Bungie hosted a reveal stream Tuesday for the Destiny 2: Warmind expansion scheduled to be released to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in two weeks. While the studio revealed several updates, the most interesting from a PVE aspect is the new Escalation Protocol coming to Mars. It's a mash-up of a horde mode-like public event and the Court of Oryx from The Taken King and you can get the details here.
Escalation Protocol is Bungie's answer to those in the Destiny 2 community that want a challenging end-game activity beyond the Raid and Raid Lairs. It is also the answer to complaints from players that the game has not been hard enough. In fact, the studio took feedback a recent community event where the studio flew in YouTube and Twitch streamers that the mode could be a little harder and made some last-second changes to make the new mode even more difficult.
Towers placed by the Warmind Rasputin are scattered around the Mars Hellas Basin area. Once activated, the towers will rise out of the ground and begin emitting a signal that will attract waves of ever more challenging Hive.
There are seven total waves possible with the Escalation Protocol event and players must kill all the Hive in a wave plus a boss creature at the end to move on to the next wave. The seventh wave will feature a unique boss fight with unique mechanics. Bungie has five different rotating bosses planned for the final wave that will appear each week and grant their own unique rewards when defeated.
Armor codes will also occasionally drop during the event. Destiny 2 players can use these codes to equip a powerful spear called the Valkyrie to defeat enemies in a crunch. This is similar to the flaming ax in Rise of Iron, but it can be thrown or used as a melee weapon. The downside is the weapon will disappear after a set period of time so it is best to activate at critical junctures.
The Valkyrie will not be the only weapon players can equip on the battlefield. The Hive will occasionally open rifts that spawn Hive Swords in the area. These behave the same as the sword from Destiny 1 and provide a powerful attack against high-level enemies or hordes of Thrall.
The reward structure for Escalation Protocol includes chests that will become available to open at the end of the third and fifth waves. These will be similar to existing Public Event chests and grant cosmetic items as well. The aforementioned chest from beating the seventh wave will be the one that grants the unique and powerful reward that can only be earned from the new mode.
Both weapons and armor featuring Warmind styling and unique perks will be included in the seventh chest and are there to give players something unique to chase. For example, the Shotgun from the event includes a perk that does bonus damage following a melee attack. Meanwhile, the Sniper Rifle has a unique perk that does bonus damage after aiming down sights for a period of time, which makes the Triple Tap perk on the rifle even deadlier.
The new Escalation Protocol for Destiny 2: Warmind is meant to give players a repeatable challenging event that encourages a diverse array of play styles and provides unique gear to chase. There will still be Public Events and High-Value Targets that appear on Mars, but the game has been in need of just such a mode. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up at launch.
The Destiny 2: Warmind expansion and update 1.2.0 are scheduled to be released on May 8 to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Bungie has confirmed all Crucible maps in the expansion will be available to all players in matchmaking activities whether they have purchased the DLC or not. Additionally, changes to how enemy difficulty scales will be included.