At this point I’ve played Destiny for somewhere in the range of five hours. I’m not sure if an actual way to tell and the third party sites like Destiny Tracker don’t seem to be keeping this information. Regardless I have played a bit more than I had when I sat down to talk about it yesterday morning. At this point I am level 10, have some reasonable gear, and am a few missions into the second planet. During the course of this mornings post I am going to try and keep spoiler information out of it… but what classifies as a spoiler is very personal. For me the things that I generally consider spoilers are story beats or surprising revelations. However I do not consider any mechanical and nuts and bolt sort of stuff spoilery, so be warned there might be something here you don’t want to read if you are wanting to go into the game completely blind and are waiting for the PC release. Disclaimer out of the way… I am really enjoying myself. Yesterday my friend and fellow blogger Isey made a post talking about how disappointed in general they were in the game. It is weird how one experience can be translated in very different ways based on a given players perspective. For me the fact that Destiny 2 is very much Destiny 1 done better… is a good thing. Now we are going to get into the details that I largely left out yesterday as to why I was brought to tears playing this game.
This is a little spoilery but for players returning to the game it presents you with a series of “memories” of big accomplishments you completed. This is the point where I just lost my shit yesterday and started crying. I remember each of these firsts in game and who I was with when I did them… like this raid I remember being completely in awe of the feeling of going through the raid. I remember the frustration of trying to learn the ship jumping puzzle for the first time. Basically King’s Fall was a package of emotional baggage waiting to be unwrapped and to know that the game remembered me… was just more than I could handle in whatever state of mind I happened to be in. Then when I got through the sequence of memories and was confronted with my guardians sitting there waiting for me.. I really lost it. I was prepared to lose everything going into Destiny 2 and more or less I did… and the game really grinds this point home… which is in part why I think Isey had problems with it. However for me… the fact that I had “my” guardian sitting there waiting on me… in a game that remembers what I did… was enough to bond me to the experience instantly. In the games I play… the characters I play matter to me. It matters that I am playing “my shepard”… and when I game tries to make me play someone else that is very much NOT me… I bounce pretty hard from it. All I have ever wanted in a sequel is to be able to dust off the team that I had in the previous game… and go out on one more grand adventure and Destiny was sitting there waiting for me to start.
It feels lame to say… Destiny 2 is Destiny the way it should have been. However that is the best possible description I seem to be able to muster after playing it. This is everything I had hoped Destiny was when we first started playing it, and seems to support all the ways I really wanted to play it. I’ve talked before about how deeply connected to the Patrol zone experience I am… and how I have spent something like 77% of my game time running Patrol missions. This game takes that notion and expands it in every meaningful way by giving us large planetary zones to explore. I found my first Lost Sector last night before I even knew what a Lost Sector was… I did what I always did in Destiny 1… I went exploring. There were areas of the Cosmodrome that I knew like the back of my hand, and places that I went exploring in that I had no real business exploring… each time being slightly frustrated when I encountered a closed door indicating that the area behind is for a strike or raid… and otherwise not accessible right now in patrol zones. I set those same instincts to work… and as I wandered through a building I happened to find a path that took me down into a sub basement… and then continued following that around until I found a room full of Fallen… and ultimately a mini boss that I killed. Sitting there in the room was a shiny chest full of loot… marked with what I ultimately came to learn is the symbol that marks a Lost Sector. Even more than that… the chests you find randomly in the zone are actually useful now. Previously you had a shot at a little glimmer, some resources from that planet and maybe just maybe if you are insanely lucky a ship schematic. Now the random spawned chests in an area drop actual usable gear as well as a currency used in a given zone making them super useful to gather up.
Another huge boon to the overworld experience is the addition of what I believe they call High Value Targets. Basically as you are fighting around the world you will occasionally come across what looks to be a miniboss in the open world. Upon taking one of these down they drop a special loot chest that contains glimmer, the zone currency and most of the time in my experience a couple of pieces of gear. Similarly the zone events have improved and feel both more challenging and more rewarding. I feel like Destiny was the game that has lead to my enjoyment of Guild Wars 2… in being willing to just go with whatever events happening to be occurring in a given area. I did this while out on patrol and often helped defend the warsat or take out a specific target… and in Destiny 2 I’ve found it extremely enjoyable to play in the same sort of way. The best part about events…. is you can now see what is up and available on the director map making it no longer a thing to keep zoning back and forth between two areas to see if something has kicked off yet. So far I am a little sad that the actual patrol beacons no longer be a thing… I used to always have one ticking away while doing other activities. However the system that it feels like has replaced them is Adventures, and if I had to give up patrols to get that I am thinking it is a reasonable trade. It’s hard to describe what these are… but think of them as missions that happen while you are out in the open world. Once you kick them off you will be directed through a series of events by one of the actors in a given zone. In the EDZ these largely involved retaking certain parts of the zone or attempting to make them more habitable by setting up fortifications or radio towers. I am hoping that these respawn over time, because right now I only have access to a very limited number of them.
The most important part of Destiny though are the guns and how they feel to use. In the “beta” experience I was not a huge fan of all of the weapons. There were a few I really liked and then much like Destiny 1… others that I couldn’t really stand. A large chunk of the original game while leveling, you spent time using what felt like pretty lousy weapons. This time around… it feels like you hit the ground running with a bunch of interesting options. In the original game I was not the biggest fan of the Omolon weapon foundry other than the infamous Hung Jury scout rifle. Who would have known that I apparently love their Auto Rifles… or at the very least whatever archetype the Jiangshi happens to belong to. I am really hoping there is a legendary version of this gun, because I pretty much love everything about the way it feels. Right now I have largely been surviving in game on the large number of Pulse Rifles available from various vendors… because the game keeps handing me Scout Rifles via loot drop. I am really not a huge fan of Scout Rifles… and while I like having them for ranged attacks… I need either a Pulse or an Auto to make me happy. That said I have tried out a whole slew of weapons… and adjusting for personal taste they all seem to be pretty good versions of the weapons I knew before. The whole auto sidearm thing is pretty great, and I am in fact finding a lot more in the field. Similarly I have come to really like the Sub Machinegun archetypes, but those are largely an up close and personal weapon for me… and not great for the distance I am trying to keep mobs at while playing through the story missions.
Which leads me to the Story Missions as a whole. So far I am enjoying them quite a lot but I don’t want to get into a lot of details for spoiler reasons. They feel better than Destiny 1, and so far they are a lot more involved than they were previously. Homecoming… the mission that we got to experience during the Beta legitimately is a good representation for how the story missions as a whole are going to feel in this game. It is not some weird one off mission that is hyper focused on story elements. The later missions don’t have the cute in mission cutscenes with major story characters showing off how awesome they are… or at least I have not encountered any yet. That said there is a lot of comms traffic interaction with multiple characters from a given planetary area, and you have interesting things to go out into the world and be doing to move the overarching story along. Still I feel like I need to drill home the point that… if you did not like Destiny you are probably still not going to like Destiny 2. This is very much a Destiny game and feels like the continuation of the first game… where they roll out and fix everything that was broken with it. This is not a completely different game experience and while there is a ton more story interaction… and they are making it clear that they want to help explain concepts to the player… it is not a vastly different experience. For me… it was exactly what I wanted in Destiny 2. For others it will still fall short of whatever measuring stick they keep trying to hold it up to. Right now the only frustrating part of the game is that they seem to have fucked up the shader system… and replaced it with a single use consumable. There is quite a bit of backlash from the community and I can only hope that maybe they revert this change by the time the PC game comes out. Chroma was a dumb system… and they got Chroma in my Shaders and made it a dumb system too. Other than that however live seems to be peachy in Destiny land. Now I am going to hit publish on this and play some more before I have to run off to work.