Iron Banter: This Week In Destiny 2 – Crow Falls Out Of The Nest, Triangulating Trials
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Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it’s story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what’s drawing our attention across the solar system.
A plot point Destiny 2 has been building toward for more than a year has finally happened–and there are some pretty big implications about what could happen next in the Season of the Lost and The Witch Queen. Here there be spoilers, so if you haven’t finished this week’s seasonal story point, go run some Astral Alignments and visit the Shattered Realm, and then get back to us.
Meanwhile, we had another fun and fascinating week with the Trials of Osiris, and it’s been interesting to watch Bungie address community feedback and learn as it goes. We’re getting a break from Trials this weekend in favor of the return of the Iron Banner, and Grandmaster Nightfall Strikes make their return next week.
Endgame activities and Crucible competitions are fun and all, but y’all, I’m worried about Crow, my big sensitive softy Hunter pal.
Revelations And Betrayals
The ongoing story since the release of the Beyond Light expansion this year has been about Crow–first, finding his way not just as a lone Lightbearer, but as a Guardian; then garnering the trust of the Vanguard; next, dealing with the troubling gray area between enemy and friend; and finally, coming to terms with Savathun’s lies and what they mean for the person he wants to be.
But hanging over all of that has been the central piece of information of Crow’s identity. Crow used to be Uldren Sov, the brother of queen Mara, manipulated by Riven (apparently on behalf of Savathun, although the ins and outs of that relationship are maybe a bit murky), murderer of Cayde-6, and finally killed by you.
Savathun gives Crow a quick psychic crash-course on his past in this week’s seasonal story, and it’s a beat we’ve been expecting, and dreading, since the Season of the Hunt. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, honestly, because Crow’s out here reeling from the fact that Osiris, basically the first person to be kind to him (outside of us players, although our relationship is more of a Thor-Hulk “friend from work” vibe), turned out to be Savathun, and was lying to Crow and possibly messing with his head. Now he finds out that everyone else, from us to Ikora to Zavala, has been lying to him as well.
Honestly, he took it better than I was expecting, but I think Crow’s subdued emotional response (and admittances like “I don’t think I would have told me, either”) seem like they’re hiding a deeper scarring. Crow doesn’t know who to trust, and with what Savathun just revealed to him, that extends to himself. He was already in a whirlwind mindset as he grappled with seeing good in enemies and bad in friends, in dealing with the likes of Petra and Mara and the Guardians who’ve judged him because he wears the face of a man he can’t remember being, and now he just found out that his past is a shitshow of lies, betrayal, and cruelty. Plus, we have no idea what Savathun actually imparted to Crow, or how complete the information was, or what bits might have been emphasized or held back.
This is a huge moment–expect this to be a turning point for the rest of the Season of the Lost and likely a major story hinge all the way up to and through The Witch Queen. We’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop all year, and it’s no stretch to say that Crow is currently Destiny 2’s main character. He could go anywhere from here, as well; he could throw himself into his role as a Guardian as a means of erasing his past, he could wind up falling back into the thrall of Mara Sov (a plan she’s been slowly attempting to execute), or he could find himself drawn to the side of Savathun, a person who, for all her other manipulations and machinations, has genuinely helped him. Maybe it’s not the hubris of a mistake by the Techeuns or a tactical maneuver by the Traveler that gives Savathun the power of the Light–maybe it’s a betrayal by Crow as he chooses a side.
It’s no stretch to say Crow is Destiny 2’s Anakin Skywalker, and right now, he’s teetering on the precipice, ready to fall.
The story for this week ends on a lore tidbit that raises some interesting questions, as well. If you read the Ripples lore book entry that unlocks after listening to Crow’s radio transmission with Ikora in the HELM, you find out that Crow is headed to Venus for unknown reasons. Crow previously suggested he might head to Venus to explore back in the Season of the Hunt, only to be turned away from the idea by Savathun-as-Osiris. With Osiris revealed, turning Crow away from Venus seems like a more pointed move now than it was at the time. So what’s Crow hunting there?
I’ve got a lot of ideas, and members of the community on Reddit have suggested that Venus could be the actual location of Savathun’s throne world, which would explain why she didn’t want Crow going there. The ins and outs of Savathun’s world aren’t super clear yet, but if it’s anything like Oryx’s Dreadnaught, and it seems like it might be, she might have actually parked the Ascendant Realm location on the physical location of Venus.
I, for one, think Venus has more to do with the Vex, however. All year, we’ve been seeing connections build between us and factions that have always been enemies of humanity, and in some cases, we’re even creating alliances. Crow is at the forefront of the “have we just tried talking to them” school of thought when it comes to interactions with the Eliksni and the Cabal, and I wonder if he’s starting to think the same thing about the Vex.
This would all hinge on the events of the Season of the Splicer, in which Savathun used Quria to control the Vex network and attack the Last City. That whole situation seemed like Quria was using the Vex against their will, an important point of contention about their actions. The Vex have goals and try to kill humans when they see them, but their motivations are weird and alien and not necessarily evil. They’re more about survival, evolution, and becoming the Final Shape; in fact, not even all the Vex seem to directly worship the Darkness, like the ones in the Black Garden do.
I’ve wondered for a while if we’re building toward some kind of communication with the Vex, and at the end of the Season of the Splicer, there was a big hint in that direction. In the final Override mission, you could find a strange non-combatant Harpy that communicated in beeps and boops that turned out to be Morse code, spelling out the word “Assistant.” Everyone immediately took that to mean that Asher Mir, the Warlock who’d been studying the Vex on Io before it was taken by the Darkness, had either been turned into a Harpy or was communicating through the Harpy. Either way, it seemed like a potential point of contact for interaction with the Vex collective.
We also have years of setup here that have come up more often. In the Insight Terminus Strike, there’s mention of a user in the Vex network called M-Sund-12–a character from the lore named Maya Sundaresh. She was a Golden Age researcher working with the Vex whose mind was simulated by the Vex collective, and we saw her again being used by the Vex to manipulate Clovis Bray in the Deep Stone Crypt lore from Beyond Light. Maya is, essentially, the human face of the Vex, when it needs one.
So Crow could be headed to Venus in order to parlay with the robots. If you’re the guy who’s been betrayed by Savathun, you believe there’s more to humanity’s enemies than just shooting them on sight, and you’re trying to prove that you’re not still the murderous puppet you were in the past, this makes a kind of sense. The Vex have got to be unhappy they were controlled and manipulated by Savathun. They might be willing to entertain an alliance against her. With both Asher and potentially Maya floating around in fairly recent story and lore, it might be time for them to surface in the story as Vex representatives. After all, this whole year has been about building alliances against the Darkness–and one with the Vex is all that’s missing.
He could also be on a collision course with Shayura, the Warlock mentioned in the Trials of Osiris weapons and armor lore of late, and she of the Shayura’s Wrath submachine gun. In the gun’s attached lore entry, we learn Shayura is hunting Guardians who use Stasis and killing House of Light Eliksni–she’s basically gone rogue, and while she seems to think she’s doing good, she actually seems very bad. We’ve seen Crow defend the Eliksni before, so maybe he’s on the hunt, once again as a form of redemption.
Then again, Crow might be after something personal we don’t actually know about or which is buried in the lore somewhere, so this could all be moot.
The point is, this is an exciting thing to think about, and this is a huge story development I’ve been waiting for all year. I can’t wait to see how it pans out, and I hope that even if Crow’s mad at us, we stay friends.
Trials And Tribulations
We’ve talked a lot about Trials of Osiris and after last week’s Trials Labs experiment, it seems like it requires a little more attention before we let it go for a while. The response to Bungie’s adjustments seemed pretty mixed–the addition of a control point in matches was an interesting one, but I know several players who were immediately annoyed that the point sometimes gave one team an advantage over the other.
Personally, I liked Labs and the addition of the new element to Trials matches, because it really shook up gameplay and strategy. I also thought the movement of the control point around the map wasn’t that big of a deal, despite it really bothering some players that a team might have the big advantage of the point on their side of the map. In my experience, matches rarely went so long that the advantage was a major problem, but then again, the experience for higher-level players might be different than for me and my group, where matches tended to become shootouts and everyone on one side or the other died pretty quickly anyway.
My favorite part of this whole thing, though, has been Bungie transparently working through adjustments to the mode and talking them out with the community. If you haven’t read this week’s TWAB about what Bungie uncovered and how it’s feeling about the adjustments, you should. It’s fascinating to see Trials changing and developing over time as Bungie tries things, learns things, and listens to people talk about things.
There’s no Trials this weekend, but we do have Iron Banner back this week, and I’ll close this out by saying that you should be playing Iron Banner if you’re normally a person who ignores it. You’ll want those Pinnacle drops, because Grandmaster Nightfalls are back next week, and you should play those too. They have more new, cool guns! And mods! And really, this is an endgame activity that Bungie is slowly making more accessible and more rewarding, just like Trials, and that’s cool. I’ll talk more about my Grandmaster experiences next week, because like Trials, GMs have enjoyed a recent renaissance that is worthy of attention.
Back to Iron Banner, though–if you play it for no other reason, you should chase a good Riiswalker, especially one with the usual good shotgun perks, such as Opening Shot, and range-boosters like Iron Reach, which is pretty much perfect for this gun. I sat on a couple in my Vault for a while, but pulled it out and dusted it off recently. Even my relatively crap roll of that gun is excellent. You should get one.
If you’ve got ideas about Crow, lore, Venus, Trials, or anything else, drop them in the comments.