Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Road to Destiny... Pt.3: Things to do, Things to kill...

The Future. Touched by the Light of The Traveler, we have braved the Stars. But an ancient Darkness is coming to end us all...

Destiny...The Place you will come back to. Again and again. Because (possibly), there's just so much to do.

With the setup, races and the social hub explained in my previous post, let's look at some of Destiny's activities showcased in the Alpha (apparently that's what you call game modes or missions, now, because we're not playing video games, oh no, we're "engaging in social activities").
And "engaging" surely is the word, since most of what you do is about either "engaging" other characters (violently), or preparing to engage other characters (violently). Oh, yes, you can also chat and dance and mess around, buy stuff and upgrade stuff, but Destiny is a First Person Shooter - so saying it's mostly about shooting things, albeit in a very "social" spirit, is nothing to be ashamed of. 

Now, as I said in "that other post", you launch your "activities" from orbit.  the Leader triggered his exit into Orbit, you automatically came along. The Alpha featured Four, Three "Campaign" Activities for Solo and Co-Op Play, and The Crucible, Destinies Player vs. Player Action (the latter of which will not be included here, but be looked at in the next post, specifically):

"The Dark Within" - Story Mission: Find out what the Fallen are hiding at Skywatch, part of the old Russian Cosmodrome. 

A pretty straight-forward Mission of "Go, Look, Kill" from early in the game. Fun, but nothing special. Good, creepy atmosphere, though. Playable with up to three players.

"The Devil's Lair" - Strike Mission: Deep within the Cosmodrome, a powerful evil Servitor is up to equally evil Shenanigans. Go and stab the evil Cyclops in its eye! (creative license, people!)
A Co-Op Side-Mission (Strike) that is so much better than the Story Mission, simply because it's bigger, longer and features three nice set-piece encounters: a "Survive the Enemy Waves" and two nice boss fights. Recommended to be played with the maximum three players, unless you're hopelessly overlevelled for it. 

Now, both of the Alpha's Mission Types, Story Missions and Strike Missions (and, I guess, the "Raid" Missions not present in the Alpha, all of which can be replayed) featured two Difficulties: Base and Legend. Legend (possibly an allusion to Halo's "Legendary" difficulty, who knows?) ramps up enemy level, HP, armor and damage (all of which was already said by "ramps up enemy level").
The game even tries to show you if you are prepared for it, by giving you "effectiveness percentages" of your currently equipped gear.
It's as confusing as it sounds - until you understand that the game is not lowering (red) or raising (green) your gear effectiveness by the stated percentage, just that it's better or worse than what the game deems necessary for the challenge. 
To illustrate, playing the Story Mission on Base with my low-level starting character, I didn't die once. Playing it again on Legend (which switched the Mission Level from 3 to 6) with a slightly better character, I died a lot - and felt like I was not doing much damage, to boot.

"Explore the Cosmodrome": Take a look around, see what you can find and/or kill. This time, nobody will tell you where to go.
Well, until you accept one of the myriad (and, to be cruelly honest, for the most part dreadfully boring and monotonous) Patrol Missions you can find in the wild via Beacons, that tell you to "Go and kill" or "Go and Look". Bungie did state on their website, however, that the Alpha featured content they would never let the game ship with, so I dearly hope for better and more diverse Patrol Mission in the full game (or even already in the Beta).

Here's some non-commentary footage to give you a bit of the sense and scope of the Alpha's Free Roam Exploration:

Basically, you run or speed-bike around the huge (HUGE) Cosmodrome area (I'd say about a good two to three times as big as the bigger areas in Borderlands 2 - and that's just the part of the area you had access to), kill the constantly respawning enemies, look for loot in little nooks, crannies and caves, take a few Patrol Missions, and maybe get lucky and trigger a Public Event. 

Public Events, as the name suggests, are public... well, events. Mini-Boss fights, Defend-and-Survive Missions, stuff like that. They're not easy, especially with a lower level, but the rewards are big, too. You even get some (considerably smaller) reward, for just competing. And, presumably, anyone in the area can join in - should it happen in their instance of the game. Exploration will already invariably have you meeting strangers in "your" game world, other players that do other stuff. You can help them, join up with them, or just ignore them - the choice is yours (but remember those Orbs of Light!).
Together we guard against the Darkness!

Well, that's the things you could do in the Alpha by yourself or in cooperation with others. In my next post, I will look at The Crucible PvP - and all the things you can do UNTO others :)

For Part 4 of my Destiny Blog-Series, click here: Destiny - The Crucible PvP

For all your Playstation or Xbox or PC Gaming needs, especially the European needs, head over to Amazon UK - best deals in Europe (mostly). For TV or Movie Streaming needs, as well. Yes, I do buy there myself. Exclusively. Unless I find a better deal, elsewhere...  

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