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Destiny: The Taken King Launch Guide

Catch up on all that's new in The Taken King and Destiny year two.

By Matt-Clark on September 15, 2015
Player Support

Today, the next chapter in the Destiny saga begins with the arrival of Destiny: The Taken King. A major evolution of the Destiny universe, The Taken King introduces a new villain and powerful new enemies, a new destination, and a wealth of new weapons, gear, missions, Strikes, and quests. And of course, there’s the all-new Raid, King’s Fall, which will launch on September 18. In preparation for The Taken King and the second year of Destiny, has released a massive update for all players that introduces a new character progression system, a new Bounty system, and more. There’s so many new features and content to dive into, so to get you up to speed, we’ve rounded up all that’s new in The Taken King and year two of Destiny.


The Next Chapter, a New Threat

Lets start with the story. Last year, Bungie released The Dark Below, the first expansion for Destiny, which tasked Guardians with stopping a powerful Hive god, Crota, from invading the Earth and wiping out all of humanity. Players banded together in Fireteams of six to take down Crota in The Dark Below’s Raid, Crota’s End. However, by destroying Crota, Guardians have brought upon a new threat to our universe—Oryx, a powerful Hive King and Crota’s father. Seeking vengeance, Oryx has arrived in the galaxy in a Hive Dreadnaught and commanding army of alien races corrupted by the Darkness known as the Taken. The Taken poses violent, unpredictable abilities that will challenge players in new ways.

Through The Taken King’s new story missions, quests, Strikes, and the King’s Fall Raid, you’ll take on Oryx and the Taken, explore new environments, and venture deep into the Dreadnaught.

New Subclasses, Abilities, and Supers

In the fight against Oryx and the Taken, players must learn to wield new abilities by unlocking three new subclasses: Sunbreaker for Titans, Nightstalker for Hunters, and Stormcaller for Warlocks. Each new subclass offers new supers, melees, grenades, and modifiers.

Hunters with the Void-powered Nightstalker subclass will now have access to the Shadowshot super, a construct bow capable of killing enemies in one shot, or lashing enemies to the ground or walls with Void Anchor. Additionally, the new Voidwall Grenade will throw up a horizontal wall of Void flames to hold your enemies at bay. But if a burning screen isn't quite enough, the Hunter can also throw Smoke to disorient and slow their target. Lastly, Shadestep provides the Hunter with a rolling evade maneuver.

The Arc-powered Warlock Stormcaller subclass offers the Stormtrance super, chaining lightning between foes with massive damage. Players can also fry their enemies with the electrified melee ability of Thunderstrike, or bring down a hail of lightning with the new Storm Grenade. The Perpetual Charge ability will recharge your grenades with a melee kill, or conversely recharge the Guardian's melee attack with a grenade kill.

Not to be outdone, the Titan's Solar-powered Sunbreaker subclass packs a real punch in the form of the Hammer of Sol super: a flaming hammer you can throw at enemies to unleash devastating damage. Meanwhile, the Fire Keeper creates a protective shield, while also lengthening the effect of Hammer of Sol. The Sunbreaker also includes a Thermite Grenade, exploding into streaks of fire, and the Sunstrike melee attack to set enemies aflame.


A Massive New Destination

The Dreadnaught presents an entirely new environment for Destiny players to explore. A labyrinthine Hive ship stationed within the rings of Saturn, the Dreadnaught will be home to new story missions, Strikes, and events, including an all new strain of public events: the Court of Oryx. Unlike existing public events, which occur randomly in the environment, the Court of Oryx events are player initiated. Players can trigger a Court of Oryx challenge within the Dreadnaught through a new class of items called Runes. Runes drop periodically throughout your time on the Dreadnaught and have unique difficulty tiers.

The Dreadnaught will also be home to the King’s Fall Raid, which will become available on September 18, shortly after the release of Destiny: The Taken King.

A New Way to Level Your Guardian

One of the biggest evolutions in Destiny year two is how your Guardians will level up, as Character level and Light level are now somewhat exclusive. The Light level of a Guardian from year one will now equate to Character level in year two. As of the 2.0 patch, your Guardians can level up to the cap of 34—or level 40, if you purchase The Taken King—through experience points, meaning every action you take in Destiny now has the opportunity to level your Guardian. Character level will now determine your access to particular missions or items, like Legendary weapons.

Of course, this isn't to say Light level has decreased as an important factor in Destiny. A Guardian's Light level is determined by the attack and defense values of all equipped gear. Looking at a particular character's Light level then gives players an easy way to gauge success before launching into a particular mission or Raid. If the mission has a significantly higher Light level than your equipped gear, you'll have a hard time surviving to pick up any sought-after loot.


Trackable Bounties and Quest Rewards

Last year, players had a total of ten slots available for active Bounties. But in year two, Destiny ratchets up the number of Bounty slots to 16 and simplifies turning those completed tasks in for a reward. No more trips back to the Tower just to turn in a Bounty—you can now turn them in from wherever you are, right from the Ghost screen.

Tracking those Bounties, and your active Quests, is as simple as taking a look at the new Quest tab from within the Ghost menu. Quests, including the all-new missions found in The Taken King, are a big part of Destiny's second year. And players can now see the exact rewards tied to a quest, meaning you'll have a clear goal for completing the mission.

An Even More Social, Customizable Tower Experience

The Tower remains an important hub in Destiny 2.0; a central location to convene with fellow Guardians and customize your items or even show them off. Players now have the ability to either walk around the Tower with their Guardian's face exposed, or to put their best Raid helmet atop their head. And since Vault space has now been doubled for weapons and armor (72 slots for each, respectively), it's easier than ever to customize your Guardian to your liking.

There are still 36 slots for collectible items like ships and emblems in the Vault, but new Collections kiosks in the Tower allow you to condense those down for easy storage. That includes new Exotic Blueprint Collections, which allow players to share any previously owned Exotic weapons across any character on your account.

In the first year of Destiny, gaining reputation with the game’s various Factions was key to earning exclusive new weapons and gear. While those rep points carry over into year two, Destiny's range of Factions will now accept your allegiance on a weekly basis, earning reputation and Faction item packages, without the requirement to equip Faction gear. There's even a new set of rep points to earn, as Banshee the Gunsmith will offer reputation for "field testing" a number of different weapons. Players can temporarily acquire these weapons for free, complete challenges, and exchange them every Wednesday as part of a new weekly Armsday event.

Purchasing Legendary items from applicable vendors has also been streamlined, as Vanguard Marks and Crucible Marks have merged to become one seamless currency: Legendary Marks. Even the Cryptarch is getting in on the action, as he will now sell Legendary engrams in return for Legendary Marks.


Let the Loot Hunt Begin

Speaking of gear, there's a massive amount of new weapons, armor, and other collectible items to find in Destiny: The Taken King. Players who purchase the new The Taken King can expect to find brand new Legendary, Exotic, and Faction-based gear when they start running those new quests and missions. And since there's a newly emerged threat in the universe of Destiny, there's even Taken weapons and armor to discover. Weapons foundries, such as Hakke, Suros, and Omolon will also feature expanded weapons sets. Each foundry will offer unique touches to their weapons, with distinctive visual touches and stats.


New Crucible Modes

When you're not out running Strikes in Destiny: The Taken King or experiencing its wealth of exciting new quests, there's always time for a little player vs player action in the Crucible. And while the various multiplayer modes we've all come to love will return, The Taken King is also adding multiple new modes, including Rift and Mayhem.

Rift works a bit like capture-the-flag, pitting two teams of six Guardians against one another to move a Spark object across the map and into their enemies' base. Detonate the opposing team's Rift, and you'll score. But there's a catch: if a player holds onto the Spark for longer than 75 seconds, it will explode, killing the player.

Mayhem, the second new mode, completely lives up to its name by creating fast-paced, chaotic matches. Players will respawn much quicker, charge supers and abilities in far less time, and the maps are absolutely stocked with heavy ammo. Things are going to get crazy.

For all the latest on Destiny: The Taken King and more, stay tuned to the Activision Games Blog and be sure to follow @Activision, @DestinyTheGame, and the developers @Bungie on Twitter.


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