One Of These Destiny 2: Lightfall Strand Subclasses Is Not Like The Others
We’re just three weeks away from the launch of Destiny 2: Lightfall, which means Bungie is finally opening up about all the big new features and changes coming in the penultimate chapter of the Light and Darkness Saga. This week, players were treated to a flashy new trailer showing off Strand – the new Darkness subclass coming in the expansion – as well as a deep-dive blog post on Bungie’s website, and a bevy of interviews across the internet with design lead Kevin Yanes and feature lead Eric Smith. Strand looks to add a whole new way to approach combat in Destiny 2 – at least for some classes. While Warlocks and Hunters are getting fancy new pet-summoning and rope dart abilities, respectively, Titans will be using Strand to more or less do what they’ve always done: punch things really hard.
There’s a lot of information in the Strand reveal, including new debuff keywords-to-know like Suspend, which binds enemies and lifts them in the air; Unravel, a Volatile-like debuff that causes enemies to emit bursts of damaging threads when attacked; and Sever, a debuff that lowers an enemy’s damage output. Bungie recently revealed that Warmind Cells are going away, and now we know why. Strand has its own Warmind Cell-style mechanic called Tangles, which are produced from Unraveled enemies and can be blown up, thrown, or grappled onto using Strand’s multi-class grapple hook ability.
The blog post explains that Strand is all about rewarding players for maintaining a high number of “actions per minute”. Smith provides one example of debuffing an enemy with Unravel, turning them into a Tangle, grappling onto the Tangle to grab it in mid-air, tossing the Tangle at a group of enemies, and grappling onto it again so that you fly across the battlefield, attached to a strand bomb, and crash land on a group of now-unraveled enemies. It sounds like Strand is going to improve Destiny’s traversal and mobility pretty significantly, not unlike what Dragonriding did for World of Warcraft in the latest expansion.
Grappling around on Tangles and suspending enemies in the air will be universal mechanics for all classes, but the individual subclass powers are what really give Strand its identity. Bungie believes in building strong class fantasies, and for the most part, Strand does a good job of giving each class its own unique way to play. Warlocks will use Strand to become Broodweavers that can weave sentient Threadlings that seek out targets and explode on them. There are other subclasses with summoning-like abilities, like the Arc Souls that Stormcallers create, but this is the first minion-focused subclass. Broodweavers also get a multi-target Arcane Needle melee attack that they can use to quickly unravel enemies around them, and a Super called Needlestorm that peppers a large area with needles that then reweave themselves into an army of Threadlings.
Hunters will become Threadrunners, highly-mobile acrobats that have better control of the sky and more opportunities to grapple around. They are aided by their Threaded Spike melee ability, which is a ranged rope dart that bounces between enemies and can be caught in the air with good timing in order to generate extra melee energy. Their Super is a roaming ability called Silkstrike that allows them to grapple around quickly and chain attacks with their rope dart, or swing it around for a big AoE attack. Strand is unlocking the agile, free-running potential of the hunter class.
The final Strand subclass, Titan Berserkers, are described as hulking masses of untamed power. They have a multi-charge melee attack called Frenzied Blade that allows them to dash at enemies and slash at them with swords made of Strand. They can destroy Tangles to create Woven Mail that gives them extra defense, and their Super, Bladefury, allows them to roam the battlefield slashing enemies with their dual-wielding fist blades. Titan Berserkers are tanky brutes that can throw their faces into hordes of enemies and come out unscathed. It’s a great fit for the Titan class fantasy, but it also doesn’t sound much different from the rest of the Titan Subclasses.
The Stasis subclass Behemoth is a lot like Berserkers. Its Super allows you to run around and punch enemies while also creating Stasis crystals. Behemoth is a lot like the Arc subclass Striker, which allows you to run around and punch enemies. Among the eight Titan subclasses, all but two have roaming Super abilities in which you run around throwing fists. Void even gives you an overshield, similar to Strand’s Woven Mail.
Yanes addressed the similarities between Berserker and other Titan subclasses in an interview with GameRadar. The design lead said that Frenzied Blade differs from other Titan Supers because it gives survivability tools, as well as a ranged option, but he doesn’t even sound particularly convinced that they’re all that unique. In a quote that is spreading across Destiny Twitter like wildfire, Yanes ends his explanation by saying, “But yeah, Titan amins, we love you. We do. But remember that we try to reinforce core fantasy. And at some point, your guy’s holding the first on the cover of the game.”
There’s a lot more to a subclass than its Super, and Yanes goes on to explain that Strand will evolve over time and we’ll eventually see the “wild untamable force” within the Titan. It’s just a close-range brawler class like so many other Titan subclasses, Yanes promises. There might be a lot more to Berserkers we’re just not seeing, but compared to the innovative new techniques Warlocks and Hunters are getting right out of the gate, it's hard not to feel like Titans are getting the short end of the stick.
There’s a bit of a pattern among Destiny players to proclaim doom and gloom before an expansion comes out. With each Light Subclass revision last year, there was always a group of players that felt like their class was getting neglected. Even after last week’s Exotic weapon trailer, Hunter players were complaining that their gear wasn’t as cool as the others. There’s no telling what kind of playstyle and power level each subclass will have until we get a chance to play Lightfall. At the same time, I can’t blame Titan players for feeling underwhelmed. They know they signed up to throw big punches, but they’re more than just a fist on the cover of the game. Some Titans are ready to move beyond their big-punching, crayon-eating ways, and I support them.
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