Idea: Haunted Forest Needs to be a Permanent Playlist
Please read everything and let me know what you think! Add in ideas too.
Tl;dr: Turn the Infinite Forest into a true horde mode with playlist-specific rewards.
Haunted Forest was actually a very fun and interesting playlist. However, having only one item worth pursuing made the playlist less interesting. Here is my idea for turning Haunted Forest into a permanent playlist:
Ikora is the vendor for this activity. It's not called the Haunted Forest, but rather something like "Infinite Forest Simulation Playlist". I dont know. The name doesn't matter. Point is, right now there's really nothing for Ikora to do in the tower since her meditations are gone.
Ikora offers daily bounties for the playlist as well as a weekly bounty or milestone. The bounties would be similar to Zavalas. Get kills with grenades, specific weapon types, etc. Add onto those with bounties like "Clear x amount of rounds", "Finish a round in under 2 minutes", "kill x amount of majors/bosses" so on. The in-game purpose or lore of these runs could be in relation to Osiris asking Ikora to have Guardians run these simulations in order to better understand the forest and the Vex.
The playlist would have matchmaking and require 500 power level. It would run in one of two ways. Either, it would be time based like the Haunted Forest and you would try to get as far as you can in that time frame, with better rewards the further you go. Or, it would not be timed, and you would go as far as you could before a team wipe. You could instead set it up to where your team has a specific amount of lives available, and respawning takes away those lives. Once those lives are used up you enter a darkness zone where you can no longer resurrect yourself or teammates and must clear the round in order to respawn them. Beating rounds adds lives back to your total, and if you manage to get through the first several rounds without dying you can face the more challenging rounds with extra lives in your pocket. 3 or 4 guardians on the fireteam. I prefer the second option of going as far as you can with no set timer for the activity as a whole.
For either version, each round would add a new modifier at random. This could be any of the ones you would see in the heroic playlist, whether they buff or debuff the player. The timed playlist would play out exactly as the Haunted forest does, with the first 5 rounds having 1 modifier a piece, then the next 5 with 2 a piece, the next five with 3, so on. The non-timed playlist would be additive. Round one has no modifier, round 2 adds one, round 3 adds another and so on, with the modifiers persisting until death of the whole fireteam.
This playlist provides regular world loot as well as specific loot. You have a higher chance of specific legendary loot spawning when you get further in. You also receive rep tokens for each play through which can be turned into Ikora.
Armor loot would have intrinsic perks just like the Festival masks did, but with regular armor perks as well, and would have power levels attached.
The intrinsic perks for helmets would be one of three: damage boost across all enemies, boosts against majors, and boosts against bosses. The flat boost would be 2.5x, majors 3x, and bosses 3.5. Same as the festival masks.
Arms perks would be ammo drop based. Significant boosts to heavy, special, or primary ammo.
Chest armor would be boosts against specific modifiers. Damage resistance while airborne, damage resistance to melee attacks, etc. These would work whether the debuff modifier was active or not, but would obviously benefit the player more when the debuff is active.
Legs would be weapon based perks. Automatic weapon reloads when picking up ammo, faster handling across all weapon types, or better target acquisition and reduced flinch across all weapons.
Class items would be boosts to ability regen based on kills. Critical kills grant class ability, grenade, or melee energy.
All of these intrinsic perks would ONLY be active in the playlist, not anywhere else.
Your load out for this playlist is locked. Choose your load out carefully before going in.
Triumphs for this playlist would be based on rounds completed, rank, enemy types killed, the furthest round completed (get past round 10 or 20 or something).
Finally, this activity could have some "secret" questline involved. It would have to be RNG to a degree, but have the chance of each round potentially spawning a particularly powerful enemy like the Invincible Nightmare, except he is not invincible. Killing this enemy when he spawns has a chance to drop either a few exotic catalysts that we have yet to see introduced, or a chance to drop an item that begins a quest for a new exotic. Personally I think because this is a vex based activity, the quest should either reward the Vex Mythoclast at the end, or the Pocket Infinity.
As far as structure goes, the timed version would be the exact same as the haunted forest. Get 100%, teleport to a boss fight, kill him, next round starts.
The untimed version would not have a bar to fill up to 100%. Instead, it would involve the fireteam getting to a particular platform by fighting through enemies, and that platform would either spawn a boss or reset them to the next round. If bosses are involved they could spawn every 5 rounds/waves completed. If you wanted to create some urgency, you could technically set it up like escalation protocol, where you have to finish each round before a timer is up, and finishing that round resets the timer. In order to finish the round properly you must defeat all enemies AND make it to the platform.
Bungie did an amazing job with Firefight in Halo Reach. It was one of the best game modes to play. Many Destiny players are clamoring for some type of horde mode, which we have seen in various iterations like the Prison of Elders, Court of Oryx, Archons Forge, Escalation Protocol, the Blind Well, and the Haunted Forest. However none of these are true horde modes, as they all have a definitive end point that is based on you killing the right amount of enemies, rather than killing enemies until you run out of lives or your team is wiped. The Infinite Forest is truly an amazing feat of design that we can tell Bungie is proud of, but at the moment it is ultimately a vapid and pointless place in the game that goes largely unused. No one is running adventures on Mercury, and most of us just run past everything in strikes. This area deserves better gameplay.
Let me know your thoughts! Do you want to see a true horde mode introduced to Destiny 2? What changes would you implement to this game mode?