Last year, early summer in Destiny 2’s Season of the Arrival, Bungie decided to delay their next expansion Beyond Light. However, the delay went from September 22nd to November 10th, a near two month delay. Usually, seasons in Destiny 2 last no longer than three months. Bungie clearly did not anticipate this delay, especially given the worldwide pandemic that has turned everyone’s lives upside down. While the season lasted for almost half a year, Bungie did not inject new content into the game. The exception is the Festival of the Lost event during October. Suffice to say, Season of the Arrival overstayed its welcome. The game went through a pretty rough dry spell with nothing to do, and players did not like it.
I bring this token of info up because currently, Bungie delayed the Witch Queen expansion from November to February 22nd. The delay this time is far longer, but Bungie wants to make sure the expansion is high-quality. Unlike last year, Bungie took this impending delay into consideration. Considering Bungie’s birthday is right around the corner, the then why not celebrate it? Logically, Bungie decided to develop the 30th Anniversary Pack. This pack is not meant to evolve the game in the same way other expansions have. Instead, it’s meant to supply players with content to stay occupied until February 22nd. With the DLC costing $25 USD, how good is the content?
Dares of Eternity
Dares of Eternity is the new, six player matchmade activity for this DLC, and it’s surprisingly good. In the past, Bungie has had a problem with creating activities all players can enjoy. The last time Bungie centered a season around a core activity (Gambit Prime comes to mind), players hated it. Bungie needs to make something everyone can enjoy and not just give content toward a minority of the playerbase. However, Bungie is now in a conundrum where the studio cannot focus on or neglect parts of the community. This issue has lead the studio to creating what are essentially variations of a pseudo-horde mode. These modes tend to blend into one another and don’t have too many differentiations.
Dares of Eternity is also a horde-mode-not-horde-mode activity, but Bungie really stepped up their game this time around. For starters, the context of the activity itself. Upon loading into the game, Destiny 2 greets you with a familiar yet peculiar character – Xûr. That mysterious, hooded tentacle-faced merchant man who comes around on the weekends? Indeed, Xûr oversees the activity as the Nine made him its gameshow host, literally. He commentates the activity as if it were a gameshow, borrowing phrases from Whose Line is it Anyway? and The Price is Right. Xûr came along with a guest who is… uh… a Starhorse? I’m not kidding. The main audience of the show is a celestial space horse, and it’s the best character Bungie has ever introduced. He has no backstory, we don’t know who this horse is, and all we know is that Dares of Eternity’s purpose is to entertain this horse. Said horse shows its approval or disapproval through its neighs and whinnies made even funnier in the subtitles. Seeing the horse’s subtitles flash “[euphoric whinny]” or “[jubilant huff]” is amusing, simply comedy gold.
The arena the activity takes place in is called Eternity, an area where the “paraverses” converge. In other words, Eternity is a place where realities/universes come together and merge into one reality, bringing everything from their spaces with them. Dares of Eternity contains three rounds where players spin a wheel to see which enemy faction they will randomly fight. Each encounter will have some sort of objective to complete specifically to that enemy race. These include dismantling mines or summoning lasers to take down shielded combatants. Throughout the encounters, players face hordes upon hordes of enemies. The arena genuinely feels like a battleground as there are plenty of the things to shoot! When players move to the next arena they must clear an obstacle course first. Players that complete the obstacle courses and please the Starhorse earn bonuses such as infinite heavy ammo for the next round. Angering the Starhorse will result in receiving a penalty to the player’s movement speed. Do well enough and get a chance to participate in the lightning rounds to earn more loot.
Speaking of loot, the gear players earn in this activity is great and bountiful. The rewards are not only weapons and armor, but they can also be Strange Coins and treasure keys. These items require us to go to Xûr’s treasure room use. Xûr explains that in actuality, this particular treasure room is not designed for him; it’s designed for us. Treasure keys are just that, keys meant to open the numerous treasure chests around the room. They contain guns, armor, and ornaments. Strange Coins are a currency used to purchase a number of things. They can buy bounties for leveling, packages containing more gear and materials for upgrading, or more treasure keys. Additionally, the Starhorse is in this room. Leveling up the Starhorse vendor grants even more rewards (yes, you level up a horse to get more guns). Leveling up this vendor grants additional vanity items such as emotes, ships, and ghost shells along with exotic catalysts. A particular catalyst awarded from the Starhorse is for one of the new exotic weapons.
Dares of Eternity is very rewarding while also remaining very fun, even on repeat playthroughs. Upping the difficulty from Normal mode to Legend mode makes the activity harder, but the rewards get even better. The weapons this activity gives are based on Bungie’s other games. For example, there’s a shotgun from their game Marathon. Bungie, of course, also had to include the Battle Rifle and Focus Rifle from Halo under a different name. Why? The studio was unable to secure the rights to use the Halo label, so Bungie did what the studio could to honor Halo. These weapons are few examples of what they added, and the armor acts the same way. Bungie made armor sets inspired from their own games as well as Bungie themed streetwear for your guardian. If you wanted to play Halo in Destiny 2, then you can, funnily enough.
With this knowledge, this activity is free to all players as part of Bungie’s 30th Anniversary. While the activity is free, the treasure is meant for players who bought the DLC. These kinds of players are simply getting additional rewards on top of what the activity already provides. Aside from Dares of Eternity, what other content is this DLC pack providing?
Grasp of Avarice
The last time we saw Bungie add a new dungeon was Prophecy back in Season of the Arrival. Grasp of Avarice scratches that itch for a new dungeon. The dungeon is based around the infamous loot cave that players exploited back in the first Destiny. Back in those days, the loot cave in the Cosmodrome was the ultimate source for gear. All you had to do was shoot into the cave of endlessly spawning enemies. Interesting enough, this dungeon has a small narrative tied to it like Prophecy. Grasp of Avarice tells the tale of Wilhelm-7 and his fireteam navigating through this cave in search of loot. However, we watch him descend into madness and greed, killing off members of his fireteam one by one over loot. These bits and pieces come from audio logs he had left behind. The story is rather inconsequential to the season’s current plot, but it’s very amusing nevertheless.
Grasp of Avarice itself isn’t too long, but it’s very engaging. The best gimmick about this dungeon is the traps. Wilhelm-7 had laid out a number of traps to prevent anyone else from reaching the loot at the end. Unfortunately, we all will inevitably fall for them. The dungeon is littered with crush panels, trap doors, walls of spikes, and launch pads. They are glorious! The best one was on my first playthrough where after my team solved a puzzle. We walked up a ramp only to be surprised with a large barrel. That barrel came careening down and crushed us before we could process what we were seeing. We all had a good laugh because we thought we saw it all. The dungeon has so many traps that it’s hard to tell when they stop appearing.
Besides the gimmicks, the dungeon’s mechanics in each encounter are great. In one encounter, we use scorch cannons to open doors that let us collect corrupted engrams to then use to weaken the boss. In another, we use gravity lifts to launch ourselves from platform to platform, killing servitors, and then launched their spherical, robotic corpses as bombs to destroy a fortified gate using those same gravity lifts. One of the best parts is very reminiscent of the now vaulted Scourge of the Past raid lair. This encounter works a bit differently though. Instead of fleeing from a giant, flaming servitor on sparrows, Grasp of Avarice sees players riding on their sparrows at top speed. This time around, players have to quickly dismantle mines. These mines, however, have very short times, meaning. It’s impossible to reach the very end in the 15 seconds allotted. Thus, to complete this section, players must drive over hidden switches during this section to keep extending the timer. The time extention is only a few seconds, so players must keep hitting these switches. If successful, the team is launched through a gravity lift into a cave shaped like a skull. From the very beginning to the end, this dungeon is a blast to play.
The rewards to this dungeon are different than what Dares of Eternity offers. Weapon-wise, Grasp of Avarice awards weapons from the first Destiny such as Matador 64, Eyasluna, and 1,000 Yard Stare. Surprisingly, this dungeon offers its own armor set too. The armor available takes on the theme of the Thorn exotic hand cannon, and it looks really awesome. The Master version is good too. Enemies are harder, champions make an appearance, and the rewards are excellent. Armor from Master mode comes with an extra seasonal mod slot, allowing for more build potential. People will come up with insane loadouts with this armor for sure.
The only downside to this dungeon is a rather big one: the gimmick only works on the first playthrough. On a blind playthrough, the traps are a funny addition that gives this dungeon character. After the first playthrough, that charm wears off since players now know what to avoid. Sure, watching a new player fall into those traps is funny. To everyone else? Those traps no longer pose any danger. In a way, Grasp of Avarice is one-note. Still, the mechanics keep the dungeon interesting, so it will stay fun on repeat playthroughs. Players will certainly come back to get the catalyst for a particular exotic rocket launcher sold in this DLC pack.
Gjallarhorn makes its triumphant return from the first Destiny, and it’s crazier than before. Back in the day, this rocket launcher was so powerful Bungie have to tone down the gun. What’s even crazier is that fireteams kicked players from their raid teams if they didn’t have it. The gun remained a top tier choice, but it lost the power it once had after Bungie tweaked it. In Destiny 2, Bungie needed to rebalance the gun for this game’s sandbox to account for its strength. The studio did just that and ended up making it even more powerful.
On its own without its catalyst, the launcher holds one rocket. At the same time, hat rocket does some of the best heavy weapon damage in the entire game. In addition, Bungie modified its exotic perk. Now the exotic perk improves reload speed when standing near allies and grants those holding non-exotic rocket launchers wolfpack rounds. Don’t have Gjallarhorn? As long as one player has it on, then your rocket will also become monstrous. The catalyst is what makes this gun even better. It grants another rocket to the magazine. Plus, getting a kill with the gun launches another rocket from the victim’s site into surrounding enemies. Essentially, Gjallarhorn is a rocket launcher that fires rockets, that explode into smaller rockers, that can explode into yet another rocket. Given that Dares of Eternity has plenty of heavy ammo and enemies to shoot, then, well, I’ll let you finish the picture.
Buy? Hold off? Wait for a sale? What should I do?
Based on what I have said, I sound like I’m about to recommend buying this piece of Destiny 2 content. The truth is that in spite of my positive comments, I cannot recommend the 30th Anniversary Pack to everyone. For what you get, the price of this DLC is worth the money. However, unlike Forsaken, Shadowkeep, and Beyond Light, the 30th Anniversary Pack isn’t game-changing. Forsaken saw Armor and Weapon 2.0 systems, Shadowkeep introduced champions and armor 3.0, and Beyond Light gave us Stasis. This DLC doesn’t offer or come with anything that revolutionizes the game itself. Like the title of this article suggests, the 30th Anniversary Pack is fan-service. The entire point of this DLC is to give players the things they truly want. Players have something to hold them over until Witch Queen launches. If you are a new player getting introduced into the series, then don’t feel urgent to buy this DLC. If you are a veteran player looking for something substantive, then this DLC will satisfy your hunger. For me, I feel like the 30th Anniversary Pack will hold me over until February. I will be hunting down all the gear I want, and I will be having a blast doing so.
What do you think of the 30th Anniversary Pack? What is your favorite part about this DLC? Do you like the new dungeon? Leave a comment below and share what you think! Remember to check out our YouTube channel and Twitter for more if you like what you read. Until next time, thank you for reading. Take care!
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