Destiny 2 is around the corner, so it is time to collect our notes and take a look at all the changes coming to the Destiny universe.
Destiny 2 promises to rewrite the foundation of the Destiny games while maintaining everything we know and love about the original. Will the changes bring us a definitive Destiny experience? Or will they fall flat? No one knows. But here’s what we do know:
(Some minor spoilers ahead)
The Tower Has Fallen – And Our Stuff is Gone With it
This is by far the most divisive announcement that came out of Destiny 2. Players in the original game were encouraged to grind for hundreds of hours to secure the most prized loot in the game. Loot that had to be carefully evaluated since players’ vaults could only hold a fraction of that loot, and the rest had to be discarded. What loot did survive the knife was cherished as it represented memories of triumph. Not to mention, these weapons and gear often paid off in more than memories, giving players abilities that gave them a satisfying edge in PvE and PvP respectively. What weapons a Guardian had obtained and retained became a mark of identity within the game, with players often inspecting one another to compare gear and achievements.
But all of that work is going out the window. And that hurts.
I’m not going to lie, I’m on Bungie’s side in this. In order to revamp the entire game to deliver what we want, some things aren’t going to transfer well without holding the new game back or introducing piles of bugs. For the highest quality possible, the slate needs to be wiped clean to deliver the best experience in one fell swoop. In my mind, Destiny 1 was Bungie’s learning grounds, it was always doomed to be buggy and off the mark. But Destiny 2 is their chance to deliver on what they’ve learned, and some sacrifices will have to be made to achieve that.
Besides, Bungie didn’t leave the destruction of our stuff as an arbitrary technical decision. It is woven into the fabric of the story itself. When we see the Tower burning, it’s not a case of, “Welp, that sucks. Guess I’d better go save it.” No. Seeing the Tower burn is tragic. The place where we have spent hundreds of hours pushing friends off ledges and spamming emotes is gone. Our stuff is gone. Our favorite characters are scattered. It’s the first real loss players have felt since they watched their crewmates die in Mass Effect 2. (Assuming they didn’t get lucky.) To me, this makes the loss mean something. This makes the opening of Destiny 2 epic.
Destiny 1 Players Will Be Rewarded
Despite blowing up all our stuff, the developers at Bungie know how invested Destiny 1 players are, and they want to reward that investment. They have revealed cosmetics such as emblems that will be awarded to players based on achievements reached before August 1, 2017. Not to mention, any characters that have passed the Black Garden mission can have their appearance automatically transferred to Destiny 2, assuming they are playing on the same platform that they played Destiny 1 on.
I’m not going to lie, it sounds underwhelming. But considering how cagey developers have been in answering this question, I suspect there will be more than just emblems. We will have to wait until release day to find out.
And honestly, playing through the opening mission in the beta felt like a giant fan service for Destiny 1 players. We always heard Cayde-6 complaining about not being in the field, and we finally get to see his Golden Gun blast through some Cabal right in front of us. We’ve spent hours turning missions into Ikora, and now we get to see her pissed off and blasting the crap out of a ship. Heck, we get to stand inside Zavala’s shield as we fend off waves of attackers! To me, that was some very exciting stuff. To anyone who hasn’t played Destiny 1, it’s just some robot shooting some enemy potatoes with a shiny gun. Destiny 2 was made for Destiny players, and if the subsequent missions are just as awesome as that first one, I know I will be satisfied.
The Cabal Have The Stage
Destiny 1 spent most of its time focusing on the Hive and the Fallen, with such expansions as The Dark Below and The House of Wolves. While the Cabal have played their part in many strikes and missions, they haven’t had their own story. Until now.
Enter: Ghaul, the ruthless leader of the Red Legion. The Cabal wasted no time in showing their dominance, not only destroying the Tower, but also kidnapping the Traveler and sealing off its light. Heck, in the first mission [Spoilers!] he shoves us off a ship with his foot. Talk about humiliating.
As someone who has played Destiny since day one, I was wondering if they had blown all their good ideas too soon. How could they one-up the likes of Oryx and Aksis? It felt as though we had seen it all. I am glad to see that I was wrong. Hearing Ghaul’s haughty voice and watching the Tower burn leaves me itching to grab a rocket launcher and charge into the fray.
You can find out more about Ghaul and the Red Legion here.
After running circles around the same patrol maps for hours, one of the most exciting things for Destiny players is when a new planet opens up. New enemies, new maps, new missions are always fun to explore. With Destiny 2 we get three new planets (moons, if you want to be technical) and a new region on Earth: Nessus, IO, Titan, and the European Dead Zone.
But this isn’t just a fresh coat of paint on the same old exploration. No, no. Players will be able to experience new adventures in the form of Lost Sectors and Flashpoints.
Lost Sectors are basically dungeons with bosses and loot that will only be available at certain points in the game. Some can be stumbled upon, and others will require careful searching to find.
Flashpoints are weekly patrol events offering “prestigious” gear. According to Bungie, it is basically Nightfall for patrols.
Oh, and did I mention that Cayde will be selling treasure maps? Supposedly these will aid players in pursuing those weekly Flashpoints.
Regular patrol missions from Destiny 1 will still be available, with a mix of old and new missions. There will also be World Quests with new story missions that will be unlocked as players progress through the main campaign.
Overall, players will have plenty to explore.
Of course, new subclasses are always exciting. Subclasses define the special abilities and supers Guardians will wield as they take on the world, be it the ability to come back from the dead, or the ability to deliver a deadly Hulk smash that sprays lightning everywhere.
The degree of excitement players have for these new subclasses will depend on which class they main. Titans will be excited to throw a shield around like Captain America, Warlocks will be able to rain fiery death upon their enemies with a flaming sword, and while the Hunters will look really cool with their new staff, they basically got a revamped version of Blade Dancer. I’m not sure if I am excited to trade twin blades for a stick, but I will admit that the new animations look cool.
You can learn more about these classes at destinythegame.com
New Gun Loadouts
This is where we start getting into the more technical side of the Destiny 2 changes. In Destiny 1, players could equip three weapons: a Primary, a Secondary, and a Heavy, with the average damage output and rarity of ammo increasing at every stage. It was pretty straight forward.
The new system is a somewhat drastic change from the original. Basically, shotguns and sniper rifles have been moved into the Heavy category with rocket launchers (now known as Power Weapons), and everything else has been bundled into the Primary category, with versions of the weapons being split into two new categories based on their elemental damage: variants with no elemental damage will fall into the Kinetic category, and variants with elemental damage will fall into the Energy category. According to a recent Wired interview, you can also take a Kinetic gun and give it elemental damage, shifting it into the Energy category, and vice versa. Which essentially means that you can have two versions of the same gun equipped (one Kinetic, one Energy), and then you have to choose between a sniper rifle, shotgun, or rocket launcher for your big damage.
As someone who put a lot of time into Destiny 1, this felt really weird to me in the beta. It definitely took some getting used to. I was forever scrambling to figure out where my shotgun was, and then left wondering why I would choose I sniper rifle when I could use a rocket launcher instead. It was odd, but once I figured out which guns I was comfortable with, gameplay settled into a familiar rhythm. But once the game comes out and I have to decide on loadouts for Strikes or PVP, I will definitely have to rethink the way I understand my loadout.
As far as balancing goes, it is hard to say. The community was quick to complain about the nerfed PvE game play, but in my opinion such complaints are moot. Bungie was clear in telling the community that the balancing for PvE in the beta was months old. Many changes had been made to the game to improve the balancing, to the point where developers watching the beta were surprised by some old features that are not in the final version of the game. That’s not to say that their surprise was a mistake: the old build was intentionally given to players so as not to spoil the final game. The beta was designed to test technical resilience, such as network loads, etc. It was never meant to showcase balancing. So until the game is officially launched, we don’t know whether the new gun system is a blessing or a curse.
Smaller PvP Maps
On the surface, this seems like a weird move in a world where games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds are pushing the limits and dropping hundreds of players into a single map. But in an interview with The Daily Star, the crucible design lead Lars Bakken said its was done in an effort to “to improve team work, consistency and the competitiveness.”
“So, when we looked at what was important to us in the crucible for Destiny 2 we tossed around words like team work, consistency, competition, those are really important to us, they became the pillars of what we wanted the game to be like when players talked about it.
Like now when you are playing the game, you know that anywhere in PVP you have to worry about three friends on your team and four enemies and they’re abilities.
Everything is working towards making a game that fits well within what we already had with Destiny, but is more team work focused.
The Crucible is now consistent and players can start to understand it, learn it and get better over time.”
To me, this makes sense. And honestly, it didn’t make any sense to me until I played the beta. At first glance, the game felt like every other PvP match I had played in Destiny 1: run to the objectives, kill the other guys first. But after several matches the subtle differences started to sink in: everything felt faster, cleaner, easier to execute on. Even my Destiny partner enjoyed the new map, despite the fact that he doesn’t play much PvP and usually doesn’t like the mode. In 3v3 Osiris maps he was always punished hard for being a lower skill than us, and in 6v6 maps we were always spread out and could never keep track of each other for very long. But in 4v4 it was easy for him to get the hang of things, and it was easy for me to keep track of everything and respond quickly if he needed help. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
On the other hand, some players have pointed out that they can no longer jump into PvP after a raid with a group of six. Two players will have to be voted off the island. For a game that is so focused on the social aspect, this is a real concern. Although, to be honest, my raid group rarely stuck around after a raid, and those that did were more interested in PvE. But I could see how this would be a problem for more tight-knit groups.
You can read the full interview with Lars Bakken here.
While clans did exist in Destiny 1, their presence was largely absent aside from the occasional clan tag displayed next to a username. Players that wanted to organize had to do so outside of the game via chat rooms and forums. Which made it really annoying for the solo player who just wanted some raid gear.
Fortunately, Destiny 2 is revamping the Clan system in a big way. Mainly, everything can be done in-game. You can create/join a clan, manage banners, organize fireteams, and even find extra players for a raid via Guided Groups. This is not only a major win for groups, but also for solo players. Instead of hitting the forums and swapping user names with strangers to find a group willing to play non-matchmaking activities such as raids and Nightfalls, solo players can simply jump into Guided Groups and sort through the array of craigslist ads to find a well-suited group to join, and then just hop in. No muss, no fuss. As someone who originally played Destiny solo, I am beyond excited for these changes. These new features will be a life saver to players who don’t necessarily want to hike the internet rallying kittens (players) just to knock out a Nightfall.
Destiny 2 is Coming to PC
PC players were denied the chance to play Destiny 1, but all of that is changing with Destiny 2. Not only will PC players finally be able to join the Destiny universe, but they will also be able to do so at higher settings. PC players will be able to play at up to 60fps or 4K if they have the rig for it, while console players will be locked in at 30fps. This is exciting news for PC players, though console players feel a bit robbed since the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are coming out and so far is seems those will be locked at 30fps as well. For the average player, this framerate isn’t a big deal seeing as the original Destiny also played at 30fps, so not much is changing. But for anyone who wants more info, Mark Noseworthy, the Destiny 2 Project Lead, took to Twitter to clarify the 30fps lock.
Although, while PC players will be able to enjoy higher frame rates, they will have to wait longer to enjoy them since the release date for PC is October 24th, as opposed to the September 6th console release. Interestingly, the game will be available via Blizzard, not Steam. It seems odd, since Blizzard typically only hosts its own games via their launcher, but it seems it simply boiled down to a wise business decision for both sides: more money for Bungie, free marketing for Blizzard. You can read more about the possible reasons behind the deal here.
Yes, there will be a pre-order bonus for players that want to go all in before the game launches. It’s quite simple: an exotic trace rifle named Coldheart. It doesn’t sound like much, but starting the game with an exotic rifle already in hand is a pretty sweet deal.
If you want more, or if you want to wait until after the game launches, you can get Coldheart, a Legendary Sword, a collectors box, and more in the various other editions being released, such as the Limited Edition, Collector’s Edition, Deluxe Edition, and more. As of this writing, it seems the Collector’s Edition is sold out, but you can find out more on Destiny’s Pre-Order page.
And for those of you who are wondering, Coldheart will be available via regular gameplay starting 12/5/2017.
Once again, PS4 players will be receiving their own exclusives. While all content will eventually come to all platforms, Playstation will have first dibs. This is a deal that was struck on the original Destiny as well, although some exclusive content for Destiny 1 still hasn’t been released on Xbox One yet, and won’t be until October. Exclusive content for Destiny 2 won’t be available on other platforms until at least Fall 2018 according to the Destiny website.
That being said, the exclusive PS4 content is still fairly limited and won’t negatively affect players who are already planning to play on Xbox One or PC. The PS4 exclusives include:
- Lake of Shadows Strike
- Retribution PvP Map
- Gear Sets for Each Class
- City Apex Ship
You can find out more about these exclusives on the destiny website.
The Launch Date is Sooner Than Expected
Most of the time, when a game changes a launch date it is delayed. This time, Bungie is going backwards.
Due to network concerns, Bungie announced that its launch date for the official game will be two days earlier than originally announced: September 6th instead of September 8th. By doing this, Bungie hopes to better assess the technical load at launch and have time to address any network concerns before the weekend rush.
After all the networking issues with For Honor’s launch, this announcement makes me so happy. It means that Bungie is being smart about how it assesses and addresses network loads, leading to a smaller chance that there will be an issue that first weekend. Plus, we get to play the game two days earlier. Woot!
Overall, there are a ton of big changes coming to Destiny 2. Personally, I think these changes are the final push we needed to fix what was missing in Destiny 1. I already have my game pre-ordered and I am standing by for September 6th.
What do you think? Are you mad that Destiny 1 gear isn’t transferring? Are you glad to see clans and Guided Groups? Other thoughts, questions, or concerns? Let us know in the comments.
Destiny 2 comes out on Xbox One and Playstation 4 September 6th. You can pre-order at destinythegame.com, or at any major game retailer.
You can learn more about Destiny 2 by checking out these articles: