[Author’s Note: Destiny 2 contains A LOT of lore. This article will touch on some of it briefly but there is far too much information within the Destiny universe to cover it in this article. If you have questions or just need a lore fix for this game Destinypedia is available 24/7 to fulfill your needs.]
Destiny 2 is an MMORPG first person shooter in which players take on the role of a Guardian following the fall of The Last City on Earth to the Red Legion. The Red Legion wants the power of The Traveler, a giant sphere of unknown origin which provides “The Light”, a force which gives Guardians their powers. After the beginning stages of the game the war has already been lost and players fight a resistance action against numerous hostile factions with the goal of taking back Earth and other planets from various nefarious forces who fight on the side of Darkness.
Player vs. Environment
The first thing players will have to do upon entering Destiny 2 is design their character. There are three classes, Titan, Warlock and Hunter each of which has different attributes for different styles of play. Each of these classes also has subclasses. Initially you only have one but more can be unlocked later in the game. Following this players will pick a race, gender and physically design their character. Following that the game actually begins.
Right off the bat Destiny 2 has a lot of cut scenes that explain what’s going on to some degree and the beginning of the game is no exception. The movie covers the beginning of the attack on The Last City by the Red Legion and then drops the player into combat fighting to save the city. Spoiler: you fail. This portion of the game serves as a tutorial on the basics of movement, combat and interacting with the world of Destiny 2.
After the tutorial players find themselves in a place called “The Farm”. This is one of the social areas of the game where players can interact with each other, join a Clan, send and receive mail, upgrade, buy certain gear and engage in other activities. It is here that you will get your ship which allows you to rapidly access various parts of the game including other planets and moons.
For the uninitiated other players in MMO’s generally have their name and level displayed above them. Destiny 2 is no different. The blue square with a number in it above a player tells you their level.
One of the most important objects in Destiny 2 is an orb that follows you around. It’s electronic but it’s also tapped into “The Light.” This device, known as a Ghost Shell is your best little friend. It can heal you, resurrect you, find objects for you, help you with navigation, interact with other electronics to open doors or pull files off a computer and it controls all of your communications with friendly NPCs and provides you your area maps.
Once you’ve been given your ship at The Farm you’ll be able to access parts of Earth that have fallen to one or more of the hostile factions that have attacked Earth. These areas, like The Farm are open world meaning you will see other players, be able to interact with them and also be able to join public events that occur at various points around the map. You’ll also be given missions. These missions, if you are not in a group, are single player and upon entering them other players will disappear until you have completed or quit the mission.
At this point you’ll start collecting weapons, gear and currencies as well as XP. Destiny 2 runs on three currencies, Glimmer, Legendary Shards and Bright Dust. Glimmer is the base currency of the game. You pick it up by killing enemies, completing missions, breaking down gear or finding it in loot caches. You can use it to purchase weapons and gear. Legendary Shards come from disassembling Legendary or Exotic items. Bright Dust is found in Bright Engrams or can be obtained by breaking down the items found in a Bright Engram.
The gear that you get, unlike many other MMO games, drops specifically for your class. You won’t end up with a bunch of Titan gear if you’re a Warlock. You can change your gear load out and check and/or compare the specifications on gear in your inventory menu.
Base gear has no special stats attached to it, but base weapons may. Gear and guns are named but that doesn’t mean that two pieces of equipment with the same name are actually the same. They may vary in stats and they may come with a special perk. On that note, Destiny 2 only has one perk per item, which supposedly is part of Bungie’s attempt to control the amount of grind required in this game and prevent people from having to play hundreds of hours of the same thing in order to get a weapon that is usable in PVP.
Also, unlike many other MMO games there are no vendors to sell gear you don’t want to in this game. Instead you break them down and are rewarded directly with currencies which means that players don’t have to travel back to a vendor on a regular basis because their inventory is full.
Combat in the game can be fairly straightforward or it can tend towards chaos depending on your play style. Events involving other players will tend to be more chaotic and it may take players a bit of time to develop the “vision” required to be truly effective in such events. Even single player can get hectic when enemies come in large numbers and get close.
This is where remembering your skills and other capabilities becomes key to survival, especially with nasty things like Marauders which can cloak. No they’re not entirely invisible but they can be hard to spot and they’re damned hard to see when your engaging five other enemies, dodging their fire and side stepping enemy grenades.
This game does not have crafting in the usual MMO sense. Items can be broken down for currency and they can be modded by obtaining mods for them. Players have no ability to create gear or weapons on their own but must obtain them by playing through the game.
Player vs. Player
Destiny 2 also features a PVP portion of the game known as “The Crucible”. This variant of the game allows players to fight one another as members of 4v4 fireteams in two modes; Quickplay and Competitive.
Quickplay is kind of what it sounds like. Matching is fast but the game doesn’t take as much account of skill levels or connection speed. It’s a more casual type of PVP. Game types within Quickmatch are; Clash, Supremacy and Control.
Clash is basically just Team Deathmatch, the first team to 75 kills wins.
Supremacy is kind of like “Kill Confirmed” from the Call of Duty franchise. When killed, players drop a “crest” which can be picked up. If you pick up an enemies crest your team gets a point picking up a friendly crest denies the enemy the ability to pick it up. This game type is a race to 50 points or the team with the most crests captured will win when time runs out.
Control is your basic control game. There are three points on the map holding them grants your team points and the first team to 100 points wins, or whichever team has more points when time runs out is the winner. Killing an enemy in this mode also grants a point to your team.
Competitive Mode in PVP takes skill parity and connection speed into account far more than Quickplay does. As such it will often take longer for the game to properly match you with other Guardians to play with and against. Competitive Mode also has different game types than Quickplay does, these are Countdown and Survival.
Countdown is another game type players of other games will likely recognize. One team has a bomb that they plant and defend until it detonates and the other team tries to stop them. Six victories rounds will win a match.
Survival is a game mode where each team has a “pool” of respawns, in this case eight. Each time a player on your team dies your team loses a respawn from the pool. Whichever team runs out of respawns first loses. A match in Survival consists of a number of rounds but I have managed to fail at properly counting them.
Leaked information indicates that the first major DLC for Destiny 2 will be released in the Spring of 2018.
Guns and Gear
Guns in Destiny 2 fall into three major categories; Kinetic, Energy and Power.
Kinetic weapons are exactly what they sound like. They use kinetic energy to do damage. That is to say; they’re regular guns.
Energy weapons deal energy damage via energy which means that they degrade shields rapidly compared to other types of weapons. They’re also highly effective against robots and other machines.
Power weapons are a bit different. They come in a number of flavors, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, shotguns etc. Ammo for these things is rare but used effectively these weapons deal massive amounts of damage.
Each gun type has a specific use. Energy weapons will destroy shields quickly and generally kill the AI using those shields rapidly as well. However, in some cases it may be necessary to deplete an enemies shields using an energy weapon and then attack them with some other type of weapon for maximum effect. Each weapon can be inspected (as shown above) but it cannot be disassembled. Higher end weapons can be modified by mods players obtain via loot drops and weapons beyond [level] each have not only their stats but also perks.
Perks also apply to gear. A gun might have an ammo perk that allows you to carry more ammo and reload faster at the end of a magazine or to move faster while carrying that gun. Clothing similarly can have perks such as reducing the speed at which your [orb name] regenerates your health or reducing the cooldown on a skill such as dodge. Weapons may also have other perks that are not listed in their spec sheet such as highlighting enemies within a certain range when the player is looking down the sight.
While weapons and gear sometimes have clear advantages many choices about what weapons and gear to use are distinctly personal in Destiny 2. Some people may have a serious affinity for a three-round burst fired rifle or prefer grenade launchers over rocket launchers in nearly all circumstances. Some of this will be based on the player’s overall play style but much of it may also be based simply on how well that weapon functions for them.
Really, it’s not possible to cover all the various weapons in Destiny 2 because there are so freakin’ many of them. All that’s really possible to do without a giant Excel file is to give a general overview and let players find what they like.
Overall Destiny 2 is, quite frankly, amazing. It seems to run on a proprietary engine which does a great job with both graphics and physics. The game is smooth and pretty intuitive. Where it’s not easy to figure out the game will generally give you a tutorial or you can always pull up your Ghost Shell for guidance to an objective. Further, Destiny 2 does very, very well with connectivity. The game doesn’t disconnect and has very little to no lag.
Really the only annoying thing about this game is Bungie’s proclivity to put in cut scenes that you cannot exit. However, not every cut scene is only meant to entertain. When players move from one area to another, say from planet to planet there will always be a video of your ship moving through space, entering the atmosphere and then flying around a bit. This is a loading screen. While seeing the same thing over and over can get old it’s far superior to watching a loading bar. As a bit of a bonus, when traveling with other players their ships will appear in this video too which is kind of a nice touch.
Specifications: Destiny 2 by Bungie and Activision
Release Date: October 24, 2017 (PC) September 6, 2017 (PS4/Xbox One)
DLC Content: TBA. Current leaks indicate the first DLC content is set to drop sometime in the Spring of 2018.
Platform(s): Play Station 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (via battle.net)
Price: $59.99 (base game) $89.99 (Game + Expansion Pass) $99.99 (Digital Deluxe Edition) — All available on Amazon HERE
Other items can be purchased separately such as currency bundles starting at $4.99 and the Expansion Pass can be purchased as an add-on to the base game for $34.99.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Graphics: * * * * *
The graphics are dazzling. While Bungie hasn’t told the world what engine they’re using (it’s almost certainly proprietary like the original Destiny) , whatever it is works very well.
Physics: * * * * *
Every bit as good as the graphics.
Story: * * * * *
If you like your lore, you’ll love this game.
Playability: * * * * *
While it’s online only, it plays great. Groups work well, everything is smooth and connectivity issues are, in my experience, non-existent.
Customize This: * * *
Weapons and gear are modifiable, but not in the same sense as many other shooter games. Of course, this is an MMO and Bungie’s going for balance so that can be excused to some degree.
Weapons: * * * * *
Balance: * * * *
The only downside to the balance in Destiny 2 is with the QuickMatch version of PVP. Sometimes that results in a completely unbalanced team and total slaughter.
Overall: * * * * 1/2
Well done. It’s easy to see why this game is considered to be one of the top releases of the year.