K E Y P O I N T S
Warmind is the second expansion for Destiny 2, the blockbuster sequel to the original of the same name.
You play a Guardian, an immortal protector of humanity who thanks to a vast alien spacecraft known as the Traveller, has a realm of powers and superhuman abilities. If that sounds mad, it is, it’s also brilliant fun.
Despite still boasting millions of players, Destiny 2 has been going through a difficult time since launch thanks to major changes which went down badly with fans.
Warmind brings with it some of the most notable shake ups to the game since launch and has been specifically been designed to address fans’ concerns.
It has a short, but enjoyable storyline that lasts no more than a few hours. It also introduces the best new playable location since launch: The icy polar caps of Mars.
Major updates to the existing weapons and the introduction of new weapons and armour help inject some much-needed freshness into the game’s current format.
Finally, and perhaps best of all, Warmind is filled with secret codes, hidden puzzles and quests that will require weeks of the community working together to solve them. This was one of the core reasons the original was so much fun and it’s a huge relief to see these elements back in the game.
V E R D I C T
Despite boasting millions of players around the globe and an army of devoted fans, Destiny 2 has not been going through the best time lately.
Developer Bungie made some major changes to the original game’s format and it’s probably fair to say that most of them were not well received by the community.
Changes to weapons fundamentally altered how they could be used, the multiplayer was reduced from 12 player matches to 8 player matches and worst of all, seasonal events designed to give players something to work towards were altered to favour players spending real money as opposed to those putting in the work.
In response, Bungie have humbly listened and are slowly but surely rewriting the entire game so that it starts to resemble the experience that was once on offer at the end of Destiny 1.
Like the first expansion, Curse of Osiris, Warmind adds a new story and playable location to the existing game.
The new story is extremely brief, shorter possibly than even Curse of Osiris, at a little over three hours if you do a bit of exploring in between. Without giving too much away you’ll be asked to respond to a distress call on Mars, where you’ll explore the planet while learning about one of the game’s most mysterious protagonists an ancient human-designed artificial intelligence called Rasputin.
It’s fun, contains some great little set-pieces where you’re given an almost comically powerful superweapon called a ‘Valkyrie’ and features some great voice acting including a surprise appearance from an extremely well-known British actor and presenter.
Where Warmind really excels though is in the world it creates after you’ve finished the storyline.
The new Mars setting is the largest addition to the game since it was launched last September and while it’s not massive, it’s positively crammed with secrets to explore. While Destiny 2 gave us more missions to accomplish, it did so at the cost of treasure hunts and easter eggs.
Destiny has always been loved by its fans for containing unexplained doors, hidden weapons that require incredible quests to obtain and riddles that could take weeks before making sense. Destiny 2 lost much of that, and it suffered because of it.
Warmind is an exciting step back towards that. As you explore you’ll discover small glowing symbols that tie into a giant quest for loot, and inexplicable floating diamonds that can only be opened if you have the right frequency. The game does nothing to help you in achieving these, instead it’s down to you to find out yourself or by asking the community and working it out together.
Warmind also adds a brand-new game mode called Escalation Protocol. It’s effectively a horde mode that takes place in the open world. Once activated anyone can join and it will task you with taking down increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Once you defeat all the waves you’ll fight a unique boss (that changes every week) and finally if you make it past the boss you’ll get weapons and armour only obtainable through this activity. It’s fantastically hard, and as a result is impractical for anyone to attempt straight away, but it gives you something to work towards and genuinely look forward to.
Multiplayer has also been given a major refresh and along with the promise of bringing back 12-player matches there’s now ranked play. Quite simply the better you get, the higher your rank becomes and the greater the chance is of getting good loot. It’s similar to the old way that seasonal events like Iron Banner worked and it’s a great way to incentivise you to play.
Warmind isn’t without its faults of course. The update has changed one of the games activities Heroic Strikes to make them much much harder. These story-based missions end in defeating a boss and have always been a great way to level your character up and obtain decent loot.
However despite making them harder Bungie have kept the loot the same, which means that the risk to reward ratio is almost comically unbalanced. Why spend hours slaving over an activity when the chances of it dropping something that better are slim to none.
It’s a shame because strikes needed to get harder, but sadly without a reward good enough, they’re all but pointless to attempt for the first month or so of casual play.
T A K E H O M E M E S S A G E
Warmind is a brief but promising glimpse at what Destiny 2 could become in the next 12 months. It fixes a lot of what was chronically wrong with the game and shows a serious intent to make things right. It’s for this reason that I felt I needed to write a verdict on what is, on the surface at least, a minor expansion to the game.
If you love playing Destiny and are invested in seeing it returned to its former glory then Warmind is, in my view, a must-buy. It restores one of the games’ most enjoyable features: mystery, and even now I’m still searching out all of its secrets and will be for months to come.