Of the many things Shadowkeep has brought us, the moon is one of the most notable additions to Bungie’s Taken King-like expansion.
So, naturally, I couldn’t help but feel the call to explore the savage new terrain. Saddled stoically atop my micro mini sparrow, I blasted across the lunar surface, dodging towering nightmares and jagged chasms, and keeping a sharp eye out for secrets. Only they found me first. As I whirred by I saw a flash of red followed by a desperate, hollow groan. Dismounting my epic steed, I investigated the disturbance. Huddled under the tattered scrap metal shelter was the departed spirit of what was once a guardian. Its voice was sinister and deep, yet somehow pleading. Bathed in a blood-red glow, the body seemed to flicker like a ghost, and I could almost see the pain behind the Titan’s visor. What surprised me, though, was the fact that the Titan himself was marked as a patrol. Filled with an odd sense of mercy, I accepted the small quest.
As soon as the waypoint blipped onto my screen, I was met with the same gravelly voice. With grief, the Titan described how he had been ripped apart by fallen, pleading with me to avenge his grisly death. So, after beating the living daylights out of the pack of enemies, I completed the patrol with the parting thanks of the ethereal Titan. It felt much less like ticking a box and completing an objective. I felt like I was avenging a fallen Guardian and finally laying a soul to rest.
What struck me first was not this engaging nugget of story. It was the fact that Bungie delivered on another, less notable promise: putting the lore into the world. Not just behind cards in the collection screen, but actual, hands-on lore. The problem was not in what the previous patrols were saying, but rather who was saying them. It doesn’t matter to me if soldier #9414 sends me out to kill some Taken and then tells me about her sister. However, I literally bailed out of my sparrow mid-boost when I saw a patrol for Toland. The quality of the lore has not changed, but one of the biggest points Bungie is making with this expansion is that they are answering our questions. And the patrols are the perfect medium. While the story (sort of) answers our huge questions, the more precise sections of lore over Toland and Savathun can easily slip by players not willing to grind for Chronicler. Smaller bites of story with fully voiced lore fit in easily with the concept of a patrol.
Right now, I like the direction the patrols are going. With all of the activities seeing changes and cuts, its nice that something this small is getting some love. Patrols should be doorways to deeper, darker lore, and, in that spirit, should be harder to find. They should be perched precariously on cliffs, hidden in secluded rooms, and subtly dotted across the planetscape. Chroniclers should be Indiana Jones-esque archaeologists who risk life and light for their craft.
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