9. 6-player strategy action
Raids are likely to be one of the most-played modes in Destiny, and that’s largely due to their open-endedness and difficulty. Raids often require advanced abilities and gear to complete, and demand well-oiled teamwork between six players to be carried out successfully.
The most exciting thing about raids is that they really embrace an MMO foundation in ways that other multiplayer shooters have yet to thoroughly explore. During a raid, players are given minimal objectives and few goals or waypoints to guide them. Instead, you and your fellow Guardians must figure the details out for yourselves, communicate, strategize, and eventually form and execute a plan. There’s a even a Hard mode that kicks Raid mechanics and enemy strength up a notch. I’ll stick with standard difficulty for now, thanks.
8. Campaign and story missions
Destiny’s campaign mode is a story-driven FPS experience like any other, and though there hasn’t been a whole lot of info made available pre-release, you can bet players are learning more with every hour that passes now that the game is publicly available. With a game this huge, it’s difficult to measure where and when plot and story will be delivered. It’s likely that lore and background info will appear in all game modes as well. Still, story missions via the campaign are where you’ll find your meat and potatoes plot-wise.
Destiny’s story will no-doubt explore the borderline extinction event known as The Collapse, which nearly wiped out humanity even after it had expanded across the Solar System. In terms of your own Guardian, Campaign will help uncover the player’s purpose, as well as why you’ve been tasked with taking on alien threats and reviving humanity to its former splendor. In other words, no pressure at all.
7. Crucible PvP
Crucible mode is Destiny’s take on player-vs-player, and though the concept may be familiar, odds are this is unlike any FPS PvP you’ve ever seen. PvP in Destiny is essentially for your own personal gain, as the resulting Crucible Reputation and accumulated Crucible Marks will net you better weapons and armor in the long run.
While Marks are essentially currency, Crucible Reputation is more like a rank that can be boosted by completing Crucible Bounties. You’ll need a certain amount of rep’ to buy high-level weapons and gear, even if you have enough Marks, so be sure you don’t neglect either measure. A powerful Guardian is a well-rounded one, after all.
6. Hang out at the Tower
The tower is Destiny’s central hub, where combat is forbidden and only social exchange and transactions of the business variety are allowed. It’s a great place to go relax after a rough day battling out on the surface of a dusty planet, and if you need to meet friends, find a crew, or buy and sell gear, there’s no better spot. You can also turn in quest items or pretend you’re between jobs in Star Wars, because who hasn’t considered that when reading about Destiny?
The Tower is divvied up into areas, all of which serve a separate purpose, and knowing your way around will prove important if you want to complete quests and gear-up efficiently. Still, the idea of a no-fighting social hub is a good one — I suspect I’ll return to the Tower for a mental breather more often than not.
5. Pick-up-and-play Strikes
Strike is yet another of Destiny’s co-op modes, though unlike a raid its structure is far more traditional. Strikes are structured, “pick-up-and-play” encounters meant to be highly replayable, and if you’ve found yourself worried you won’t have enough time for a title as enormous as Destiny, then Strikes are going to be your bread and butter.
In that same vein, Strikes are great for playing with real life friends specifically, their short length placing less of a focus on meeting a new team or unknown group of players. Still, public events remain accessible if you realized there’s more time than you thought, or better yet, get distracted. Once the Strike itself begins the event becomes private, though, so make sure to take care of your business in advance. Oh, and bring enough supplies too. Strikes often end with a highly challenging boss, or multiple.
4. Explore and discover
I’m already convinced that 90% of my Destiny time will be spent in Explore mode, and for a certain subset of players, what it offers is far and away the game’s most compelling draw. Explore allows players to select an area and do just that; patrol its surface, look for previously unknown areas or locales, pass the time battling enemies and leveling up: essentially free roam in its purest form.
The best part about Explore mode is that nearly everything from other modes is accessible. Guardians can accept missions, partake in public events, meet up with friends or make new acquaintances, and so on. I’m guessing Explore will also bring us some of the best and most amusing user content via the sharing capabilities of next-gen hardware. There’s nothing better for in-game screwing around than an intergalactic sandbox.
3. Customize your Guardian
Destiny’s customization tools are impressively deep, and though it’s no create-a-Sim, player customization tools more than allow for imaginative and unique looks for each and every Guardian created. Beyond standard appearance, you’ll be decking your avatar out with custom armor and weapons regularly as you play. Though stats should always be a warrior’s north star, I tend to struggle between what looks good and what helps me the most. I guess I’m just vain like that.
Destiny is all about control and personalization, so don’t be afraid to scrap an entire look or numbers-strategy if you find it’s not working out for you. The aforementioned Explore mode reminds us that Destiny’s worlds are persistent ones, that exist whether your Guardian shows up or not. Your task is simply to discover which methods best suit your continued survival in them.
2. Toy with weapons
Like Halo before it, weapons are a huge facet of what makes Destiny’s gameplay fun and its possibilities numerous. The game’s opening battles act as a sampler platter of the various rifles, shotguns, pistols, and assorted sci-fi apparati you’ll be dealing with, and before long the weapon selection starts to look a whole lot less Grand Theft Auto and a whole lot more Star Trek: Enterprise. This is, of course, a good thing.
As with all things Destiny, experimentation will be your best friend, though it admittedly won’t be long before Wikis and online guides are telling us precisely how we ought to best prepare our Guardians for war. Personally, I’m hoping the game’s open-ended nature will prevent guides from being the end-all-be-all, with new techniques and crazy battle tactics appearing well after the titles’ initial run. Here’s hoping my wish is somehow miraculously granted.
1. Drive like a madman and make your own fun
It wouldn’t be a Bungie title without dozens of high-tech and often hilarious vehicles to try, and the inevitable explosions, high-speed collisions, and cliff-jumps that are sure to start surfacing on YouTube any minute now actually embrace the spirit of Destiny as a whole in a lot of ways. Destiny’s world belongs to the players, and as of right now, we truly don’t know the full extent of what’s possible. It’s an incredibly exciting feeling.
Already I’ve seen clips of players launching Pikes into walls or racing hoverbikes competitively, not via an official “race” game mode, but simply for fun. What other activities will surface that haven’t been methodically inserted into Destiny’s code? It’s only been hours since the game released, so let’s ask that question again in a couple of weeks.