From The Beta – How Good Is Countdown Mode?

The Destiny 2 Beta offer Guardians the chance to pay the very first mission in the game, one of the early Strike missions, and experience two Crucible modes. The first mode is one we’re used to and the one that’s pegged as easy, Control. The second mode is much more hardcore and is brand new for Destiny 2, Countdown.

In a match of Countdown players are split into two teams of four, which is actually the case for all Crucible matches now anyway. Each round teams switch roles, with one team attempting to plant bombs to destroy the opposition’s bases, while the other makes every effort possible to stop the enemy from planting their bombs and disarm them if necessary.

While  most Crucible matches are fast paced and over in the blink of an eye, Countdown is different. The score limit is six, but in order to win a team needs to be good at both attacking and defending, and that’s not easy.

When I was first playing the game mode I found that defending against a team planting bombs was easier than planting the bombs themselves. The levels are built to make it easy for the team attacking to hide and sneak around the defenders, while the defenders have two exposed points where they need to be focusing their attention, and sometimes that means they’re flanked easily.

As an attacker it can be equally hard to reach the points you need to plant the bombs on. Defenders have a lot of cover in and around the bomb points which makes it easy for them to take pot shots at anyone moving in and then move back into cover to heal up.

However, both round types became far easier as I played the map more and more. I can say with total confidence that the more you know your arena, the better you’ll play in this game mode. Even though I wasn’t communicating with other players, we were figuring out which way we were going to take on the points based on which routes we took to them. As defenders this was easy because you followed the one player who went in the opposite direction of the other two to defend that point. But as attackers, the clues are more subtle. For example, on the way to one particular point there are two small differences to the end of the route, one round a corner and one over a small obstacle.  I would always move the opposite way to the other player heading down my route because it provided a flanking position against the enemy.

As you can imagine there are loads of little side routes to take, and each one will help you win the round if you learn the map well enough, which is a major part of what this new game mode is all about.

Image Source: CriticalHit

From The Beta – How Different Does Destiny 2 Feel To Play?

The Destiny 2 Beta went live for those who have pre-ordered the game on Playstation 4 this week, and I have been playing loads of it since the unlock time. I think there are a lot of things to discuss about the Beta, such as the weapons you get given, the different systems we can make educated guesses about based on what we can see, secrets, Subclasses, and mission. However, I think the most important think we need to talk about first is how different Destiny 2 feels to play when compared to the original.

The first thing that hits you is just how much better Destiny 2 looks over the original. This is an obvious difference and one that many people aren’t talking about because it’s taken for granted. However, there is a massive difference in the way the game looks, and that plays into pretty much every other change in the game.

Everything is faster. This is first noticeable when you take control of your Guardian. Moving everything from the weapon your using to physically running around in missions and the Crucible. The faster movement makes everything feel better, and it’s not that the original game was even particularly slow it’s just that the increased speed gives you that feeling of extra power and control that totally changes the game. Hunters especially are granted additional dodge abilities that were previously only available through Exotic gear. Finally, the game now also features ledge-grabbing, enabling you to finally reach all of those places that were just out of reach, or that you just misjudged the distance for your jump on.

The new weapon slots make far more sense than the old ones. Instead of Primary, Secondary, and Heavy weapons we now have Kinetic, Energy, and Power, and they make a lot more sense believe me. Now you can pack two Hand Cannons, one with elemental damage and one without, one with massive range and one with very little. The beauty of the Power weapon slot is that it still holds the heavy hitting guns such as your Rocket Launcher and your Machine Gun, but now it also holds your Sniper Rifle. It might sound like the game is limiting the use of certain weapons, but when you’re playing it really doesn’t feel that way, instead it feels like you’re playing with a wider range of weapons.

Ships can be destroyed. In the Strike, The Inverted Spire, you can destroy a ship as it flies low over the planet Nessus, which is totally different to the original Destiny! In the first game you could shoot at ships and bring down their weapons yes but you couldn’t destroy them at all.

A lot of players are saying that more changes have been made to cater to the PVP crowd, altering how the game plays to optimise Crucible matches. This isn’t the case, but the changes are way more prevalent in PVP because of how compact the Destiny 2 experience is in the Crucible. The smaller maps and intense combat enhance the changes and make everything feel much better, far better than in the original Destiny.

Destiny 2 Beta Preloads Begin Now

With the early beta dates for Destiny 2 fast approaching, the codes have gone out for players to begin downloading the beta and save time on July 18th! The ways in which retailers are sending out codes differs depending on where you pre-ordered the game, so it’s worth going out of your way to check if you can find the code because it’s probably been sent out. I, for example, pre-ordered with UK retailer GAME, and so needed to put in a code months ago on the Bungie website to guarantee my access to the beta. Today I’ve needed to login and find my codes list where I requested access to the PS4 beta and finally got my code.

The Destiny 2 beta is slightly different across all consoles. On Playstation 4 there is an early access time period from the 18th of July when only PS4 players will be online in the game. On the 19th of July Xbox One players will be able to get online and join the PS4 crew as they try to absorb as much Destiny 2 content as is humanly possible. Finally, the open beta will begin on July 21st for both PS4 and Xbox One, allowing the rest of the console crowd to get in on the Destiny 2 action. Unfortunately the PC beta doesn’t have a firm date, but we do know it will be available at some point in August.

The Destiny 2 beta is a once in a lifetime experience, relatively speaking. It won’t be as monumental as your first day at school or the day your child is born, but it’s important within the world of Destiny. The community is already established from the moment the Destiny Alpha was first launched for PS4, and since then it’s grown into millions of players. Now there’s a chance for a fresh start for anyone looking to get into the game and the world that’s out there. Clans are always on the lookout for new recruits, but even if you’re not a people person there’s Guided Games to help you progress. Destiny 2 is going to be one of the games that will be remembered forever for bad and for good, and it starts here, so go and get that code.

Image Source: Eurogamer

GuardianCon Raises $1.2 Million For Charity

A fan-created convention for Destiny, GuardianCon, has raised $1.2 million for St Jude Children’s Hospital in the week leading up to the event. GuardianCon officially takes place over the course of today and tomorrow, but thanks to a group of streamers working around the clock to keep the event’s Twitch channel filled with constantly entertaining Destiny streams, it’s already making a difference.

GuardianCon began as a meetup between a group of streamers who all enjoyed Destiny. Now the event is somewhere that players from all around the world can come to in order to play with other Guardians and compete in intensive PVP tournaments.

The highlights of the Twitch stream were when Mr.Fruit came on and the total raised hit $1 million, and when King Gathalion was streaming and the numbers hit $1.2 million. The total is still rising as the event continues, though everyone’s expectations have already been blown out of the water by the money raised so far.

There are very few gaming events that can raise a substantial amount of money for charity and make a real difference. Just last Christmas the Yogscast managed to raise more than $2 million for charity with their Christmas streams that they put on every year. Similarly, Games Done Quick, and Summer Games Done Quick, events that showcase the speedrunning community, raise even more for charity twice a year, making a real difference in the community and to people’s lives.

With Destiny 2 just around the corner GuardianCon won’t be slowing down anytime soon. In fact the even is surely going to get bigger and bigger with the inclusion of streamers who play Destiny 2, and those who continue to play the original game for as long as Bungie support it.

It would be interesting if Bungie makes more of an effort to be involved in GuardianCon in the future. It would make sense because the event only serves to provide more advertising for their game, and positive advertising at that. When it comes to charity events maybe Bungie could put on special playlists in-game that accumulate points which relate to money Bungie will donate to charity.

Image Source: Twitter

Destiny 2 Vendors for Collectors

Part of the Age of Triumph Record Book requires Destiny players to collect Exotic Weapons and Armour, as well as Ghosts and other items from each Expansion. Many players jumped on these items as soon as they realised they were there, grabbing them all for their own collector’s needs, but also to earn the sweet reward of a new Exotic weapon or Legendary item.

However, there are players who want to collect every item there is in the game. Since Year 1 it has been a collector’s dream to own all the Shaders and Emblems available, and some have made this dream a reality. With the recent news that weapons and armour are now all going to have specific roles, and therefore be completely individual in their own right, players are going to want to collect them all more than ever.

Over on the Destiny Subreddit some users have been exploring the idea of Legendary weapon and armour vendors. Given that all weapons will now been completely individual, this type of vendor would be extremely appealing to both collectors, and those who just want to be able to buy different weapons.

The problem with a legendary weapon vendor is that players won’t want to complete certain activities because they can just do what’s easy for them to earn cash, and buy the guns they want. What might be better is if players are able to buy the legendary weapons they’ve earned over their career from a vendor when they want them back, but at their maximum Light level. This would help players ensure they’ve always got the best gear for a Raid, and if a kind of currency only earned through end-game content is used to buy them then it might be fairer.

One thing that must be missing from a legendary weapon vendor is weapons that are exclusive to certain Strikes, Raids, and other events. These weapons are a collector’s nightmare, because their rate drop is extremely low. But these weapons are what will get weapon collectors playing all of Destiny 2’s content over and over again, and as long as they’re not at a Legendary Weapon Vendor, the new shop might be a welcome sight.

Image Source: Twitter

Goodbye Destiny Loot Grind

Luke Smith has been talking about the loot grind in Destiny, specifically how it’s going to disappear in Destiny 2 in favour of a much fairer system for both players and developers.

Currently in Destiny we have a situation called the Loot Grind. What this boils down to is hammering away at every single activity until Guardians get Engrams to take back to the Cryptarch and decode. At the moment these Engrams could be anything depending on whether they’re rare or legendary. Most players prefer a legendary Engram for the loot it provides. This legendary loot could then be something that the Guardian already owns, but the grind teaches us that it might have slightly better stats, and that’s what we’re all after.

Of course we also now have infusion, the process through which a player can upgrade gear and weapons with other gear and weapons of a higher Light level by combining them. This means that once players find some gear they really like, they can continually upgrade that gear as they earn other items of higher Light levels. While this is a system that solves the problem of wanting to have those perfect stats on your best gear, it’s problematic for Bungie.

For example, if a particular weapon with a certain set of stats, which can be re-rolled, has a superior edge in the Crucible, Bungie need to correct the advantage in order to keep the game fair for everyone. However, correcting the imbalance requires Bungie to change the stats for all of a certain type of weapon, because no one weapon can be singled out.

In Destiny 2 this is all changing. Each piece of gear, armour, and weapon is handcrafted to have specific stats and work in a certain way. This means that you’re never looking for a better version of Clever Dragon, you’re just looking to up the Light level. For Bungie, this means that if a weapon is overpowered or imbalanced, they can just tweak it in an update, or tweak a few other weapons to match it.

This might not sound like a huge change to the game, but for Bungie it is. Now the updates they push out don’t need to nerf all of a type of weapon, they just need to nerf that one pesky weapon that’s getting in the way. This frees Bungie developers up to focus on important things, such as loot caves, the placement of collectables, and making Raids as awesome as possible.

Image Source: VG247

Why Bungie Brought Forward Destiny 2’s Release Date

According to Luke Smith there are now over 30 million registered users on Destiny, which is a huge amount of people. This has a lot to do with why the release date for Destiny 2 was brought forward, as he revealed recently in an interview with GamesRadar.

Luke Smith told the press outlet that the new release date was changed to allow the sever teams time to adjust the scalability of servers in time for what they anticipate is going to be their busiest day.

Anyone who played the Destiny Alpha and Beta builds will know what a pain in the ass it is when servers go down due to the sheer number of players all hammering away at the servers with their requests at once. Thankfully things like Betas and early access to certain player schemes allow developers the time and some of the numbers needed to get to work making sure their servers don’t set on fire, fall over and give up, or simply exit the building after unplugging themselves due to unrealistic work levels. Put simply, of there are too many players on an uncalibrated server, it’s going to struggle.

MMOs usually have an initial period of a week or so where the game launches and there are a few bugs, but a lot more server problems. After this period the developers have fixed the severs and set them to work on the levels they can now see in the playerbase. Launch day is usually the worst, with every single person who purchased the game playing at once and sucking out all the power the servers have to offer.

Destiny 2 was originally set to release on a Friday, the day before what they anticipate will be their busiest day, Saturday. By releasing the game on the Wednesday, they allow themselves time to see how the servers manage the new influx of players, and adjust them before the weekend rush when everyone and their nan will be playing. It might seem like an odd decision, given that most games launch on a Friday because that’s when people will be excited about them and immediately play them, because the weekend is right over the hill that is Friday night. However this new release date is going to change the wider opinion of Destiny 2 before it’s had a chance to be tarnished.

Nothing is worse for an MMO than launching and having the servers crash. A similar issue occurred when The Division launched last year, which caused a number of players to ditch the game and go back to whet they were playing before. Bungie has the chance to bolster their servers with this new release date, and that will stop anyone leaving the game because they can’t play it, or complaining about it when the server goes down for them, both of which are hugely damaging at launch.

Image Source: GamesRadar

Bungie Discuss The Biggest Change In Destiny 2

In a recent interview with GamesRadar Luke Smith, director of Destiny 2, was asked what he thought the biggest change coming in Destiny 2 was. He responded by saying it was probably story, but not for the reason you might think.

Luke Smith didn’t simply mean the fact that Destiny 2 is going to have a story that isn’t just a bunch of missions that vaguely fir together, he means that Destiny 2’s story is going to be a cohesive one that fits a number of working parts into it.

In an open world game players have a cores story, a set of main quests through which they must progress in order to finish the game. However, layered in and around that story are other, smaller side quests that tell other slightly smaller tales from the same world. These tales flesh out the world, requiring the payer to go to parts of it that the main quest misses out. Finally you have the optional content, collectables, and one-off quests for zany characters who are really out of the way, waiting to be stumbled upon by unwitting players.

Destiny 2’s main quest is the Red War, in which Guardians are fighting against the Red Legion, claiming back their Light, and saving the traveller from the hands of an enemy. The story quests will take players from world to world, and will feature the show stopping moments that Bungie have put together to make people sit their in awe of how great Destiny 2 looks.

We know now that there will be other characters in and around the European Deadzone that Guardians will encounter and have battles alongside. What we don’t know yet is whether these characters will be providing the Side Quest content, whether they’ll be sending us off into the System to fetch or kill things in exchange for sweet loot. It would make sense that these characters are the Side content, as they’ll be taking up residence in different parts of the System where players can encounter them organically, without feeling like the story is being shoehorned. As long as these Side quests provide meaningful encounters, this should provide the layering to the story that Bungie is trying to achieve.

With regards to optional content, we know that we have Public Events and caches to go out and look for in the form of Lost Sectors. These areas form a great combination of collectable and story, giving us a chance to experience a part of the world that doesn’t have any relevance without them. Hopefully the balance of loot in these areas is enough to make them worthwhile, because it’s one thing to add in story content, but another entirely to swap in story where you should be rewarding amazing loot.

Destiny 2 Honours Destiny Players With Emblems

Bungie is staying quiet on most of the ways in which they’ll be honouring players of Destiny 1 in Destiny 2, but they have revealed some of the emblems veterans will be receiving.

Emblems are banners that display behind a player’s name badge when playing on their own or as a Fireteam, and act as a way for players to display their achievements as well as a bit of flair or personality. These emblems are usually rewarded for completing activities in the game, but some can be purchased from vendors throughout the social spaces.

In Destiny 2 emblems are being tweaked slightly in that they’ll be shown in the menu screen at all times, as well as when other players view your Guardian. A nice touch from Bungie.

There will be seven emblems that are exclusive to Destiny 1 players in Destiny 2. These will be rewarded based on the achievements these players have accomplished. The first two relate to the Year 1 moments of triumph. The first can be gained by completing any of them, such as killing Skolas, Crota, or Atheon in the Raid level events. The second is only being awarded to those Year 1 players who accomplished every single one of the moments of triumph.

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The second set of emblems is much the same. The first is awarded to those who completed one of the Year 2 moments of triumph, killing Oryx for example, while the second is exclusive to those who completed all of the Year 2 moments of triumph. In both the case of Year 1 and Year 2 emblem rewards, if players didn’t complete them at the time, they can never get the emblems.

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The final three emblems relate to Year 3 moments of triumph. The first is rewarded to those who hit Rank 2 in the Age of Triumph record book, and the second is rewarded for reaching Rank 7. The final emblem is rewarded to those who reached a Grimoire score of 5,000, which is no easy feat.

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All of these emblems will show those in Destiny 2 who the veterans are, and who the brand new kinderguardians are. It’s nice to see Bungie already planning how they’ll give a nod to old players of the series, but many players would still like to see more.

Playstation Exclusive Exotic Borealis

Among the exclusive content coming to Playstation 4 Guardians in Destiny 2 is an exclusive Strike, armour set for each class, PVP map, and of course this little weapon called Borealis.

Borealis is an exotic Sniper Rifle that’s only on Playstation 4 for a limited time, so grinding for it is recommended so you can gloat for the maximum amount of time possible. But what’s so exotic about this Sniper Rifle? And what could it help you do if you were to head out and use it in activities?

The exotic perk of this weapon, though it isn’t officially defined yet, is that you can swap between Arc, Solar, and Void damage. Not only are you able to swap between the different types of elemental damage, you can do this on the fly. From the trailer it appears as though you can press a button and it will cycle the weapon to the next type of damage, though that isn’t confirmed and could be very clever editing instead.

However you’re able to swap between the damage types it’s just impressive that you can. In Destiny 1 the House of Wolves update added a Fusion Rifle that you could swap out to have the range of a Sniper Rifle, with slightly different charging times, called Queenbreaker’s Bow. This weapon completely changed how you thought about killing enemies, and made it so that you wouldn’t need to swap between a number o weapons.

Can you imagine how useful a Sniper Rifle that can deal all three types of damage will be? The modifiers that are applied to every heroic activity will no longer bother you, as you chop and change your elements to take down the Ultras and deal the most damage possible in any given event, whether that’s a Raid, a Strike, or even just a daily mission. To top it off, you can infuse it to keep up with the highest Light levels and avoid ever needing to leave it behind for something more powerful.

This is just the perk we know about, there could be more. I imagine that Firefly won’t be available on the weapon, purely because that would be incredibly devastating when combined with the element swapping. It feels like it would need a bonus to Agility however, because Sniper Rifles are hard to stop and aim with when you have all kinds of enemies hunting you down fro all directions.