To the Lighthouse!

Image by Flickr User: Ferino Design (cc)

I once wrote a post lamenting how unlockable content has largely become a thing of the past. Rewards that were once challenges to find and fun to show off to your friends are now just extras to buy. Where once we might have had to do something special to unlock Jason Voorhees in Mortal Kombat X, now we just pay $5 or so and boom, he’s available to play. This has been great in that many of us get to see everything a game has to offer, but it’s left most of our games without anything special to attain. Beyond a a handful of special weapon, costumes, or even a cheat, there’s hardly anything in our games that we need to strive for; barely anything that we can look at and recall with pride the effort it took for us to acquire it. So, even though I myself may never reach it, I just needed to express how excellent it is that Bungie has brought back a little taste of the unlockable content of old with their inclusion of “The Lighthouse” in their new House of Wolves expansion!

For those who aren’t familiar with The House of Wolves expansion, it was more than small content addition that its predecessor, The Dark Below, was. Briefly, The House of Wolves changed how gear upgrading works, added several new story missions, a new social space, a new horde mode called “the Prison of Elders”, and introduced a new weekend-only PvP mode known as the “Trials of Osiris” (aka “Trials” from here on). All of these additions have proven to be quite fun, but it’s Trials that we’ll be focusing on today.

The Trials of Osiris is a PvP variant in which two opposing teams of three players compete to be the first to win five elimination-style rounds for each match. Each round is won by the team that is successfully able to eliminate all 3 of the opposing players. It’s a mostly simple setup, and one that is mostly unremarkable on the surface. However, it’s not quite as simple as simply jumping into the mode and getting started. Players must form their own teams in order to play, and they must each purchase a “Trials Passage” before they can even play at all. This is because Trials is a scored PvP mode, with a player’s “Trials Passage” acting as their scorecard. The goal is to achieve as many victories (up to nine) as possible before suffering three losses. Lose three times and it’s game over and back to “the Reef” (a social hub) to claim the rewards you’ve earned. The rewards for getting eight, seven, or even five wins on a “Trials Passage” are all desirable. Weapons, armor, upgrade materials can all be yours if you come back with 5 or more wins. However, if a team should manage 9 wins and no losses on a single “Trials Passage”, their reward is something else entirely. Nine wins constitutes a “flawless victory”, proof that the guardians that attained it are ready for what lies ahead. They don’t just get paltry items, no. Instead, their trials have earned them passage to “The Lighthouse”.

“The Lighthouse” is currently a social space that only those with a flawless 9-0 victory can visit. There they get to explore a small corner of Mercury with their teammates and obtain some of the rarest loot in the game. It’s definitely not something that would be all that remarkable if it was just included for open access with the rest of The House of Wolves expansion, but given what it currently takes to get there, I can’t think of a more fitting reward. Destiny is a game that many of its players thought was going to be about exploration, and many of us still want it to be so. “The Lighthouse” may be a relatively small space, but its one that already has at least one secret area confirmed, meaning that there’s definite opportunity to explore, and that’s more than enough to make the struggle worthwhile.

Video game secrets are neither as rare as they used to be, nor are they as special. If special content isn’t set aside for sale as DLC later, it still doesn’t stay special for very long. In this age of youtube and easily available walkthroughs, whatever secrets are left in our games are usually quite easily obtained. Gone are the days in which we really had to strive for that special something. “The Lighthouse”, intentionally or otherwise, feels like a callback to those classic unlockables. Those that required honed skills and patient effort to acquire. So, even though I may very well never tread upon its scorched sands myself, it’s a challenge I absolutely cannot wait to take on!

Like all those who made it before me, I intend to show that my Awoken Hunter is indeed ready to face what is to come! Onward to the Lighthouse my fellow Guardians!

What’s your take on secrets and exclusive content?

5 thoughts on “To the Lighthouse!”

  1. I have to admit that I think I like *reading* about game secrets much more than finding them! But there does remain something exciting about secrets and exploiting worlds of exclusive content. Part of it you mention already – developing skills and patience. Because we all take a certain amount of pride in being able to succeed in finding/getting to/mastering a secret. And part of it is the “unknown” factor. Like, sometimes you don’t know going in what you might get from a secret. Maybe it’ll be something great that helps you in your quest, or maybe you don’t get anything. It’s like gambling, except without loosing hundreds of dollars. :)

    1. Secret finding definitely has a certain thrill to it doesn’t it? Even if you can read and watch all about one online, it’s still something different altogether when you get to it yourself. :D

  2. I agree, I love when games have secrets, and it feels like we get them less and less. Some games that come to mind are Super Paper Mario and Zelda: Skyward Sword. I liked both of these games, but there are very few secrets to unlock compared to earlier games in the series. Though, you can’t pay for extra content in those games. It doesn’t exist to begin with. And I just wish there was more to do in those games.

    And then Hyrule Warriors is one example of a game I own that does have extra content you must buy or obtain through updates, like playable characters. I really would prefer it if I could unlock them, though. it would be cool to obtain new characters through skill, not by spending extra money or merely updating the game.

    1. Secrets in Super Paper Mario would have been a lot of fun! More fun than those stupid cards at least. I defeated the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials and I defeated the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials twice! And all I got for my effort were a couple of cards for my collection. Lame.

      1. Yeah, those cards were silly. I beat the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials, but I don’t know if I beat the Flopside one. It doesn’t sound like there was much point anyway.

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