Speculation Saturday #5: The Gameplay (Destiny)

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Sunday, September 22, 2013, 15:01 (2766 days ago)


Last Saturday we stood on the streets and considered what Humanity's Last Safe City must be like. This week I'd like to look at Destiny's gameplay. As usual, we don't know all that much yet, but speculation is the reason we're all here, right? Right.

The Facts:

- Yes, there are probably hundreds more interviews and tidbits spread across the internet, but most of what has been revealed is right there in those three videos.

Informed Supposition:

- Bungie has said it over and over. Destiny is a Bungie shooter. For me this means its core is going to be Halo+. From what we've seen basic movement and shooting will be very familiar to any Halo veteran. The use of non-sticky cover will likely be as big as it was in Halo. It doesn't feel at all like Bungie is moving in the direction of Mass Effect like stick cover, or Call of Honor / Medal of Duty style move, shooting gallery, move type gameplay. This is a very good thing. Say what you will about Halo, but it had a solid gameplay core. It feels that Destiny will too.

- On top of that core it feels like Bungie is going to give us a lot of new gameplay features. [image]The most immediate being Aiming Down the Sights for all guns. I wonder how much this will really affect things. In some games ADS is pretty mandatory to hit anything at all. This doesn't seem to be the case in Destiny. Will ADS even be needed in Destiny? Will someone be able to be effective playing Destiny just like Halo? Perhaps one advantage of ADS support on all weapons will be a slight lessening of a scoped weapon to be effective. If you didn't have a BR or DMR in Halo you were pretty much dead at anything beyond short range. Might this be different in Destiny? Maybe an unscoped rifle might be able to land hits at longer range when you aim down its sight?

- In addition to the new ADS support it looks like we’re going to get a lot more movement options in Destiny. [image][image]Between sprinting, sliding, and using travel fueled powers to hang in the air or blink forward it seems we’re going to be very mobile in Destiny. In multiplayer I think this will mean that pinning down a Guardian is going to be a lot tougher than keeping your aim on even a sprinting Spartan. Will multiplayer games of Destiny be more about wearing down an enemy with the occasional hit, or will these powers be on long cool downs so you’ll use them once and then be vulnerable?

And for single player, will running, sliding, gliding, and blinking be essential gameplay techniques or will they be more like flourishes that Guardians use to show off how awesome they are? I could see it going either way. Maybe the AI will be a lot like Halo’s and won’t care much how you move, or maybe all these new movements options will be needed to breach enemy lines, to get behind Spider Tanks, or to dodge boss units’ power attacks. All in all I’ll be very interested to see how movement in Destiny is going to differ from Halo.

- Bungie has made a pretty big deal about the huge variety of weapons in Destiny and they’ve been highlighting a different exotic weapon each week but what will the weapons story really be like? There’s been a lot of comparisons to Borderlands, but do we really want that? Destiny seems to take thing farther with the addition of the named Exotic weapons, and by giving each weapon its own upgrade tree. Some upgradable attributes that have been mentioned are damage, clip size, reload speed, and we've seen some that the Thunderlord gets extra special explosive ammo at the end of its tree.

I’m not really so sure how much these options will really matter in single player. [image]I mean, sure they’ll matter and you can probably shape any gun a bit towards your play style, but I think its multiplayer where these upgrades will really show. Combining different weapons with the different movement options of the three classes of Guardians might generate some fairly varied combat. Maybe your slower tougher Titan will opt for lots of ammo and a quick reload to lay down covering fire when a speedy hunter will go for quick bursts of heavy damage limited by clip size to complement all that blinking and sliding.

Bungie is going to have to be very careful with weapon balance though. Personally I grumble at Halo 4’s grenade damage and quicker reload perks for “breaking” classic Halo’s every starts equal gameplay. It may not even break it that much, but its the principle of the thing! One impression that I get though is that Destiny has been in testing for a lot longer than perhaps ANY of the Halo games. They say its in alpha, but we’ve seen and have read about them having play tests even back before Pathways out of Darkness. I get the sense that Destiny is going to be polished to a delightfully smooth gem of a game by the time we get our hands on it.

- We've seen a variety of super abilities demonstrated by various Guardians, some so powerful that I wonder what I'd even need a gun for. [image]I wonder though if we aren't seeing the final evolution, full power version of things like Nova Blast or Golden Gun. Maybe they'll start out as ways to deal with single enemies instead of the near room clearing abilities we keep seeing in the ViDocs. Then, assuming that there are only a few "currencies" we spend to upgrade our guns and abilities, maybe you have to decide whether to max out your gun skills and upgrades or go more with Space Magic. Might make the differences between the Titan, Hunter, and Warlock stand out more than we currently understand too!

- We’ve barley seen any vehicles in Destiny so far. Obviously this means that Bungie plans to deemphasize vehicles over what we saw in Halo… Just kidding! I think we’re going to be in for a real treat when it comes to vehicles in Destiny. For two reasons actually. 1. [image]These are many of the same people who last gave us things like the Warthog, Falcon, and the Saber. If there’s anybody I trust to make new vehicles it's Bungie. And 2. Thanks to the always populated world of Destiny you will no longer encounter wide open hills made for running and gunning, a trio of Warthogs made for tearing up said hills, and nobody to man the gun (I’m looking at you Halo 4…). So far we’ve seen just two “speeder bike” style personal vehicles in the Pike and Sparrow, but I imagine that multi passenger vehicles will be much more integral to Destiny than they ever were in Halo simply because Bungie won’t have to worry about keeping you supplied with AI allies to man the guns.

It will be interesting to see just how close to the Warthog, Scorpion, Ghost, and Banshee Destiny gets though. I fully expect vehicle related easter eggs. :)

- And finally, enemies. We’ve seen some basic enemy behaviors from engaging the payer, to hiding behind cover, to fleeing when things go badly. But these are all things that are already well done in most of the Halos. I’m hoping for new behaviors. Better clustering of complimentary units. More deliberate unscripted flanking. More enemies with special moves and abilities. More enemy weapons to watch out for and respond to.

Rampant Speculation:

What aren’t we being told about?

- Well, AI allies for one. Does the City have conventional forces we’ll get to fight along side, like the Marines in Halo? Destiny may support a ton of drop in and out play, but Bungie has also clearly said you can play it on your own as well. Driving a vehicle with no gunner isn’t very fun… 343i…

- Player attributes. We’ve seen references to shields, health, and armor but we have no real understanding of how any of it works or works together.

- Special abilities. We’ve seen what maybe seven so far. Destiny isn’t going to last its intended ten years with only seven abilities. I wonder what kind of defensive abilities we might get access to. Or abilities that are meant to support other players.

[image]- And what about story? We know there will be cutscenes, but could they perhaps be tailored around three Guardian fire teams instead of just treating each player as the Master Chief?

- About those fire teams, surely Bungie isn’t going to limit our groups to three people at a time. [image]If anything I hope Destiny allows even larger groups to form up, or at the very least I hope it tries to matchmake you and your friend visible to each other even if you are already in a max sized group.

I can’t wait until Bungie show us more, and answers more of our questions. So far I feel we’ve just seen the standard stuff and the best is yet to come, but waiting is hard. But waiting is what we’ll do because it will almost certainly be worth it. That’s all for this week, and in fact, that’s all for Speculation Saturday for a while. There are several areas of Destiny I can’t wait to speculate on that just don’t have enough information released about them yet. Why are our planets like they are, for one. The Cabal, Hive, and Vex for another. The Music of the Spheres is still looming out there somewhere as well. I’d love to piece together The Facts on them, combine them into some Informed Suppositions, and bust out with new Rampant Speculation on these things and more but there’s just not enough to go on right now.

The ball’s in your court Bungie. Give us something new to talk about!

In the mean time let me know your thoughts about Destiny’s gameplay. Is there anything I forgot about. Anything you think I got wrong or aren’t seeing clearly? I literally don’t move from this spot each week until I hear from you! :)

Speaking of you, a big thanks to everyone who speculated with me over the last month. Y’alls great ideas and insights made the whole process much more than worth it. I certainly plan to start this series up again when we have something new to talk about. There’s a Bungie Podcast due next week so maybe that day will come sooner than I think. But until then:


P.S. I know it's Sunday… I got mixed up with a Timeshifter and don't much want to talk about it… :p

All Speculation Saturdays:
Speculation Saturday #1: The Golden Age
Speculation Saturday #2: The Fall
Speculation Saturday #3: The Fallen
Speculation Saturday #4: The City
Speculation Saturday #5: The Gameplay
Speculation Saturday #6: What's New?
Speculation Saturday #7: The Hive
Speculation Saturday #8: The Vex
Speculation Saturday #9: The Cabal

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