With Destiny's fourth expansion, Rise of Iron, developer Bungie looks to reinvigorate the game's player base. But will the add-on introduce meaningful changes, or just serve as a stopgap until the full sequel next year?
Here's what we know so far about Destiny: Rise of Iron.
Just the facts
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release date: Sept. 20, 2016
The Fallen have punched through the centuries-old wall at the southern border of Old Russia, and have spilled into a previously quarantined area known as the Plaguelands. It was cordoned off for a reason, but now, with the Fallen digging into the ground, the Guardians must do battle to defend The Last City.
Asked and answered
What is Destiny: Rise of Iron?
Rise of Iron is the fourth expansion for Destiny, following a year after The Taken King. Players must own The Taken King in order to play Rise of Iron.
What will you be doing in the game?
Guardians will partake in a story campaign shepherded by Lord Saladin, master of the Iron Banner tournament, as well as a new strike, a new raid and a new Crucible mode. They'll work toward the raised Light cap as they earn new weapons and armor.
Where can I play it?
Only on current-generation consoles. Destiny and its first three expansions — The Dark Below, House of Wolves and The Taken King — were all released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. However, Rise of Iron will be available only on PS4 and Xbox One.
Rise of Iron is only on PS4 and Xbox One
What's the deal with the Plaguelands?
In Destiny's lore, humans known as the Iron Lords discovered self-assembling, self-replicating nanotechnology called SIVA during the Golden Age. The powerful technology turned against humanity, and the Iron Lords had to seal it deep underground, in the Cosmodrome.
Now, one year after the Taken War, the Fallen House of Devils have broken into this zone — known as the Plaguelands — and unearthed the deadly virus. SIVA has mutated the House of Devils' Splicers into the machine gods they always wanted to be, and it's transforming the Plaguelands as well.
The House of Devils... that sounds familiar.
Yup! You may recall The Devils' Lair, one of the strikes that was available in Destiny at launch; the boss of that strike was Sepiks Prime, the Prime Servitor (or "machine god") that the House of Devils — a Fallen clan — worshipped. Another Fallen Devil that Destiny players may recognize is Riksis, the Devil Archon, who is the boss of an early story mission.
And who are these Iron Lords?
The Iron Lords were a group of warriors who defended humanity before the City was built beneath the Traveler. They lived in a mountain fortress on Felwinter's Peak, and fought the Darkness to protect the planet. But one by one, they were felled by SIVA; in the end, only Lord Saladin survived the battle to contain SIVA and seal it underground.
players will have no interaction with Lord Saladin's wolves
I've seen Lord Saladin leading a pack of wolves. They're bringing wolves to Destiny?!
Sadly, no. Bungie has confirmed that players will have no interaction with those animals in Rise of Iron.
Dang, I was really hoping for some World of Warcraft-style pets. What about that flaming ax that Lord Saladin is wielding in the Rise of Iron artwork?
You will indeed be able to whack some Fallen fools with that two-handed, double-sided weapon. But it's not something that will permanently reside in your inventory. Instead, it's a limited-use weapon à la the Scorch Cannon.
I guess that'll have to do. So what is there aside from the story?
Rise of Iron brings in one new strike, which we don't know anything about; a new raid, which we don't know anything about; and a new Crucible mode, which we don't know anything about. The new social space is the aforementioned Felwinter's Peak, which is located in the Plaguelands — Guardians will unlock it through the story. You'll have to scale the mountain and take back the area from the Fallen.
We're also getting some updated versions of existing strikes, just like we did with The Taken King.
And there's new stuff to get, right?
There sure is! Bungie is bringing back Gjallarhorn, the vaunted rocket launcher that was one of the best weapons in Destiny during the game's first year. Everybody will receive it as a quest reward, but people who pre-order Rise of Iron will get a special black version, the Iron Gjallarhorn.
Bungie is bringing back Gjallarhorn
In addition, Bungie is raising the Light cap from its current maximum of 335; the studio hasn't confirmed the new number yet. There will be plenty of new weapons, armor and items to earn, some of which you can see in the screenshots below.
Neat. Now what about the way Destiny works?
Bungie is promising the usual quality-of-life improvements to the Destiny experience, but the studio hasn't provided any details on changes yet. However, we do know that a couple of things are staying the same. The April update changed the way that Infusion worked, eliminating the frustration of having to check online calculators to determine an item's final Light level, and that system isn't changing in Rise of Iron.
You might be less thrilled about the other way in which Bungie is maintaining the status quo: The studio still isn't adding matchmaking to raids at this point, although there's always the chance that could change in the future.
"Although we don't have anything for Rise of Iron on [the matchmaking] front, it's obviously something that we're thinking about," said Eric Osborne, Bungie's marketing director, in an interview with Polygon at E3.
Maybe in Destiny 2?
And how much will all this cost me?
Rise of Iron will cost $29.99 — $10 less than The Taken King, and $10 more than each of Destiny's first two expansions.
Destiny was a guess, The Taken King was a refinement, Rise of Iron is a statement
Rise of Iron isn't about fixing Destiny. Rise of Iron is about shipping a software update that could only exist after spending years learning and refining.