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A Very Korny Destiny Writeup... [VID/IMG/GIFS] MASSIVE POST (Destiny)

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 13:55 (2518 days ago)
edited by Korny, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 13:59

As far as anticipation for Destiny goes, my anticipation for it was tempered to the point of cynicism. I'd played the crap out of Borderlands, and all of the gameplay footage was made to look extremely boring and mediocre... But boy has this weekend proven me wrong. So let's start at the beginning...


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How many logos does Bungie need on one screen?

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Setup

I love the user interface in Destiny. It's simple, ergonomic, and doesn't require shuffling though menu upon menu.

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It may have just been an Alpha thing (which I may end up saying a lot), but it did feel like some vital features were missing from the options menu...

Player Classes

Beyond that, we soon get to the character editor. The Alpha options were very limited, but set up very well for making a basic character. The three classes are explained well enough to be able to distinguish them, and I like the fact that one of their later specializations is given as a tip regarding where that choice can lead you.

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Titan
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Living, blunt force instrument.

"Feels good bashing baddies with your bare fists. Titans have a little more health than everyone else and their second jump, lift gets you ridiculously high, though it's still pretty slow to pull off. Their first grenade (Flashbang), while not incredibly powerful, will blind people within it's radius, which can earn you a few seconds to finish people off with your fists or shotgun. The second grenade (Pulse) is pretty similar to the Vortex grenade, except it doesn't do constant damage, it does it in waves." -Xenos

I didn't play as a Titan, but they're clearly designed for direct confrontation. They seem to be the main class you encounter on the Crucible, and with good reason. Their biotic charge attack is devastating in a 360º area, and they are invulnerable while they leap forward (even to rockets). Their main grenades are also distinct in that they affect their targets by blinding them rather than causing direct damage, opting to make players vulnerable to other means.

Hunter
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You ARE the wolf.

"Easily my favorite. I have to say after playing the three the Hunter gives the biggest rewards for good aiming and will hurt you if you don't aim well. Golden gun relies on at least a decent amount of aim, and you lose your throwing knife whether you miss or not, unlike the other Guardian's special melee attacks. Not to mention to make sure you do maximum damage with your throwing knife you better get a critical hit. I also very much enjoy their first grenade (Incendiary) as it does a decent amount of damage immediately and does damage over time after that. Also, double jump is AMAZING. Fast and high, it lets you get out of situations fast. I have saved my own skin so many times just running and double jumping out of a situation. Overall Hunter is all about agility. They run faster and jump higher than any of the other classes." -Xenos

The Hunter is the second-most common warrior in the Crucible. Agile and deadly, the Hunter's special is possibly the biggest threat on the battlefield. Packing three insta-kill shots, a hunter with a golden aura causes fear in even the most hardened soldier. This power comes at a cost, however, as the Hunter is not only vulnerable while having the Golden Gun active, but they have to make each shot count.
I played enough of this class to get to know the specifics of their style, and it's the closest that Destiny has to a high-risk/high-reward class. The Hunter's knife, which can be used as a deadly but slow projectile, takes up some valuable upgrade space, and some skills require taking risks to reap the benefits, such as getting a kill with the throwing knife while having Golden Gun active. It's definitely a class designed around quick strikes, and the double (later triple) jump is incredibly effective at surprising enemies and getting out of a bad situation quickly. Skilled players shouldn't have trouble lone-wolfing it against Guardian and Fallen alike.

Warlock
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An arsenal of deadly secrets.

This was the class that I spent the most time with, and it's my favorite by far. There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to this Guardian. Not as devastating as the Titan, nor as agile as the Hunter, the Warlock has to be more cunning in combat. This is the closest to a support class in the game, as lone-wolf tactics are bound to get you gunned down quickly, unless you master the tricks that the Nova Bomb and grenade afford you.

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You've activated my Trap card...

The Nova Bomb may be the Special with the highest success rate, as it has an area blast like the Titan's Arc Strike, but can also hit at range, like the Hunter's Golden Gun. There is also a windup that combines with forward momentum that allows Warlocks to strike around corners, which often catches enemies off guard.
The grenade, meanwhile, is an area-of-effect that can kill enemies in a little over a second, while not harming the Warlock himself. This can provide a "spike shield" of sorts for the Warlock, which can give him time to run away, or turn the enemy's attack against him. The grenade's duration can also be upgraded, and at times will kill a careless person after you've respawned if you died shortly after throwing it.

The glide jump is very tricky, though. Timing is essential, as there's a sweet spot that must be hit to be able to gain upward momentum, otherwise you glide slowly, making you an easy target to pick off, and cancelling the glide (left trigger or pressing X a third time) also causes momentary vulnerability. The upside is that it allows for much more precise maneuverability than the other two classes, which gives it a unique advantage.

Player Customization

The options for character creation are surprisingly limited, but this may have to do with the whole Alpha thing. Hopefully the full game will have a greater variety of options, and maybe our characters will actually resemble our creations on the Tower...

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Pro-tip Bungie, hire a different hairstylist. Seriously, what's up with those 'dos?

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Destiny
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Gotta hand it to Bungie, they always know how to make you feel special...

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The Alpha's main menu consists of three options cleverly disguised as a travel map. We've seen this menu in other previews, most recently in the E3 trailer, where Jason Jones mentions "The Director".

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The trailers imply that Old Russia may not be the only Earth location that we visit, though most trailers only show one area per planet, so either the other regions are locked, or they will be added later as DLC, given how long the investment in Destiny is planned to be. There has been no mention of a "season pass", so that puts into question how long of a wait it will be between DLC packs, how many there will be, and what they will consist of. Given that Bungie supposedly has free reins over Destiny, one would imagine that this is why we haven't heard anything regarding DLC...

But I'm getting far ahead of myself.

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The Tower

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Your map can be accessed at any time via your Omni-tool. Oh wait...

While not the first place you start out in when you play the Alpha, the Tower is the unifying hub for all of your Destiny adventures. It's the Citadel where you can gain your bearings, cash in your loot, and buy anything your heart desires (avoid drinks labeled "For levo-amino"). Oddly enough, you don't start out at the docks, but rather, above a small docking bay in the Tower Plaza.

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Things to note in the Plaza:

Tower Hangar
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In the tower hangar, you'll find two of the three factions that you can join and gain reputation in: the Future War Cult, and Dead Orbit. You will also find the Shipwright, who sells Ships and Speeders of all sorts. You will also find a Vanguard quartermaster, who sells Speeders and weapons, oddly enough. Neither is really worth investing in, unless you want fancier brakes on your speeder. Hopefully Bungie plans to distinguish these two, as otherwise, they're not very important.

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The Hide and Seek is totally the Halo shotgun...

Tower North
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For some reason, the third faction that you can join, New Monarchy, resides here instead of the hangar, where new recruits are most likely to be. You can also find the Guardian Outfitter ("Etsy B***" -Sammy), who likes to over-charge for simple emblems and playercard banners, and The Speaker, who has been shown to be important to the story in trailers, but who sells gear that you can't wear in the Alpha (and possibly Beta). The speaker is located by a large machine that resembles the FTL drive from Event Horizon, which is somewhat unsettling.
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Where we're going, you won't need eyes to see...

And like in the Plaza, there is a large door that's blocked off... for now. I really hope that Bungie expands on the Tower, because as a hub, it has only the essentials, and some useless fluff. I feel that microtransactions may end up being introduced somehow, as there are a couple of rooms that seem to serve no purpose. One looks like it'll end up being a black market of sorts, maybe you'll be able to trade blue armors for blue weapons or something. Choice and consequence is always nice...

For now, most of the fancy weaponry is sold by the Vanguards below the Plaza.
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Old Russia
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The map above shows the entire region of Old Russia that you can visit, although two areas are excluded from the Alpha (more on that later). Strikes seem to be scripted sequences that span specific areas of the map, as opposed to being closed-off areas only accessible through missions. The inverse is true, actually, as a number of areas are closed off during a strike, so the strikes actually load their own unique world separate from the "Main" destiny world. This was suspected when "Playstation Plus required" showed up in the E3'14 trailer, since it wouldn't make sense to run into random people/public events if some players didn't have Plus. This also explains why the level ends upon objective completion, and you then have to return to orbit. I remember someone at Bungie saying that you could be on a strike and randomly run into players on Explore, but it's really not true. They're on different maps/servers altogether.

But whatevs... I might be wrong. Then again, remember the whole "See that over there? We can actually walk over there" that didn't show the Kill Barrier that hits you if you try?
Not that I'm sore with Bungie, but don't make a girl a promise...

Anyway...

The map is huge, and each region tells its own little story. Environmental storytelling is my favorite, and Bungie seems to have taken a page from The Last of Us by leaving puzzle pieces that players can put together (or speculate) on. When you're first dropped into the map, a few Fallen on the right are making their way to some old wreckage, a few to the front are coming out of a building, further ahead, a wrecked ship is being salvaged by the possible occupants, and on the left, some Shanks are scouting the area. You are given free reign to head in whatever direction you see fit, which is a far cry from the narrow corridors of most first-person-shooters, and it even differs from Borderlands, which led you through some areas before letting you pedal the bike on your own. I imagine these first moments are scary for some players, as they're not told where to go or what to do. It's new territory for many people, and that's a good thing. Everywhere you go, you get a sense of "I found this!", because you do. Another thing that players will notice is that there really IS no hand to guide them, as they have no map. They have to learn where they're going, and where they've been. Bungie's putting trust into the hands of the players, after spending the last few games hitting us with invisible barriers and Return to Battlefields. Thanks, Bungie. For letting us ride without training wheels.

And look how your faith has been rewarded!

I remember one of the Destiny dev diaries said that failure was a real possibility for players, and I don't doubt that claim any longer (especially after we arrogantly tackled the Strike on Legend(ary) right away... A lesson hard-learned...

Anyway, back to the game...

If you choose to explore, you'll run into beacons that assign you missions. It's a shame that these beacons aren't NPCs, or more credible means to get you to do the available activities, but they do have a very place-holdery feel to them, so we shall see.
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Most of the missions that they assign you either require you to kill enemies, or kill enemies and then pick up things that they drop. The macguffins that they drop aren't important to remember for now, but they come in the form of pyramids that somewhat resemble the Active Camo from Halo 1. Always nice to see throwbacks...

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Mmmm, soups...

These missions got boring pretty quickly, but did make it easy to level up quickly and make some loose change on the side. Hopefully the difficulty and variety gets ramped up significantly, because right now they're more of a chore than anything too fun, though it is nice to feel like I have something that needs doing.
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♪I would give it all, I would sacrifice.
Don't tell me it's not worth fighting for...♫

If people don't have something to do, they'll find something to do... Which includes breaking out of the map...
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Epic Blunder, Bungie. Preorder Cancelled.

And so explore we have, and we've found the Destiny equivalent of the Halo 2 E3 2003 demo...

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"Gotta say... seeing this place for my self, dead bodies and all - was a pretty big "Wow/Holy Sh*t" Moment. It was dark when I first found it and it was very very windy. Man... we got beat. HARD." -INSANEdrive

It really did feel weird to actually BE there.

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And here's where things start to get heavy...
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Another interesting area that I found was the Terrestrial Complex that lay beyond the Lost Shore.

Enemies actually change here, though it's subtle enough that you may not notice.

First, you see this banner:

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The Fallen found around Old Russia wear red armor, and have a red banner. The Fallen in this area, however, wear yellow.
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A Grimoire card states, "There are hints of ancient nobility to the Fallen - the scars of lost grandeur. The Kells of their scattered houses still claim to be royalty, but they leave only grief and wreckage in their wake."
The other place we've seen this tribe is in the Jones trailer, where we saw this guy on what looked like the Moon:
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And they're not the only distinct creatures in the Terrestrial complex. Further in, you find this:
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A Hive "ship" that could explain the presence of the Wizard in the Lunar Complex nearby... Except that there are some inconsistencies. Almost all of the hive are red, but ones here appear to be black. There's a broken wall on the cliffside where if you're lucky, you'll find this guy:

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Notice how he differs from the bright red of the Hive elsewhere...
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And if you're unlucky... you find this...

Note how the "125" damage markers change into "1"s. I call shenanigans...
A very different breed of Hive, with blue markings instead of the usual red that the other one packs...
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Also, what does it mean by "Anointed"?
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Another issue is the presence of the fungal growths...

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Barnacles... Dirty Barnacles...

They tend to form rather quickly around the crashed Hive ships (I use "ships" loosely, because they look more like Space Javelins that were launched to Earth... but hold that thought...

On the Multiplayer map Rusted Lands, you can see one of the ships wrecked by point A:

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with some growth inside, and outside the building...
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While you don't see any Hive anywhere, you do see something new...
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A strange ship with coloration reminiscent of the Hive. Except this ship has some form of slipspace capacity:
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So could the Hive have arrive undetected with this technology? If so, why the need to just drop the javelins from on high? Ghost believes that they must have come from the moon, which, as INSANEdrive pointed out, has seen better days...
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This crack is not a natural formation...

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Closeups from the Crucible map... Note the green glow.

But back to the barnacles. At the ship with the black Hive, there are actually very FEW barnacles around, with a search inside the building revealing that there is another area that we're not allowed to go to yet, but which is free of the growth...
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What could this mean? Nothing. Maybe. Who knows, but something doesn't click here...

While we're on the subject of the Hive, though, let's check in at the Grottos...

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Huh, not a lot of barnacles here, either...

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You know you have a problem when you get "!!!" instead of damage points...

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About that map...

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What's up here?

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Hive Shrieker... Wonder What it does...

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Boop.

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OKAY IT GOT VERY LOUD AND VERY ANGRY HELP

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DANG IT WRONG WAY NOT HIM AGAIN I NEED A MAP

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Thoughts from the Universe

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Recreating INSANEdrive's cell phone pic. ;)

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Having flashbacks of The Ark on Halo 3. Good times...

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An empty dead end important enough to be named...

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Detailed maps located at the dead ends... Huh...

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Waiting for OP

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No SHiFT keys required...

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Destroyed Beauty

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lolwut

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"This was just a dumb error by a moron, though. I fixed it a while ago but the fix didn't make it into the alpha build. e: I'm the moron." -General Battuta

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The Parable of Osiris is the tale of how Osiris was murdered by his brother Set and dismembered, but he was brought back to life when most of him was found again...


And I'd like to give a shout-out to fusion rifles. Those things are awesome:
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Lighting

I think Bungie deserves some serious praise for their dynamic lighting systems. I've never seen a better lit game. The vast number of shadows and light effects are worth the 30 FPS that the game runs. Simply a beautiful game. Truly next-gen...

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Sliding on the grass made that groove in the last image, and it reacted accordingly to the light hitting it... The tiniest details...

"Shadows play a key role in defining the look of the game both indoors and out. Soft shadows stretch realistically across the world based on the positioning of the primary light source. A form of variance shadow maps (EVSM) is used to create more realistic shadows in a wider variety of lighting conditions. The strength of the light casting each shadow helps determine the shadow intensity - shadows cast within shadow appear different from those cast by a bright spotlight, as an example. Indoors, when the lights disappear, there are moments when we see Doom 3-style shadow volumes extend from geometry edges while using the flashlight. Shadows are further enhanced by high-quality HDAO implementation used throughout the game. The effect is subtle but effective and manages to sidestep obvious visual artifacts." -Digital Foundry

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Multiplayer

Not much to say about the Crucible that hasn't already been said by Xenoshere. There is a lot of brilliance in the multiplayer. Putting grenades on a cooldown is an ingenious way of preventing grenade spam, while balancing the amount of heavy ordnance with equal drops at specified intervals, making even the lowest-level weapon a formidable force at any level while making the attachments affect performance, and making the heavy vehicles vulnerable to small arms fire... Bungie's doing everything right so far... Here's a link to one of my final games, some of the most fun I've had in any Multiplayer...


And if you like the photos, here's a link to the album, featuring a number of images that didn't make this writeup...

(imgur folder)

PS. Thanks to Xenos, INSANEdrive, And Sammy for inspiring me to make this post...


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