As a Warlock main, with more hours on the class than I have in almost any activity IRL outside the bathroom, I am delighted that Bungie chose to showcase our new ‘Stasis’ powers first. In the teaser released today, and embedded above, you can see the new ‘Shadebinder’ stasis subclass in action. The footage is cut down from the trailer we saw last week as part of Gamescom, but provides a handy refresher of how my fellow grimoire-botherers will be able to freeze and shatter enemies come November 10 when the Beyond Light expansion drops.
More interesting, particularly if you’re a build crafting nerd, is the written breakdown that accompanies the video. In Bungie’s Stasis Spotlight: Warlock Shadebinder post, the developer details the Stasis skill tree, which looks to be structured very differently from what we have now. First, let’s focus on the Super. It’s called ‘Winter’s Wrath’ and sees the Warlock summon a frosty staff which emits projectiles that freeze enemies. The coup de glace is then delivered when the Warlock detonates the crystal on her staff to shatter anything frozen nearby.
I like the look of the ult because its two-part nature feels different to anything Warlock has right now. Onto the melee, which is called Penumbral Blast, and also involves using the staff to freeze enemies from range. Here I would note that there’s already some concern amongst Destiny 2’s PvP community around whether being frozen is ever a fun effect in a multiplayer game, but we have to hope the sandbox team has balanced the concept effectively. *Raises single nervous eyebrow*
I’m most excited by the modular nature of Shadebinder. Our current subclasses essentially involve picking one of three paths, from one of three elements (Solar, Arc and Void), but beyond slight tweaks to your grenade and class ability, there isn’t much room for customisation thereafter. In contrast, and no doubt because Stasis needs to feel more special given that it’s the star of the Beyond Light expansion, you’re able to tweak multiple abilities and perks for your guardian’s Stasis setup.
This is done using two new types of MacGuffin which you’ll need to collect: Aspects and Fragments. Bungie describes Aspects as “physical items in the world (such as a crystallized Vex conflux or a robotic Fallen arm, for example)” which, once found, can be slotted to unlock new abilities and effects. Fragments, meanwhile, are also collectible objects found in the world, but these must be applied to Aspects in order to gain the benefit of additional passive perks.
In the example given, the Frostpulse Aspect enables the Warlock’s Rift ability to also freeze nearby enemies—powerful, for sure. From there, you can apply the Whisper of Refraction Fragment, which grants class ability energy as you shatter enemies.
At this stage it’s hard to accurately gauge how deep the system is without knowing how many different Aspects and Fragments there are, or how easy these are to acquire. There's obviously quite a difference if a Fragment is locked behind, say, completing the new raid, compared to just having to complete a bunch of Strikes, though I wouldn't expect them to be onerously hard to acquire. My guess is that the aim will be to draw out the collection process for a few weeks at least, to stop us blowing through the content as fast as transhumanly possible.
Now that we've seen Warlock's 'Shadebinder', next on the dissection block is Titan’s ‘Behemoth', which the studio will talk about on 3 Sept, before wrapping up with the Hunter ‘Revenant’ subclass on 8 September. Let’s be honest though: For my cowl-loving brothers and sisters, we’ve almost certainly already seen the best.