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Very early yesterday morning (3 a.m. my time) Destiny’s newest expansion, Rise of Iron, stumbled out of the gate. I attempted to get into the game at the very moment the clock struck 3, only to be greeted by a “Contacting Destiny’s Servers” message. Eventually the servers just completely crashed, with an error code: Tapir. As this was happening, I was watching one of my favorite streamers (TeftyTeft) and he was having the same issues as was everybody else in chat. Bungie immediately tweeted out that they were investigating the problem. Not long after that, Bungie implemented a ‘que system’in which your placing was determined by when you attempted to connect to the game. The most frustrating part was that while in this “que”, players were getting kicked from it every now and then and when they would get back in it their number in the que would be astronomically higher than before. I watched Tefty get kicked around 5 or 6 times and at one point was up to 290,000 in the que. I was booted around 3 times and at one point I was a little over 300,000 in the que. After some time though, the number started going down and it eventually started dropping huge amounts. I eventually made it down to around 45,000 and then next thing I knew, I was in! Admittedly this fiasco was frustrating and somewhat ridiculous considering Bungie had a year to prepare for this expansion, I am also not really shocked by it either. I’m sure Bungie’s servers were bombarded by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of players at once. I also have to commend Bungie for being able to remedy the situation in a timely manner.

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So…frustrating launch aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed Rise of Iron so far. At the time of this writing I have completed the main Iron Lord story missions and a couple smaller quests as well. It has been a year since we have had new content in Destiny, so in the opening mission it was exciting to start the trek up Felwinter Peak. The mountain is engulfed in a blizzard and you can even hear the wind howling and whistling through the crevices. There was also an awesome looking effect where the snow was blowing over the tops of the peaks to where it almost looked like smoke. Although the locales in the missions are pretty much just reskinned, redesigned levels that we have been roaming since the beginning, they sport enough of a change to feel fresh and different. There has been numerous times when I’ve been exploring the cosmodrome and it dawned on me that I was in an area I have been to a million times, however it looked much different under the blanket of snow, Siva everywhere, and altered by the splicers that have been tearing the cosmodrome apart. That’s not to say that there isn’t new areas, because there definitely is.

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As far as combat goes, it is more of the same fantastic gunplay that you have come to expect from Destiny. Granted firefights can become repetitive after playing for awhile, but honestly I have never really had an issue with that. In Rise of Iron there is some standouts including a skirmish in the shadows of several massive anti-aircraft guns, and a boss battle with three baddies that favors melee combat over firearms. I have yet to play some of the redone older strikes, but I did get a chance to play the all new strike “The Wretched Eye.” At the end of this strike it pits you against an ogre impervious to damage, forcing you to dodge his pummeling attacks while you eliminate his handler. The ogre is a constant threat that disrupts the objective, creating tension without becoming overly invasive. With it’s second major expansion, Destiny still knows how to craft a thrilling boss fight. One of the most common complaints leveled at vanilla Destiny was it’s storytelling, or lackthereof. With The Taken King Bungie definitely took a huge step forward in the right direction, and after completing the short but sweet Iron Lord story, it is apparent that Bungie knows how to craft a gripping narrative as well. Although the main plot of Rise of Iron is only five missions long, the narrative is beautifully constructed and had me intrigued since the beginning. I must also tip my hat off to Bungie’s art team. While they have always had stellar artwork, I really love the art style in this expansion. It’s a perfect blend of viking mythology and futuristic sci-fi fantasy that we have come to expect from a Bungie game.

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Of course as we all know too well, the main draw of Destiny is in it’s endgame content and, for me, that is what is going to decide the overall success of Rise of Iron. As with last years “Moments of Triumph” book, Bungie has added a “Rise of Iron Record Book” full of tasks to complete for exclusive rewards, weapons, shaders, emblems, and armor. In fact, upon quick examination of the book, it looks as though it has a lot more stuff to do than the Moments of Triumph book had to do. There has been no word yet if Bungie is planning anything for completing this new record book as they did with the exclusive t-shirt for completing the MoT. For now it appears that there is a good amount of endgame content to occupy your time in RoI. After I completed the main story missions it opened up several other quest lines right out of the gate. There is also the exotic questlines to get the new exclusive exotic weapons such as unlocking Gjallerhorn, Khovostov, and more. There is the Archon’s Forge in the Plaguelands which is pretty much like the Court of Oryx on the Dreadnaught from The Taken King. Let’s also not forget the brand new raid that is dropping this Friday. As I mentioned earlier I have yet to try out the new pVp maps or the new Supremacy mode so I will get into that in the final Rise of Iron review. Keep it locked right here on SportsNerdWeb for more on Destiny! Also be sure to check out SportsNerdWeb on YouTube! …CHEERS!!

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