One of the biggest changes Destiny 2 saw this year was selling dungeons separately from other content. It created uproar in the community, something that has historically been a mixed bag. Sometimes the community is right, other times they’re proven wrong, with this being a question that would take three seasons to answer. Now that we have the second dungeon, is Spire of the Watcher as good as Duality, or does it fall short of expectations?
Spire of the Watcher starts with one of the weakest introductions. The Vex are attacking a core, so Osiris runs points to help you take care of it. The mission itself is fine, it just doesn’t have as much personality as Duality. There Calus talks about his experiences, along with his thoughts on his daughter, Caiatl. The narrative only has a few additional lines of dialogue, it’s more the subject matter, which was tied perfectly with the season, that helped elevate the experience. Every boss had some kind of deeper meaning, the dialogue related to some of the most prominent non-guardian characters, with one of the best legendary guns in the game at the time.
The first area also introduces the core mechanic for this dungeon, which is killing a minotaur, getting a buff, and then shooting nodes in a specific order. This is arguably one of the lamest mechanics Bungie has introduced, simply due to the fact it’s among the most tedious. Unlike Duality’s bell ringing, there isn’t a gimmick to follow, or much variation in execution. You basically just find the starting node, shoot it, and then follow the wire to the next node. This is repeated a couple times, often with multiple sequences in a room. Overtime the mechanics don’t grow or adapt with the dungeon, it’s the same core thing in slightly different situations.
If this is confusing, Duality starts by having the bell send you to another dimension. There you’d see different things, often having paths alternate between the two realities. Players also needed to keep in mind of their fireteams position, as ringing the bell without being near the bell was an instant death. The first encounter asked players to do this while being mindful of where they were standing, with the second adding objectives that needed to be completed on the other side, concluding with the third telling players how the encounter needed to be completed. With Spire of the Watcher, you follow a path, then a really confusing path, with another set that has to be activated with a time limit, ending with a boss merging the two concepts.
This one will be interesting to watch long term, as players will eventually memorize the locations and blow through the encounters. One of my runs in the last section had someone who did that, making the encounter significantly easier. I imagine once this happens, plus players hit the recommended level of 1590 for the last encounter, the dungeon will go from a slog of repetitive elements to a quick breeze through the sands of Mars.
Arguably the most divisive aspect is going to be the dungeons second encounter, Akelous, the Siren’s Current. What makes this boss so interesting is the striking similarities it has to Garden of Salvation’s Consecrated Mind. Destiny is no stranger to reusing assets, even some of the unique bosses appear multiple times, but this fight is a bit different. Even if Gahlran appears in both Crown of Sorrow and Duality, they’re different encounters. However, Consecrated Mind and Akelous are largely the same.
With Consecrated Mind you split up into teams, one kills minotaurs and dunk motes, and the other shoots either the inner or outer lights, ending with a damage phase where it moves down a hallway. Akelous has players kill minotaurs, get a buff, shoot nodes, ending with it asking players to shoot the lights and then damage it as it moves down a narrow walkway. It’s something a lot of players have noticed, ultimately taking away from the encounter.
For all the negative things about Spire of the Watcher, it has some really nice looking gear. I won’t comment on whether or not any has the potential to be a meta weapon, that is something that will happen over time, but I will say the Tex Mechanica armor and weapons are some of the nicest looking in recent memory. Everything has a western theme, up to and include the title, WANTED, that will almost certainly get players to do multiple runs to complete the set.
Is Destiny 2’s New Dungeon Spire of the Watcher Worth Purchasing?
Unlike Duality, I really don’t feel like Spire of the Watcher hits the mark. It’s short, somewhat underwhelming, with questionable longevity. I fear once 1590 is the norm, and all the locations are memorized, this goes from a tedious dungeon to a forgettable one. The exotic will give it some relevance, as will the lovely equipment, but there just isn’t enough here to recommended.