Yesterday saw the release of the first official piece of DLC for Destiny, “The Dark Below”. Along with new gear and a few brief story missions, the DLC brought a new strike and endgame raid. It also brought a bit of a surprise for high-level Destiny players who perhaps weren’t considering picking up the DLC: this week’s heroic and nightfall strikes are locked away behind the DLC.
Some background for those who perhaps aren’t that au fait with Destiny’s endgame and high-level player activities: weekly heroic and nightfall strikes up the difficulty and subsequent loot payouts for ordinary strikes. Those strikes rotate each week and allow high-level players to essentially hit very hard strikes in order to gain the loot that will boost their character level. Now that “The Dark Below” is out, however, this week’s heroic and nightfall playlist is locked away behind the DLC, leaving non-DLC owners who are high-level players no way to advance their game other than grinding for bounties or looking for public events – both of those methods are vastly inferior means of advancing one’s high-level character.
This has caused quite a stir online in places like Reddit, where the news hit shortly after the DLC went live. Bungie has confirmed the situation and provided Polygon with the following statement:
“All existing strikes and maps are still accessible. Specific activities like nightfall will periodically feature expansion 1 content on the week the newest content is live. New public events, updated weapons and gear, new bounties, and of course the steady stream of updates are all available without additional cost to all players.”
From the sounds of that statement, this will be the norm moving forward as further DLC releases. Don’t forget that it’s one week of heroic and nightfall strikes that are gated behind DLC ownership. Next week the base-game content will hit the playlists again. What’s not clear, however, is whether this DLC-only playlist will crop up every few weeks. Furthermore, as additional DLC gets released, how often will DLC strikes form the weekly heroics and nightfalls? In other words: how often can those who don’t own the DLC expect to be locked out of endgame content for a week?
What are your thoughts on this? Is this a storm in a teacup? Could one argue that those Destiny players who tackle weekly endgame content will likely be players who would purchase the DLC anyway? Is this Bungie and Activision seemingly “forcing” DLC on their playerbase? Is this the “start of pay-to-play” that a couple of online comments have noted? Let us know below.