As much as the focus in Destiny has been on the new Shadowkeep content, going back to play in some of the older areas, specifically The Tangled Shore, has been interesting to see where it sits after a year of content drops, and what could have been done differently. I say this because it’s an absolute tragedy that such an interesting and strikingly designed space was so underused in terms of content, and how that could be rectified.
So, let’s break it down. The Tangled Shore was added with Forsaken as the primary space in which the campaign takes place. We meet a wheelin’ and dealin’ Fallen who’s happy to sell us intel as to the whereabouts of the Scorn baddies who killed Cayde-6 and we hunt them down, eventually finding our way to the entrance to the Dreaming City which kicks off the rest of the Taken and Riven stuff.
The campaign plot really represents the Tangled Shore’s function in the game; it’s transitional, designed to get us into the ‘real’ game in the Dreaming City and facing the real threat. So what is left in the Tangled Shore after the campaign? Sadly not a lot. There’s the usual lost sectors and public events which don’t really have a function on their own. You have Spider, who’s happy to trade resources, and has a list of bounties for you to hunt. You’d think these bounties would send you out across the Shore scouring dark corners for these, but instead they mostly send you to lost sectors on other planets, running through the same areas we have been since release. If these bounties were on a weekly rotation to hunt down enemies around the area, it not only would be thematic to why we were there originally, but a reason to explore the whole area much more often than we currently do. You throw a unique loot pool as a reward and it you have a winner. If they wanted to save development time they could have even mostly reused the adventures you do in the campaign to hunt down the different bosses, although some of those were a bit long winded to remain fun after doing them repeatedly. This is roughly what they’ve done with the Moon, and even Mars before it, so they know it’s an issue. I just hope this is a standard going forward and there’s always a unique activity that defines the space.
So, they dropped the ball on release, but all is not lost. I believe it would be the perfect place to be the focus of an upcoming season, more so than other planets. This is because the Tangled Shore is just a better designed zone than IO or Titan, and is pretty flexible in terms of what you could put there. The landmass itself is huge with plenty of variance regarding the different factions fighting there. It’s just a giant wasteland where bad guys hang out. You could conceivably make a case for most factions in the game using it as a staging ground for a larger plot, or somewhere to hide out in. You could repurpose its various areas a lot easier than a place like Titan, where you’d have to add at least a small new zone, taking up resources. It’s not that I wouldn’t love Bungie to do that, but they’ve set a scope for seasonal content that doesn’t stretch that far. Obviously they would have to make sure it doesn’t clash with the Forsaken campaign, but I think something like the Vex invasions/offensive combo centred around it would be a perfect use for the space going forward.
As much as the Tangled Shore needs its turn in the spotlight, so does the faction introduced alongside it, the Scorn. It’s absolutely crazy to me that a new faction were added to the game (seemingly one of the most difficult things to do based on how rare it is) and they not only played second fiddle to the Taken in their own expansion, but were also completely left out of the years seasonal content, with no sign of that changing any time soon. Why add them to the game? Sure, they pop up occasionally in Gambit or when you do go back to Forsaken content, but considering how the Taken have cemented themselves as one of the most important factions in the game, it seems odd the Scorn are left out in the cold. I feel like it should have been easy to include them somewhere in recent content, considering they hate everybody and we killed all their leaders. They could have been thrown in as a wildcard somewhere just to cause some chaos and add some flavour. I hope Bungie have a plan for them in the near future, as right now they don’t have much reason to exist.
I know this whole topic isn’t exactly relevant when Shadowkeep is dropping new content in the weeks following its release, but it’s interesting to look back at older spaces to see how they panned out over time to inform us how things could work in the future. I hope Bungie have learned some lessons from the Tangled Shore and the Scorn about not making content irrelevant too quickly and are looking for ways to inject some life into older spaces.