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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Unknown Darkness

Any Guardian has heard the term, The Darkness, but what exactly does it mean? Sadly we’re not going to find out in Destiny 2, as confirmed by Luke Smith in an interview with Kotaku.

Apparently Bungie don’t really know what The Darkness is, even though it’s referenced a whole bunch in Destiny 1. Here’s the thing, having a vague term like this means that, as a studio, you can pull all kinds of stuff out of nowhere under the guise of it. However, players seeking satisfactory lore will then find themselves at a lost because this phrase, this thing that doesn’t really exist, is taking up space where a real name needs to be.

In Destiny 2, the developers are working on removing the term, The Darkness, replacing it with the specific race or evil that they’re referencing. For a long time I took The Darkness to be a term for all of those races that want the Traveller’s Light, and will attack it wherever it goes in order to get it. This is something the studio considered once, but ultimately shied away from because of how vague it is, and to avoid it becoming a trope they use to pull enemies out of an endless void.

However, Bungie are committed to giving players a satisfactory explanation of what The Darkness is, just not in Destiny 2. The second Destiny game is all about Light, the Traveller’s and each Guardian’s. As they recover it after their brutal defeat they will learn more about it and the Traveller in turn, giving more meaning to the powers each Guardian possesses.

If you think about The Darkness for a moment there’s one very obvious theory that come to the foreground. The Traveller uses Light to empower Guardians, so an absence of that Light must be Darkness. What if the Darkness is a culmination of the races that the Traveller has visited before but moved on from, taking it’s Light with it?

In Destiny 2 we see the Red Legion take Light from the Guardians, but what if the Traveller was able to leave? If the Traveller sensed the Red Legion and left Earth to find somewhere else to find, would it take all sources of Light with it? If so that would leave a lot of Guardians very weak, and very angry. After becoming accustomed to reviving from each death and having superpowers, anything less than that would be awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see The Darkness in a more corporeal form in later Destiny 2 expansions, or Destiny 3.

Image Source: FSPoint

Will We Meet The Exo Stranger Again In Destiny 2?

E3 was a big event for Destiny 2. Lots and lots of new details and gameplay have been revealed and shown, but there have also been some nice tidbits of information coming out of interviews in and around the event between various staff and multiple press outlets. This includes a statement from Luke Smith, Game Director, who said that he felt the team had exited the Exo Stranger effectively in the original Destiny, opening up the conversation for whether we will see her again in Destiny 2.

The Exo Stranger is a character players will meet as they progress through the story missions. She’s extremely strange and very mysterious, talking mostly to an unseen ally of hers the very first time she meets you. Later she’ll congratulate you on destroying the great big ball of darkness inside the Black Garden, and gift you with her, admittedly badass, weapon. After that, she just up and phases out of the Tower without any kind of hint as to whether that’s it or if there’s more for you to do.

The problem with the Exo Stranger is that you never feel like her story has been fully wrapped up. Luke Smith himself also said that there’s a world where we never find out anything more about the Exo Stranger, and there’s a world where she’s the star. Of course he’s referring to the two drastically different routs the team could take when it comes to Destiny 2’s narrative and the Exo Stranger.

If Bungie were to make Destiny 2, or a later expansion, solely focus on the Exo Stranger, it would explain more about her character and the group she’s with but it would have to open up more mysteries. The Exo Stranger had a single goal, to get Guardians to destroy the heart in the Black Garden. If she returned there would need to be some other sort of hellish creature causing problems around the system. If we take her group to be some sort of band of heroes who always work in the dark to protect the Light, then it makes sense that they’d only show their faces again when things got too dire.

Destiny 2 starts with Guardians losing their power, meaning they can now die and have no Super abilities like they used to. On one hand this is a serious enough event to warrant the interest of a group much like the Exo Stranger’s, but we need to remember that she herself is no longer a Guardian and hasn’t been for a long time.

If we see the Exo Stranger again it would need to be because of a competitor to the Red Legion, another group or individual who wants to take the Traveller’s Light for their own. With the playing field equalised thanks to the acts of the opening of the game, the situation is wide open for any enemies to come in and start taking the power of the Traveller for their own, the only question is who will this be if it’s anyone?

Destiny 2 Release Date and Beta Dates Update

E3 has been on this entire week and there’s been a fair bit of news out of the conference. Most important of all a is information relating to the game’s release date, both on consoles and PC, as well as the Beta release date.

The Destiny 2 Beta has been confirmed as running from July 19th until July 23rd on consoles. Now this beta is only available to those who have pre-ordered the game, so if you haven’t done that it might be worth doing it this month to ensure you get a chance to trial the game before it’s released. If you’re wondering what console to pre-order for then I would say Playstation 4, because the Beta is gong live there on July 18th, giving PS4 players a whole day extra on top of what Xbox One players will get. Sony also have a deal with Activision Blizzard surrounding Destiny 2, meaning Playstation 4 players get exclusive exotics as well as potentially early access to all future content.

For PC players the beta is coming slightly later. Now this is because the full release date of the game for PC has also been delayed, and the game isn’t simply a port of the console version. For anyone looking to get Destiny 2 on PC, pre-order now and you’ll get into the Beta in august.

The release date for Destiny 2 has shifted ever so slightly on both console and PC. Before E3 the release date was September 8th, but the game will now launch for Xbox One and Playstation 4 on September 6th. Now I know this isn’t a massive shift in the grand scheme of things but what it does do is put the game on a release day of Wednesday instead of Friday. The possible reason for this could be that Bungie is now hoping to have Trials of Osiris run that Friday, September 8th, but they don’t want players to be overwhelmed too early on. By releasing the game on the Wednesday they give players plenty of time to gear up a bit before taking on others in the gruelling Trials matches.

For PC the release date has shifted to October 24th. Now this is a Tuesday which is a normal day for games to be released, however it could still be that Bungie wants to run Trials that weekend and don’t want to overwhelm PC players either.

With the PC version releasing a month or so after the console version some may be worried about the state of the Raid. In Destiny Bungie waited a few weeks before unlocking the Raid so players could earn gear and guns to complete it. This time around I think we will see the same situation, but I doubt that Bungie will wait over a month for the PC version to release just to put the Raid out for all players. Unfortunately it looks like PC players will miss out on being the first Raiders in the game.