If being disappointed by The Dark Below were not enough, the Iron Banner makes a less than triumphant return to Destiny and brings more shame to the game. Players will find that the reputation level they had earned previously has been reset to zero. This was well advertised and is how Bungie intends it to work for the event. The proper levels needed to acquire gear can be attained while completing bounties in the Iron Banner and equipping banners, shaders, and class items previously obtained quicken the process.
Where the game fails, yet again, is in the rewards players can get. Lord Saladin isn’t offering anything noticeably better than his Vanguard and Crucible counterparts. Armor prices have a max light level of 33, and legendary weapons have max damage values of 331. These are the same values that the regular vendors offer in their gear.
Bungie did come through on one promise in that Iron Banner gear is not as good as raid gear. In the previous Iron Banner, items with light levels equal to the raid gear from the Vault of Glass were available. This time not only is it not as good as raid gear from Crota’s End, it isn’t any better than what you could already purchase elsewhere.
Also, buying Iron Banner gear will cost you your preciously earned Crucible marks. Of course you could put your faith in RNG and hope that you get the gear you desire as a drop during competition. You could also chase rainbows looking for leprechauns.
Reforging weapons is available again, but appears to be even more useless than before. At the cost of two Motes of Light, you can redo a weapon to get different attributes for it. Say you would rather have a larger magazine or faster reload attributes, you can pay to change the weapon’s abilities. What you can’t upgrade is the weapon’s damage. Unlike the process to upgrade Exotics that Xur offers to take them from 300 to 331 damage, your Iron Banner weapons will still have a damage value of 300. By the way, you’ll have to reapply and re-earn all the upgrades on the weapon if you reforge it, just like the Exotic weapon upgrade process.
There is really only one thing of value to earn from the Iron Banner – XP. If PVP is your thing and you are level 20 or better, grab the regular Crucible bounties and Iron Banner bounties. You should be able to complete most of these while competing, thus getting the most XP you can relative to the time spent. Too bad XP doesn’t buy anything, but any extra will help level any new gear you happen to get.
The Iron Banner serves as yet another example of Bungie failing at their own game. The timing to release the event was an odd choice to begin with–given that The Dark Below had just released–but even worse is that this event gives nothing of note to the players that they could not obtain otherwise.
Watching this game self destruct is becoming a morbid fascination. If the names Bungie and Activision were not tied to it, would it even still be a conversation piece?
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!