Destiny developer Bungie spent almost all of today's livestream for The Taken King on a playthrough of Shield Brothers, one of the expansion's new strikes, and the studio discussed its revised design philosophy for strikes as well.
James Tsai, design lead for strikes, appeared on the livestream with Bungie community manager David "DeeJ" Dague to provide commentary on the Shield Brothers playthrough. The strike takes place in the heart of the Dreadnaught, the Hive ship that will be a new destination in Destiny, and focuses on a Cabal invasion of the giant spacecraft. The Guardians' ultimate objective is to take out two Cabal commanders, Valus Mau'ual and Valus Tlu'urn.
Shield Brothers includes some encounters that won't be the same every time, a common complaint from Destiny players about the game's existing strikes. "We wanted to make that experience less static," said Tsai, noting that players repeat strikes over and over again. "All the strikes now have several combat setups" that can have different enemies, different dialogue and alternate enemy spawn locations.
Tsai said Bungie also wanted to "bring more personality" to the bosses of Destiny's strikes, and make the battles with those enemies more interesting than finding a hiding spot and popping out every now and then to take potshots.
"They're not just going to be, like, big versions of dudes that you've already shot a thousand times in that strike," said Tsai. "We don't want them to just be a poopy bag of hit points."
Tsai added that strikes will offer unique rewards in the form of exclusive gear. Those items can only be acquired by completing a particular strike, and Bungie intends for that gear to serve as a signal to other players that you've defeated the boss in question.
Destiny: The Taken King launches Sept. 15 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. For more on the expansion, check out the full Shield Brothers playthrough from today's livestream below.