This past weekend I started playing Destiny and got kind of obsessed. Here’s what I love so far.
A Sci-Fi World That Feels Magical
I already wrote a little about the inspiration behind Destiny’s worldbuilding when I played the beta a couple years ago. (How has it been that long?!) It’s science fantasy at its best and most beautiful, in my opinion. I mean, the project’s codename was “Tiger” because of the concept art of a cloaked, almost medieval-looking man standing in front of a spaceship, in the snow, next to a tiger. You know how rich and royal medieval fantasy can look, with its furs and long cloaks and coats of arms? Combine that with sleek spaceships and futuristic fusion weapons and little flying robots. Add in some magic. Go explore destroyed-post-apocalyptic settings. That’s Destiny.
And the settings really are gorgeous. So far, I have battled on the post-apocalyptic worlds of Earth and Venus, as well as inside the industrial-looking buildings on the moon. I was especially excited to see Venus, which is a jungle planet now littered with the abandoned metal husks of old cars and stunning buildings overrun with plant life. The moon, however, has some of my favorite designs. Whether it’s the towering buildings or the darkness that permeates the sky overhead, there’s something futuristic and mystical to the way the moon looks in Destiny.
For your character, you can choose one of three classes: Titan (a soldier/tank), Hunter (a rogue), or Warlock. Since I played Hunter in the beta, I went with Warlock this time. What’s better than space magic? I love being able to throw vortex grenades and drain the energy from enemies with my abilities.
The explanation behind the magic is this: a mysterious entity known as The Traveler (that white sphere in the sky) allows people to channel its energy into something like magic. Although lots of science fiction includes something supernatural (the Force in Star Wars, biotic powers in Mass Effect), I think the Traveler is a pretty unique set-up.
The Community Atmosphere
When I played the beta, I found the MMO side of Destiny a little off-putting. If you’re used to single-player games, like I am, walking into a town populated by other created-player characters is a little jarring. They bow to each other, dance, clap, use boo-hoo emotes. Their gamertags are displayed over their heads at all times, so everywhere you look are weird titles with random numbers and xXx’s in them. It definitely takes you out of the world a little, at first.
But now that I have someone to play with, I find that community side of things really fun. I guess I’m not used to playing games with other people much, but the experience of Destiny is way more fun if you have someone to play with. In the beta, when I landed on a planet for a mission, I was paired up with strangers and felt instantly super-shy about it. But having someone I know there with me — running around the Tower together, exploring planets together, defeating enemies and reviving each other if things get sticky — is really exciting.
That being said, it’s a little crazier than your typical couch co-op experience, where you’re playing a single-player campaign with someone else. In co-op games, you go down the same corridors at the same time, fighting the same exact waves of enemies together. You’re side-by-side. But in Destiny, it’s a lot more MMO-ish in that you can run around a whole area and lose track of your partner a little. Sometimes I’ll be fighting a wave of enemies in one building while my partner is a few buildings ahead of me. There are lots of other players around too, and since enemies are constantly respawning, you can just run around shooting things solo even if you’re partnered up.
It can be a little tricky at times when either my partner or I get to a mission spot while the other is stuck somewhere else. We lose each other all the time, so one of us ends up waiting at the door while guiding the other one to that place. It’s a lot of stuff like, “Go to that building at the beginning of the mission, use the path on the left, there’s a bad guy there you have to fight first…” While it’s not ideal, it’s not terrible either. I kind of like the freedom at times, even if it’s to the detriment of the actual mission structure.
I’ve created one character in Destiny so far who I have leveled up to 11. We’ll see if I can make it to level 20 this week, when I can finally unlock basically all the cool stuff in the game and customize the color shades of my armor… =)