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Bungie Weekly Update - 07/04/2014

This week at Bungie, we marched seven days closer to Beta.

There were homework assignments to ready us for your onslaught on every platform. I love take home playtests. Destiny is available at my desk every day. I watch urk and OJ play from the corner of my eye while I patrol our social graph for wisdom or evil. For some reason, my favorite place to play Destiny is on my own couch. The experience just feels more real there, in that place where I’ve waged countless battles with old friends.

I have seen the words “Beta Build” on the television in my game room. It’s a promise and a warning. Very soon, untold thousands of Guardians will see the very same thing – both old friends and new. That is what’s been missing from our game. Our techs call this phenomenon “concurrency.” I call it a united community. Four separate theaters of war, one common goal. 

Soon. At this point, it becomes more accurate to measure the countdown in days than weeks.

Around the World

Remember last week when I was risking my life on a dangerous mission to make you some new friends? Do you also remember how urk let slip some sweet details that he had been censoring for weeks with his own iron fist of censorship?

That was awesome.

You got trophies and “cheevos.” You heard whispers on the wind about Bungie Day. He even shared a sweet 360 degree panorama of the Cosmodrome.

Well, two can play at that game. Enjoy the graphical arms race while it escalates right before your eyes. Be sure to thank Technical Artist Nate Hawbaker (callsign: Veegie) for his mastery of our world-building tools. These sweeping vistas that are ripe for exploration make my frequent flier high score seem miniscule by comparison. Check out some of the destinations you’ll explore in the final form of Destiny.

The Tower, overlooking the last safe city on Earth.

The Cosmodrome, made strange by the passage of time.

The Hellmouth Citadel, many chambers below the surface of the Moon.

The Shattered Coast of Venus, claimed by nature (and Vex).

Beyond the Buried City, across the crimson dunes of Mars.

Perhaps the lesson here is that, when two entities compete for your attention, everyone wins. Competition is good. It inspires us all to achieve greater things.

Enjoy the view.

That Chicken Has Bite

Before Bungie Day, we have another party to attend. Before the Destiny Beta, there is another battle to wage. Our sites are set on the Rooster Teeth Expo.

Once more unto the breach of the Crucible. Twelve white-listed boxes will take center stage. Willing combatants will be plucked from the crowd to battle for glory, bragging rights, and charity. We’ll be granting wishes and raising money to see to it that more such wishes can come true.

Check out the Bungie Fireteam that’s being launched toward Austin.

Real Name: James Schomer
Bungie Title: Investment Designer
Which means: Create, package up, and dole out all the Destiny sweetmeats: equipment, experience, exclusives, engrams, emblems, enchiladas, etc.
Combat Specialty: Invisible backstabbery
Austin Tourism Request: Steal Jack Pattillo’s beard

Real Name: John Stvan
Bungie Title: Web and Mobile Designer
Which means: Graphics and Feature design for the Destiny Companion, S’medium Workout Shirt Aficionado, and Hero of the village of Santa Poco
Combat Specialty: Magia del Espacio
Austin Tourism Request: Whatever this is
Real Name: Classified
Bungie Title: Community Manager
Which means: Blog cultivation, social engineering, tap dancing
Combat Specialty: Belt-fed Nova Bombardier
Austin Tourist request: Barbequed Armadillo?

We will battle luminaries from the community, random warriors from the crowd, and perhaps Burnie himself. Some of them will be in our posse. We will lock eyes with the rest of them over the top of our monitors. 

The game is afoot, RTX. No matter who wins, the real victors will be the Make-A-Wish Foundation. How much we donate will depend on how brave your audience will be in the heat of battle.

That Donation Came From the Community

Sales of the Destiny Alpha Commemorative t-shirt are closed. If you snatched one from the Bungie Store, you own a piece of history. You also own a token of a charitable drive that will make a difference in the real world. We don’t just thrive on making our game better at Bungie, after all.

There were profits. How much is for us to know. We’re not keeping any of it. We're giving it to the Brian Morden Foundation. Here’s why:

Brian was Bungie’s very first visitor from Make-A-Wish, in 2001
His voice has been in every Bungie game since his visit
His foundation funds childhood cancer treatment and research
The Bungie Community has supported this charity since its inception

Thank you for your generosity, and for your curiosity about the journey that will deliver us to a truly finished product.

Previously in the Bungie Weekly Update, urk tapped the universal mind to conjure questions to drive conversation. This is a fancy way of admitting that he channeled the community voice that rings out across the Internet. This week, we went straight to the usual source. Let’s open the Sack.

tlspartan  How did the Alpha go in your eyes?

It was a great start – a small sample of the population we will need to prove that we’re ready for launch. Finally, the game got to speak for itself. It does the best job of telling its story and proving its concepts. What we need now are players from all four platforms to get in there and kick some ass.

FGX  Did everything go well in le France?

Everything was “bon.” Thanks for asking. We chatted with French journalists. We dodged marauding Algerians who took to the Paris streets to celebrate their World Cup win (twice). And, we made an appearance in Cannes for IDEF. While there, we resurrected the Destiny Alpha on three lonely, white-listed boxes for some live demos. I wanted to share that little detail with you, but I know that #destinywithdrawal is a very real thing. The last thing I wanted was a rush of eager players trying to visit their Guardians, only to be confronted by the cold, dark assurance that your Alpha adventure had come to an end. Don’t lose heart. The next adventure beckons.

Ragashingo  Are you guys doing anything special for the 4th of July, even if it’s just internally?

It should be very special. Like many other days, we’ll spend some time with the finest of people, and blow some stuff up. In keeping with the tradition that is being celebrated, we’ve been given our freedom by Harold Ryan. He sent this around just as I was reading your question:

Stay off email and out of the office. Take the day off, stay home, sleep in, hang out with your friends and family.

My RTX fireteam and I fully intend to violate this directive and get on a plane bound for Texas. Harold will never catch us, if only we can clear airport security. Gotta do our part to keep Austin weird. We just hope they have freedom there. And BBQ. And victory.

xfuzzlex  Will Bungie be at GamesCom 2014?

Yes! Beer and pretzels for everyone! And Destiny, too. Can't wait. Last year, gamescom was awesome. I’m already trying to put my French fireteam back together to mentor some fresh new Guardians in the arts of space magic. If you are close enough to Cologne to infiltrate that sprawling compound of overpopulated madness, you should come and check us out.

Smork12  Will we be able to trade/sell our gear Guardian to Guardian?

You can vault them for use by other Guardians that you control, but you can’t give them away to other players. I talked to Angry Joe about this a little bit at E3 (skip to 8:40). Basically, if you want that exotic sniper rifle, you gotta earn it. The rewards in Destiny are tied to specific beats of action. We want you to have a personal war story that you can trace back to every single piece of gear in your inventory. The weapons in Destiny are like trophies.

toby1kanobi  Will enemies have weaknesses to certain elemental types of damage?

You want to know what’s better than me answering this question? Letting a member of your community answer this question.

F12  Will we be able to name our characters in Destiny?

You are your character in Destiny. In your case, your Guardian will be named F12. If you want your name to be more colorful or personal (i.e. NinjaSniper420, Titan Nick, Robert Paulson) you need to change your identity at the source. Our hope is that you have an identity in the game that’s meaningful to you, and that new friends can track you from your favorite Destiny forum to a rendezvous in orbit over your favorite destination.

Moon Dawg  Will the Galahad-C be making a triumphant return?

Ah, yes. The good old Galahad-C. The first and last word of automatic weaponry for Crucible combat. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every Guardian in the room, accept no substitutes. This sandbox-dominating implement of war unbalanced the armory. I talked to Senior Designer Josh Hamrick about the assault rifle that was so universally loved/hated (depending on which end you found yourself) in the Destiny Alpha. He said:

The Galahad-C will still be in the game, but it will be a little more Galasad this time around.

I told him that he wasn’t getting off the hook so easily. I told him how pouty you all can get when we dance around a question. I told him about the conspiracies that the Destiny Alpha was just a marketing stunt, and that we weren’t really out to learn anything. I told him that Old Blue (we don’t really call it that, and neither should you) was universally regarded as the only logical choice when standing before the Alpha Gunsmith.

I knew about that long before the public ever set foot in the Alpha and it was fixed long before the public set foot in the Alpha. There will probably be other outliers and we will fix those as well. We learn from the game every time people play it. It will always be evolving, just like our fans as they play.

There you have it. Don’t be Galasad, friends. It had to happen. Diversity in armaments is a crucial element of Destiny that makes us all more powerful. 

Viva la Pwn  Will the beta be under NDA or not?

On July 17th, the Beta will be an open stage for your theatrics. I’ll be happy to say this as many times as it needs to be said. You should have seen me chasing down leaks during the Pre-Alpha, or even the Alpha prior to E3. The Beta is our time to unite as a community and see who can make the most noise. We want to see who can stream, share, upload, and kick some ass. Become legend, people. Do it live and in front of an adoring public. Tell your friends. Pass it on.

TMAC burninator  Will there be a way to submit bug reports in the beta?

Yes! Please let us know what you think. There will be a dedicated forum where that should happen. I’d throw you a link, but you’re already there.

Guardian of DCF  Will current Groups have the option to become a Clan?

You’re onto us. You want a clan under a very specific banner? Reserve your group name now. No squatting. I reserve the right to have Achronos change your name to something unsightly if you try to pose as an outfit that you don’t own.

burritosenior  After last week's update, did you at any point ask urk, "What the hell?"

“All kidding and healthy competition aside, it was I who clicked ‘Go Live’ on the content management system that sent those words to your eyes. Nothing that happens here is the product of one person. Urk reads my words. I read his. After a nine-hour stretch in a pressurized tube with rockets strapped to the side, I dragged my dangerously deranged self into the studio to make sure that the update would flow. We don’t care whose name is on the byline, so long as it reaches you.” – Abraham Lincoln

Kylesteien  Will you be able to answer every question we have asked thus far about Destiny on Bungie Day? Aside from the spoiler ones of course.

At this point, every question about Destiny is a spoiler. If you want to play, every other question we answer subtracts from the experience that lies in waiting for you. If you don’t want to play… Well, at this point, there’s not much else we can tell you. The game has been out there for all to see. All that’s missing are some essential hands on some essential controllers.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand impatience. I’m the least patient person that anyone who knows me knows. I want us all to be playing Destiny, too, and I’ve been waiting for longer than you have for that day to come.

Hang in there. You’re so close to discovering these things for yourself. You’ve earned that right. The next time we have this conversation, we’ll be asking you if you have your actual Beta code.
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