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Destiny 2's road to recovery includes a rock hard horde mode

Escalation Protocol.

Next month Destiny 2 gets a big new update to coincide with the beginning of the game's third season, as well as the launch of expansion Warmind. Last night, Bungie showed off a raft of new features coming to the game the developer hopes will entice lapsed players back into the shared-world shooter.

The Warmind expansion adds a new destination to Destiny 2, but one that will feel familiar to players of the first Destiny. Players go back to Mars in an area called Hellas Basin. Rasputin, the super advanced AI we thought lived in Old Russia, actually lives in the polar ice caps on Mars. He's now awake and has set off a chain of events that sees warsats rain down on the area, melting the ice caps in the process. This has in turn unleashed new ice hive enemies to fight.

Get your ass to Mars.

Story wise, you need to uncover Destiny's cradle of invention, the birthplace of the tech we know from the Destiny universe. This also happens to be the birthplace of Rasputin.

You can see Rasputin's stronghold in the distance.

How can Rasputin be on Mars and Old Russia at the same time? The Warmind story will apparently explain this.

Expect to see Clovis Bray tech all over Hellas Basin.

Warmind also features a fictional corporation called Clovis Bray (think Wayland Utani from the Aliens franchise), and a new hero character we'll encounter called Ana Bray. She's your friend as well as your vendor in Warmind. She's trying to unravel the relationship between Rasputin, Clovis Bray and herself. The video below is a fancy cinematic that acts as the Warmind prologue.

Meanwhile, Warmind adds a super hard new mode called Escalation Protocol. This is, essentially, a horde mode, with increasingly difficult waves of hive enemies to fight. It's like a public event in that if it's running, anyone can join in. But unlike a public event, Escalation Protocol is not on a timer. So, you can run the mode 24/7, if you fancied it.

Why would you do this? Because Escalation Protocol dishes out unique rewards, such as a unique armour set and unique weapons.

Escalation Protocol is like a cross between a standard public event and Court of Oryx from Destiny 1's Dreadnaught.

There are a total of seven waves, each with a boss fight. The seventh wave has a unique boss with a unique mechanic. There are five of these unique wave seven bosses, which rotate every week. So it'll take five weeks of play to see and fight each one.

The idea is Escalation Protocol is Warmind's challenging endgame experience and an answer to the criticism from some that Destiny 2 wasn't hard enough. So, expect a rock hard challenge.

Warmind comes out at the start of Destiny 2's third season, and a major update that goes live to all players. This update adds an emote wheel, which Destiny players have wanted for years.


Season three also adds Crucible ranks, which should breath new life into Destiny 2's competitive multiplayer.

There are a choice of two ranks: Valor Rank goes up when you complete matches, and winning helps you go faster. But there are no loss penalties. Valor, then, is more a reflection of your time investment, and so is more casual. You can run Valor on quick play and all the rotating playlists.

Valor Rank is the more casual of the two PvP ranking options.

Glory rank, however, goes up when you win and down when you lose, so it's all about the wins. If you leave early you get hit with a loss, too. There are streak bonuses, as there are in Valor, but unique to Glory is the loss streak, so if you're losing you're going to hurt more. This means there's more risk for playing a competitive match, but hardcore players wanted this, apparently.

Glory Rank is the true test of PvP skill.

The two ranks carry their own unique rewards. Lord Shaxx, Destiny's famous Crucible commentator, is where you'll see what you can get. Some rewards are attacked to reaching a rank or completing a challenge after hitting a rank. Oh, and you can prestige via resets. This prestige is uncapped, so if you see another player with a huge number in their emblem, you know they've played ranked a lot.

Glory will be of particular interest to hardcore PvP fans because it rewards a unique gun each season, which you can only get after you hit a specific high rank. This is the first gun Glory will reward at this rank:

Expect to see new perks in Destiny 2.

And finally, private matches return, and pretty much all of the exotic weapons have been given a facelift to be more exotic. (Fighting Lion looks like it might actually be useful!)

Private matches come to Destiny 2 eight months after launch.

Warmind comes out on 8th May. It'll be interesting to see if this DLC, alongside the season three update, rekindles interest in Destiny 2 after what has been a difficult time for the game. You can check out Bungie's stream in full in the video below.

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Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.