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.
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.
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.
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.
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.