Destiny 2: Joker’s Wild Review

Destiny 2 Annual Pass

Destiny 2 Annual Pass

Destiny 2’s second of three content drops that make up the post-Forsaken Annual Pass released a few short weeks ago. Dubbed Joker’s Wild, the drop adds an evolved form of Gambit called Gambit Prime and a new endgame cooperative activity for four players called The Recknoning to Annual Pass holders.

Joker’s Wild has stuff for non-Annual Pass holders as well, and is just a part of Destiny’s sixth season, “The Season of the Drifter.”

The free Seasonal Update adds the following to all players of Destiny 2: Forsaken.

  • Private Gambit Matches & New Maps
  • A Power Level Increase (to 700)

The free Seasonal Update offers the following to all players of Destiny 2 without needing to own Forsaken:

  • Exotic Quest
  • The Revelry Event
  • New Triumphs & Lore Books
  • Arc Week
  • New Vanity Rewards
  • New Rank Rewards
  • Iron Banner

And finally, Season of the Drifter’s Joker’s Wild content offers the following to Annual Pass holders:

  • Gambit Prime
  • The Reckoning
  • Exotic Quest
  • New Triumphs & Lore Books
  • Gambit Prime Private Matches & New Maps
  • Allegiance Quest
  • Gambit Prime Weapons & Gear
  • Invitations of The Nine

Now that we know what all is included and who gets what, let’s get on with the review of Joker’s Wild and Season of the Drifter in general.

Gambit Prime Gear Sets

The Hobby Evolves

Destiny fans got a taste of what the Annual Pass would provide back in December when Black Armory released. While it included a new three-player endgame activity, the Forges, that allowed for targeted farming of specific weapons, the content drop was largely seen as underwhelming by many.

The biggest reason for that was a steep power climb that locked many players out from experiencing the new content on day one, especially considering unlocking the Forge’s were tied to lengthy quest steps.

That was not the case with Joker’s Wild. Annual Pass holders were able to jump right in and experience Gambit Prime as soon as the content went live. There was immediately a new quest and activity to do, and completing that first Gambit Prime game unlocked The Reckoning and a farmable loop was immediately accessible.

Gambit Prime and The Reckoning go hand in hand. You get Synths in Gambit Prime that you take into The Reckoning to craft a piece of armor from a specific set that you then take back into Gambit Prime and get to take advantage of some cool Gambit Prime specific perks that help create four distinct roles within the mode. Even if you get a full set of Notorious armor, you still have a reason to farm both Gambit Prime and The Reckoning for some really strong legendary weapons with great perks or perk combinations.

There’s more to do than just play Gambit and Reckoning for Joker’s Wild owners though. There’s an Allegiance Quest that allows players, on a per character basis, to align with either the Vanguard or the Drifter. This is the first RPG like quest in Destiny, one in which your decision matters, is final, and will supposedly have lasting consequences. It’s a huge step in the right direction of finally moving Destiny into a more RPG than just a looter shooter. It fleshes out the Drifter character, and adds some of most compelling lore to date.

Speaking of lore, players are in for a treat with the Invitations of the Nine bounty that Xur offers up each week. Completing the bounty will send players to the old flawless Trials of the Nine location to stand before an emissary of the Nine. You get a story told, a nice cinematic, and loot. While not a game changer by any means, it’s a nice addition that gives a reason to visit Xur each week and really gives the lore nerds something to sink their teeth into.

Joker's Wild Screenshot 01

The Season of the Drifter

We don’t know much about what The Revelry event will contain, but data leaks suggest it will be very similar to the Festival of the Lost/Haunted Forest from October. We also don’t know what Arc Week is yet. The first Iron Banner of the season begins Tuesday, March 26th and features the following changes:

This season, Lord Saladin has a few new tricks up his ironclad sleeve. We’re introducing two new consumable items that will change the flow of combat through temporary Power level adjustments.

Iron Burden

The Iron Burden consumable is for the best of the best to challenge themselves by lowering their Power by 100, putting more focus on skill, strategy, and gunplay. With greater risk comes greater reward. For the brave, Saladin will be offering the Iron Burden consumable for purchase with 5 Iron Banner Tokens. There will be a new Triumph you can complete this Season by defeating 500 opponents while the Iron Burden debuff is active. Completing it will reward you with an updated version of Wizened Rebuke that is fully Masterworked and has a curated roll. You don’t have to complete this during the first event. Your progress will carry over to the next Iron Banner.

Wolf’s Favor

For those of you who find yourselves in PvE activities more frequently, the Wolf’s Favor consumable has been added as an invitation to try your hand in the Iron Banner. These consumables, which will drop with limited availability, grant a temporary 100 Power increase, up to a cap of 700, for 30 minutes. Our goal here is to help those who don’t normally play Crucible take a step in to the action.

Bounties

Bounties have been updated to provide more choice and address feedback from previous Seasons over how long it took to earn progress toward various objectives. Each bounty will grant a powerful reward upon completion. Additionally, completion of a bounty will unlock the ability to direct purchase specific rewards from Lord Saladin. Saladin will also offer a new emblem you can pick up after completing all the weekly bounties called the Weight of Guilt. It will track higher-Power opponents defeated while under the effects of The Iron Burden. We have also added an updated version of Orewing’s Maul with random rolls that will drop from match completion and from token packages.

Of course Iron Banner has a new armor set for each class, and it actually looks really good:

 

Sticking with The Crucible for a minute, there’s a new SMG called The Recluse awarded for reaching Fabled in Competitive, but that’s it.

There’s still no new crucible maps, no new crucible armor, no new modes, and no reason to believe that the Labs feature will be coming back anytime soon. Of course no Trials either. There wasn’t much in the way of sandbox changes either, so even the meta hasn’t really changed either.

If you live in the Crucible, Bungie continues to have nothing to offer you and they remain silent on the PvP front.

On the PvE front, still no new strikes or vanguard armor. This, combined with the lack of Crucible content, really needs to change. If Bungie can design a new Eververse armor set every season, along with a bunch of emotes, ships, sparrows, and ghost shells, they should at the very least be able to make some new armor sets and weapons for vendors. I like having Service Revolver back from the Vanguard, but at this point all D2Y1 armor and weapons should be back in the game with random rolls and we should be getting new weapons and armor each season.

I can understand not having a strike every season, or a new crucible mode, but I don’t think new weapons and armor each season is asking too much.

Gambit Prime Roles

Destiny’s Best State Yet

While the lack of new vendor armor and weapons, strikes, and crucible updates is a bit of bummer (but known ahead of time), Season of the Drifter/Joker’s Wild continues to move the Destiny franchise in the right direction.

Destiny 2 has come a long way from its vanilla state, and right now Destiny 2 is in the best shape the franchise has ever been in particularly for PvE players. There’s a ton of stuff to do on a weekly basis, and more ways to earn powerful gear than ever before because of it.

If you’ve been away from Destiny 2 for awhile, now is the perfect time to return to the game, especially if you have purchased the Annual Pass. There’s plenty of do and some great weapons that are farmable. Gambit Prime is a great evolution of Gambit, adding interesting mechanics and roles, a prolonged boss fight that isn’t a guaranteed win for the first team to summon, and only being one round ups the ante. Meanwhile, The Reckoning perfectly synergizes with Gambit Prime, creating a nice loop of content while grinding for the new armor and weapons with the perks that you want.

Season of the Drifter is the best season yet in Destiny 2, and the bar has been elevated enough to expect great things from the Season of Opulence and beyond.

Destiny 2: Season of the Drifter (Joker’s Wild) gets a four out of five: GREAT.

4 Stars

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