Tag Archives: explainer

Before Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Here’s What You Need To Know About Eris Morn

Image: Bungie

When Destiny launched in 2014, it wasn’t really a place you went for rich, interesting characters. Sure, they were around, but it would take some time before they’d be fleshed out. Commander Zavala, Ikora Rey, and of course, Cayde-6 are all much more memorable now than they were five years ago. That’s not just because of familiarity—Bungie’s writers did the work, fleshing these folks out from their barebones introductions. But there are some characters that have largely been left alone, and with its forthcoming Shadowkeep expansion, which launches on October 1, Destiny 2 is revisiting one of its most controversial and compelling characters, Eris Morn. It’s the perfect time, then, to catch up on her story.

In some ways, Eris is a symbol of the old Destiny—pretentious, overly severe, and with zero self-awareness. She arrived in the game with the first expansion, The Dark Below (December 2014), an update most famous for breaking the Destiny endgame and making it very clear that the game needed to work out some pretty big problems. This made her something of a bitter pill to swallow for Destiny players, which was a shame because, as anyone who read that game’s Grimoire cards could find, her backstory was truly haunting, one of the darkest turns lurking in Destiny’s hidden lore.

Eris Who?

Thanks to fan projects like the Ishtar Collective, you can read all of the lore from Destiny/Destiny 2 and piece together her story. After first contact between Earth and the Hive took place on the Moon, Eris Morn became one of the Guardians at the forefront of the fight, determined to discover how to beat them. She formed what’s often referred to as “the first fireteam” that ventured into the Moon’s Hellmouth (the first Destiny really went for it) in a vain effort to kill the Hive prince Crota.

Unlike most of her fireteam, Morn survived, but only by hiding in the Hellmouth for an unspecified but very long time, during which she lost her Ghost and possibly her mind. Despite suspicions from other characters that her time among the Hive had corrupted her, she is also one of the only living Hive experts, and helps give Guardians like you the knowledge you need to beat Crota, and later his father Oryx.

That was it. Eris Morn, it is implied, continues to be active in the field working for the Vanguard Warlock Ikora Rey as one of her Hidden—a scattered network of informants that periodically send dispatches you can read about in lore entries—but the wheels of Destiny’s lore began to shift as the sequel came around in 2017, and the game took on a very different direction.

So Why Do I Need To Know This Now?

Destiny 2 really seemed like it was done with Eris Morn, and that move made sense. She was a good poster child for the least fun era of the game, a relic from when nothing in Destiny made sense and yet we still couldn’t stop playing. Quippy, charismatic characters like Cayde-6 took the forefront for Destiny 2. Often, the other characters would even poke fun at Eris Morn—and, by extension, the first Destiny’s bone-dry plot.

The main story of the game also couldn’t have been further from all this Hive stuff anyway: Destiny 2 has largely been about the Guardians’ struggle against a Cabal invasion led by Ghaul, commander of the Red Legion. Known as the Red War, it’s a straightforward story of death and rebirth, a soft reboot that doesn’t mess with what worked (mostly everything from The Taken King onward) and de-emphasizes a lot of muddled ideas so they could be workshopped into something more satisfying (like the vague proper nouns of Darkness and Light and just what they mean in the game’s fiction).

In Forsaken, Destiny 2’s first major expansion that launched in the fall of 2018, some of those older ideas return—and Eris Morn is hiding among them, if you know where to look. (The answer to where to look is “lore books,” a new take on the first game’s Grimoire Cards, only this time you can actually read them in the game.) While the main campaign of Forsaken is a space Western revenge tale where you seek justice for the murder of fan-favorite character Cayde-6, these books hint at something far more complex—a story of madness and unseen manipulators, working to unknown ends.

Okay, How Deep Does This Rabbit Hole Go?

Here’s what we know for sure, per the official Shadowkeep page: Eris Morn got curious, and once again, something has awakened on the Moon. They’re called Nightmares, and honestly, they just sound like an excuse to remix foes you’ve already fought. Pretty hum-drum. If you’ve been reading the lore though? There’s enough there to make you think you might find Pepe Silvia lurking underneath it all.

One of the biggest questions in Destiny lore right now is who the real puppetmaster is, or at least the biggest bad in the known hierarchy. Forsaken seemed to have a clear villain in the Awoken prince Uldren Sov, who appeared to be corrupted by the darkness.

Play through the Forsaken campaign and that story gets neatly resolved, only to be complicated by the endgame that takes players to the Dreaming City, where they puzzle over mysteries, take on challenges, and beat the Last Wish raid, learning that Uldren was not corrupted but controlled by a wish-granting ancient dragon called Riven of a Thousand Voices. Riven herself is corrupted by the Taken, which ties Forsaken all the way back to The Taken King and introduces dozens of questions that we’d be here all day puzzling over if we wanted to.

Then, a cutscene added to Destiny 2 a few months after Forsaken’s launch revealed a Ghost reviving Uldren, who may now have to take the role of a Guardian, and will almost certainly play a pivotal role in story events to come.

The important thing to note is that if the Taken play a role, then the Hive are involved, and if the Hive are involved… Eris Morn won’t be far.

Is There One Big Destiny Villain?

What’s neat about diving into all these disparate story threads is that, while at times it’s frustrating and wholly ancillary to the experience of actually playing Destiny, a lot of it seems to be pushing the game’s story in the direction of one big primary threat, one overarching villain who manipulates and upsets the various factions in the game’s universe in ways that give players a variety of interesting things to shoot.

So if you ascribe to a Unified Theory of Destiny Villains, you can read the whole game as the story of the fight between the family of Oryx, The Taken King, and the Guardians.

This is why the Destiny fan community is trying to piece together everything they can about a character known as Savathûn the Witch-Queen, Oryx’s sister. Savathûn has not appeared in-game as of yet, but she’s been mentioned in The Taken King Grimoire cards and her name pops up in various corners of both Destiny and Destiny 2–on patrol, in enemy titles, dialogue snippets, and lore entries. Eris Morn is a big part of one of them.

The lore book “Truth to Power” presents itself as a dispatch from Eris Morn, at first telling you about her personal backstory growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia long ago. But as you go through the story, it becomes apparent that something’s amiss, and it’s never really clear who you’re hearing from—at one point it might be an AI, at another it might be an agent of Savathûn, all of them describing the machinations of the Taken in the Dreaming City, and how they relate to a grander scheme. The final dispatch, however, claims that they all really were from Eris all along, leaving you unsure what to believe—especially since Morn claims they are all forgeries in another, related lore entry.

How can I prove to you that I’m really Eris Morn? Not Medusa, not Riven, not Quria, not Dûl Incaru, not the Witch-Queen Herself? I don’t know. Will you believe me? Will you scour these pages for proof or disproof … Will this manuscript become the foundation of another teetering edifice of theory and anticipation?

Truth To Power, Part 10: It’s just me

Of late, Destiny’s lore has become fond of unreliable narrators. If Destiny’s main plots are straightforward sci-fi adventures, then the ancillary plots that spiral out of its lore books are a pile of non-linear detective work, an array of documents that may or may not be related with a confounding level of plausible deniability baked in.

You could dismiss Eris, and everything about her, as a pile of gobbledygook you need not pay mind to as you spelunk the moon and kill space zombies when Shadowkeep drops in October. But there’s a lot of room for payoff here, a possible resolution to one of Destiny’s grandest tragedies—the story of a woman who went to war and was completely broken, but still helped vanquish one of the universe’s greatest threats even as her colleagues doubted her sanity. Her impact is immeasurable, but her reputation is also irreparably damaged—and that might be played against us.

Destiny 2 has been experimenting with giving players choices, and basic as those choices currently are, you can get a lot of mileage out of a simple question. A question like: when Eris Morn comes back, will you trust her?

Source: Kotaku.com

What Mixer Has That Twitch Doesn’t (Besides Ninja)

Image: Ninja on Mixer

Microsoft recently put their streaming service Mixer back in the spotlight by securing exclusive rights to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who had been one of the top streamers on Twitch. Exclusive streamers aside, there are several compelling reasons to stream and watch streams on Microsoft’s platform instead of Amazon-owned Twitch.

Mixer started life as Beam, an independent streaming service launched in January 2016. Microsoft purchased Beam in August of 2016 and announced integration with Windows 10 that October. By spring of 2017 the Beam service was integrated into both the Windows operating system and Xbox One. In May of 2017 the service was renamed Mixer due to the name Beam not being available for international use.

Mixer’s basic functionality is the same as Twitch. Players use the service to stream their gameplay over the internet, either directly from PC or Xbox One or from other consoles using capture hardware connected to a PC. Streamers on Mixer earn money by soliciting donations or subscriptions from viewers.

So what makes Mixer different?

Community Interaction

One of Mixer’s defining features is its focus on community interaction. The service boasts extremely low latency between streamers and viewers, allowing for timely interactive features. Instead of a 10-20 second delay between broadcast and viewing, Beam’s low latency protocol lowers the delay to under a second, making interaction between watchers and players more immediate.

These interactions generally manifest in the form of viewer-activated buttons. There can be voting buttons along the side of the stream, interactive commands overlapping the stream and easy access donation buttons. So many buttons.

In the image above, streamer Ship has set up a mini-game where viewers can predict events that occur during rounds of Fortnite. At the beginning of each round spectators receive 100 stars to wager, winning or losing stars based on the accuracy of their predictions. It’s a fun little activity that makes viewers feel more connected to what they’re watching.

I’m particularly fond of the silly beach ball interaction, which drops a ball on the screen and tracks how many users click on the hands at the bottom of the screen to keep it bouncing. It’s what Mixer calls a “rally,” a special skill viewers can activate that other viewers can participate in. These and other skills unlock as viewers experience levels increase. Which leads us to …

Experience Points And Sparks

As users watch Mixer streams, they gain experience points. Everyone loves gaining experience points. When enough experience points are gained, a user increases their experience level. This grants them access to more emotes and skills, used to express themselves as they watch their favorite streamers play. Mixer effectively turns watching other people play games into a game.

I am currently level 15, just from tuning into random streams sporadically since early 2018. I earn experience points automatically while watching. A little box in the top right of my screen keeps track of how much experience I am accumulating and how much I need to reach the next level. I’ve got a long way to go to level 40, when I unlock the “Piece of Me” effect.

Users also earn an in-app currency called Sparks as they watch or broadcast on Mixer. Sparks are what viewers use to activate skills, enable interactive features, and use community-created apps. Using Sparks during the streams of partnered Mixer streamers contributes to the financial rewards they receive from the service. Otherwise, Sparks are just a neat way to make some noise and express yourself while watching others play.

Co-Streaming

In March, Twitch launched a featured called Squad Streaming for partners. Mixer’s been doing it since 2017, allowing groups of up to four players to merge their streams into one. Watching co-op online games is much more satisfying when you can see the action from every player’s perspective.

It’s Not Twitch

Twitch has dominated game streaming for so long now, it’s nice to see someone playing a game surrounded by an interface that isn’t the same old white and purple, watching the same horrible emojis and comments speed by on the right side of the screen. Despite being around for years, Mixer feels fresh compared to Amazon’s streaming juggernaut.

Mixer is also more chill. Even when I watched watched the platform’s recently-acquired superstar alongside 35,000 other viewers, the chat rolled by at a manageable pace. It’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt watching Ninja stream.

It’s Also Not Perfect

Even with Ninka, Mixer has a long way to go before it’s a serious threat to Twitch’s streaming dominance. It needs to be able to stream natively from platforms other than PC and Xbox One. It needs a lot more viewers. As I write this on a Tuesday afternoon, the most-viewed stream second to Ninja’s 30,000+ is Monstercat Radio with a measly 4,200. It’s not going to be the most popular streaming service anytime soon, but it’s already a damn good one.

Source: Kotaku.com