Bungie Weekly Update-12/11/2014

This week at Bungie, a bunch of you faced what lurks in The Dark Below.

If you took the plunge, we’d like to thank you for your enthusiasm. It’s always amazing to see the way the community tackles and devours new challenges. Much has happened since Tuesday. New vistas have been explored and reclaimed. New treasures have been plundered. New swords of Darkness have been wielded by hands of the Light. New Raid bosses have met their end as a dramatic conclusion to an amazing race.

And, Guardians met a new agent of their continuing fight against our enemies…

A Voice in the Dark

“Six of us went down into the pit…only one came back.”

Crota’s Bane. Eris is one of the few Guardians to have ever faced a Hive god and lived to tell the tale. She is a survivor, but her experiences in the shadows have altered her forever.

Now, she has come to the Tower with a prophetic message for anyone willing to listen. Should you heed her warning and take up her cause, you will find yourself retracing her footsteps to face Crota in The Dark Below.

Bringing Eris to life relied on a lot of help from a talented actor by the name of Morla Gorrondona. To learn more about her contribution to our creative process, we invited her to share some comments about what we’ve been up to these past few months.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become an actor?

Morla:  I’ve been performing for as long as I can remember - earned my BFA in Theatre, worked in improv, film, commercials - but I always kept coming back to voice work.  It wasn’t until I redirected my focus entirely to voice over that things really started to fall into place.

Your portrayal of Eris is haunting. What did you imagine to summon her spooky quality?

Morla:  One of the challenges with voice acting is being able to convey genuine emotion in a vacuum - there’s no other actor to play off of and no costume or set to help inspire. So, having an image in mind that helps recall a certain feeling can be a valuable tool. With Eris, I definitely pulled from my life experiences - specifically the memory of returning home to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. For me there were a lot of similarities there. 

How did you apply those heavy memories to flavor the character of Eris?

Morla:  What intrigued me most was the arc of her story as a whole. I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying this, but I really got into the gradual revealing of her madness as the player progresses in the game. Some of the lines when Eris has just lost it are among my favorites. [Editor’s Note: Spend some quality time with Eris in the Tower as your story unfolds over time.]

Was our audio team helpful in guiding you to a place where you could understand Eris and help us tell her story?

Morla:  I can’t say enough about everyone who worked on the sessions. They had such a clear idea of what they wanted Eris to be - and they still gave plenty of room for me to do my own thing. The two themes that were the most impactful to me were the ideas that Eris is on the brink of madness without giving in to it, and that - because she has lived among the Hive and knows them - she has an odd reverence for them that is only matched by her desire to see them obliterated.

Speaking of getting intimately acquainted with one’s enemy, The Dark Below isn’t your first time working with Bungie.

Morla:  It’s true! The screams of the Wizards and the screeches of the Thrall (among others) are me. Interestingly enough, it was because I had voiced the Hive that I was called in to read for Eris. The team wanted someone who had an established understanding and relationship with the Hive.

It’s interesting to think that you’re voicing characters (and even weapons) on both sides of the conflict. Have you ever worked in games prior to your collaboration with us?

Morla:  I have! I love working in games because games are relevant, they evolve and make a huge impact on a truly engaged audience. Besides, how many places can an actor get exciting, creative, challenging work and not be limited by age, type, race, gender or even geography? Some of my favorite titles that I’ve worked on are BioShock 2, inFamous 2, Crackdown 2, Halo: Mona Lisa, and Resistance: Burning Skies.

Then it’s a safe bet that many of our players have met you long before they read this interview. What’s next for you? Where else can we enjoy your work?

Morla:  I have a number of unannounced projects in the works.  Stay tuned!

At Bungie, we had a great time working with Morla to capture what we needed to put the finishing touches on The Dark Below. “Seeing Morla dig into that character was a joy to be a part of,” says David Henry, the Senior Audio Designer who directed her performance. “We had four recording sessions over the course of a month. Each time, she brought something new and interesting to the table, and we all just had a great time with it.”

The entire audio team would also like to thank her for the fresh-baked cookies she brought to one of the sessions. We hope you enjoy her work as much as we have enjoyed working with her. You can keep up with Morla on Twitter or her personal site. You can find Eris in the Tower, calling you to come closer and hear her tale.

Title Defense Fight

When the door to the Vault of Glass was first cracked, the Destiny community started a goldrush into the unknown. On that day, it was PrimeGuard that kept their often-made promise to be the first team to plunder the riches buried deep below Venus. Soon thereafter, it was Invigorate that raised the bar with their world-first victory on the harder setting.

As Crota dared players to bring about his end in a brand new Raid, the question was obvious: Would one of the defending champions emerge again as the world first? Or would a new dark horse in the running cross the finish line before all others.

In the dawning hours of release day, it was Invigorate who emerged from the Hellmouth – exhausted and frazzled, but triumphant. You probably want to know what they know, so we gave them the customary victory-lap debrief.

So, you did it again. How did you prepare for Crota’s End.

INV:  We all made sure that our classes and weapons were maxed out. We coordinated smaller teams to prepare for different situations that we might encounter, which ended up being helpful for various parts of the Raid.  We knew we’d need to have both Arc and Solar weapons to take down the Knights and Wizards, so we focused on primaries with those elements. We did some play tests to figure out which guns worked best on elemental shields. We also knew that Gjallahorn would be vital, so we leveled as many of those as we had. After hearing our rivals at Primeguard were not streaming, we also decided not to stream to keep our strategies exclusive to our clan. We know they are one of the best clans out there, and attempting to beat them helped us stay motivated throughout the raid.

How were the challenges in this Raid different?

INV:  We felt the challenges in Crota’s End were even more creative than in the previous Raid. They focused more on teamwork and coordination rather than on puzzle solving. It was also more exciting due to the sheer number of aggressive enemies that were constantly coming at you. The close range combat made everything more intense.

Did you think this was easier, harder, or what you expected?

INV:  The Raid was definitely harder this time around. We enjoyed the challenge and the race for world first. It’s what drove us to persevere when we reached a stressful encounter. We underestimated the difficulty of the Raid, but we were very happy that it was more challenging than we expected.

What would you recommend to those who will follow in your footsteps?

INV:  Spending six hours with the same people in a frustrating environment tests your patience. Good chemistry will allow you to focus on the challenge. If we attempted this the first day we met, there would be no way we would have been successful. If you find a fire team that you enjoy playing with, our advice to you is to stick with them to develop the chemistry that allows you to compete at a high level.

With seven players listed in your gameplay history on Bungie.net, it looks like you made a substitution during your run. What was the reason for the roster change midstream?

INV:  Despite multiple perfect executions, our original strategy for Crota was not doing enough damage to beat the enrage timer. LtJohn5 recommended switching the sword carrier's primary weapon to the Vex Mythoclast, our only Level 32 weapon, to see if it would cause the sword to do extra damage to Crota. This failed miserably, but it did prompt a good idea. Ewok suggested bringing in Matrix, the only Level 31 in our clan, to see if the damage output was higher. Matrix had prepared to level up to 31 by storing Bounties and Marks across his three Hunters. He was also a member of our second team, which was taking a break from the Raid. When he agreed to join our group, we discovered he was hitting the boss 50% harder. Our original sword carrier (Hawk) walked Matrix through our entire strategy to show him exactly what he needed to do. Shortly after, Crota was vanquished. 

This was a clan victory. Everyone who contributed was vital to our success.

Congratulations to everyone in your clan, in that case. What’s next for all of you?

INV:  We've shifted our focus from normal mode to hard mode. We have already begun to develop potential strategies to employ for the next race.

Well, you just spilled all your magic beans, so competition will be fierce. Since people will want more of them, where can we follow your progress?

INV:  You can find us on Twitter and our new website is under construction, so make sure to follow us for updates.

Many Guardians will follow Invigorate to the depths of the Hellmouth, but it must be said that a bunch of other teams blazed their own trail to Crota, and followed through with wins all their own. These teams also deserve celebration, along with anyone who raced into the hardest thing we made available for you to tackle on day one of The Dark Below.

Shared World

With the introduction of the Will of Crota Strike as part of The Dark Below, we’ve added the activity to the Nightfall and Heroic rotation. These weekly events will require The Dark Below when Will of Crota is selected.

Daily and Weekly Heroic Activities

Featured activities will rotate between old and new
Next week will feature Destiny launch content

The Crucible

Lord Saladin and the Iron Banner return on December 16
Iron Banner will replace a premium playlist currently featured
Iron Banner will not feature new maps from The Dark Below
Control on new maps will be featured starting December 23

Our goal is to support every player of Destiny, and we’ll be tuning the frequency and content featured in all special events as we go.

Postcards from the Launch Pad

The Dark Below has cleared the gantry. You’ll find it in orbit. Here is a recap from our good friends who work Mission Control in the Destiny Operations Center.

Some PlayStation 4 players noticed their full game had reverted to Trial mode. There is now a fix for this issue. Please check your console messages for instructions. If you’re still encountering obstacles, please know that we are still working on sending messages and resolving issues.

Additionally, we’re aware of an issue where Xbox One players have to re-download a patch every time they play Destiny. We have a few solutions to this problem:

    Use a wired connection when patching
    Attempt to clear your cache
    Uninstall and re-install the game

If this does not resolve the issue, please know that we are investigating. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

The release of The Dark Below revealed several issues on different platforms. New articles have been published to Help.Bungie.Net to provide assistance:

    Players unable to play Expansion I on their PlayStation
    Players unable to unlock retail purchases on their Xbox 

Additionally, we have created threads in the #Help forums to communicate to players who are experiencing the E-82000102 error code, as well as an Expansion I Troubleshooting FAQ that may help players who cannot access new content. We also have an Exotics Upgrade FAQ to prepare you for the appearance of Xûr in the Tower.

As always, please keep us informed if you encounter any issues by posting on the #Help forums.

Something else that deserves mention is that the BanHammer has been a-swingin’. Ninja Justice is always swift and final. When reached for comment, the shadowy forces who protect the world of Destiny from shadowy activities had this say:

“We routinely review Banhammer actions to ensure that they are applied accurately and fairly. A review of the bans applied over the last week shows that all of the affected accounts had logged into Destiny on a modified console at some point.”

Can you hear the simmering fury in their words? Like a clap of thunder, their warning is clear! Be careful out there. Play nice! And use the boxes that your favorite retailer “gave” you.

I have new pair of Dead Orbit gloves to level up in preparation for my first run at Crota. Given the real-world connection I made with Eris this week, it’s feeling personal. Excuse me, as I am needed in the Crucible. Or rather, I need to be in the Crucible.