Destiny's latest patch, The Dawning (update 2.5.0) went live on Tuesday, bringing holiday celebrations to the online sci-fi shooter. Here's everything that's new in Destiny, including the return of the Sparrow Racing League.
Destiny The Dawning Update 2.5.0 Patch Notes: The Sparrow Racing League is back!
Would you like to strap yourself into what amounts to a floating rocket and drive around racetracks at insane speeds while trying to blow up your friends? Good news, Sparrow Racing League has finally returned to Destiny, after the first SRL season ended on December 29, 2015.
Think of Sparrows as high-tech, hovering motorcycles with rockets strapped to the back and you basically have the idea. They are small, quick and mostly used to travel around some of the large maps in Destiny.
Sparrow Racing League uses these vehicles for something more interesting than getting from A to B. The races take place on challenging tracks loaded with gates which give you a burst of speed if you drive through them, and can lead to some fierce jockeying to knock other drivers away from the gates.
However, what may have been the best part of SRL in 2015 was how generous Bungie became with loot drops of difficult-to-get-items during SRL. The chance to get a really nice piece of armor alone was worth racing your Sparrow. The rest was all bragging rights.
Destiny The Dawning Update 2.5.0 Patch Notes: An old enemy returns
It's excellent news for Destiny veterans that as part of The Dawning, Bungie has revived a Strike called The Nexus.
Strikes are short missions for groups of three. They're excellent activities for matchmaking because most Destiny players have run the same Strikes over and over again and can still coordinate effectively with strangers even if no one is talking on chat because everyone knows what to do.
However, the ability to run Strikes without thinking about it also works against Strikes because it's easy to get bored, and the recent expansion Rise of Iron only included a single, new Strike. There are several Strikes from Destiny Year One that, like The Nexus, could be rejuvenated and put back into rotation.
Strikes may become more relevant on account of the Strike-specific bounties now offered by the Titan Vanguard leader Zavala in the Tower.
Destiny The Dawning Update 2.5.0 Patch Notes: Famous weapons are coming back
Weapons in Destiny have names. They have personalities. Veterans become familiar with arsenals of guns, and some of those guns develop reputations and become extremely popular choices among players.
When The Taken King expansion was released in 2015, Bungie updated some of the famous weapons from Year One and made them available in Year Two. Other guns were left to the wayside, and Destiny players get excited when Bungie finally re-released one of those guns.
For Year Three, Bungie has brought back Ice Breaker, a fan-favorite sniper rifle that regenerates ammo over time. Chances are it won't be as powerful as it used to be, as the same thing has happened with other Year One weapons Bungie updated and returned to the game. Even so, some Ice Breaker is better than no Ice Breaker at all.
Destiny The Dawning Update 2.5.0 Patch Notes: Celebrate with holiday costumes
There are a few more odds and ends that The Dawning is bringing to Destiny. Just as the Festival of the Lost celebration offered Halloween-themed masks, The Dawning features holiday-themed masks. It also includes easier access to aesthetic items by introducing a new vendor to the Tower. We're probably going to see some new dance numbers, as a result.
The Dawning celebration will end on Jan. 3, 2017.
Other games throwing holiday celebrations
Celebrating the holidays in a video game can be particularly important if the developer realizes the game will have an active player base for a long time. Overwatch is also having a holiday celebration, as is Pokémon Go.
Also, make sure you're keeping your eyes open for video game sales and good deals. 'Tis the season to catch up on all the games you couldn't afford for $60 a pop, or didn't have time to play when the game was released.