Yesterday Bungie released Destiny 2’s highly anticipated Duality dungeon. Unlike previous dungeons, this one requires an additional specific purchase, similar to the 30th Anniversary pack, that includes this dungeon and another in season 19. What surprised most people was Duality being a bit more difficult than previous dungeons, causing a huge rift, wide range of opinions and frustration at the content.
In a lot of ways it reminds me of my initial run at Vault of Glass when the game first came out. I was a naive level 26, playing this new content that had extremely difficult enemies and powerful new bosses. One thing I recall saying is that no one would ever get Flawless Raider, the hardest trophy in the original game, a feat I accomplished a couple week later once Gjallarhorn and other things were discovered. I bring this up because I see a lot of this in early impressions of Duality and it leaves me sad.
Having played the dungeon a fair number of times, along with helping a bunch of people beat the final boss, one thing I’ve consistently realized is a lot of people don’t understand the encounter and because of that, make it harder than it actually is.
For starters, Duality plays heavily into some of the new metas people have complained about. A maxed out resilience supposedly offers a 40 percent damage reduction, which can be furthered with mods, making the wide range of enemies far less fearsome. This can be further decreased by leveling, as the final encounter is at 1570, a level that exceeds a lot of current players. Not to mention various things are meant to play into specific play styles, like on my Titan it’s hard to die with Loreley Spelendor and my Hunter, with creative invisibility is also very difficult to kill. It really makes the most of the importance of specific stats, though said importance decreases as skill increases, along with having a real build rather important, two things missing from a lot of newer Destiny 2 content.
The other big thing is a misunderstanding of the approach. Timers, strict details and more feel far more oppressive than they actually are. When looked at objectively, the encounter is actually rather forgiving, assuming you understand it. Killing the right enemies increases your time, there is no set speed required or rotation, there are a lot of buffs and things designed to boost your damage and more. Perhaps my favorite is the actual approach to enemies.
A lot of people have expressed negativity towards certain bosses and encounters pushing a specific approach. It makes sense, in a game with a wide variety of weapons, archetypes, exotics, now crafted gear and more, it sucks when certain items are deemed less than viable. Duality corrects this by discouraging burst damage for sustained. Most enemies will drop in two or three sword hits, compared to one rocket, with the former being a lot easier to do long term. You also have far more incentives to build towards enemy management, as that increases everyone else’s experience.
It’s little things like this that make Duality an interesting addition, even if they get lost in a sea of negativity or early impressions. This is specifically why I wanted to focus on that aspect first, as it’s important to understand Duality is more of a response to a growing number of requests, criticism and frustration, than Bungie deciding to make new top tier content that excludes a large number of players.
As for the dungeon itself, it is in a rather interesting place. Not only is it deeply related to this season, it potentially revealed Caiatl’s reason for Dominus Ghaul appearing as someone who haunts her. Beyond that, it offered some new insight into Calus, though not much or even too different from what was previously established, in a world that is an interesting mix of bland Cabal ship and the Leviathans endless opulence.
The main mechanic is one of the most straightforward in the franchises history, with the added bonus of requiring coordination. Initially I had fears people would mindlessly ring the bell, killing anyone outside of the range, making things frustrating but most teams I played with did not do that.
This simplicity also applies to a lot of the bosses. As previously said, it pushes more add management and sustained damage, giving swords, linear fusion rifles and other items with more reserves a place to shine. It’s also pretty forgiving once you really understand how everything is done. My initial run was rough, with later ones being easy outside of the human element. It’s also the type of dungeon I can see being a lot of fun, as it’s engaging content that doesn’t require a ton of communication or skill to be successful.
Unfortunately, for all the good, it has one of the most underwhelming set of armor designs in Destiny 2. The weapons, which look great, make up for some of this, though it depends on what you’re looking for. Early reports place the Linear Fusion Rifle as invaluable for high level content, with a really good Grenade Launcher and some other options as well. The exotic sword doesn’t currently have much of a place, outside of being a new take on Black Talon, which makes for an interesting chase if you like that play style.
In all, I think the dungeon is a much needed breath of fresh air in Destiny 2. It’s challenging, without feeling oppressive, engaging without relying on too many mechanics and different enough. Some will be put off by these things, with others finding them a nice change of pace. I can’t speak to which group you’d fall in but if you want content that is kind of hectic with some mechanics, you’ll probably like this dungeon. However, if you want to shoot adds and get top tier loot, you’ll probably hate it.
[Editor’s Note: A Dungeon Pass was provided to us from the publisher.]