Bungie’s 30th anniversary event kicked off in Destiny 2 this week, with a wide range of weapons, cosmetics and activities that celebrate both the history of Destiny and the Bungie game catalog, including Halo, Marathon, Myth and Oni. Among the festivities was a new six-player activity called Dares of Eternity – a competition designed as a game show starring a celestial being called Starhorse. Dares of Eternity is, without a doubt, the most absurd thing that has ever happened in Destiny. It’s weird, campy, filled with references and jokes inside, and indescribable joy. While it’s played as a joke, tonally, it seems perfectly suited to Destiny 2, which has been on the verge of absurdity since The Drifter was introduced in the Western-inspired Forsaken expansion – if not before. I wouldn’t want Destiny to be this wacky all the time, but for a special event like the 30th anniversary, that’s perfect.
The hosts of Dares of Eternity are the Xur and a new figure in the Destiny lore known as Starhorse, aka The Hyper Quantum horse, aka The Impossible Horse, aka The Hose From Beyond The Cosmos. According to Xur, we were selected by the horse to participate in the Mojoverse-inspired game show to reward us with prizes drawn from all over the Paraverse. If you’re not a Destiny 2 player, you probably look at me the same way Walt looks at Jesse when he tries to explain that Pepe the Frog is “based”. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m talking about either. The lore of Destiny is dense and complex with tons of history, but this is a game show on a magical horse. Go for it.
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Xur certainly embraces the absurdity here. Normally the Agent of the Nine is a stoic and mysterious figure who speaks in riddles and vague references to higher planes of consciousness. In Dares of Eternity, Xur is essentially a Memes Lord. After introducing himself and Starhorse as hosts, he comments as if this is an episode of The Price Is Right. Xur mentions “incredible prices” like a 55-inch machine gun and an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe. At the end of the show, he even reminds viewers to have their ghost spayed and neutered. As you transition between arenas, it will loudly proclaim the horse’s desire to see more fights or warn you to prepare for the “Insane Obstacle Course”. It’s irrelevant in the sense that you wouldn’t expect Xur to be that meta, but it’s not irrelevant for Destiny 2.
Bungie has always played directly with Destiny, but it’s still a game about space magic, divine worms, and moon wizards. It’s an epic sci-fi melodrama, but we can’t forget that lightness and humor are an important part of the series as well. Whether it’s Cayde-6’s beloved Chicken Colonel or Failsafe, the flawed AI that oscillates between sickly and sarcastically bitter personalities, Destiny has always been a silly game. Dares of Eternity is certainly the furthest playful tone has ever been taken, but it still fits.
Most importantly, it makes Dares of Eternity more fun. Grinding the same activity for Keys and Strange Favor for weeks and months always ends up becoming a drag every season, but I keep coming back into Dares of Eternity just to hear what Xur is going to say next.
I know I haven’t heard it all yet – and its script will likely change week to week – but here is my favorite line so far: If you spin the Wheel of Adversity and land on the Taken, Xur them. presents by saying “Reluctantly put together by our studio audience, please welcome the Taken!” It’s a joke made exclusively for Destiny nerds, but it kills me every time.
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