Right, I’ll get straight to the point. Xur has revealed the first set of Exotic weapons and armour for the Taken King expansion, which is landing next month on September 15. He has done so, like a massive, no-filter, breakfast-touting bore, on Instagram. Mercifully none of them come with a wanky aspirational caption, or a failure to grasp the notion that his dog/cat is no more remarkable than anyone else’s. Or any twee woollen crafts.
What have we got then? On the surface of it, nothing remarkable. With a bit more attention and a few extra seconds’ thought though, some very exciting stuff indeed. You can check out the full run-down and implications in the gallery above, but the general gist is that year two’s Exotics are going to be even more involved and unusual with their perks. They’re also going to start really mixing up the way certain weapons can work. See, for instance, that single-slug shotgun, or that sticky grenade launching fusion rifle. If this is the first – and therefore most tame – set Xur is showing off, then the Taken King really is, as Bungie has intimated, going to be defined by vastly increased choice and possibility in character building.
Also, there is a Heavy class fusion rifle. Heavy class fusion rifles do not exist. Fusion rifles are a Special class weapon. They do not come in Heavy form. Except that now they do. There are no longer any rules!
Also also, that thing looks like a goddamn beast. Able to burn through enemies, keep going, and bounce off walls? Fire that through the door of a crowded room and walk away. Just walk away. Nothing to see in there now.
Alchemist's Rainments - Warlock chest armour
The hoarder's dream, this one. Are you the sort of player who runs around, tactically reloaded every weapon you have just so that you can collect every possible brick of ammo in the area? Do you find yourself sprinting instinctively at those lovely, enticing clusters of orbs, knowing full-well that you only need one, max, to top out your bar? Well suddenly greed is good. In fact if you're running Sunsinger, that latter ability would tie very well into Flame Shield, turning you into a great big covetous tank.
Chaperone - Shotgun
What's this? A shotgun that swaps shells for slugs? Oof. Actually, it's less a shotgun, more a bona fide headshot machine. Look how many goddamn stats it buffs with every precision kill. If each skull exploded makes you faster, rangier and more accurate, this thing is positively designed for Crucible sprees. And it'll be Kryptonite to the Vex, Those big precision spots in their bellies don't stand a chance.
Empyrean Bellicose - Titan helmet
Oh yes. This helmet is perfect for either a Defender or Striker set-up, and will likely be huge for Sunbreaker too. The headline perk is the ability to hover in mid-air while aiming your weapon, which could allow a primary burst followed by Fist of Havoc or a series of burning hammers to the face. And the fact that collected orbs will recharge your melee if your super is full? Thats the best news for Defenders who enjoy the benefits of Force Barrier.
Sealed Ahamkara Grasps - Hunter gauntlets
Love to throw knives as a Hunter? This is for you. It gives you an extra melee charge, so when combined with Knife Juggler thats a total of three knives (and a change to recharge these when you score a headshot). And, as a back-up, a melee kill has a chance to reload your primary weapon. So, empty you clip, stab, carry on shooting. And yes, this could make Blade Dancers who use Blink insufferable.
Sleeper Simulant - Heavy fusion rifle
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!? Seriously, this is the first big sign that Bungie is really mixing things up with the Exotics this time around. Fusion rifles are not Heavy weapons. They're a core part of the Special class. But now there's a Heavy version. CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER!. Ahem. Sorry. But yes, the melding of the boundaries between traditional weapon classes is very exciting, and utterly game-changing. Also, look at those perks. Projectiles that bounce off walls and burn straight through from one enemy to another? This is going to play havoc with small base rooms in Control.
Telesto - Fusion rifle
After that pioneering slice of madness, let's have a look at an entirely more normal fusion rif-oh my god no it fires sticky grenades. Not only that, but any - entirely likely - multikills you score with it will buff up your team-mates. Packing this thing could make you a crucial player in tight, defensive, small team Crucible modes. And if you can get up to a decently safe vantage point, it should be great for supportive mob control in Vanguard too.