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Bungie Weekly Update - 09/05/2014

This week at Bungie, we created Guardians that will never die.

We’ve lost count of how many brave heroes we’ve nurtured down the path from inception to legend, only to lose them to a new build of Destiny. The Hunters, Titans, and Warlocks that we’re playing as now will endure. They just need some more company in the Tower – and out in the wild. 

The wait is over, friends. To prepare for your arrival, we’ve begun the adventure. As sweet as it is to be taking steps in the boots of characters that will survive long enough to reach their full potential, the experience is incomplete without you. This Tuesday, all of that changes.

Perhaps you can remember the first official glimpse of our brave new world. The time for browsing our art is over. The time to embark on your own epic journey has come.

Here we go.

Long, Strange Trip

Upon my first arrival in the Tower with a freshly-minted Warlock, I collected a very special parcel from the Postmaster kiosk. Can you guess what it was?

That’s right. It was my Beta emblem. As I equipped irrefutable evidence that my first Moon landing was not faked, it occurred to me that we were starting to see in Destiny the first example of a crucial ingredient for any community: Heritage.

Community is all about people. When people share a common space or pastime for long enough, culture and history emerges. These are things to recognize and celebrate. Here are some other ways in which we’ll honor your legacy as a venerable member of the Bungie community.

Shield of
  Once reached Heroic forum status
Shield of
  Once reached Legendary forum status
Shield of
  Once reached Mythic forum status
Song of
  Participated in the Alpha Lupi experience
The Inner
  Played at least 4 of the last 6 Bungie games
  Registered on prior to 2013
Star of
Moderation Ninja
Badge Mentor

Do you qualify for one of these rewards? Be sure to check in with Tess. She’s the nice lady in the Tower with special orders, special rewards, and (you guessed it) special emblems.

We can feel the question that some of you are dying to ask:

You: Is being an old fart on the only way to earn a fancy emblem in Destiny? 

Nope. No way. It’s just the best way to make sure one of them is waiting for you on Day One. Heritage, baby. Heritage is happening all the time.

What’s the Score?

The release of a new game is often marked by sacred rituals. Players stand in line at midnight to be the first to play. Managers wonder why their staff suddenly becomes violently ill. Industry experts dig in deeply and write their reviews and recommendations.

Typically, games receive their report cards before they become available to the public. We don’t believe Destiny is a typical shooter. You could experience the storyline, jump into a few rounds of competitive multiplayer, and form a Fireteam of friends and take on all the Strikes and you would just be getting started. Those activities are critical components of Destiny, but they are also a foundation for so much more.

After thousands of internal playtests, an internal Alpha, and a public Beta, we’ve also learned that Destiny isn’t Destiny without the most crucial component to our living, social world: You.

From the beginning, we set out to make Destiny feel like more than bits on a drive. We wanted to build a place for players to visit – a place filled with luminous life. Without a vibrant population for the last safe city on Earth, and Guardians roaming the wild frontiers, Destiny is a shadow of what it should be. That’s not how we wanted to submit for review.

We explored several options to populate the world for reviewers. Our team estimates it would take thousands of gamers to ensure each potential public space in Destiny would be populated – that every activity would be accessible at all hours of the day and night. Where on Earth would we be able to find thousands of gamers?

The answer, again, is you.

So, reviews of Destiny will wait for your arrival. On day one, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the pageant judges, so look sharp. Who knows, you may end up on one of their live streams. They may end up on one of yours, too! 

For us, this is a first – a new experience. It’s a bit of a risk, too. We fully anticipate seeing day one reviews from folks who decide to kick the tires, but don’t have the time or patience to take our ride for a nice, long road trip. Some of you might wait to pick up a copy until you read the final verdict from your most trusted review house. We’re okay with that. We’ve created something we’re proud of.

We hope you love it as much as we do.

This is not the way the game ends.

Of course we’re not going to spoil the dramatic conclusion of Destiny here. However, there’s been a lot of chatter in the places where chatter happens about what awaits you after the end of the tale we’re telling in Destiny.

When our story ends, yours will begin. Check out the conversation below. It features questions harvested from the universal mind and answers that are a blend of the insights provided by Bungie designers Luke Smith and Tyson Green.

Q. Overall, what’s the goal of end game content in Destiny?

We want to give players and the community challenges to work on individually, and together.

Each player’s goal is to gear up, become more powerful, and face even greater challenges for a chance at the most powerful and awe-inspiring rewards Destiny has to offer. 

Our goal is to curate a living world with activities for every mood. Whether you’re craving high intensity cooperative gameplay, shooting other players in the face in a variety of modes, or scouring the planets for precious resources and hunting for Public Events, we want Destiny to meet whatever mood you’re in. 

Q. What can players expect after they achieve Level 20?

Destiny really begins at Level 20. Afterwards, each player’s power is displayed as their Light Level – this is the yellow number in their nameplate post-20 in the Tower. The way to increase that Level? Get better gear. 

Strikes and Crucible matches can award powerful gear and currencies which you’ll use to buy Legendary (purple) gear from the Tower. Players can choose to champion one of our three Factions (New Monarchy, Dead Orbit, or Future War Cult) in both cooperative and competitive activities. This allows them to rank up and purchase gear from a particular Faction. 

Which Faction you champion is related to what kind of build you’re focusing on. If you’re Warlock looking to focus on Discipline and Strength, you’ll be looking at the Dead Orbit Legendary Set and coveting it. If you’re looking for a great Legendary Hand Cannon you might champion the Vanguard, or maybe the Future War Cult, depending on which piece tempts you most. 

Additionally, post-Level 20, players will unlock the Heroic mode progressions for Daily Heroic Story Chapters and Weekly Heroic Strikes. For example, in the Weekly Heroic Strikes, there are three recommended Light Levels and the first one, 22, will feature two modifiers. 

Q. Tell us more about these Heroic Strikes!

A weekly rotation of very challenging Heroic Strikes (and the pinnacle Nightfall Strike) use high-level enemies and global modifiers to create challenges that require skill, gear, and sometimes creative character builds to beat.

Modifiers are one of the ways we tweak content we’ve already built. The first modifier is called “Heroic.” Heroic leverages the more difficult version of the encounters, but the second modifier is where we really start to challenge players. Take a modifier like Arc Burn – which increases all damage dealt by Arc Damage by 300%. If you’re a Bladedancer Hunter, you’re about to be an even more destructive force, and everyone else in your Fireteam is going to be scrambling for Arc weapons. But, if the enemies you’re facing also use Arc weapons, they will cut through you like paper. 

We give a very similar treatment to the Daily Heroic Story Chapter, which are featured on a daily basis with bonus rewards. 

Q. What about Bounties?

Xander 99-40, a Vendor in the Tower, will also offer Daily Bounties that send you into a variety of activities in exchange for experience and reputation rewards. These Bounties will provide Faction Reputation, either for the Vanguard or whichever Faction you’re championing, in addition to a bunch of XP. 

Post-Level 20, XP is still super important to players. You are going to be seeking as much XP as possible to level weapons and armor, complete your first Subclass and make your way through the second. Bounties and the Daily and Weekly Activities are important sources of these bursts of XP.  

Q. Was the Iron Banner I experienced in the Beta indicative of what I’ll experience in the full game?

In the full game, Iron Banner is a longer lasting event that will give players more time to engage in it.

Q. Beyond Iron Banner, are there other events in the game?

There are!

Q. How does high level weapons, armor, and abilities change how I experience the overall sandbox?

Some Exotics provide unique modifiers that might change which abilities you focus on, creating new ways to be effective in cooperative and competitive play. It’s all about options and personal optimization. 

As players make their way through Destiny they are going to find out what types of weapons, talents and stats they prefer when gearing their Guardian. Thinking about it in terms of Arsenal and Builds is a simple way to start to explore Destiny’s depth. 

An Arsenal example: A Pulse Rifle player may find that he wants to find a Pulse Rifle with a talent combination like Full Auto (converts the weapon to a fully automatic), but he wants Field Scout (which extends the mag and the clip to the weapons max), so he’s going to have to hunt for a weapon sates his desires. 

Now, Builds: Builds continue to progress long after players have completed the last Story mission. A bunch of the synergies found within a given build don’t come online till late in this build – like the Fireborn Sunsinger doesn’t actually earn the Self-Resurrection power till very late in his progression.

There are also synergies outside of the builds in the form of both Armor Talents and Exotic Armor. Armor Talents allow players to align their arsenal and their build to create powerful synergies. 

For example, a Titan might try and find weapons with Grenadier (kills with this weapon reduce the cooldown of your grenades), and marry it with a bunch of Armor Talents which also accelerate grenade cooldowns. This Titan would probably also be looking for a lot of high Discipline armor as the Discipline lowers the cooldown for grenades. 

Q. When should I expect to give the Vault of Glass a run?

The Vault of Glass can be broken into beginning on September 16th, assuming you’ve achieved level 25. This allows all of our players a week to dive into the world, start to make their Guardians and prepare for what lies behind a giant door on Venus. 

Q. What are some other ways you plan on continuing to support Destiny, beyond content? Do you have any support/sustain plans in the works?

Our first few weeks are already set aside to be reactive to what the community teaches us. After that, we have plans and plans, but all of the details will depend on what we learn in the next two weeks.

There are many evolutions ahead of you, Guardian. Many ends and plenty of beginnings. Be brave.

When I first sat down and grasped the controls of, there wasn’t a lot to talk about. So, we made small talk. I was curious to know all of you. Still am.

The release of Destiny brings a long and protracted tap dance to an end. Late in 2011, I was sent west to serve the community that had taught me the wonders of social gaming. At that time, I couldn’t even say the word “Destiny” – not even in a contextual statement about fate. Now, it’s a word on the lips of many anxious gamers. Within a matter of days, anyone in the world will be able to wrestle with our pet tiger.

There will be questions to ask – and answer – in the future. That conversation won’t end. For now, there is only question to consider:

DeeJ: Do you want to play Destiny?

Hopefully, the answer is: “Yes!” We’ve packed a lot of love into our new game. We hope it shows.

The next time we open the sack, it will be filled with interrogatives plucked from the battlefield of your choosing. The loot of curiosity will flow from your missions. You’ll ask us about the things you’ve seen, done, conquered, looted, and earned. 

I’m looking forward to reading them – to stepping back and letting you drive the conversation. Until then, there is not much else we can say. It’s your turn to grasp the controls for yourself and tell us what you think this thing is.

Thank you for being our candle in the darkness these past few years. Thank you for your enthusiasm and your patience. Thank you for your loyalty and your criticisms. Thank you for being the best damn community we could ever hope for.

Our journey is far from over. 

See you starside.
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