7/30/2014 8:02:31 AM Permalink720e0b8e - 11/1/2015 7:17:34 AMIn the normal crucible weapon and armor values did not matter. Everything was normalized. The only thing you carried from your gear into the normal crucible was gear perks. Only in the Iron Banner events did gear really matter.
I started playing the Destiny Beta on the 17th of this month, and I have played it slavishly every day until its closing. Somehow, I do not even feel worried about whether I'll get to keep my progress as the full game is released (I highly expect I will not). So, needless to say, I have had an overall positive experience. I'll begin by getting my reservations out of the way early. First off, when I first saw Destiny, I was blown away by its scale, and its sense of a living world. Playing the game for real, I did not feel that. It isn't the grand, revolutionary gem of a game that was promised early on, but rather, a truly fun experience for what it is, no more, no less. One of the supposed selling points of the game was the aim to make it an "MMO that doesn't feel like an MMO", and as someone who has a hard time appreciating said genre, it does indeed feel just like an MMO at times, especially walking in the tower, which, to me, feels lifeless, and brought me out of the immersion of the game. Continuing that point, a lot of the missions have a repetitive feel to them, and somewhat predictable structure (deploy Ghost, fight hordes of enemies until he's finished), and the missions that you find in exploration mode feel more like chores than adventures. Furthermore, I do wish the world was a bit more randomized, as having explored the Cosmodrome for a good many hours now, enemies spawn at identical intervals and locations, once again taking away from the immersion of the game world. Lastly, there seems to be a total of maybe 10 kinds of enemies that we've seen so far, and I'm slightly worried that it will be a case of 'slap another color on it and call it something new', but of course, time will tell as far as that goes. Phew. Now, don't crucify me, mind you, I am aware that this is only an appetizer of the full experience, and make no mistake that I'm very much looking forward to that come September. Now, for my positive impressions, and a couple of humble suggestions. Waking up in a new world, ruined by war, and staring out at a sea of ancient vehicles, ravaged by rust, I am met by a fascinating little robot, and realize that I get to go out on a big adventure with the soothing murmur of Peter Dinklage in my ear, leaving me with a sense of comfort (after all, who knows more about surviving a harsh world than Tyrion Lannister himself?). The visual appeal of Destiny is obvious from the get-go. It is beautiful, colorful, and there's an innate sense of thrill from pondering just what might lie behind the next corner. Dust blows in the wind, as do the trees, and one thing I enjoyed very much is the wonderful, polished look of the guns, which is good, since that is what one will see for a great majority of the game. Speaking of which, the gunplay is fantastic, and the basic gameplay overall is pure fun. I come across a small group of enemies, aim down the sights of my scout rifle as I close in on them, land a headshot on the strongest of the bunch, charge up a shot with my fusion rifle, wondering for a split second if the enemy will dodge just in time, before the weapon discharges, disintegrating the foe entirely in a nice, orange glow, and finally I dash to take down the last one with a powerful melee strike, activating a couple of buffs that last a short while. The melee strike is very effective too, setting it apart from most other FPS games I've played. It's well-made, it's smooth, and again, just a boatload of fun. The one thing I'd add here is that guns within each class feel roughly the same, and gun types are somewhat limited, so more choices would be nice (Handguns, SMGs, rayguns, bow and arrow, for example). As for the RPG-side of things, everything is nice and streamlined, with quick and easy gear management, stat comparisons and upgrades. The low level cap made it a bit hard to get a real sense of distinction between the classes, apart from Super Charge, some small differences and unique armor design, but that is also something I expect will be more prominent later on, especially from level 15 and onward. One thing I adore is that all equipment is upgraded with regular XP, meaning it will get better from just playing the game, and finding gear with upgrades that suit my playstyle is a real joy. Now, multiplayer. There really should be a proximity voice function, so that you can speak to anyone you meet in the Vanguard, with the option to mute decidedly obnoxious individuals altogether. Creating, joining and playing in a fireteam is great, and easy enough, but if you lack friends who play the game (or just in general), teaming up with strangers gave me a good impression, mostly. Maybe you're just running along, and you see a player fighting a strong enemy, or a group of higher-levels, so you stroll in, help to deal with the threat, do a little frolic with said stranger, then hop on your sparrow and go on your merry way. Ah, and finally to this point; the first time I got to drive the sparrow, I was, to put it mildly, geeking the -blam!- out. It feels like a combination of the Ghost from Halo, and how one imagines the speeder vehicles used by troopers on the moon of Endor in Star Wars: Episode 6. I have one thing to say about this: race tracks. Bungie. Please do it. It does not have to be huge. Just place out track bounds in select parts of existing maps, add a starting line along with a lap counter and placement indicator, and watch players succumb to seizures in joy from the high-octane excitement (promise we won't sue!). Future DLC? I'd certainly pay for it. As for other suggestions; playing as a hunter, I found it annoying that the throwing knife would completely override the regular melee attack, as sometimes I'd intend to simply strike an enemy, only to realize that I was just one inch too far away, wasting the throwing knife and having to wait for it to cool down again. Maybe this could be solved by binding the melee button to throwing the knife with a quick tap, and holding it briefly for a close combat strike, for example. A few things would be nice to add, such as the option of skipping cutscenes, an in-game map, a more fleshed-out settings screen (volume levels, aim assist on/off, for example), more frequent loot drops, and adding more gestures, such as "Follow me" which would be very useful. These are my thoughts from my time with the Destiny BETA, though I surely have a billion more that won't come to the surface due to self-inflicted sleep deprivation and general forgetfulness. Again, I know this is not a completely accurate representation of the full game, everything I say is based on what I HAVE played, nothing else. All-in-all, from what I've experienced so far, I believe Destiny will be an awesome journey. The story seems fascinating, and the whole concept of putting players in the shoes of guardians of earth, repelling an overwhelming darkness, is appealing, and really has the potential to work well over a long period of time, seeing as Destiny is to be played for years to come. Whether it will succeed in keeping players' attention remains to be seen. I, for one, am hugely excited, and I expect that September 9th of this year, I will be pressed against the doors of the nearest retailer early in the morning, after which I'll pick up a supply of wildly unhealthy provisions, and rush home with glee, marking the end of what little social life I still have.