Bungie is getting ready to launch the Rise of Iron downloadable content for its multiplayer first-person shooter Destiny that will integrate into the game as a world event. To celebrate its upcoming release, the studio injected Destiny with an alternate-reality game (ARG) code-named Owl Sector. Essentially, players are contracting virtual viruses that serve as buffs, which can then be passed on to other players.
There is a total of five viruses spreading throughout the game: Brilliance 3.2, Glory 2.1, Splendor 2.6, Magnificence 2.0, and Fortitude 3.1. An investigation into the Owl Sector website shows these viruses to be green swarms of electronic mites. According to the backstory, the first few reports stemmed from Guardians who visited the Dust Palace on Mars, but then additional reports began to flood in from all across the system.
“Berriole found a trove of laboratory notes in a locked section of the Dust Palace. Some dead scientist named Shirazi. Some forgotten experiment under the auspices of Willa Bray,” reports an individual named Ram in the website’s Brilliance 3.2 section.
By clicking on each listed buff on the website, Destiny players can read multiple reports submitted to the Records of the Vanguard discussing these strange new viruses. Eventually, fans will read of Bypass Authority Berriole’s trip to the Dust Palace on Mars who discovered a laboratory last accessed by Dr. Shirazi, an employee of Willa Bray. Meanwhile, Geographer Quist reports that tens of thousands of Guardians now have flickering vision.
The Rise of Iron DLC kicks off on September 20 for $30 and focuses on a biomechanical plague called SIVA used by the Devil Splicers. According to Bungie, the Splicers are using SIVA to transform the Plaguelands to “fit their twisted desires.” Players will join Lord Saladin as they head into the Plaguelands to find out what happened to the Iron Lords, and to stop the Splicers in their tracks.
That said, these new ‘buff’ viruses may be related to the Rise of Iron story, a way to get Destiny players enticed before the DLC release. The Owl Sector website provides a global map showing the spread of these viruses across each continent while a 3D-pie chart shows Brilliance 3.2 and Splendor 2.6 serving as the most-used buffs in the batch. Additionally, the viruses seem to be only affecting Crucible, the competitive multiplayer portion of Destiny.
Finally, a Twitch profile named “owl_sector” leads to the Owl Sector website. The profile includes the Latin phrase Vigilamus Noctu, which basically means “we remain awake at night.” This profile was used to respond to Destiny player SayNoToRage who received a virus/buff while broadcasting a session on Twitch.
“We’ve detected an unidentified foreign intrusion into your systems, Guardian. Stay calm. We will investigate,” the profile said to the player.
Fun times, Bungie. Fun times.