Destiny 2

Despite PVP Balance issues, Stasis integrates lore and gameplay very well

destiny2 5 - Despite PVP Balance issues, Stasis integrates lore and gameplay very well
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When Stasis first was revealed to be an ice/freezing based subclass, I was skeptical as to how exactly this was supposed to reflect the Darkness. It was black-blue ice, sure, but I couldnt help but feel a bit disappointed that it wasnt something more aesthetically linked to my mental image of "Darkness".

However, now that Beyond Light has been out for months and weve gotten our hands on the subclass, I realize that its so much more than just "ice", and Im pretty happy with what Bungie has crafted. It actually integrates many themes associated with the Darkness in the lore and story with the way it behaves during gameplay.

  • The Darkness as the anchor to the Light

The Knife had a million blades.

And you were giant, powerful and swift. But the Knife pinned you. Cut your godly flesh away.

Taken from "Ghost Fragment: The Traveler 3

The lore piece above is from the "Dreams of Alpha Lupi" series from Destiny 1, which are written from the Traveler´s point of view. The specific fragment I linked describes the battle between the Traveler and the Pyramid Ships during the Collapse.

The Traveler describes being "pinned" before being cut away and wounded.

Now, as basically every pvp player has learned since Beyond Light, what does it feel to be frozen by Stasis?

Youre pinned in place. Frozen, but conscious. You see the person who will kill you begin to shoot you and your health begins to slowly tick. Or its a Hunter and you see them jump, bracing for the inevitable Shatterdive. Or its a Titan and you see them slide toward you.

You can try and break free. The button promp is there. Most of the time it is futile however, and you just die.

You feel helpless. Like the Traveler battling the Pyramids.

Or how Supers can be frozen by Stasis and sometimes defeated afterward. Something that just feels fundamentally wrong.

But read the lore piece again.

"You were giant, powerful and swift. But the Knife pinned you. Cut your godly flesh away."

This is a gameplay flavor win. The Darkness is the only thing that can shut down the Light in such an absolute way. Take the power fantasy of a Guardian and stop it dead in its tracks.

  • The Darkness as a force of control and order in contrast to the Light as a force of chaos and possibility

The gardener got up and brushed their knees. "Every game we play, this one pattern consumes all the others. Wipes out every interesting development. A stupid, boring exploit that cuts off entire possibility spaces from ever arising. There's so much that we'll never get to see because of this… pest."

They chewed at their cracked lip, which existed only because this is an allegory. "I'm going to do something about it," they said. "We need a new rule."

Taken from "The Final Shape", from the Unveiling lore book.

All you will do, I said, with rising panic|fury, is delay the dominant pattern that will overrun the others. It is inevitable. One final shape.

"No, it'll be different. Everything will be different, everywhere you look."

Everything will be the same. Your new rule will only make great false cysts of horror full of things that should not exist that cannot withstand existence that will suffer and scream as their rich blisters fill with effluent and rot around them, and when they pop they will blight the whole garden. Whatever exists because it must exist and because it permits no other way of existence has the absolute claim to existence. That is the only law.

"No," the gardener said, "I am the growth and preservation of complexity. I will make myself into a law in the game."

Taken from "The First Knife", from the Unveiling lore book.

The fundamental difference, and conflict, between the Light and the Darkness is one between simplicty and complexity.

The Winnower, entity behind the Darkness, believes in the order of the original proto universe that was the Garden. Where only one possiblity, one pattern, managed to thrive at the expense of all other possibilities. The Winnower believes that the universe, and all life within it, are heading toward one single conclusion. One single species to survive among a graveyard of trillions, because only one pattern can make it there.

The Gardener, entity behind the Light, believes in the chaos of life given opportunity. The many possibilties and branching paths the game can explore if it is simply let to do so. The freedom of life to grow in whatever way it pleases and chooses, rather than be forced down a single path because it is simply the most dominant.

Two opposite ideologies.

So it makes sense then, that every single Light subclass so far is based on doing raw damage or clearing adds with roaming supers, while Stasis is designed to do one thing extremely well.

Control.

Because this is what the Darkness is in the end. Its oppressive, it stiffles hope and freedom.

The Pyramids chase the Traveler around, genociding every single species that has received her gifts, turning planets she has terraformed and undoing the work, turning them back to lifeless rocks, or worse, corrupting them and twisting their form, because the Winnower wants a universe where the Light doesnt meddle with what it considers to be the natural order of things.

So when you go around breaking reality with your super in pvp, Stasis is there to freeze your ass and negate your space magic, because its what the Pyramids have done to the Traveler for millions of years now.

Is it fun gameplay to go against? Depends on who you ask, but this is as Darkness as Darkness can get.

You wanted Darkness subclasses? You get Darkness subclasses.

Reality is chaotic and unruly; bind it, and bring it order.

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Taken from the Warlock Shadebinder Subclass.

  • Darkness as an alluring force

"You remember on Io," Yardarm-14 couldn't contain his enthusiasm, "we were pinned down inside that shipping container with Phalanxes closing in from all sides, and you—you bastard. You ducked out a little hole in the back and made a run for it. I thought you'd left us behind."

"Never," said Lisbon-13 with vehemence. His eyes flashed with anger, but Yardarm-4 didn't seem to notice.

"I know. The whole box was rattling with bullets, and there were explosions, and we were shooting when we could, and suddenly, through it all, I hear you screaming. It was like a banshee wail. You came screaming back on an Interceptor—the Psion still in it. You were steering it with the Psion's head!"

"I remember."

"And you rammed it through four Phalanxes from the side, and then, and then—you remember this, Rekkana?"

"I can't forget."

"You splashed that Interceptor across the shields of another Phalanx, and you RODE THE EXPLOSION over the top. And when you hit the ground behind them, BOOM! It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Lisbon-13 said nothing. It was as if the story had shut him down.

"That's us right now. We're doing what you did. This whole universe is like that container, and the Last City, the Vanguard, the Traveler—they're all inside that box. But we just snuck out of a hole in the back.

Taken from the Boots of Ascendancy lore tab, which are the Garden of Salvation Titan leg armor.

We are no longer forced to endure your torture. There is no veil for you to hide behind. We see you plainly. Your orchestration has led to too many foul notes. All your attempts to subjugate this power have failed.

You are a plague, and we are the cure. Your army will be eradicated, and the Hive will be a layer of dust, cushioning our footsteps. Trust me—you will hate it.

I find myself giddy at these thoughts. Revenge suits me, it seems. I no longer know fear. I am overcome with certainty. When next we come face-to-face, I will remove the bandages that shield me, so I may see you for all you are and all you are not. And you will see me and know that the fire that burns behind my eyes will be your oblivion, suffocating and searing you to ash.

Prepare yourself. I am your ruin.

Taken from "To the Witch Queen", from Eris Morn´s Regarding Stasis lore book.

The lore tabs I linked showcase the psychological effects that Darkness has on its wielders. The first is from Yardarm-14, member of the Kentarch-3 fireteam which embraced the Darkness inside the Black Garden.

The second is from Eris Morn, who wields Stasis as of Beyond Light, possibly even all the way back to Shadowkeep, if the cutscene with her inside the Pyramid Ship is any indication.

The Darkness feels good. It doesnt feel like a force of evil and death. It makes you surer of yourself, more confident in your abilities. Free from shackles and limitations.

Which is ironic, because once youre corrupted youre a tool of the Winnower, while the Light doesnt shackle you to anything.

But think on this lore, and how it feels to use Stasis in pvp and pve. It feels really good, doesnt it?

Its fun, unique, and very very strong. I find it really satisfying to freeze a super and kill the user when I manage to pull it off in Crucible.

It feels amazing to freeze a bunch of enemies with my Titan Behemoth and then slide into them, crushing them all into bits. The Behemoth Super also feels the best, in my opinion, making the world quake as I smash the gauntlet into the ground, freezing everything in front of me as I fly through the air with the melee attack or slide into the crystals, shredding everything around them to bits.

The sound design as well. The sound of ice crystals being created, the crunch of ice shattering under my might, the reverberating sounds when you cast Winter´s Wrath (which makes everyone in the vicinity go "oh shit" if its on Crucible), etc.

This is all to say, that Stasis feels really good in a way the Light subclasses just cannot compare to.

And thats despite me enjoying the lore of this game obsessively, and being aware that the fun ice powers are the biggest no no in the story for many reasons that have been stated to us throughout the years.

And this is all a flavor win of design, because of course the Winnower would make his powers attractive and alluring.

Why would anyone join the force of genocide and all around evil of this setting willingly? Because what it offers is very difficult to resist.

Think on what Zavala said at the end of Beyond Light´s campaign.

"Kridis is defeated. But it is not the Fallen that concern me now……

Its us.

Ive had time to think. Guardians are not immune to corruption. The pursuit of power has divided us before.

I dont know what comes next. But I know- I know- that we must remain in the Light.

I see fractures already. If we bend, we break.

Guardians must not use the Darkness. This is the Vanguard´s official position."

Reads kind of like a joke now, doesnt it? Has anyone here seriously followed Zavala´s order?

Most havent. Stasis is rampart on pvp, strikes, gambit, raids, everywhere. The Darkness is everywhere.

Zavala, the highest ranking authority within the Guardians, got completely ignored.

But there arent any consequences to using the fun ice powers right?

Well, not for now at least.

Source: Original link


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