We already know that Bungie got year 2 off to a great start with the release of Forsaken, even if the game still isn’t perfect. Over the last three months, we’ve been treated to secret quests, exotic pursuits, and an evolving story in the Dreaming City. As fun as it has all been, we have certainly reached the point where the game needs an influx of fresh content. Enter The Black Armory, the first release for owners of the Annual Pass. For those who don’t know, the Annual Pass is taking the place of the more traditional expansions such as Curse of Osiris and Warmind. The idea behind the change is that instead of focusing on new locations and cutscenes Annual Pass content will roll out over the course of a season and offers paying customers more content than what the new seasons themselves bring.
The Black armory is part of the Season of the Forge, the next three months of content available to all players. All Forsaken owners will be able to increase their maximum power by 50, enjoy the return of the machine gun weapon class to the heavy slot, and take advantage of the new seasonal events such as the current Dawning event (which is great, but that’s not what we’re here for). The Armory takes it one step further by introducing a new NPC, Ada-1, and a new series of pursuits to unlock exclusive weapons.
Keeping a long story short, players will have to complete quests to unlock the forges on different worlds and complete a new matchmade event in order to create the guns themselves. The first time you craft each weapon it is a guaranteed powerful drop while subsequent attempts to craft the weapon will yield a soft cap version of the gun that will likely have different rolls. So far we have access to two forges, Volundr in the EDZ and Gofannon on Nessus. The forges are rolling out over time, a move I think is smart to ensure players don’t just brute force their way through right at the start and then complain there isn’t enough content.
By this point, many of you have likely seen the outcry that came from players struggling to run the new forges at launch. While I can understand that on a basic level, it was an ultimately short-sighted argument. The forges are designed to be respectively mid-level quests and as a means for players to improve their power over time. Most of the player complaints came on the first day, not even a full day into the weekly reset. Bungie decided to make a slight drop to the power requirements of the forge, not enough to truly alleviate the struggle of early attempts, but also not enough to make the event a complete cakewalk now that players are getting close to max. So yes, it is ever so slightly better now, but I think the community needs to take a collective deep breath before going after Bungie on the first day of new content, crying foul.
On top of the new forge activity Bungie has rolled out a brand new raid that takes place in the Last City. Let me tell you, this is a hell of a raid and could push you over the edge if you’re on the fence about the Annual Pass. Clocking in at under two hours or less for a competent completion, Scourge of the Past is focused on quick action and mechanics that are easy to pick up and complete when you do get rolling on all cylinders. Bungie compares this particular raid to Wrath of the Machine, a raid I missed out on by passing on D1’s post Taken King content, which I now regret. There are three major sections and only one major DPS-reliant phase. Scourge of the Past is much more focused on teamwork and communication than having to burst down a boss before a wipe (though that can still happen if you take too long).
Scourge is a solid compliment to The Last Wish which is a longer, more involved raid with a greater mechanical emphasis and some unnecessary components that can be cheesed away. This more “bite-sized” raid will be quick to run for players and clans who want to feel like they accomplished something each week while also getting their hands on even more Black Armory gear. Plus, it comes as a big surprise considering Bungie only promised new Raid-Lairs, similar to the year 1 additions of the Leviathan, rather than fully-fledged, albeit shorter, brand new content.
Ultimately, it is too early to render any final judgment of the Black Armory and its content considering we’ve likely only scratched the surface to this point, but I believe Bungie has thus far exceeded my expectations for their self-proclaimed smaller, seasonal add-ons. We still have plenty of secrets to uncover and two more forges to unlock. Players who are still trying to push to 600 got a buff to Prime Engrams to help them level faster and get to grinding for the new power levels, and if future events are as good as this year’s Dawning, they’ll definitely be something to look forward to when they roll around. So yeah, the Annual Pass is probably worth it if you’re itching for more content or just casually play and want the option to get more. I’ll make sure to have a follow-up on this when the last two forges go live and we see what comes next after that, so stay tuned!