Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Destiny Beta Impressions

The Destiny Beta is coming to a close and I will be honest...I played it sparingly. Not for lack of excitement or lack of interest in what was to come, but more so for two very concrete reasons:

Everything the Beta offered, I had seen before. The single player introductory mission, the PvP modes, the weapons, the supers, etc. Aside from a few additional weapons and armor, most of what I experienced through the Destiny 2 livestream was given here. Your character was decked out in purple gear, you were the capped at a level, there was nothing to do but grind for new weapons to try out and new armor to alter stats on...only for all of it to be deleted tomorrow.

The other reason...I was playing an outdated version of the game. The concerns that I and others had after initially getting into the beta with low super recharge time and grenade cooldown issues were addressed by stating that what we were playing was an old build [1]. Going from vanilla Destiny to what it is now was tweaks, both minor and major, and it made a drastic difference in overall accessibility and feel of the game. Knowing what I was playing was likely not going to be the end product made me less inclined to delve into it further.

The only real gain from the Beta was the sense of feel for how Destiny 2 was in comparison to Destiny 1...slower. This is both a good thing for PvP (kinda) and bad thing for PvE.

The whole appeal of the base combat in Destiny was charging a super and the satisfaction of mowing down an entire wave of enemies. You felt powerful, taking on swarms of Hive and Fallen a dozen at a time. Now enemies take much longer to bring down. I found myself fighting a shielded lieutenant in the campaign mission and got so bored chipping his health as he sat hovering in place that I just...left....I just walked right by him. He didn't mind at all, planting his fat self in place, firing in vain as I continued to the objective marker.

It was not all bad. The mission structure is much more involved this time around, with the opening mission featuring all the commanders you reported to previously fighting at your side and the obvious antagonist doing his due diligence in establishing himself as the end-game baddie you want to bring down. The highlight for me was not so much the pre-scripted scenes or environment but the moment in the mission where the game shifted from single to open multiplayer space in defending waves of enemies from the tower. The potential to open the game up for players who typically go it alone in these missions is huge. It gives the intended feeling of being part of something bigger and made the fighting that much better.

The slower pace on the flip side is good for PvP...kinda. Reducing the party size from 6v6 to 4v4 and increasing the TTK has the game switching from rushing shotguns to strategic play and communication. Outnumbered? You will likely lose. Random grenade kills? Not as prevalent in this one. The downside of this is the huge recovery time. Engaging in a 1v1 and winning will send you running and basically put you behind cover as you wait painfully for that shield bar to regenerate. The lowered super recharge rate and more concern for staying alive has shifted the game from beautiful chaos of big teams clashing to quick skirmishes where every cool down can save your life. Some like the toned down nature, others find it miserably slow.

The foundations for a great game are all there, Bungie just has to capitalize on it. We have been here before, as I remember joining Destiny 1 during the Crota DLC, and since that day the game has drastically undergone a ton of changes. Concerns of fans and outcry over issues are usually addressed, and given that Bungie had the same thought process that we did in terms of beta issues, if the concern is great enough they can make the changes necessary to make Destiny great again (cue Trump face). There is still a TON of content yet to be experienced, and this simple taste of what the game can bring gives potential. Let's just hope that potential is not wasted.

[1] -  Bungie.Net - This Week at Bungie 7/20/2017 - https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/46077/