Destiny Diary – Day 2

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Beta Day 2 – 18/07/2014 – Space Pirates, Space Zombies and Glowing Balls Of Truth

Today I started a new character class of Titan, and got stuck into playing through the story missions again to test out this beefcake’s moves. There’s nothing like a sense of déjà vu with some rippling new muscles and big guns to play around with.

The Titan feels quite distinct from the Warlock from what I’ve played so far, the main difference being that Titans can soak up an awful lot more damage than the Warlocks, making them the ideal Tanking class. Playing through this time with another gunslinging friend of mine, Mark, as a Hunter, we made a good mix up of tank and DPS. Our battleplans went something like this; I would typically run out into the open like the maniacal sadomasochistic fool I am, all guns a-blazin’ and beefy muscles a-flexin’, and Mark would carefully pick off the various Fallen (read: Space Pirates) and Thrall (read: Space Zombies) rushing forward to prod me and call me nasty names…as well as shoot at me of course.

But before we delve further into the action, let’s talk about a thing that Destiny really manages to get right – the inventory system. To put it simply, it’s great. The interface is simple, uncluttered and clean, allowing you to quickly organise and compare all the equipment you’ve got efficiently and easily. When it comes to analysing what equipment or guns to keep and which to throw away, it’s usually an incredibly easy decision; simply look at which equipment has the highest number, keep that, and dismantle the rest (dismantling equipment gives you extra Glimmer, Destiny’s cold hard currency).

For those who do enjoy a good bit of number crunching though, there are still separate weapon stats to analyse on the guns, such as fire rate, impact etc. which you will want to take into consideration when buying/dismantling your arsenal, but even these qualities are easily condensed into the big power/damage rating at the top, which massively streamlines the gameplay experience. One of my pet peeves with Borderlands 2 was that I’d spend masses and masses of my time just stood still going through my highly detailed inventory, and not blasting Psychos in the face. Destiny seems to have come to a happy medium with it’s inventory, with most items being very easy to assess in a single glance, and only the guns requiring a tad more scrutiny from players.

As Destiny draws inspiration from loot games such as Borderlands and Diablo, as well as MMOs like World of Warcraft, your accuracy with a gun alone won’t be enough to get you through (unlike in say Halo) – you need to level up and continually hunt out better equipment to deal with increasingly tougher enemies. As a result, I’ve found it hard to work out how exactly the difficulty system works in the Beta so far, whether it scales according to how many players are in your fireteam, the total number of players in a level, or not at all. Mark and I, alongside another Titan player the game paired us up with (that I maturely started referring to as ‘Boner’) found ourselves totally out-gunned by a Devil Walker, (read: giant walking spider-tank with big guns) during one of the levels, leaving us no choice but to speedily retreat with our collective tails between our collective legs. Once again, it was a clear case of “Run Away!”

Immediately after our retreat, we also got to see one of the spontaneous events that happen…well…spontaneously! A big Fallen ship warped into a big map our fireteam was battling through, triggering a group event that drew in all of the other players in the present area. This ship then dropped in a load of Fallen troops, plus another Devil Walker (at the sight of which, I grumbled…loudly). This time however, due to our superior numbers bolstered by the other players in the area this time, we were actually able to take it down. So it’s quite hard to work out if the difficulty scales to accommodate your fireteam size, or whether the only way to progress through certain areas is to make sure that there’s large numbers of players fighting alongside you.

Certain areas will let you know that respawning is limited, and these areas tend to be limited to just your fireteam members. Here, careful tactics and support between the players is key, as you can quickly get outgunned if you play things too hastily…like I often do, unfortunately. If all three players die, you have to start the area again, but you appear to have unlimited respawns, so it’s not too bad in practice.

With regard to fireteams, when I first started playing the Beta, I was wondering why Bungie settled on having fire-teams of three rather than your more usual multiplayer grouping of four, but having played through a few missions as different classes, I’m starting to see why a fireteam of three seems to make good sense. This is just on personal experience I might add, but I’m guessing a lot of people licking up Destiny will be playing either solo or with just one other friend. With a smaller fireteam size of three, chances are you’ll end up with a full team when playing in matchmade areas – I often found when playing Borderlands that although it was fantastic playing with three other people, it was very rare that I actually ended up in a full group. Again, this is me just waffling on without any evidence and scant knowledge on how matchmaking systems work, so take it as you will, but I can see a fireteam of three being a quick and easy group size to fill out.

I have yet to play through a level solo so far, other than the brief tutorial upon first starting, so I can’t comment on how that gameplay experience really feels yet, but as a team of two, you feel instantly far more capable and deadly. Having another player in your fireteam immediately makes gameplay both more enjoyable and tactical, even if you’re playing with another player of the same class, but having a differing class fighting alongside you makes things feel instantly more exciting. I can only imagine having three different classes in your fireteam would feel like you were really (cheesy pun incoming) cooking with gas as they say.

Tomorrow I’ll see about sampling the delights of the PVP matchmaking system, known as the Crucible, to test out how the competitive play operates. In the meantime, happy hunting Guardians, I’ll see you back at the tower. I’m easy to find; I’ll be the dick obnoxiously shunting the purple ball around and aggressively break-dance fighting with anyone who attempts to take it off me.

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