Instead of a new raid, Destiny is trying out a new kind of end game with their House of Wolves expansion called the Prison of Elders. Basically it is what a lot of Destiny players had been asking for; it is a horde mode. To put it simply, you and two other players go into a battle arena to face off against waves of enemies.
The in game lore behind Prison of Elders is that the location is a prison where criminals of the solar system are locked up. This is where the Archon Priest who escaped to Mercury had escaped from. The reason these criminals are fighting is that the entire thing is set up by the Fallen leader, Variks. If the criminals do well they are rewarded with loot, but if the Guardians succeed, they get the loot.
There are four difficulty tiers for the Prison of Elders. There is a level 28, 32, 34, and even a level 35 version. You can go in to the level 28 mode via matchmaking, but you need a ready fire team for any of the other tiers. The level 28 mode is randomly generated each time, but the other difficulty levels are set and will change week by week. In whichever one you choose, you will face four rounds of combat, one against each race of bad guys.
In the Prison of Elders each round will be made up of three waves with a checkpoint between rounds to regroup. Each round is affected by modifiers like juggler, and they are even going to implement new modifiers in time for the Prison of Elders. To add another element of challenge, some rounds will have mandatory goals called Critical Objectives. It might be capturing an area, keeping a VIP from reaching a checkpoint, disarm mines, or something else. To add a random element of fun to counter this, Variks, the Fallen leader for the Prison of Elders, will drop a scorch cannon, which works like a Hive sword, onto the field every now and then.
Once you beat all four rounds there will be a boss level. There are six bosses, but Bungie has only revealed one of them so far. On the level 35 challenge, if you make it past the sixth round, in a bonus round you’ll get to face off against Skolas, the big villain of the House of Wolves story. I you succeed in beating a boss at any level, you’ll score random loot in a treasure room. If you managed to pick up a Key consumable in the Prison, or somewhere else, you’ll get more loot, and a higher chance of finding better loot.
The level 28 version rewards players with Queen’s Wrath gear. Level 32 guarantees a piece of Fallen themed armor. Level 34 offers a Fallen themed weapon to winners. These Fallen themed items are exclusive to the Prison of Elders. Also playing on level 34 or 35 has a chance to earn you Etheric Light, which is necessary to level up legendary and exotic equipment to level 34.
Prison of Elders brings a new dynamic to Destiny, and to many people makes it okay to not have a raid. The game mode brings something for serious and casual players. The House of Wolves will launch on May 19. A horde mode could be a lot of fun, and was my favorite part of Mass Effect 2 and 3; but do you think Bungie will do a good job with it? What I mean is will the Prison of Elders actually be fun to play?
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Written by Spencer Havens