‘Destiny: The Taken King’ Overhauls Leveling And Ghost, Existing Gear Doesn’t Upgrade

New details for how Bungie is handling the second year of Destiny and The Taken King expansion dropped on Tuesday. While it’s not quite the complete overhaul Final Fantasy XIV received with A Realm Reborn, the changes are deep and significant, touching everything from the leveling system to weapons and even Peter Dinklage’s Ghost. The most controversial change, though, is how the year one weapons are being handled in the PlayStation and Xbox shooter.

New Level System

When the Destiny 2.0 update releases in September along with The Taken King, the current Light level system that is dependent on the armor worn by characters to get them past level 20 will be thrown out the door entirely. A more traditional leveling system will take its place, from Level 1 all the way through to the new :evel 40 cap. Experience points will still be earned through missions, bounties, and killing things, but you will no longer have to decide whether to wear that one odd piece of armor that doesn’t match just because it gets you to level 34.

“The conflation of gear and character level led to this place where your identity was determined by things outside of your control,” Creative Director Luke Smith told GameInformer. “We don’t want to do that.”

Armor won’t be completely useless beyond changing a character’s aesthetics. They will continue to provide different ability and power bonuses just as they do today.

Destiny (PlayStation, Xbox)

Farewell Dinklebot, Hello Nolanbot

Also thrown out for the second year of Destiny is Peter Dinklage’s performance as the player’s companion, Ghost. Bungie revealed to Game Informer that his entire voice acting performance from the start of the game to the new content will be replaced by Nolan North.

“We wanted Nolan North’s version of the Ghost to wake you up at the start of the journey at level one and follow you all the way to level forty,” says creative director Luke Smith.

Dinklage was either unable or unwilling to continue the role of Ghost, or Bungie decided it was time for a change. Either way, this put other voice actors in the role guiding players through The Dark Below and House of Wolves. The main benefit to the move is that Bungie will now have access to North, who can come in and quickly perform additional lines for future DLC and sequels.

Destiny: The Taken King (PlayStation, Xbox)

Not Quite Cold Turkey For Gjallarhorn

Finally, all those weapons and armor pieces that Destiny players have collected over the past year won’t upgrade to the new levels in The Taken King. Bungie is adding dozens of new weapons and armor to the game, with the goal of players eventually migrating towards them because of their increased attack and defense ratings, plus the new perks.

“I definitely feel like some of our players are ready to play with some new toys,” says creative director Luke Smith. “And we’ve built a whole bunch of new toys. There are definitely some weapons that you are going to find better versions of – there’s going to be something that replaces that sniper rifle that you love.”

Not mentioned is that this also solves the problems with the unbalanced power of many weapons, such as the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher, and some shotguns with their PVP-breaking perks. The upcoming 2.0 update is going to change some of the balance issues with many individual weapons and entire classes. However, forcing players to migrate to the new weapon set based on the lessons learned over the first year is likely the best bet at achieving better balance in Destiny.

What do you think of these changes to Destiny? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via Bungie]