This week at Bungie, we trained up some new Guardians.
There are times when I get to feel like a mentor in the Tower. When we meet new allies that will help us bring Destiny to the world, the pleasure of teaching them the ways of the Guardian falls to me. They receive a flash lesson in equipping some weapons and gear. I show them how to harness their Light to power fantastic talents of destruction. Once they know how to take their first steps, we strike out on a dangerous mission.
I’m not going to tease you with the insistence that they had a wonderful time – and, oh my goodness, if you only you could have seen what they have seen! There’s no point in trying to make their excitement contagious. Your time will come, weekly reader. You’ll make up your own mind about your Destiny. Bungie knows its community well enough to understand that your curiosities can only be satisfied by your own adventures.
What I can share with you – what I do hope might be meaningful to your untrained eyes – is what I’ve learned from studying Fireteams on their first mission. I’ve seen every variety of gamer step into Bungie to try their hand at Destiny. Seasoned killers have shown up to play, devouring their mission like action-starved predators. Casual players have suffered at (all four of) the hands of their enemies, choosing to fall back to take their shots from a safe distance. Neither approach to the action is wrong.
Here is what their trials have taught me. Tuck them away and guard them as trade secrets to help you survive your first mission:
Every member of a Fireteam is important.
Of all the firepower you’ll bring with you from the Tower, the Guardians by your side will be your finest weapons. I’ve seen heroes rescue each other from certain oblivion more times than I can count. There are no tourists in the world of Destiny. Every player of this game changes the action, be they hardcore or brand new to the triggers.
The Fireteam that fights together thrives together.
There is a difference between playing with someone and simply playing near them. When Fireteams work as a real team, they profit. Their abilities complement each other. Their bravery enhances each other. If you can stay close to your Fireteam, you’ll be pretty deadly when you find yourselves backed into the same corner.
You must sometimes divide to conquer.
While it makes sense to combine your forces, you won’t always want to stand right next to each other. Many of your opponents won’t go down with one shot – or even one reload. You’ll want to goad them into fighting a two-front war. Take turns drawing their fire while your ally delivers the pain. It’s like that old saying: Sometimes, teamwork is just giving them more people to shoot at.
Even the lone wolf can strengthen the pack.
Not everyone wants to keep the company of a Fireteam. If you’re that guy or gal, you’re welcome to keep to yourself. I’ve seen – but never met – enigmatic snipers camped on the ridge that overlooks a skirmish. Their well-placed shots have saved lives. Without so much as a wave, they’ve mounted up and sped off before we could so much as thank them.
There is so much more to learn about how Guardians will come together to fill the world of Destiny with surprising moments. For that, we need you. If you think you’re having a hard time waiting for that moment, we’re polishing the lenses of our scopes in anticipation of our chance to study you, too.
Beyond the Sea.
In the last weekly update, we told you of the great bug war at Bungie. Less than twenty-four hours after that news reached you from the front, I found myself in the Hive, doing my part. I got me some bugs while the getting was good.
My thumbs danced across the sticks as I built a character for the hunt. Warlock? Check. Exo? Sure. I usually pick Awoken, but I was in the mood to slip into something more mechanical.
Seated next to me, and listed in my Fireteam, was CJ Cowan. With more than a few Bungie titles on his service record as a cinematic auteur, he’s no stranger to a good old bug bash. In our excitement and haste to get sorted for duty, we ended up dressed in matching outfits. When we realized that we were both Exo Warlocks (I saw it first), we cast that sidelong glance at each other, as if to say “I wear this so much better than you do.”
“You guys are both rockin’ the Robot Space Pimp,” said Jason Pate. Our test leader had sidled up behind us, and was admiring our twins.
“What was that?” I asked.
“Robot Space Pimp!” he continued. “Robot because he’s an Exo, baby. Space because we’re all in space. And pimp because that melee makes it look like he’s slapping fools to take that money.”
Everyone in the surrounding seats laughed. You’d have to admit the cloak is pretty pimpin’, too. What's becoming apparent as we all find our favorite class of Guardian is that the cast of characters in this game mean different things to different people.
There was a test to ace, so we cut the idle chatter and launched the mission. Sibling rivalry gave way to teamwork. Identical builds became less important to me and CJ than our contest to see who could hurl the deadliest Nova Bomb. When you’re on the side of the Traveler, this is a contest that everyone wins.
Thanks to private loot streams, we didn’t look alike for long. Sure, we were still both Warlocks. And yes, we both had the beating artificial heart of a nasty war machine, but we both found the means to be pimpin’ in our own special way.
We should also thank Scott Shepherd and his merry band of armor forgers. If you weren’t present when we opened the GDC Vault earlier in the week, you should check out the work he’s doing with his team to make sure that each of us feels as special as we are badass.
You want to feel special, too. That’s why we select a lucky few of you from the hundreds of people who honored us with your passion and impatience on the forum. Let’s open the Sack.
TheSpiderChief How are you guys coping with the late nights?
Last night, it was fried chicken and an intermission of tabletop card games. You could hear the shouts of some heart-pounding multiplayer, too.
Hours are long now. Of this, there is no doubt. Don’t go feeling sorry for anyone at Bungie, though. We’re working on something we believe in, and there’s no place we’d rather be.
Adrammelech How much of what you aren't telling us (that won't spoil the story) is stuff that isn't completed yet and how much is just stuff you can't say because it's too broad to answer specifically?
Yeah. All of it. One way or another. There’s a good reason for every morsel of information we withhold. I could be your best friend if I showed you the exotic helmet that Bryce Pinkston just shared with me via email, until you realized that I was actually your worst enemy. Perfectionism. Showmanship. Storytelling. These are the things that stay our tongues and our mouse clicks.
MASTER ELITE 3 Has Bungie had any difficulty walking the fine line between giving awesometacular loot that makes a player feel more powerful and keeping that power balanced relative to others?
What you’re describing is something that’s very important to us. We do want to make you feel awesome. If you follow the path of your Guardian, you will. What we also want to do is make sure that your friends can join you on that path, no matter where they find themselves on their own personal journey. The way we accomplish that is with “math” and you never want your community manager to explain those things. We’ll let the smart guys speak for themselves, some day when they’re not so busy.
Aar0st0tle You're in a dark hallway fighting through a bunch of Fallen Dregs with your Fireteam. You make a wrong turn into a room with twice as many Dregs, a Captain, and some Shanks buzzing around. You're alone and in trouble. What's your move with each class?
Are you violating your NDA? Or do you just have a hyper-active imagination?
Let’s say for the sake of exploration that your scenario is something that happens quite often in the rusty ruins of Old Russia. Our advice would be to save your Light for when you really need it. This will be hard. Letting slip the energy of the energy of the Traveler like a dog of war is among the most exciting moments you’ll have in the Destiny sandbox.
When you find yourself outnumbered and cleaved from the herd of your Fireteam, you’ll want to reach for that brilliant method of last resort. If you have no Light at the ready, some heavy ammo might just get you through. In the event that you kick the hornet’s nest after a heavy-weapon shooting spree, you can always pull the weapon that you do have loaded, or start throwing punches and hope for the best!
Even if you survive, you’ll probably just alert some nearby Hive.
There are a lot of ways to kick alien ass in Destiny. Our hope is that your favorite move will change from moment to moment.
Brown Toilet If I cancel my pre-order and pre-order Destiny on a different console, will I have to resign up for the beta?
Slow down now. There’s no need to cancel anything unless you really want to. None of the decisions you’ve made are final. Your retailer will be happy to adjust your pre-order in any way that you like. That beta code you hold in your hand will work on any console you choose to use as your playtest vessel, even if you’ve already redeemed it. You’ll make those decisions right here on Bungie.net, and you’ll make them soon.
ExpBountyHunter During the beta, will Bungie employees simply sit back and watch us play or will they join us in the fray?
When it comes to our game, we rarely sit back and watch. We’re coming for you. I know that the testers that beat the crap out of our design team would love to spring a pop-quiz on you before you adapt to their bag of tricks. That will be a sight to see.
Cpt Muffinman I'm a massive fan of the way Bungie stats kicked off with the release of Halo 3. Is this something we can look forward to with upcoming titles like Destiny? And will you be taking the online website portfolio further?
Halo stats actually became a thing on Bungie.net when Halo 2 released. That’s why the forum faithful are fond of “04 or Bust!” as their war cry of seniority. That was the moment when a fresh stampede of glory-hungry players registered as citizens of our community.
A full decade later, we’re reinventing the way you’ll relive your finest moments as a Guardian, and you’ll do it right here. Our new goal is, on a long enough timeline, to have the Destiny community shouting “14 or Bust!” This will, of course, have the Halo veterans saying “You’re adorable…”
DE4THINC4RN4TE With the release of the GDC video, we have finally gotten some insight into how you guys are putting things together in Destiny. To what degree will we fans have access to this level of customization?
Some of what you saw in Scott Shepherd’s presentation were developer tools, but we are crafting a wealth of armor that you can mix and match to create a Guardian in your own image. Scott stayed focused primarily on race, class, and gear, but there are many other avenues you’ll have in Destiny to alter the way you look. It will be very hard to run out of options for making your hero a unique snowflake.
Tactica If there is one safe city, are there other unsafe cities to be found?
Oh, yes. Some of them are buried under sand. Others of them are choked with jungle. A few of them are not even of our own creation. All of them are hostile environments.
Remorazz If I walked down to your studio and demanded to play Destiny, what would happen?
The same thing that will happen when you kick open the door of what remains of the Clovis Bray headquarters and shout “This is my world!”
In all sincerity, you want to maintain a minimum safe distance from Bungie right now. The air is charged with the dangerous static of creation, and our playtests have the natives pumped full of adrenaline. The rumors about Urk giving serendipitous tours to fans only exist to obfuscate the stories about those that we’ve killed and eaten during regrettable feeding frenzies that erupted when crunch dinner was late and some poor, curious fool just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We love our community. You’re delicious!
We’ll talk again soon. Stay safe.