The Destiny Beta has come and gone and so many of us are left wanting more.
Bungie has done a great job blending first person shooter elements with role playing game elements and I personally had a lot of fun testing it. If you didn’t get a chance to play the beta, you really missed out. Here is a rundown of Destiny as we know it so far.
The action of Destiny has often been described as Halo meets Borderlands. I haven’t had any experience with Borderlands personally, but I can still see how that is an accurate comparison.
The big difference in the feel of the action from Halo to Destiny is the pace. Destiny feels like hardcore mode — you die faster and your guns shoot quicker. I personally felt Halo had been getting slower and slower, and I am so happy that Destiny feels fast. In Destiny, my life feels more precious and I feel more engaged than in recent Halo games.
You start out, like in any RPG, creating your character. There are three races; Humans, Awoken, and Exo. You know what humans are, I take it. Awoken are a pale blue elf-esque race and Exo are robots.
I personally found the character customization very limiting — you didn’t have many choices in the beta. The hair for the humans, for instance, was a choice between being a skinhead or Justin Bieber and all I wanted was a normal hair cut. Hopefully they add more to the full game to help make your character look more unique.
There are three classes to choose from: Hunter, Warlock and Titan. I was actually surprised how little this choice mattered. Each class looks completely different; they each have their own visual style. But from a game-play standpoint, there were really only a couple of abilities in the beta that differentiated between the classes.
Each class has a slightly different jumping ability, slightly different types of grenades, and a slightly different melee ability.
The Super Ability was really the only big difference. The Warlock shoots a ranged area of effect bomb, the Titan has a melee area of effect smash and the hunter gets three high-powered, single target shots with a golden gun.
Each class gets other subclasses that change your abilities, but you can’t unlock them until level 15, so we didn’t see anything else used in the beta (the level cap was 8).
I initially picked the Hunter thinking it was the sniper class. It turns out, every class can use every weapon. Despite this initial disappointment, I thought the weapon layouts turned out to be pretty neat.
You have a primary weapon, a special weapon (hit Y to swap to), and a heavy weapon (hold Y to swap to). Primary guns include auto rifles, hand cannon (revolvers), pulse rifles (3 round burst), and scout rifles (semi-automatic). The special weapons are snipers, shotguns, and fusion rifles (which are mid range, and charge up for high damage).
The choice for heavy weapons require you to pick between a rocket launcher and a machine gun.
On top of the gun classes, each individual weapon has its own stat distribution. For instance, all auto rifles have pretty low range, but some auto rifles have max fire rate and low impact, while others shoot a bit slower with each bullet doing more damage.
Some rocket launchers have a wider blast radius and do less damage, while others are vice versa. This allows you to find the right weapons for how you like to play.
The uncommon, rare, and legendary gear have upgrades that can be unlocked as well. For instance after using an uncommon sniper for a bit, it had an upgraded scope, had a faster reload after head shots and had added damage bonus.
My auto rifle had an unlock that made it shoot slower and more accurate when you aimed down site, but stayed rapid fire when fire from the hip. Each gun seemed to have unique sights and upgrades that do different things.
I enjoyed my guns leveling up with me, it was nice to get rewarded for using each new gun that I equipped.
To get ammo for each weapon class you need to get the specific ammo from drops or boxes. Primary ammo is white, special is green and heavy is purple. This was fairly balanced in keeping people from spamming rockets or staying back forever with a sniper, while still letting you have some fun with the big guns.
You can change your gear at any time, but you lose ammo. The primary gun will lower your reserve ammo if switched mid-game, but a heavy or special gun swap will cause you to lose all ammo for it.
Again, I am finding this system to keep things balanced pretty well. If you are using a shotgun in close quarters, you can’t just press start and then be picking people off with a sniper right away. However, you can switch and then go find yourself some special ammo. This extra work forces you decide when and where it would be worth it to swap out.
There is a definite MMORPG element in the gear, which I liked. The Cydonia auto rifle seemed strongest in PVP, and all of my friends were hoping to get one in a drop or find it in the market.
People were saving up money to get a cooler looking ship. We ran through a Strike mission multiple times in a row trying to get better gear to drop. Finding new gear and comparing with friends had been a very exciting part of the beta.
Although I had fun rubbing it in everyone’s face that my Cydonia rocked, or that my cape was the prettiest, or my emblem was most dope, or my ship was more expensive, eventually the hype of gear will fade.
The most important thing that I took from the beta was the promise of longevity. The various game modes that were available really allowed you to keep playing without getting sick of the game.
There are story missions, which you can solo or play with a Fireteam of two other friends. This is your campaign mode essentially (and the story is pretty interesting so far, by the way). But if you don’t feel like following the story, you can jump into the Crucible and play some Player vs Player matches.
If you’re getting your butt kicked in the Crucible, you can go play a Strike mission. The Strike missions are similar to a dungeon run in an RPG. You fight your way through an area with a Fireteam, fighting a couple of really hard bosses along the way.
If you want to do something a little more relaxed, you can go into the Explore areas. You can run around a giant open world, finding side missions, finding hidden loot chests, waiting for giant public events or just killing random enemies.
The Fireteams are limited to 3 people for PvE stuff, and the PvP is 6 people per team. I found the limit of 3 to be annoying. If you have more than 2 friends online at a time, you either have to kick people or play PvP. I hope they can at least bump it up to 4 man teams in the full version, but who knows?
When the beta ended, everyone I was playing with felt empty and so did I. What was life like before the Destiny beta? What are we going to do until September when the full game comes out?
I have no interest in playing Call of Duty or Titanfall after the Destiny beta. Nothing else compares. Destiny is love. Destiny is life.
What are your thoughts on Destiny after playing, or hearing about, the beta? Are you exited? Are you upset? Let us know.