While everyone who owns Destiny: Rise of Iron will have access to the limited time The Dawning winter event when it opens in just under a week, we got to go hands-on with two of the new Sparrow Racing League tracks at PSX, and even managed a quick peek in the menu at some other surprises coming with The Dawning, including new quests, weapons, and a whole new way to play Destiny.
As I sat down, Bungie Community Manager Deej took the seat next to me. We raced around the tracks, trading a good amount of sparrow paint. I didn’t do nearly as well this year as I did last year, so I’ll spare you from having to see those videos. Just know that Sparrow Racing League remains largely unchanged this year, at least at the core of its gameplay. The two new maps are wider and feature more obstacles and opportunities for death, but all four maps will be in rotation throughout the event, so there’s a good amount of variety for players as they race.
The two new maps look to fully take advantage of Bungie’s breakaway from last-gen consoles. There’s a lot more going on in each of them, from the hoards of Vex to the thick snowfall. It’s an impressive side-by-side from last year’s SRL event, and really shows the potential of what Bungie can do when unbridled. Racing will grant rewards that are now fully infusable, and will drop relative to your current light level, which means that SRL can actually be a viable method for continuing to level up. It also means that if you want to be the guy or girl running the raid in a full tight SRL body suit, you are more than welcome to get that up to 400 and take on the biggest bads that Destiny has to offer.
For the Record
There will be another record book this year, but players will not have to purchase it. Deej describes Bungie’s current thought process on the record books as guides through the content, whereas last year’s SRL book was an additive experience. Once the subject rose on microtransactions, I had to ask if the team had learned anything from the outcry about microtransactions in Festival of the Lost. He explained that Festival of the Lost was a giant costume party, where The Dawning is a competitive event, and as such, by nature The Dawning would be a meatier experience without having to pay for it.
Don’t think that means The Dawning won’t have those microtransactions though. New emotes will be available, as well holiday boxes for purchase, but this will be in addition to the larger event, and even some freebies give out at the start of each of the three weeks that it runs. As long as it feels that there is a better balance of the urge to actually play the game versus being cornered into paying for content, I’ll be more than happy with it. In fact, I may even fork out to purchase an emote or two myself.
Sparrow Racing League (and the festive winter decorum) will be going away when The Dawning ends on January 3 (it will be put into private matches going forward), but strike scoring will join the party when the event initially launches on December 13 and remain a permanent fixture. Strike scoring offers a whole new way to play, focusing on modifiers and scoring as you make your way through the strikes earning points and medals. This update will also alter some of the strikes, adding the SIVA infection introduced in Rise of Iron. There will be bounties and rewards for competing in strike scoring, most notably of all the year three version of Icebreaker, a fan favorite exotic sniper rifle that regens ammo, and seems to be the same old gun that we knew and loved in year one, until they decide that we’ve exploited it enough and issue a massive nerf to re-balance the game.
Two more new exotics — Abaddon and Nova Mortis, solar and void versions of the Thunderlord machine gun — will have new quests added to obtain them, and of course a bunch of cool new ornaments are coming to affect the looks of some other favorite exotic weapons. A new kiosk will allow players to select the one they want to purchase, rather than needing to use real world money on an RNG based system, addressing some of the biggest complaints that have been plaguing Destiny since Rise of Iron launched.
If you were ever looking for a time to hop back into Destiny, next week would be a great opportunity to check out the festive tower and play in some competitive racing that is non-traditional within the Destiny world. So far The Dawning seems like an impressive winter update, and I’m excited to see what the continue to learn going from this, to the next major update, and even into next year’s rumored release of Destiny’s sequel. We’ll make sure to keep you updated as we frolic through the snow filled tower, discovering old man winter’s secrets.
Hands-On with Destiny The Dawning in Destiny Rise of Iron at PSX 2016