Last week, we took a closer look at Trials of Osiris, a new competitive multiplayer event coming to Destiny with the debut of Expansion II: House of Wolves on May 19. Now, we’re turning our focus to House of Wolves’ new cooperative activity: Prison of Elders, which pits Fireteams of three players against waves of increasingly difficult enemies and challenges in a round-based arena. Like Trials of Osiris, Prison of Elders introduces a completely new type of challenge to Destiny, and with it, new opportunities to earn high-level weapons and gear.
Prison of Elders is a new location within The Reef where the most nefarious enemies in the galaxy are held. It has also become a proving ground for Guardians. When you and your Fireteam enter, you’ll find yourselves in an airlock with doors on all sides, each leading to a different chamber housing one of Destiny’s four enemy races: the Cabal, Vex, Hive, or Fallen with environments to match. But success requires more than just clearing out the enemies that lie within—you’ll need to work together to overcome powerful bosses, complete time-sensitive objectives, and adapt to unpredictable modifiers.
Every trip through the Prison of Elders features five or six rounds, each with three unique waves. In some waves you may find yourself fighting multiple high-level bosses, while in others you may need to take out a VIP before it reaches a specified destination or quickly defuse mines that appear at randomized locations in the map. Each scenario presents interesting strategic considerations not commonly found in other kinds of arena survival games. For example, when tasked with defusing mines, you can group up to neutralize the bomb faster at the risk running out of time before reaching the next objective or divide and conquer, but leaving each player more vulnerable.
There are also a variety of new and existing modifiers to grapple with. In some instances, you may enter one of Prison of Elders’ chambers with increased shield levels, but they may not regenerate after taking damage. On the other hand, you may get performance boost, like more rapid grenade recharging. In total there are eight new modifiers that you may stumble upon in your journey through Prison of Elders. What’s more, boss battles can also have unexpected twists. During my playthrough, I faced a Cabal boss whose shields would change damage types every time they regenerated. As a result, my Fireteam needed to carefully pick each of our respective loadouts and time our attacks to effectively inflict damage.
Most importantly, Prison of Elders’ difficulty can scale to match players of a variety of skill and experience levels. The level 28 version is matchmade, meaning anyone can jump in solo and find a Fireteam. Increasing the difficulty to level 32 or level 34 requires that you enter Prison of Elders with two friends in tow, but for good reason—the increased challenge will necessitate close collaboration. Whereas other difficulty levels feature only five rounds, the hardest difficulty, level 35, adds a sixth where you’ll face the primary antagonist of House of Wolves—a powerful Fallen Kell known as Skolas.
Success at any difficulty level, however, has the potential to yield significant rewards. Not only will you have a chance to earn gear through normal loot drops upon completion, at the end of every Prison of Elders run, you’ll gain access to a special vault filled with rewards. Completing Prison of Elders at higher difficulties is also guaranteed to yield tokens that unlock gear for purchase from Variks, a new vendor in The Reef. Those ambitious enough to brave Prison of Elders’ highest challenge, level 35, have a chance of earning max-level weapons and gear.
Prison of Elders launches as part of Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves on May 19, which includes a brand-new social space in The Reef, a new competitive multiplayer event with Trials of Osiris, new story missions and a strike, new multiplayer maps, and a wealth of new weapons and gear. Stay tuned to the Activision Games Blog for more information, and be sure to follow @DestinyTheGame, @Activision, and the developers @Bungie on Twitter.