bay’s eye.

Well at least it was hard to obtain, until a day that henceforth will go down as some kind of new holiday for Destiny fans. On 8/14, Xúr, a sort of mix of the Nick Cage from the Lord of War and the Merchant from Resident Evil 4, for the first time since week two of the game’s launch, this legendary tube of fire and murder was buyable by everyone for the low, low price of 17 strange coins. The internet reacted calmly and with great dignity.

Nah I’m messing with you, the internet reacted like this:

The Destiny subreddit declared it to be ‘Explodey Boom Boom’ day and stopped moderating. Gjallarhorn trended on twitter for most of the day and for once people stopped being mean to Luke Smith. In-game was met with a long uninterrupted stream of joy. Patrol was filled with people killing even the weakest of enemies with what amounts to an orbital missile strike. Prison of Elders and the Strike playlist went smoothly with barely any AFKs or disconnects so excited was everyone to disintegrate every living thing within a 3 mile radius and for once, not everyone in the Crucible had bloody Thorn or Last Word.

Most notably, people returned. Suddenly my friends list was filled with people who had long since quit, showing up again to get in on the action. It was a funny old thing, something so little as an item on a vendor brought buckets of joy, jokes and mocking of Futuristic Armored Rugby (I believe it is also known as ‘Football’) team the Minnesota Vikings, who seemed to think it was trending for their silly pre-game ritual. But it also kind of showed just how many people seem to enjoy Destiny. For a game with its critics (myself included) there is a passion that comes with Destiny that no-one 11 months ago would have guessed would exist.

Me? I’ve had Gjally for ages so I was just annoyed it wasn’t No Land Beyond.


8/19 Destiny Twitch Stream

Now that we have that out of the way, this week Bungie held a live Twitch stream to go over some of the changes coming in year two of Destiny. I thought I’d go through what was said and give my opinions on whether they are good or bad for the game.


Leveling and Light


The Level Cap Will be Level 40 and Stay at 40

The biggest change to leveling announced so far is that, unlike in the past, the maximum level cap will be the same for all players in part due to the changes to Light (noted below). All players will be able to obtain maximum level without the need for any end game content. Once you reach level 40, gained the old fashioned way by gaining EXP from quests, strikes, PVP and any loot caves Bungie might have missed this time around, you will be able to do all end game content from the get go.

Light Has Been Redesigned

Gone is the ‘forever 29’ that plagued so many for so long in the game’s early days. Light levels as we know them now are a thing of the past, and in their place is a system that fans of World of Warcraft and other MMOs will be more familiar with. The new Light system takes the average attack and defense of all items currently equipped to your guardian and gives them an average score that becomes your new item level… I mean Light level. This is a marked improvement over the old Light level system as rather than gate a large percentage of your damage and incoming damage (the difference between damage taken and done by a level 30 NPC vs a level 29 was apparently 30%) and will lead to a much more gradual and beginner friendly experience.

You Will Automatically Level Up to Your Current Light Level

(up to the current max of 34)

This is a positive that will only help long time players of the game vs newer players, rewarding the people with high level gear from year one. The level you will receive is also based on all of your gear, not just the stuff you have on you when the clock turns 00:00 on launch day. So no panicked logging in at 11.55 because you forgot to unequip that green helm you were leveling for armor parts.

Buying The Taken King Will Reward You With One Free Level 25 Boost

A tactic used by a few MMOs, this is a great way to either help brand-new customers catch up, or help older guardians finally level that Warlock you’ve always wanted but couldn’t be bothered with. There is no information yet on whether this will be made useful to those of us with 3 level 32+ guardians, but time will tell.

The Taken King Content Will Start at Level 25

So there is something you can do while counting down until September.


Questing and Bounties


32 Quests and 15 Bounty Slots. Up to 4 Are Trackable on Your Ghost Menu

Trackable bounties might go down as one of the best additions to The Taken King, having to slog back and forth from the menu to track bounties was a pain with a simple fix, and at last it seems they have done the right thing. Good stuff.

PVE and PVP Bounties Redesigned

Bounties will now be designed to be easier to do, and doable while completing the main quests that they seem to want the game to revolve around now. Less will require you to go to a specific planet to kill X or Y, and more ‘Kill with Solar’ or the like. PVP bounties will be shortened, making the need for insane amounts of grinding to do even the basic bounties a thing of the past. Gone are the days of ‘Capture 50 Control Points’ and in its place ‘capture 8’, a much more manageable task that doesn’t take hours to complete. Adding to this the new weekly bounties, a chain of 5 bounties that when completed reward you a 6th with rewards rivaling that of the weekly Nightfall strike.

New Questing System Both PVE and PVP

The questing system was touched upon, but the gist of it seems to be how this will be the new meta-game for most end game content and non raid progression. Quests will have you travel all over the solar system and will be the bulk of the end game legendary and exotic rewards. Quests will be story driven in places and a lot different then we’re used to in the main game. While hard facts remain vague, it seems every class and spec will have its own quests as well as PVP. Hey, it’s better than doing Sword of Crota for the eleventy-millionth time.


Reputation and Cosmetic Collections


Pledge Allegiance to a Faction

With the class slot now being used for stats and bonuses, using the old system of forcing you to wear their CI’s would have been terrible. In its place now is ‘pledging’, once a week you can pick which of the main 3 factions you want, and will receive reputation, as well as any other reputation you would usually get, with either the awful Future War Cult, the cowardly Dead Orbit, or the glorious New Monarchy. All Hail Executor Hideo.

Improved Faction Rewards

As well as not having to wear their awful class items, faction rewards are much improved. A legendary will always be included in the reward package as well as a higher chance to get the shaders and ship that so haunt guardians.

Future War Cult and Dead Orbit Still Terrible

Well no change there then – All Hail New Monarchy!



Exotic Blue Prints

Collectors – congratulations, you have won. Starting in year two, all exotics you currently own (Note DO NOT dismantle anything until year two starts) will be added to a kiosk where you can simply purchase any exotic item you have owned up until this point for the cost of a single exotic shard and 2500 glimmer. On top of that, the collection lists not only what you already own but what you don’t which I can see causing some head aches for some of our more enthusiastic guardians.

Year Two Exotic Upgrades

While we know legendary items from year one aren’t joining us going into year two, the fate of exotics was until now a mystery. Starting in year two some exotic weapons and armors will be brought forward and upgraded with new stats and models into the second year. Some. Anyone who owns a year one blueprint of these weapons and armors will be able to purchase them for 150 Legendary Marks for weapons, and 125 for helms (the other armors are unknown but based on current values, the estimate is 125 for helm and chest, and 75 for the other two). The list at the moment is based on a stream and some teaser images so it’s not final, but as it stands the list of weapons coming forward are; Suros, Red Death, Thunderlord, Truth, Last Word, Monte Carlo, Hawkmoon, 4th Horseman, Bad JuJu, and Invective. It would seem that at least for now, Gjallarhorn is not joining us in year two so smoke ’em while you’ve got ’em.

One note is that all of the year one Playstation-exclusive guns (Hawkmoon, Monte Carlo and 4th Horseman) will all be making the jump to year two, meaning Xbox fans can finally get to play current content with them.


Gear in The Taken King


New Abilities and Options For Armor and Weapons Than Ever Before

Perhaps one of the quietest and biggest overhauls in The Taken King is the new range of upgrades on armor and weapons. In year one, excluding some raid gear, most legendary bonuses revolved around getting more heavy ammo or reload speed or the like, but in year two this is all set to change. Bonuses will be much broader and offer more choice than ever before, one example given was more defense while the burn modifier is active, meaning rather than one or two evergreen sets, gear in The Taken King will have to be changed out and modified as circumstances change. This could add a whole new layer to planning and gameplay than ever before, but could also lead to even more confusion. Time will tell.

Class Items and Ghost Shells Now With Stats

Ghost shells, while also changing the appearance of the Dink-sorry, Nolan-Bot, will now come with a slew of new abilities. Ghosts will focus on gathering and exploring, enabling easier tracking of things like Spirit Bloom as well as glimmer from PVP encounters, while the class items will focus on progress with things like more EXP for weapons or armor. While these will not help in combat, the fact they are so unimportant will help people pick whatever they want rather than just what is best for end game.

Legendary Marks

Legendary marks replace Vanguard and Crucible marks in The Taken King. Earned from dismantling legendary pieces as well as all the usual places you gain Vanguard and Crucible currently, they are the currency for all new weapons and armor pieces available from vendors in The Taken King. They have also seen two significant upgrades compared with their year one counterparts. First, they are now account wide, meaning any of your characters can use them, and secondly, while they are still capped at 200 at to begin with, they have no limit on how many you can earn in a week, meaning that you can farm them to your little heart’s content.


The replacement of Ascension, Infusion will allow you to upgrade any year two weapon or armor piece by sacrificing a stronger piece of year two gear to raise the damage or defense of the first item to that of the second. This will not work on year one items, but will at least enable players to stick with the year two gear they love even when it is from outdated content. Infusing will not reset the progress of the item in question, but will destroy the sacrifice.


Not announced per se, but revealed in the stream, was the new legendary heavy type: Sword. Not much is known about them at this point except what could be seen from a few frames of the stream, swords will be a very unique weapon in Destiny as they offer the ability to block attacks with L2/LT. The only sword currently known is the Arc Blade which eagle-eyed members of /r/Destinythegame screen capped. Information of what this will entail at this point would be pure speculation so i will cover this in a later Dispatch.


Vault Storage

72 Weapon Slots, 72 Armor Slots and 32 General Slots

Praise the lord…

20 Character Storage for Materials and Consumables

…and pass the ammunition.

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