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Destiny’s next update revives weekly Nightfall strike’s XP boost

The new Daybreak modifier brings Mayhem to strikes

Destiny Age of Triumph update - Speaker area Bungie/Twitch
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Destiny’s weekly Nightfall strike hasn’t been the same since Destiny: The Taken King, but the most important reward from the activity is finally returning in the game’s final update, developer Bungie announced today during a Twitch livestream.

Age of Triumph is the final major content update between now and the expected launch of Destiny’s sequel this fall. It will bring back a crucial element of the Nightfall experience: the 25 percent buff to all experience gains that players received upon finishing the strike. Destiny veterans will be delighted to hear that Bungie is also bringing back the blue flames that licked Guardians’ helmets in social spaces — a beloved visual effect broadcasting to the world that a player had completed that week’s Nightfall strike.

Those facets of the Nightfall — along with the Nightfall modifier, which made the strikes particularly punishing by forcing players to restart if they all died during the activity — have been missing since the launch of The Taken King in September 2015. At the time, Bungie said it “shelved” the XP boost because it didn’t like the fact that “players could feel forced to play Nightfall as early as possible in the week to maximize the benefit from the Nightfall buff.” Since the buff is coming off the shelf unchanged in Age of Triumph, it’s unclear what changed in Bungie’s thinking — except, perhaps, for the studio’s implication that it has a philosophy of making the upcoming update “rewarding as fuck.”

Gameplay footage of the Sunless Cell strike — with the new Daybreak modifier enabled — from Destiny’s upcoming Age of Triumph update.

During today’s livestream, Bungie also demonstrated another element of Age of Triumph that fits with that strategy: a new strike modifier called Daybreak. It includes all the Epic modifiers — meaning that players will encounter many aggressive, shielded enemies — but also increases the recharge rate of Guardian abilities (grenades, melee attacks and super attacks). Essentially, Daybreak brings the Crucible gametype Mayhem into the Nightfall strike.

As you can see in the gameplay footage from the stream above, in which Bungie played the Sunless Cell strike, the Daybreak modifier turns the boss fight with Alak-Hul into a super party. Daybreak will be applied to the Nightfall strike once a month, starting with the March 28 release of Age of Triumph. However, Bungie is expecting Daybreak to be popular, so for the period from July 18 through the end of August, players will get six straight weeks of Daybreak Nightfall strikes.

If strikes aren’t your thing, Bungie is also bringing the Challenge of the Elders up to endgame levels. In Age of Triumph, it will be available as a level 42 activity at a recommended Light of 390, and will offer a total of 30 Legendary Marks per week.

In addition, Bungie is introducing a story playlist with a weekly rotation of various sets of Destiny missions at level 42 and 380 Light. Completing five of these missions is the first step of Age of Triumph’s opening quest from the Speaker, a quest that “will take you through all the content that we’ve created for the Destiny 1 experience,” said Bungie’s Tim Williams. These missions will feature modifiers like Specialist and Grounded — the kinds of twists usually relegated to Nightfalls and the Prison of Elders.

Destiny’s Age of Triumph update, which will also bring every raid in the game up near the Light cap of 400, will be released March 28.

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