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The Art of Destiny - A Book Report *IMGS* (Destiny)

by Leviathan, The Woods, Monday, March 09, 2015, 16:34 (2417 days ago)

These words are mostly meant for those on the fence as to whether or not to purchase the Art of Destiny hardcover that came out late last year, but I do highlight a few interesting notions the book hints at and also ramble into a discussion of the game's art direction here and there, mostly at the end. Included are some shots of the artwork inside but it's only a small percentage of the total contained therein. About 90% of the images link to larger versions.

On Approach

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The book is a boon for the senses (well, at least for sight, touch, and smell - the book isn't very tasty and it doesn't sing you to sleep at night). The dust jacket is soft but textured like a fabric unlike the plastic gloss that graces most sleeves today. The cover art is a variant of the game's cover, but better. The original colors and details that the promotional imagery distilled out are intact here. The City is easily visible, the sky's colors are natural and gradual in their descent (as opposed to the almost entirely-blue background of the game's cover), and a number of jumpships and Hawks dot the skies. There's an especially good view of the Hawk on the back cover (which is a continuation of the same art).

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Olfaction Overload

Opening the book implodes your nose with an overdose of strong inks and glue. If you liked sniffing sharpies in elementary school like me, you'll find yourself creepily nose-diving into the binding here. It is truly one of the most potent books I've ever had the delight of having. It smells like walking into a painter's studio in art school; I love it. Apologies to those of you who deprive your sense of smell.

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Behind the Curtain

This is actually one of my favorite parts of the book. Beneath the dust jacket is a white hardcover, embossed ever-so-slightly with a gloss arrangement of Guardians. In some light, you barely notice anything; another look and a light bounces off the hero of your favorite class.

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I did not alter the contrast here to show how subtle the graphic is.

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It can be easily missed...

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Until the right light hits it. Warning: without the dust jacket, this empty white will be an easy target for dirt and scruffs!


A Cryptarch's Treasure

The endpaper uses the Darkness-infused maps we've become familiar with in Destiny's graphic design.

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On the other side of a colorful title page, we see the "opening image in the Destiny pitch book". Interesting!

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There's a few short-but-sweet notes from Chris Barret and Lorraine McLees before the book dives into the foundation of Destiny, starting with its concept-ing adventures in fantasy and myth...

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...and following those root ideas until science fiction begins to creep back into Destiny's fundament (fundament - a word I learned from the Grimoire). You can see the beginning of the City and the Traveler, which appear to have been one thing back then - a giant, spherical spaceship we would have docked at - before they became two disparate things and settled back on the ground to find a bit more of that castle-look that was there in the beginning. There's a lot of before-seen images in this section, but some new ones too.

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The "Warlock Clubhouse".

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I want to know what's behind that door! It's a cool door! Tell me!

Staten and Barret's GDC talk goes into more detail, but this still gives a good synopsis of that early work and in higher quality.

Continued in Post 2

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The Art of Destiny - A Book Report - 2

by Leviathan, The Woods, Monday, March 09, 2015, 16:54 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

Continued from Post 1

Exodus

We're guided through the Cosmodrome next (and eventually all of the Spheres we get to visit in Destiny).

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Looks like an earlier design of the colony ship had the giant pods inside the hull of the shuttle, instead of outside and above it.

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How did I not realize the Jade Rabbit was an actual in-game mascot?

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"Atmospheric unwrapping."

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Toying with the idea of what the Citadel would look like exploded. A hint at the future perhaps? Or just artists playing around?

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This premature Vex concept reminds me of a number of 80's sci-fi paperbacks I need to read.

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I suppose this is an early concept of a Vex base/factory before the ruinous monoliths came to describe their Citadel. Looks cool but we've seen it a lot before - glad we ended up with what we got.

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Mars is beautiful.

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The dust reclaims the forest. You can see a rover-like vehicle in the bottom left-hand corner.

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This one actually makes me hungry for ice cream with its sherbet colors...

Continued in Post 3

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The Art of Destiny - A Book Report - 3

by Leviathan, The Woods, Monday, March 09, 2015, 17:26 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

Continued from Post 2

Getting to Know Yourself

In the next section, the book halts its voyage through the solar system and heads back to the beginnings to establish the races and classes of the Guardians.

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Apparently, the EXO Stranger really spearheaded the design of the EXOs.

The Neoclassic elements that appeared in the foundational imagery at the start of the book rear their head again. You see this pop of red used often in Neoclassicism. In fact, most of the City-related art and Guardian designs could be related to an intertwined era of Enlightenment, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism...

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There's a few armor designs inside this book that have just recently showed up in The Dark Below - I wonder if some of the other designs I don't recognize here will be crafted for future DLCs as well?

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Hunter beats everything...

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Mostly because their Class Armor is just so damn cool.

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Lots of great orthographic designs like this liter the book.

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Early costume design for Tower vendors.

The Forces of the City, a faction that seems to have once been a bigger part of Destiny, shows up a bit. The Hawk seems to have been extensively designed for something more than what just ended up being Tower decoration. And the frames might have been meant to be a larger force as well - maybe even an A.I. ally? Here you can see a frame hooking into the passenger bay of a Hawk (or Hawk-like vehicle).

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Dark Night of the Solar System

The next section leaves player characters behind and highlights their companions on the other end of the gun - the badguys. There's a sprinkling of early sketches, postcard pieces, and character design guides. And although I'm not doing so here, each faction gets equal time in the spotlight.

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Animation sequences like that above appear throughout the book - one spread for each enemy faction and player class.

Almost all the Hive classes are derived from Thrall - both in design and in the lore of the story, apparently.

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A Hive flagship (orbiting Saturn perhaps?). I want this to be a thing. Digging deep underground is always scary - trapped in a claustrophobic ship in an infinite vacuum is scarier!

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Speaking of vehicles... A good look of the Cabal land tank, something we only see in blocked, restricted, or up-close views within the game.

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Continued in Post 4

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The Art of Destiny - A Book Report - 4

by Leviathan, The Woods, Monday, March 09, 2015, 18:17 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

Continued from Post 3

Breaking Stuff to Look Tough

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If we could but befriend the Cabal, their armory would be a fun-tastic asset.

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Early Cabal weapon sketches.

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The Sword of Crota. Or is that Swords? I'm starting to think Crota was a sword-enthusiast...

Some wide layouts give you a look at the Exotics. It's great seeing them side by side; their unique quirks really pop out.

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How long do I have to wait for Last Word?

The Exotic weapons usually stand out from their standard nephews and enemy cousins by using more -and more vibrant- colors... Besides the intimidating silhouettes of course.

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Although weapons are really the last big section in the book, there's a few pages dedicated throughout to the user interface and graphic design, which, in my opinion, is the best UI ever crafted by Bungie in both style and function. There's some game-needs that are still be being addressed in patches of course, but I continue to be impressed by it, especially after playing a different game.

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Faction logos.

A concept for the Director reveals a lot about some of the early ideas Bungie was playing with for Destiny. This might be the most tantalizing image in the book actually!

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There's a few pages at the end dedicated to storyboards and the cinematics they birthed, but it's very scant. I would have loved to have seen a much more in-depth account of the storyboards, like the storyboard booklet included with the Halo 3 Legendary Edition.

Perhaps Bungie felt bad about the non-existent manual included with the game, as the credits are presented at the end of the book in their entirety, in the same style as the credits roll seen at Bungie.Net.

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One name stuck out in particular. I don't know why... just seemed like he might be a great bear of a guy.


In Conclusion

Production quality

This is the highest quality book that's been put out with Bungie's name on it. It's still very much in the vein of the Art of Halo 3, with comparable shape and layout style, but it is a bit meatier and the images are far more defined (the printing patterns that are present here in some of my photos can not be discerned with the naked eye). Just lifting the book from a table and touching it will let you know pretty instantly it's a top-notch printing. No text was hard to read like in the Art of Halo 3. The binding is secure. Bungie should definitely keep using the publisher, Insight Editions.

Layout & Text

Most of the finished concepts in the book are given entire pages or whole spreads with early sketches and variations getting a smaller focus. There's a lot of white space and no spreads are cluttered in the slightest. In fact, it recreates the vibe of walking through a modern gallery, especially with the minimal notations accompanying the work.

While I appreciate this idea of letting the art speak for itself, and it is definitely allowed to in this format, I would still love to see even more text and insights from the artists. Not every reader is as interested, I'm sure, but I'd say most Bungie fans take their interests pretty seriously and they probably make up a large portion of the buyers of this book. I'd love more in-depth discussions of the threads of ideas running through the work, picking apart challenges, and pointing out which piece led to another. There is some of that, but its use is skeletal instead of a constant running companion.

I consume a lot of "Art Of" books. My standards of comparison are currently the books Weta has been putting out by themselves in recent years. The layouts can sometimes get a little thick, but they fill their books with so many images and interesting commentary that you really have to re-read them a few times to download it all into your brain. I've included an example below to show what I'm referring to. I'd love if Bungie's next art book leaned more this direction and away from the minimalist style, simply because I'm insatiable for their work and process.

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Another trick the Weta books employ that all "Art Of" books should adopt is the artist and department initials on every piece, with a guide in the back of the book expanding on them. It's a far easier way to find and retain the different authors instead of flipping back and forth to the index and finding the right page number.

Also, since 90% of the text in the Weta books are commentary by the actual artists featured on the page, you attain a closer relationship with the craftsmen and their approaches, and thus the project as a whole.

The Actual Work

The art direction of Destiny is my favorite aspect of the game. The art of Halo, in the hands of McLees, Wang, Lehto, Hannaford, Smith, and many others, changed the way I draw and gave me a universe to practice in, from the margins of my notes to full canvases. So it was a treat to watch the concept art of a new chapter in Bungie's life roll out the gates in 2013 and then experience the finished game where those concepts came to life in 2014.

Sometimes it felt like they were reading my mind - grabbing handfuls of ideas and styles from my other interests and then using them to forge a new creation even more appealing to me. To see Bungie be inspired by our own Solar System as opposed to an unreachable galaxy was a great turn. To see them take cues from many different eras of science fiction, especially the more optimistic golden age, was even more exciting. And the fact that they did all this while maintaining their focus on restrained compositions and powerful colors found back in Halo (as opposed to the grit and overexposure that runs rampant in games and film today) has been most inspiring. The style and nature of the Destiny universe is a sandbox worth playing in for some time!

This book makes me excited to make art, it makes me excited to play the game, and it gives me a close look at skilled artwork that I can hopefully pull some lessons from.

To sum up: go get it, damnit.

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GAAAAAH LET ME SAY HOW AWESOME THIS IS!!!

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Monday, March 09, 2015, 18:18 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

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Higher Resolution?

by FWC, Thursday, March 19, 2015, 05:41 (2407 days ago) @ Leviathan

Nice overview!

Do you happen to have a higher resolution version of this image? [image]

I was disappointed to see the most interesting image of the lot was such low quality, when every other image was high quality :(

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*WANT*

by dogcow @, Hiding from Bob, in the vent core., Monday, March 09, 2015, 18:22 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

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Thank you for this Levi :)

by ZackDark @, Not behind you. NO! Don't look., Monday, March 09, 2015, 18:27 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

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The Art of Destiny - A Book Report *IMGS*

by Oholiab @, Monday, March 09, 2015, 18:35 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

I bought this as a Christmas present for James, and we have all enjoyed it. Just one of the perks of being a dad...

Bonus: it makes for a great coffee table book!

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I love and hate the book

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 09, 2015, 19:41 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

I love it because it is amazing.

I hate it because it reminds me of what Destiny could have, and should have been.

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He loves and hates the book

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Monday, March 09, 2015, 19:46 (2417 days ago) @ Cody Miller

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Just as he loves and hates himself.

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Heh.

by CyberKN ⌂ @, Oh no, Destiny 2 seems complicated, Monday, March 09, 2015, 19:50 (2417 days ago) @ iconicbanana

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ROFL

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, March 09, 2015, 20:11 (2417 days ago) @ CyberKN

- No text -

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Heh. Extended Edition

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 02:00 (2416 days ago) @ CyberKN

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I love and hate the book

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 01:59 (2416 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I love it because it is amazing.

I hate it because it reminds me of what Destiny could have, and should have been.

Heh, I knew you were going to write this reply before I posted this. :) I might understand or relate to the sentiment if the book was called The Story of Destiny or The Campaign Design of Destiny, but the vast majority of the stuff in this book is IN the game and it looks beautiful. In terms of visuals, Destiny fully lived up to its promise in my opinion. I transition from the environments and UI of the game to the art and presentation of this book seamlessly.

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I love and hate the book

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 16:59 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan
edited by Cody Miller, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 17:04

In terms of visuals, Destiny fully lived up to its promise in my opinion. I transition from the environments and UI of the game to the art and presentation of this book seamlessly.

I fully understand the nature of concept art, and do not think at all that if it was merely conceptualized it would be in the game. But right on the first few pages, you have stuff Bungie actually talked about being in the game, like the city and Charlemagne's Vault. The entirety of page 13 portrays things Bungie hyped up, but were absent. The Citadel is featured prominently, but we never go there even though it exists in game. You have the fallen and the fallen walker patrolling a snowy area. You have a hive ship around Saturn (Saturn again!). I get that stuff gets cut on every project, but…

It's all about that damn concept art leak back in 2012. Maybe it's my fault, but when you have all these images of bases on Jupiter, Saturn, the Reef, and tons of other locations on Earth, and Bungie keeps selling the idea that Destiny is this huge romp through the solar system, I was naturally let down when I found out that it wasn't. I distinctly remember the dread I felt about the game when Deej confirmed one playable area per planet. I was not alone. Why would people be shocked at that? Because that news flew in the face of everything Bungie seemed to be presenting at the time. I was told the Alpha was <5% of the game. It was actually 20%. Then you look at all the filler missions, and wonder why those weren't somewhere else, on another planet forwarding a grand story.

If that concept art leak never happened, and if all of the art leaked were in the book (much of it is not by the way), then I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. I don't know, I just think that Bungie spun this grand vision of the game that was fueled by the leaks, and didn't offer a realistic portrayal of the game. Then the game ships and you see the narrative is shit. This is especially true when you hear rumors of a rebuild of the content in fall of 2013, and internal strife over whether the game should have been an RPG or an MMO. Something happened, whether big or small, just going by the info in the 2013 ViDocs that is no longer relevant.

All of that may be completely false, but I am human, and I have an imagination. I LOVE the world Bungie created for Destiny, and unfortunately my mind carried me further inside the world than I could actually go. That's just a product of how much I wanted to be there I guess. Part of me thinks these rumors are rumors precisely because someone needed to rationalize why what we thought we'd get wasn't what we got.

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I love and hate the book

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 17:33 (2416 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Well, we obviously had very different expectations, and so accordingly very different receptions as well. But I was speaking merely on visual terms. What I said here,

"I might understand or relate to the sentiment if the book was called The Story of Destiny or The Campaign Design of Destiny"

...actually corresponds with what you just expanded on.

I actually got a little deja vu from this! In our past debates I remember there were many times I felt like you'd give a rebuttal to one part of my post while missing other parts that explained my point more - parts that were actually showing that I was agreeing with you. :)

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I love and hate the book

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:38 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

Well, we obviously had very different expectations, and so accordingly very different receptions as well. But I was speaking merely on visual terms. What I said here,

"I might understand or relate to the sentiment if the book was called The Story of Destiny or The Campaign Design of Destiny"


...actually corresponds with what you just expanded on.

I actually got a little deja vu from this! In our past debates I remember there were many times I felt like you'd give a rebuttal to one part of my post while missing other parts that explained my point more - parts that were actually showing that I was agreeing with you. :)

When I reply to you, it's not always because I disagree :-p I read exactly what you said, and was just expanding upon my own reasoning.

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Thanks so much for doing this!

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, March 09, 2015, 20:12 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

I'm going to order my copy as soon as I get home.

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My Review

by Xenos @, Shores of Time, Monday, March 09, 2015, 21:11 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

Ditto

-Xenos

My Review

by Claude Errera @, Monday, March 09, 2015, 21:14 (2417 days ago) @ Xenos

Ditto

-Xenos

See, Levi? Xenos can teach you the art of brevity.

(Of course, if you'd applied that art, I wouldn't have read your posts. ;) )

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Love the book!

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 09, 2015, 21:21 (2417 days ago) @ Leviathan

Loved your review as much.

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Glad you guys liked it, sorry for all the typos.

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 02:08 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

Most, if not all, should be fixed now. I cleared up some wonky sentences and added a few bits, too. This started as a word document and then 'grew in the telling', which apparently included some growing pains. I had to run out of the house right after the last post without re-reading it all again, so that didn't help either.

The most significant note I added was to this piece:

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There's a rover-like vehicle in the lower left that I hadn't noticed before.

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Cool

by Durandal, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 09:39 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

Given how faithfully Bungie has rendered the other concept art into the game, I would expect most of this to make it in eventually.

The proto-director is also intriguing. Look at all the things they had initially planned to include. Some, or all of that may return in some form I hope.

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For those who don't read the frontpage: giveaway contest!

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 17:37 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

While I was posting this review yesterday, Inside Editions, the publisher, strangely contacted DBO (unaware, I believe, of the review) at the same time about donating some copies of the Destiny Poster Collection and Destiny Journal for our community.

You can enter the contest to get them here. Not much is required. You don't have to purchase DBO Go or DBO Plus or anything to enter. :)

http://destiny.bungie.org/contests/art_of_destiny_giveaway.html

(And yes, I did just accidentally overwrite the first page of my review with this post, went "OH MY GOD", then spent fifteen minutes rebuilding it from a copy and paste from my browser's history.)

For those who don't read the frontpage: giveaway contest!

by Claude Errera @, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 17:54 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

(And yes, I did just accidentally overwrite the first page of my review with this post, went "OH MY GOD", then spent fifteen minutes rebuilding it from a copy and paste from my browser's history.)

Holy crap, I'm sorry!

(We have backups, you know - they're only daily, and you only spent 15 minutes, but in this case they would have helped; I could have pulled yesterday's post verbatim for you. Just for... you know, next time. :) )

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For those who don't read the frontpage: giveaway contest!

by Leviathan, The Woods, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:09 (2416 days ago) @ Claude Errera

Holy crap, I'm sorry!

(We have backups, you know - they're only daily, and you only spent 15 minutes, but in this case they would have helped; I could have pulled yesterday's post verbatim for you. Just for... you know, next time. :) )

Haha, I would have come crying to you. That was the next step! But it wasn't too bad to fix - mostly just scary when I first realized it.

The real problem is this moderator power - it's consuming me! I tried to reply to something like three different posts today by hitting "edit" instead of "reply". Luckily I realized my mistake before any damage was done... Except for, of course, the one long ass post with formatting and a bunch of linked images. :)

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For those who don't read the frontpage: giveaway contest!

by Xenos @, Shores of Time, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:23 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

The real problem is this moderator power - it's consuming me! I tried to reply to something like three different posts today by hitting "edit" instead of "reply". Luckily I realized my mistake before any damage was done... Except for, of course, the one long ass post with formatting and a bunch of linked images. :)

I've definitely never done this before on accident on someone else's post that I fixed using copy and paste from my browser history. I would never be that inattentive.

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All this time Raga and Cody have been agreeing...

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:26 (2416 days ago) @ Xenos

The real problem is this moderator power - it's consuming me! I tried to reply to something like three different posts today by hitting "edit" instead of "reply". Luckily I realized my mistake before any damage was done... Except for, of course, the one long ass post with formatting and a bunch of linked images. :)


I've definitely never done this before on accident on someone else's post that I fixed using copy and paste from my browser history. I would never be that inattentive.

...but the mad tyranny of the Admins has transmuted them into bitter rivals.

We are all the playthings of the crazed whims of eldritch behemoths.

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Yeah, we're best buds! :p

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:28 (2416 days ago) @ iconicbanana

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Now I'm waiting for your post to change to "I hate Cody"

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:30 (2416 days ago) @ Ragashingo

Quick, somebody screen-cap the page!

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I have also totally never done this... >.>

by Beorn @, <End of Failed Timeline>, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 19:11 (2416 days ago) @ Xenos

And here I thought I was just being the clumsy one all this time. Hmm… maybe I should mess with the stylesheet so that the Edit links are a different color.

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Blind Watch is my favorite map and it's balanced perfectly.*

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:33 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan
edited by Ragashingo, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 18:49

Look, just add that mod power to me... I swear you won't notice any many all of the changes. :)

*MOD EDIT* You mispelled "add". Fixed it for you. I changed nothing else.

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Blind Watch is my favorite map and it's balanced perfectly.*

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 22:08 (2416 days ago) @ Ragashingo

*MOD EDIT* You mispelled "add". Fixed it for you. I changed nothing else.

Oh good. Thanks.... Wait a second! :p

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But ... but ...

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 19:30 (2416 days ago) @ Leviathan

I've already bought all the things!

Good luck, everyone! I endorse all the prizes.

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