The Destiny Deconstruction – A Look at Bungie’s Beta

By Joe Strange


Well, the Beta for Destiny is over, and I’ve finally come to terms with that. Mostly because I’ve been able to talk with my friend and Co-writer James about our experiences in the game, so here’s our thoughts on the new game from Bungie.

As Far as Betas Go

Now both James and myself only started the Beta on the Friday, when it became open for everyone, and so we just had the weekend to get a taste of it. Both of us also work, which meant that we had even less time to play. Despite all of that, both of us reached the level cap fairly quickly. The level cap was only 8, with the competitive multiplayer opening up at level 5.

With our three days of play this was ample, but I can imagine it was fairly frustrating for those who had been playing from day one. Once you pass level 5 there are no more story missions to play. There was, however, a Strike, which is Destiny’s version of MMORPG’s Raids, was available from level 6 (incentive to play the Competitive mode I imagine), which I, unfortunately, didn’t get to play due to work restraints.

Bungie stress tested the servers on the Saturday night for two hours as well, and opened up the Moon, a new area with new missions to play. This gave the players a taster of the other sorts of settings we could expect, but two hours wasn’t quite long enough, especially if you, like James, only joined an hour into the moon fun.

One Stop Ship

I mentioned the settings we were given in the 2 hours in piece I wrote last Friday, and unfortunately that was about it for locations, dark hallways and open, rocky terrain wove into eachother to give you a little variety of battlegrounds, but it was only Russia.

Since the Bungie have also confirmed that there will be on ‘destination’ per planet, and it looks like Russia is Earths. Whether this will change and be added to we don’t know, but we can still hope to see some more of Earth.

The Crucible was where you went if you wanted to see a bit more variety in settings. The competitive multiplayer is set on a few different planets, including Venus and the Moon, they were mostly comprised of space stations and complexes, though there was one map that was a load of ancient ruins, which was more suited to close range fighting, and my hunter had some issue with that.

Magic Punches Versus Fancy Scarves

Speaking of my totally bitchin’, knife wielding, scarf wearing headshot specialist, James and I played different classes. James had a wizard with a cape, and what he described as a magic punch. So we spent some time discussing the differences in the classes.

The first thing we noticed is that we were both very happy with our choices in class and weren’t looking to change them when we play the real deal later in the year, James was less than impressed when I told him that my character’s ‘special melee’ was a throwing knife and he insisted that his character’s life draining attack was much cooler. A fist fight ensued.

The reason we were both so happy with our classes was due to the fact that the choice you pick is flexible, and there is a lot of potential to play the same classes in different ways. I stuck to my sniper and scout rifle, whereas James tried out snipers, pulse rifles and his personal favourite; the Shotgun, which he says are the best shotguns he’s used in any game.

The upgrade system, while not explored very well in the beta, also adds to the potential different play styles, one of my upgrades focused on my throwing knives, while the other focussed more on my special, allowing the two to work in synergy at later levels.

Speaking of special moves, this is what really defines the class choices, the titan has a huge area effect ground pound, which takes very little time to activate once your bar is charged, whereas the Golden Gun, the hunter’s special, takes quite a bit of time to go from activated to ready to use, but once ready you have a set amount of time to fire off three very powerful shots. The warlock’s special is something in between, James described it as a more powerful grenade, and has both range and area effect.

Not all People Suck

Finally, the thing that both James and I were hesitant about when Destiny was announced was the casual multiplayer side. Cooperative multiplayer has always been something I’ve done with friends, so the idea of jumping into games with random strangers and working together was something I wasn’t too sure about. Especially since my experience with that has always ended in me dead and itemless in a forest.

But in Destiny there’s no real way you can hinder other Guardians, sure you can stand in their way, but the general feel of the game is one of helping one another, both James and I have stories of helping random players not in our fireteam, and being aided by passing guardians out in the wilds of Russia.

Basically, Destiny has proven that not all people are a**holes when they’re given a controller and an internet connection, which makes us excited for the next big multiplayer focussed game, Evolve.

Thanks to James for sharing his thoughts and experiences on the Destiny Beta, and thank you to Bungie for making it open and allowing us to play it. See you all in the Tower in September.


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