House of Wolves, the upcoming expansion for Bungie’s massively multiplayer first-person shooter, Destiny, will allow players to upgrade their older legendary and exotic gear to be viable for the latest end-game content. The developers explained how this will work during a recent livestream preview of the DLC, which launches on May 19.
The upgraded, or “ascended,” weapons can be jacked up to the game’s new damage limit of 365 (previously 331). Armor can be brought up to the new level cap of 34. Fortunately, ascending your weapon will not reset its perks. This means that gear from any point in the game’s life cycle can be made relevant again, addressing a long-standing problem in games like Destiny or World of Warcraft, where the level cap is incrementally raised with expansions, forcing players to scrap the top-tier gear they spent so long gathering in exchange for the new hotness. Advancement now only opens up more options, instead of cutting you off from older ones.
Legendary gear requires a new resource called Etheric Light to upgrade. Etheric Light is most easily found as a reward in House of Wolves’ new endgame content: the Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris. It will also drop occasionally during Nightfall runs and Iron Banner events. That way players who have not purchased House of Wolves can also get in on the ascension action, albeit more slowly. Exotic gear will just require Exotic Shards and other, common resources.
Players will also no longer need the help of Xur from the Tower to upgrade their exotic gear, as they will be newly empowered to do so themselves. To make all of these upgrades a little easier, the Speaker in the tower will let players trade in resources, exchanging glimmer and motes of light for shards and energy, for instance.
Another new equipment option being introduced by House of Wolves is Reforge. This lets players re-roll the randomized perks on weapons, similar to what Myriam the Mystic offers in Diablo 3. As with ascending, this will also cost various resources. It seems that this will only be available for the new weapons introduced in House of Wolves, however.
We’ll learn more about the new endgame activities in the coming weeks, leading up to the May 19 release. But in general these are all exciting changes for the game. Ascending gear will do wonders to encourage greater diversity of equipment at the highest levels of play, which is great for a healthy metagame.