While we’re about halfway through the Season of the Drifter, and things are getting pretty interesting story-wise, Bungie doesn’t miss a good opportunity to debut a seasonal event. This time is the spring themed Revelry, a celebration of sorts where grandma Eva tells us to go make a mess and have some fun. This is the first major event since the well-received Dawning and many, myself included, were excited to see how Bungie would take the positive feedback from that event and run with it. The Revelry, unlike the Dawning, is a bit of a confounding event, centered around a fresh, but questionable take on the Infinite Forest and some very game-changing mechanics.
Your first trip to the tower will be a very special one during the Revelry. Brightly colored decorations and some cheery music give that, “spring is in the air,” feeling. Everyone’s favorite host, Eva Levante, is back with some bubbly drinks (Reveler’s Tonic) that offer a special kick to some of your abilities. Using the special Revelry currency, you can get a substantial cooldown reduction on your melee, class, or grenade abilities in all activities for one hour. The buff is renewable so long as you have 50 Reveler’s Essence. The essence is acquired from most activities so you shouldn’t have any trouble having enough when your timer runs out.
Now, when I say this cooldown reduction is substantial, I mean it. Running my Titan with Hallowfire Heart and the grenade cooldown, I was tossing grenades pretty much as fast as the game would let me throw them. I knew the buff was strong when I was able to pile up enough grenades to wipe out Brakion before he could even warp at the end of the Pyramidion Heroic Strike. Add in rotating buffs like Grenadier and suddenly you don’t even need to use guns anymore. It is a fun and exciting new way to experience some of Destiny 2’s content, especially when playing with friends. I found it a little less enjoyable when trying to do some of the daily bounties and saw players just sprinting off to grenade kill everything just because they could.
On top of the Tonic, there is also the passive buff that can generate additional orbs of light on precision kills. Unlike the tonic, this buff is constant and, for a while, was also present across all modes. If you played it right, you could almost be playing Mayhem across all modes with one of your abilities constantly at the ready and a super not far behind. While this was great in PvE content, it had a pretty drastic effect on the competitive side of D2. This was especially true in the Competitive (Glory) playlist where players were constantly spamming grenades and supers, dramatically altering the playing field from what those arguably more serious players were accustomed to. It also had a noticeable effect on Gambit and Gambit Prime, though the serious downside were the frequent “Guitar” errors that booted players back to orbit and threatened to put them on Drifter’s naughty list.
Bungie had to act as one playlist of players were losing their mind over a new imbalanced element in their skill graded playlist, while another was looking at potential bans from their playlist through no fault of their own. Bungie disabled the bonus orb generation in both the Gambit modes and the Competitive playlist, but the Revelry tonics could not be disabled during the event as Bungie stated they had no way to do so. This was a pretty shocking development for many. Less than a week into this new event and Bungie already had to make adjustments to appease disgruntled players. You can bet that Bungie will thoroughly test any future events that could have an impact on the PvP aspects of Destiny 2 to avoid having to backpedal like this again.
Bungie also disabled the bonus orb generation in Raids, the pinnacle PvE activities. While, on one hand, I can understand why they would do it, the other part of me wonders why raids can’t have a little bit of craziness? Sure, these are supposed to be activities that push you to your limits, but given that most regular raid teams are already at the 700 power cap and that even a decent team can complete both raids in under three hours, why not let them have a little extra fun for a few weeks? Again, the Tonic is still active so abilities will win the day regardless, what’s a few more supers?
Now, on to the other elephant in the room. Bungie has been at work on a successor to the wildly popular Haunted Forest from last year’s Festival of the Lost and it made its debut with The Revelry. Now dubbed the Verdant Forest, we swap angry Hive knights and debuffs for, well, easy mode. I never thought I would say this, but the Verdant Forest is far too easy to be fun for more than a few runs. Since the event is available for everyone, it is scaled to 200 Power, or 500 less than the current Power cap. There is a time limit that can be extended via kills, opening chests, and clearing branches, but a well-coordinated team will gain far more time than they lose. In the first run, which acts as a sort of tutorial, my fireteam cleared over 60 waves while shaving only about a minute off our timer.
We eventually decided to lose on purpose, not sure what to do next and bored of stomping branch after branch of ill-prepared hostiles. It was then we finally learned the fruits of our labor. We had over five minutes to defeat five bosses, something that took us about 90 seconds to do, not counting the time gained from killing adds. That’s the show people, grind for a time pool and burn the bosses. Eventually, we experimented to see how few branches we could clear and still have enough time to kill the bosses (around 14-18 depending on how favorable your boss spawns are).
The things that made the Haunted Forest special are all gone. As much as I dislike Bungie’s penchant for adding too many debuffs to inflate difficulty, debuffs in the Haunted Forest served to make me feel vulnerable if nothing else. The Hive Knight always at our back (and sometimes to our front) added a sense of urgency, as did a timer that meant something. When we outperformed our best run we wanted to get right back in there to beat it again and again. With the Verdant Forest, the only sense of urgency is to get to the boss phase as quickly as possible and to limit the number of runs we have to complete as much as possible. The thought of seeing just how far I can get doesn’t actually cross my mind.
But surely the rewards are good, right? Well, that depends on how you feel about the armor. Revelry armor is easy to come by via bounties and forest runs and Eva can award some interesting cosmetic effects for them by turning in essence. Otherwise, this event feels light on worthwhile rewards. I found the Titan armor to be ugly as sin and am just waiting for the event to be over so I can safely break it down. I’ve turned in hundreds of essence for gifts from Eva, and the majority of those have been blue gear. The Enhancement Cores that were a frequent reward from Dawning gifts appear to be gone and replaced by mostly passable loot.
The Revelry runs for two more weeks, and that’s fine in the modes where it works well, and a shame for the modes where it has game-ruining potential. Understanding the chaos that ensues in Crucible Quickplay, I can only imagine what this week’s Iron Banner will look like. The event’s major reward, the Arbalest, an exotic Linear Fusion Rifle similar to the Queenbreaker but in the kinetic slot, can be achieved in a day and isn’t especially useful outside of a few scenarios. If there were better rewards I think The Revelry would be a much better overall event, but as it stands it is too uneven in how it impacts the game as a whole and doesn’t give you much for investing your time.