Bungie’s choice to sell Destiny 2 dungeons as part of a separate pass was a divisive choice. Some players hoped this would result in a better product; whereas others questioned their overall value. Unsurprisingly, the final outcome was just as divisive. Most dungeons had a couple things going for them, though there was a fatal flaw that left most players unhappy. However, Warlord’s Ruin manages to create a generally beloved experience.
Before getting into mechanics, Warlord’s Ruin benefits greatly from the experience itself. Bungie has consistently made fascinating locations to explore, and while Warlord’s Ruin might not be the most interesting, the medieval looking castle truly captures the traditional dungeon feel. It also helps that it’s reminiscent of the beloved Destiny 2: Rise of Iron expansion. The whole transversal section feels like an expanded version of Felwinter Peak.
Warlord’s Ruin starts by having mechanics that are incredibly easy to learn, but challenging to overcome. Every encounter utilizes the same core elements. There are Acolyte Eyes, A Scorn Chieftain, and a dark totem that needs to be captured to prevent a wish from occurring. Like the recently revised Crota’s End, it makes for an experience that is easy to learn, master, and engage in.
By creating a positive loop it encourages more players to be involved. That isn’t to say other dungeons failed in this regard, just that their benefit varied. Duality had limits on how fast you can go; Spire of the Watcher required memorization to effectively run; and Ghosts of the Deep only really offered this in the final encounter.
Long standing Destiny 2 players will also love the care that went into Warlord’s Ruin. While very few players have actually killed Riven legitimately, the final boss is a reference how that encounter works. It’s nowhere near as complicated, just a fun nod experienced Guardians will appreciate.
What a lot of players appreciate about Warlord’s Ruin is how it addresses a wide variety of Destiny 2 complaints. There are fun variations on the tired “stand here and shoot” rotation, bosses are more mobile, not to mention quick rotations make the large health pools far more palatable. Plus the widely despised shields are not present.
While Warlord’s Ruin does a lot of things right, there are some shortcomings as well. This is one dungeon where the recent nerfs/changes can absolutely be felt. It’s still entirely possible to be soloed, something many players have already accomplished, just survivability has been a concern for many.
Collectibles also took a step backwards with this dungeon. Instead of being fun items hid throughout the dungeon, they’re tied to quest progress. Most of them are not actually well hidden, just locked behind doors you can’t open. I imagine long standing players will aid anyone by simply opening the doors if someone needs it, making the whole choice kind of odd.
Loot is also on the questionable side. An associate of mine was lucky enough to receive the exotic, Buried Bloodline, and has since sung its praises. I’ve read a few others say it’s a really nifty weapon, something I’d absolutely believe given the legendary rocket sidearm is pretty good. Jury is still out on the other weapons, though they will probably not be game changing. Armor is also not as stylish as Spire, or Ghosts.
In all I think Warlord’s Ruin is in a good place. It’s fun to do, mechanics are well done, and Bungie legitimately addressed several players concerns. Hopefully this is something we see continue with dungeons moving forward, but at this point it makes the Lightfall Dungeon Pass a slam dunk. Even if players dislike various aspects to Ghosts of the Deep, there is enough value in both dungeons to justify the cost of entry.