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More thoughts, after a day to think about it (Destiny)

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 13:38 (1601 days ago) @ dogcow

I'll say off the bat that this is all obviously based on a very narrow slice of the game, subject to change, all that good stuff.

So my main takeaway from playing the Beta is that the fundamental changes made to the raw mechanics seem to improve PvP, but at the expense of PvE. The longer time to kill, the new loadout system, slower cooldowns, weaker abilities... all these elements create more focus on gunplay and coordination in PvP. I've always thought the time to kill in Destiny was too quick considering how slowly our guardians move, but Destiny 2 seems to strike a better balance there. If I get caught out of position against coordinated opponents, I'll get taken down real fast. But if I come round a corner and take fire immediately, I now have time to retreat back around the corner... something I often wouldn't have time to do in D1.

I also think the new loadout system works well in PvP. Since we're essentially carrying 2 primary weapons, we can now equip a long and short range weapon without either one being freakishly overpowered, as special weapons in D1 proved to be.

It's also nice to see supers and other abilities take a step into the background a little bit. Slower cooldowns plus smaller teams (less orbs generated by teammates) means players usually end up with 1 super per match, and that feels about right. It makes using your super a more tactical decision (similar to supers in Trials of Osiris). When you know it's your one and only chance to use your super in a given match, you put more thought into how and when you use it. It also punishes players more for misusing their supers, which I like. Less grenade and super spam is a very good thing for the crucible overall.

Buuuuuuut...

I'm concerned about how all these changes are effecting PvE. Having fewer grenades, slower super recharge, and a less diverse collection of weapons (thanks to the new loadout system) means you spend a lot more time shooting at enemies with your primary weapons. I know one of them is an "Energy" weapon, but in terms of what is playable in the beta, there are very few times when the difference between your primary and your energy weapon is really a difference at all. So in terms of how you engage with the combat encounters, you are basically using 2 primary weapons. And that can be cool at times (I had fun swapping between my scout rifle and my auto rifle mid-encounter). But it is ultimately less diverse and less dynamic that swapping from a scout rifle to a shotgun and then to a rocket launcher as I would often do in D1.

The thing about special weapons in D1 is that they fill the same basic role as primary weapons, but they are more specialized and potentially more effective within their role. If I'm trying to hit enemies at long range, I can use a Scout Rifle, or I can use a sniper rifle and kill them faster and more effectively. At close range I can use an Auto Rifle, or I could use a shotgun and perform the same role more effectively. Heavy weapons have their own separate use cases on top of that variety.

In D2, I am making the same tactical decisions while I play, except my secondary weapon no longer has the extra effectiveness that it had in D1. And this makes me, the player, feel weaker. It makes encounters against mobs of enemies take longer, not due to anything interesting, but just because you have to pump out more bullets to take everything down. And on top of the more limited weapon selection, you have fewer grenades or supers to help you out. Again, I don't find this makes combat more challenging or interesting... simply more repetitive and slower.

As a friend of mine said on Twitter: "The game makes you max light level, gives you a bunch of legendary gear, and it feels like you're under-levelled & using white weapons".

As Slycrel pointed out in this thread, we technically ARE underlevelled for the PvE content in this BETA. Maybe that will change for release? I'm also hoping that the armor in the final game will play a dramatic role in speeding up our cooldowns.

The last thing I wanted to say about the PvE side of things is that both the story mission and the strike have more dialogue and character interaction than most missions in D1, and I wish they didn't. The dialogue is bad to a distracting level. The characters are just obnoxious IMO. If the rest of the character interactions in D2 are anything like what we see in the Beta, I fear we may find that Bungie heard all the complaints but maybe didn't fix them to the degree that many of us would have hoped. I think it's a safe bet that Destiny 2 will have MORE story than D1, but I'm not convinced it will be any better in quality.

I should also say that while a lot of what I'm saying sounds quite negative, it is still Destiny. It is still a Bungie shooter. It feels great, looks great... sounds decent, although I think this is the first time I'm really feeling Marty's absence from the audio team. I'm not talking about the music, but the entire mix and audio presentation. It doesn't sound quite up to the same standards I've come to expect from Bungie. Still good in that regard though, just not great. Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing the game, but I think I'm done with the Beta. PvP is better, but not good enough to pull me away from Titanfall 2. And the PvE content in the Beta just isn't strong enough for me to want to replay it even a 2nd time.


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