Yesterday was the release of the Destiny 2.5.0 patch which brought in a brand new holiday event called the Dawning. However lets not kid ourselves that the part of this patch that really matters is the fact that once you hit max rank… every green you pick up with simply automagically get converted into Weapon Parts or Armor Materials. I guess another important part is the fact that the SRL has returned… or the Sparrow Racing League for the uninitiated. I spent my entire day pumped for this event… and then I got home and had to wait an hour for my PlayStation to patch up. This is sincerely one of the more painful patches I have experienced as far as download times go. Generally speaking I am used to booting up my PS4 and having the patch install and being in game within a few minutes given that I leave my PS4 in that pseudo online mode to allow for patching. Unfortunately this patch appeared to be a two parter, with one piece installing almost immediately… and then following up after that was another 2 gig download. This is the point where I wish that invest in some better patching infrastructure because with my internet connection… I should not be having this issue.`Given that how much else is “peer to peer” in modern gaming… I would not be shocked if someone on a DSL like in Lexington, Kansas is slowing me down.
There is a truly silly amount of changes, including an entirely new strike scoring system that seems to work very similar to that of the Prison of Elders event. With it comes a whole new set of bounties that involve you completing various things in the strikes in order to complete them. Another massive change is that Skeleton Keys that are used to open chests containing strike specific loot… are supposedly dropping significantly more often. On top of this your first Nightfall of the week per character will include a guaranteed Skeleton Key drop. There are other nice quality of life changes, like supposedly Xur now sells Exotic Shards for Strange Coins rather than you having to break down an existing Exotic to get one. There are new quests from several of the tower vendors, including a Dawning Holiday themed one started with Eva Levante. Like with the Halloween event this year there are hidden items available like a green and black sparrow that can be obtained through collecting a dead ghost fragment on the Bannerfall map and then using that to open the chest hidden underneath the Future War Cult staircase back in the tower.
The highlight of the patch for me however is the introduction of SRL again, and all of the bounties and such that come with it. The sub highlight of this however is the fact that Sparrow Racing counts as a Crucible match…. and rewards drops that can scale all of the way up to 400 light. Of note… it seems like the Crucible reputation booster absolutely works on SRL and I was running them last night while doing some racing. Right now I am getting mostly gear that is going to serve as infusion fodder, but wearing it at the moment until I figure out what I plan on doing with it… because for now I am really only doing racing. The above rocket launcher for example is nothing I would ever use because it is missing either Tracking or the Grenades and Horseshoes perk. However for the purpose of infusing it into another item… I will absolutely take that 395 light level.
What makes this event so much better than a normal Iron Banner event for light levels… is the fact that complete sets of gear for all slots can drop from it. In addition to some blast from the past crucible weapons… there is a full set of “racing” gear that can drop. So far I have only managed to get the chest piece but it too dropped at 396 light… which was significantly higher than anything I had equipped. it is not exactly the sort of gear you would want to go out adventuring in… since its perks are exclusive for sparrow racing. However for the purpose of getting that light level up… I am absolutely going to wear it and hope to keep getting better drops. The weirdest thing about Sparrow racing is the way it makes me change my controller grip. Traditionally I grip my controller with my index fingers resting on the L2 and R2 triggers respectively, because in theory if I need to hit L1 and R1 it is not too painful to simply move my finger up briefly. However in the SRL you literally never want to take your finger off L2 ever…. or at least not unless you really plan on doing it purposefully to bank a corner at the right speed. While racing sparrows however L1 and R1 serve the purpose of shifting your sparrow slightly in that direction… think using collar buttons to bank turns in F-Zero. You can get the same effect by pressing in your thumb sticks for L3 and R3 but I find this pulls my steering off significantly. So when I am doing the SRL event I essentially move my hand up on the controller and use my middle fingers to hit L2 and R2 resting my index fingers then on L1 and R1. It takes some getting used to but for me personally it seems to just “work better”. I could never handle this as my standard grip, but for the short length of a racing match it works well enough.