Design director Evan Nikolich spills the beans on the origins of the Lost Forges, the challenges of crafting a new endgame activity, and why matchmaking was a must.
Eyes up — the Black Armory is preparing to open its doors, and with it a new endgame activity called the “Lost Forges.” Now, we’re as voracious for new Destiny info as the next Guardian, so we reached out to Evan Nikolich, Design Director at Bungie, to learn what makes the Lost Forges tick and how this new activity will fit into the endgame of Destiny 2 once the Black Armory begins to reveal its secrets.
Where do the Lost Forges land in terms of Destiny activities? Is this something that rivals the iconic Escalation Protocol?
The Lost Forges were definitely inspired by activities like Escalation Protocol and Blind Well. That said, we wanted to give you more control over who you play with, so we added a new vector for fireteam coordination. The focus for this activity is on three-player Fireteams. We enabled matchmaking so players always know what they are getting when they engage with the Forges. This new challenge will also require a bit more coordination with throwable relics that will be required to charge the Forge. Since it’s a predictable, matchmade three-player activity, we thought we could add something on top of slaying hordes of enemies to up the challenge.
What was the inspiration for this new activity?
From inception, we always wanted this release to be about the lost weapons and the Golden Age lore about the Black Armory. In creating the activities, we thought about new and interesting ways to acquire Black Armory weapons and gear. We wanted to send players down the path of what it would mean to forge them. We wanted loot acquisition to be tied more directly to the player’s actions and less to random rewards. We wanted the forging process to be something you could enjoy over and over again. Our focus was on creating an experience that would allow players to develop new strategies quickly and feel justly rewarded upon every completion.
What type of player are you building this for? Will lower-level players be able to hop in and contribute, or is this more along the lines of a Raid Lair or Nightfall level activity?
The Lost Forges are definitely an endgame activity. They start at a power level above the current maximum of 600. Players will be able to hop in solo as we provide a matchmaking pool, but you will need to be at power to participate. The Forges will not be as challenging or demanding of a player’s time as a Raid, but if a player is under-powered, it will be an uphill climb. We hope to see players come in the first week, build strategies, grind for power, and have discussions about how to best tackle the Forges. The goal from the outset with the Lost Forges was to add to the endgame ritual play of Destiny.
New Bungie ViDoc details the new weapons, gear, and activities Guardians can look forward to in the Season of the Forge and Black Armory
What kinds of loot will Guardians earn from the Lost Forges? Will players be able to earn max-level loot from it? In the past, these type of activities have had some of the most iconic weapons in Destiny (hello, Ikelos). Will this activity have specific weapons players will want to go after?
Players will be able to earn max-level loot from the Forges, but not initially. There will be a bit of a grind to get to max power over the first few weeks and then get subsequent max power rewards from the Forges. As for iconic weapons, we definitely focused on a few key weapons in an effort to make them noteworthy and fill in what we believe to be some gaps in your arsenal. We’re all really excited about the return of Machine Guns and adding another Exotic Bow to the mix. I want to hold my cards close to my chest, though. We want the community to explore the loot offering and make the final call are what the true god-tier load-outs are.
How are the Forges similar to previous activities like Court of Oryx, Archon’s Forge, or Escalation Protocol? How are they different?
We learned [with previous endgame activities] that players love challenging endgame content that’s easy to tackle and repeat. Not every piece of endgame content has to be tough or as lengthy as a Raid or even a Nightfall Strike. Something you can jump into, be challenged, complete quickly, and then jump back into again is important to the ritual play eco-system of Destiny. We want the Lost Forges to fill that role.
Something else we know that has caused significant frustration with our prior events taking place in public spaces is that matchmaking does not always yield desirable fireteam size results. We are trying something new here by making the activity explicitly matchmade. Once a player launches, they will start searching for other players to fill out their fireteam to create three-player team. Players will know they are getting a three-player team, and because we know the fireteam size we can add bit more complexity to the activity.
How many players can participate in this activity?
Three-player Fireteams is what we targeted for this activity. If you don’t have a team, we’ll build one for you in matchmaking.
How difficult are these challenges going to be?
Up front, we believe this is going to be challenging content. Players will be under-powered and will have be on top of their game to clear the Forges. As players grow in power and develop strategies, the Forges will become easier to complete. Your initial encounters in Escalation Protocol and Blind Well were stiff challenges. We expect something similar with the Lost Forges.
Will this take place in a public area a la Escalation Protocol / Blind Well, or will it be an instanced event?
It will not be in a public space. The Forges exist in new spaces, secreted away in the destinations you know. Players will launch into private match-made instance of a space with three-player fireteam.
The Season of the Forge has begun in Destiny 2: Forsaken, and owners of the Annual Pass can begin discovering the secrets of the Black Armory and the Lost Forges starting December 4.