Spawn Point: What you need to know about Destiny

Heroic Destiny header

Welcome to Spawn Point, where we take something wonderful from the world of gaming and explain what it is, why it’s worth your time and how you can get involved with it. This week, with its sequel’s PC release just around the corner, we’ll be plunging into what Destiny has to offer.

So, what’s Destiny all about? In a nutshell? Shooting aliens, scoring sweet loot, then using that loot to shoot some more aliens.

Hmm, well that doesn’t sound all that special. You’re forgetting that since Halo, Bungie have been refining the experience of shooting aliens in the head into a slick, mesmerizing dance. While satisfying combat is at the core of the experience, Destiny isn’t just a game you fire up for a few nights and then forget about. Give it a chance to sink it’s hooks into you, and before you know it you’ll be itching to log in to complete your dailies like every MMO obsessive you’ve ever smirked at. Destiny is a world that rewards the repeat visitor, fostering a space for you and your mates to hang out in. It’s like your favourite pub, but with less booze and more aliens to zap.

Ugh. But why do I need another MMO in my life? It’s an online game, but certainly not an MMO in the traditional sense, where thousands of players all share the same environment at once. Instead, when you’re in one of the game’s open environments it’ll drop you in with a dozen or so other Guardians. You’ll be the only person on the actual story missions that you go on, unless you bring along any co-op buddies.

Nessus

It has raids though, right? Raids, along with the time commitment needed to both get yourself geared up and actually play them, is actually where Destiny most resembles an MMO. For my money, they’re the best part of the game. Each raid is a gauntlet of firefights that call for smart coordination, where 6 people take down a boss that would be far too much for any one Guardian to handle. They contain unique mechanics that turn those fights into puzzles, needing individual roles to be carefully devised and executed.

I don’t have the time for your elaborate space dungeon nonsense! What else can I get up to? All sorts! If you’re just after sci-fi spectacle, there’s the campaign, which is a bit longer and much more engaging in Destiny 2 than the original. Once you’re done with that though, you can go on strike missions or roam around one of four semi-open worlds and take part in public events. Strike missions send 3 person fireteams off on a sort of mini-raid to kill a big bad. They also come in weekly ‘nightfall’ versions that are tougher, have a time limit and add modifiers like doubling the damage of shotguns but halving that of sniper rifles.

Public events challenge everyone in the nearby area to help complete a special objective, like destroying a tank dropped from the sky or disrupting an evil space magic ritual.

Destiny Crucible

My friends suck. What if I tire of co-op jollies and want to fight against them? That’s what The Crucible is for, which features PVP of both the casual and competitive variety. If you’re really into that side of the things, Trials of the Nine is a special competitive mode where the goal is to win 7 matches without losing more than 2 of them. You can’t queue for it unless you have 3 pals though, as it calls for high levels of teamwork and communication.

Am I going to need to grind for hours to get decent loot? That was a problem with the first game that actually improved dramatically after The Taken King expansion. Destiny 2 is even more respectful of your time, with a much higher drop rate for the most exciting gear. They’ve also gotten rid of the faff that you used to have to go through to level up properly. Although having said all that, it is still a game that requires putting in a few hours every week to get the most out of it.

destiny homecoming

Alright, I’m sold. What do I need to know about what happened in the first game? Well, fortunately there’s this hour and a half long video that –

I said what do I NEED to know. Fair enough, you can check out this 15 minute video that –

Just tell me with your words! Ok, sorry. So in the late 21st Century, a giant space ball called the Traveller appeared and terraformed a bunch of the planets in Earth’s home system. It shared knowledge and technology with us humans, ushering in what’s known as the ‘Golden Age’, where we spread ourselves out across the solar system and learnt how to make cool robots known as Exos.

I said what do I NEED to know. Alright, look, technically you don’t need to know anything about the story. The first game’s lore was mostly delivered via Grimoire cards that were accessed via an external website, and while Destiny 2 incorporates more of it into the game and tells a better story through the campaign, the truth is that it’s about hanging out with friends and unlocking fancier armour and weapons through satisfying combat. Still, some people really get into the lore and, if I could just…

Fine, fine, lore me up. OK, great. It was during the Golden Age that we encountered a bunch of different aliens: the four armed Fallen, the zombie like Hive, the militaristic Cabal and time travelling machines known as Vex. None of them were very friendly, but we kept them at bay with fancy AIs known as Warminds.

Basically everything was dandy until ‘The Collapse’, where an ancient enemy of the Traveller called the Darkness showed up and started ruining everything. The Warminds, believing that defeat was inevitable, stopped fighting and withdrew all the machines that were keeping us safe. Humanity was pushed back to a single city on Earth and the Traveller got beaten up, which made it decide to create Ghosts.

Spooky Ghosts? Not really. They’re AI companions that resurrect people to fight as ‘warriors of the Light’, who we know as Guardians. Earth then goes through a period where some of these Guardians start calling themselves War Lords and naughtily take over, before some less naughty Guardians calling themselves Iron Lords put a stop to that.

Destiny Centurian

Ok, so that’s everything that happened in Destiny 1? Nope! That’s just the preamble. Destiny 1 kicks off with the player character being resurrected as a Guardian, then running off to stop some Hive on the moon that are trying to drain the Traveller of its Light. Once that’s dealt with, we’re off to deal with some Vex that are growing a bit of the Darkness – we destroy it and the Traveller starts healing. Hurray.

Whoo! So then – Hang on, that’s just what happened in the base game.You should also know that in the expansions, we kill the Hive god that was behind that earlier plot to invade Earth. Then when his dad comes along because he’s upset about that we kill him too.

You done? I’m done.

When can I play this beautiful space opera? Destiny 2 releases for PC on October 26th.

40 Comments

  1. mukuste says:

    “Give it a chance to sink it’s hooks into you, and before you know it you’ll be itching to log in to complete your dailies like every MMO obsessive you’ve ever smirked at.”

    Sounds just like the usual Skinner box nonsense. Keep this stuff well away from me (because I know I’ll fall for it otherwise).

    • Jac says:

      Once you’ve finished the story and run through some of the end game stuff I find this game gets less and less rewarding the more you play. If you treat it like an MMO and log in daily you will quickly tire of it. You’ll still enjoy it but it all starts to feel very hollow.

      If you play it a couple of nights a week then it is great and far more enjoyable an experience. They’ve made it significantly easier to get up to a power level for the raid and once you’re there running the raid one night a week and doing the weekly reset activities is very enjoyable.

  2. geldonyetich says:

    I think what I need to know about Destiny 2 is what it does that the Borderlands series didn’t do better.

    • Veav says:

      Be a game I haven’t beat? It doesn’t have to be unique and groundbreaking to be fun.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Maybe not to be fun. However, looked at from the perspective of all the things I have that are fun, and the fact I already don’t make the time to play Borderlands games, Destiny 2 needs to do something better for me to make the time to play it.

        So it doesn’t have to be unique and groundbreaking to be fun, but it might in order to be fun in a way that is relevant in the greater scheme of the things going on in my life.

        • vahnn says:

          Just don’t play it. You run around shooting guys and get better gear to shoot more guys. Difference is the graphics and the tone–Destiny takes itself a bit more seriously.

    • fish99 says:

      I find the combat more visceral and satisfying in Destiny and I personally prefer the setting. Borderlands isn’t really an MMO either, people are only in your game if you want them to be, whereas the hubs and main open areas all have other players in Destiny, and there’s events in the open world designed for multiple players. Another difference – in Borderlands you just loot guns and grenade mods whereas in Destiny there’s armour too, so more visual character customization.

      • soulis6 says:

        Agree. Moving, shooting, driving, using ability, and simply existing in Destiny 2 feel miles better than anything in Borderlands, and visually looks astounding by comparison.

        But i’m someone who attempted to get into borderlands 1 & 2 multiple times, but bounced off pretty hard. The core combat, enemy and ability design just didn’t grab me.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Good to know. Yeah, I suppose a generally better, more fluid gameplay is a decent selling point.

        I am a bit curious how MMO-ish Destiny 2 is. I suppose I could do my research a little better. But the impression I have right now is it is more invisible-lobbies than full MMO, more like Guild Wars 1.

        • welverin says:

          I think calling it an MMO is misguided. There are other people running around the world at the same time as you, but they’re easily ignored if you choose to do so.

          I basically think of it as the serious version of Borderlands, but with better mechanics as was mentioned above.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I dunno, Borderlands 2 at least had more fun and crazy combat than Destiny 2, really – going by the PC Open Beta, at least.

        • fish99 says:

          If we’re talking about how satisfying the guns are to shoot, and how powerful and satisfying your abilities are, I’d definitely put Destiny ahead. A lot of that is due to the sound assets and the way enemies react to being shot.

          The rocket launchers in Borderlands also felt very weak too, like they were shooting balls of fluff.

    • Thirith says:

      I’d second what people have said about movement and the general gameplay. In theory the games are pretty similar; in practice, I vastly prefer both traversing the terrain and the combat in Destiny. Borderlands makes up for this with personality and attitude, but these, like Destiny’s aesthetic and considerably more po-faced storytelling and worldbuilding, are a matter of personal taste. I dig the way Destiny’s world looks, sounds and feels, but I understand that others find it boring and generic.

  3. Dogshevik says:

    All I need to know is that people post bills with ads for it all over the place here. Such heavy handed marketing means there is a lot of money at stake. Which in turn means it does that lowest common denominator thing for guaranteed return. I guess with some added “let´s dress-up all pretty” online dollhouse crap. Probably with lootcrate micro-transactions.
    So…no. Just no.

  4. mitrovarr says:

    So, it’s a shooter with MMO elements. However, I just don’t understand how MMO elements are supposed to improve a shooter. All it does is allow numbers to get in the way of finding an appropriate difficulty for the mobs (PVE) and let numbers make combat even more in favor of people who’ve been playing the game longer (PVP). I mean, do you really want people with a zillion hours in the game to be intrinsically better than you in terms of power, on top of their greater skill?

    It seems like if you want to grind the same mission a billion times, something like Overwatch where player skill is all that matters and progress is purely the player getting better and nothing else seems the ideal.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Not like that, actually. With specific exclusions to (what amounts to) your gear score, most of the game’s world content is phased to your particular level, even when playing co-operatively with higher or lower level players. There are light-level requirements for specific activities, especially the strikes, the weekly nightfall strike, and the raid, but those activities will actually lock you out of playing until you and everyone in your party meets the minimum requirement. The Crucible, the PvP side of things, has level-advantages disabled innately. What that means is that you can play it at level 10 with a light level of 70 against players at level 20 and a light level of 300. The normalization does not stop the faster ability recharge and additional armor and weapon perks that come from higher-level, rarer, modified gear, but it does normalize damage applied and taken. It is absolutely possible to win crucible matches at a lower level, but it’s not necessarily easy. There are specific crucible “events” that have yet to happen for Destiny 2 (the Iron Banner) which feature PvP matches with level and light level advantages enabled.

      • welverin says:

        Let’s not confuse the new people might play the sequel with old terms, Light Level was changed to Power Level (admittedly, I and people I know who played the first game, do the same thing).

      • mitrovarr says:

        So it’s a shooter with MMO elements that don’t mean anything, because the PVE scales to your numbers and they’re disabled in PVP? That seems even worse somehow!

  5. OmNomNom says:

    Never understood the appeal. Played Destiny 2 beta and was underwhelmed, for me it’s just a streamlined Borderlands. Fewer options, lesss engaging and poor story.
    The PvP is just a snoozefest too.

    • UncleLou says:

      Horses for courses. I bounced off both Borderlands games hard because I found the gunplay and (complete lack of) AI terrible, and there were way too many fetch quests between the action.

      Destiny 1 basically was Borderlands with excellent mechanics.

      Not sure what makes you say that it is streamlined, or has fewer options.

  6. drewski says:

    I feel like this is a couple of weeks early given how far away from release the game still is.

  7. EkoAzarak says:

    all you need to know about Destiny is: Warframe Plains of Eidolon is releasing on Oct. 13th.

    • Zhiroc says:

      Warframe is one I bounced off of extremely hard. I really didn’t find the gameplay fun in the first mission. Came back to it a few days later, and tried the second to the same effect. I’ve watched some streamed gameplay later as well, and my thoughts were “glad I didn’t try to continue”.

      I’m not saying it’s bad, or that it doesn’t deserve to exist… It’s just that I personally don’t find the gameplay to be fun, which is the opposite of Destiny. They could eliminate any rewards or loot grind and I’d still play it for hours on end.

    • soco says:

      I bounced off Warframe too when I first tried it a couple years ago. They did some updates and I tried it again a month or so ago and I’ve gotten into it.

      Not saying it is for everyone, but if you want to get an idea of what Destiny is like without spending money, try the similar and free to play Warframe. If you like it and want to get the more popular Destiny, cool. If you bounce off hard from Warframe you may want to save your cash when it comes to Destiny.

    • dskzero says:

      Is Warframe finally a full game or is it still a half baked collection of ideas under the guise of a third person SciFi Diablo?

  8. syndrome says:

    I lost you at “Alright, I’m sold” :/

    • Tiax says:

      While I understand what the author’s getting at, it’s true that the whole article could be read as “it’s a skinner box that is actually better than other skinner boxes because it’s skinnering its players a bit less than the others”.

      Still, I got Destiny II for free so I might as well try it.

    • Josh W says:

      Plot twist, the other side of the conversation was also him all along.

  9. Premium User Badge

    laiwm says:

    So is this worth getting if I don’t know anyone else who’ll be playing on PC, or are friends essential?

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Theres enough to do solo (I’m a solo player) but you will be locked out of some stuff. The weekly PvP event requires you to be in a team of 4. Nightfalls (aka heroic dungeons) and raids now have a weird semi matchmaking system that will let groups with 1 empty slot look for 1 extra player, but the queue times are horrendous

      Regular Strikes (dungeons) and PvP has normal matchmaking though and everything else is primarily solo content anyway.

      Join a clan though (just pick a random one with a lot of players with an open invite), as when someone in the clan completes something like the raid, everyone in the clan gets loot from it

    • tnzk says:

      If you like going to the pub and drinking a pint all by yourself, you might like Destiny 2 solo.

      Honestly, when I played the original, I’d only really play with friends, or find a group to do the raid with. I hated playing it by myself, and in that regard, it’s way different from Borderlands which is arguably better solo.

  10. SuicideKing says:

    Honestly, after playing the PC Beta, it seemed to me that Destiny 2 removes what made Halo:CE fun to play (tight controls, satisfying gun play and almost rhythmic melee, smart AI) and makes things really grindy and dense. Borderlands 2 was just more “go there shoot things collect loot” and it was silly and absurd while doing so.

    Also the raid boss fight in the Beta was a perfect qualifier for John’s “can i skip this please”, because it was so tedious and random, to the point where we didn’t really want to finish it, but did so just to actually figure out WTF bungie wanted from us.

    • tnzk says:

      I don’t think the Leviathan raid was in the beta on any system. It was just one story mission, one strike, and PvP.

  11. Spuzzell says:

    1: It’s just Destiny. Destiny 1 does not exist. Destiny 2 is what Destiny 2 is called, to differentiate it from Destiny.

    Which is called Destiny.

    2: If you’d like to replicate the Destiny/Destiny 2 experience to see if you enjoy it before buying, you can simply by shouting “pew pew pew” at your cat for an hour and then picking up a pack of sweets you don’t want from the floor.

    • OneEyeRed says:

      Spuzzell, that was the best reply I have heard in a long time. bravo sir, bravo!

  12. Farnbeak says:

    Unlike the previous Spawn Point article, this one feels like marketing material. Some sort of an adapted presskit, maybe?

    ‘we take something wonderful’ – is it? I’m asking because it hasn’t been reviewed by RPS yet. There are no downsides mentioned here while it has its skinner box elements (which RPS dislikes, usually) and the only option to buy it on PC is preorder (RPS usually suggests against). Am I worrying too early?

  13. poomanchu says:

    Please, please do not start titling links with “what you need to know…” It seems like a trend that every other news source has picked up on – video-games or otherwise. I don’t know why it sets me off every single time I see it, but it does. It feels like the link is set up as click-bait which is entirely unnecessary. If people are interested/curious in whatever the game is, they’ll click regardless. It’s also assumed that all articles will provide knowledge about a game without “what you need to know” being explicitly stated in the link. It’s a pretty rare feat to come away from an article feeling less knowledgeable about the subject. (I’m sure someone could find an example though)

    “Destiny’s child – What you don’t need to know, but we’re going to tell you anyway” would at least be slightly humorous.

  14. Josh W says:

    On balance, I found this Promo charming, particularly the writers enthusiasm for telling himself lore. On the other hand, not super self aware or with a strong distance from generic “game article” tropes.

  15. Suits says:

    Release date is October 24th