Destiny 2 developer Bungie finally lifted the lid on the game this past Thursday, seven weeks after officially announcing it with a CG trailer. In an hourlong livestream, the studio provided a good deal of information on Destiny 2’s campaign and Crucible.
Of course, plenty of questions remain. But here’s a recap of what we learned about Destiny 2 this week.
1) The story will be more cinematic
One of the biggest complaints about Destiny at launch was its lackluster story, which infamously didn’t have time to explain why it didn’t have time to explain itself. Bungie is putting a major focus on storytelling for the sequel. The studio showed off multiple cutscenes during its livestream, which leaves us wondering if every mission will come with its own briefing cutscene (rather than sci-fi mumbo-jumbo from Ghost in a voice-over).
Bungie said it wants Destiny 2 to offer “a story you can relate to,” with characters you will want to care about. The game puts Guardians on the defensive from the start with a Cabal invasion of Earth that destroys the Last City (and all of the gear you earned in the original Destiny). During that battle, you actually fight alongside Commander Zavala, the Titan Vanguard — these well-known leaders are no longer just retired combatants serving as quest givers in the Tower.
The attack sets up the campaign’s antagonist as Dominus Ghaul, the leader of the Cabal Red Legion. Ghaul believes that the Traveler (the big white orb floating above the Last City) should’ve chosen to protect the Cabal and Mars instead of humans and their home planet.
Cutscenes transitioned straight into the action, and it all looked impressive. Amanda Holliday, the Shipwright, flew a Guardian straight into a Cabal fleet and dropped him off for a ship infiltration mission.
2) Once again, there will be four “planets”
Just like Destiny did at launch, Destiny 2 will offer four different settings for the action, scattered throughout the cosmos: Earth, and three new destinations.
To be clear, players will be exploring a different region of Earth than the one that was available in Destiny’s story missions: Instead of the steppes of Old Russia, Destiny 2 will send Guardians to the forested European Dead Zone. The other three locations are places in the solar system that we haven’t visited before, and none of them are planets: Titan, a moon of Saturn; Nessus, a planetoid; and Io, a moon of Jupiter.
Bungie also confirmed that this is it, at least in vanilla Destiny 2 — in other words, none of the locations from Destiny will return for the sequel.
3) There will be a lot more to do on those worlds
Most of the destinations in the original Destiny and its expansions felt like sterile locations for players to repeat the same monotonous activities: patrol missions, public events, resource farming and more. Bungie is promising that the worlds of Destiny 2 will offer more in both the scope of the activities and the size of the play spaces.
You’ll see characters in the world, characters who will send you on side missions called Adventures and into dungeons known as Lost Sectors. Adventures will throw new enemy encounters at you, each with its own mechanics and rewards. Lost Sectors are “mysterious locations,” according to Destiny 2 world design lead Steve Cotton, in which you’ll find treasure chests that can only be opened with keys obtained by killing the dungeon’s bosses.
Watch Destiny 2’s new cinematic trailers (update)
Returning elements will be augmented with additional features. For instance, public events will have more challenging goals, and a new map — which appears to be accessible from within the game, unlike in Destiny! — will tell you where and when they’re going down.
As for social spaces, there will only be one this time around. “Every time we add them, we sort of bifurcate the population, and we want to try to keep it together as much as possible” for Destiny 2, Cotton told Polygon. Instead of the Tower, the Vestian Outpost and Felwinter Peak, the sequel will offer the Farm. Located near the European Dead Zone, this camp is humanity’s new home base on Earth — following the destruction of the Tower during the Cabal invasion that kicks off Destiny 2’s campaign.
4) No more returning to orbit!
OK, well, we assume that you’ll spend some time in orbit in Destiny 2. But it won’t be like in Destiny, where every activity was siloed off. If you were, say, playing a patrol mission and you wanted to do something else, you had to leave and go to orbit, and then choose a new destination — even if it was a social hub like the Tower rather than a new activity such as a strike. And of course, you’d have to wait through what amounted to loading screens during each transition.
In other words, for every 30 hours you spent playing Destiny, you might’ve spent an hour traveling to and from orbit. (Just an educated guess.)
That won’t be the case in Destiny 2, where it will be possible to travel directly between planets without jumping to orbit first. You’ll be able to pull up your Director (the screen with all the destinations and activities) and choose somewhere else to go or something else to do. Huzzah!
5) No new classes, and three subclasses are being replaced
Guardians still come in three types in Destiny 2: Titan, Warlock and Hunter. During yesterday’s livestream, Bungie revealed one new subclass for each of those Guardians: the Sentinel Titan, Dawnblade Warlock and Arcstrider Hunter. Sentinel is geared toward defense and close-quarters combat; Dawnblade is designed for aerial combat; Arcstrider is focused on acrobatic moves.
The thing is, the three new subclasses replace some fan favorites from the original Destiny: the Defender Titan, Sunsinger Warlock and Bladedancer Hunter. Bungie is making up for this by including some of the defining powers of those subclasses as non-super “class abilities,” reports Mashable. The Defender’s indispensable bubble shield is gone, but it can put up forward-facing shields. While Sunsingers can’t resurrect themselves anymore, they can heal teammates. And because these lesser powers aren’t supers, you’ll be able to use them much more frequently.
6) Weapon loadouts are changing, but not much else on the gear front seems to be
Bungie hasn’t yet gone into details about how Destiny 2 will handle gear, but from the glimpses we got yesterday at the game’s interface, it doesn’t seem like much is changing. The biggest differences between the original game and its sequel will come in the weapon department.
In Destiny, weapons were grouped into three slots: primary (auto rifles, hand cannons, etc.), special (sniper rifles, shotguns, etc.) and heavy (machine guns, swords, etc.). Those classifications were pretty rigid, but they’ve disappeared in Destiny 2. Now, weapons will be split up based on the type and level of damage they do — the three slots are kinetic weapons, energy weapons and power weapons.
Grenade launchers (a new weapon type) and rocket launchers will be restricted to the power slot. But you’ll also see firearms like shotguns and sniper rifles there. The guns that were traditionally primary weapons in Destiny can live in either of the first two slots, depending on whether they fire bullets or blasts of energy — so you can carry around two “primary” guns. Another difference between those groups is that kinetic weapons can’t do elemental damage; that’s limited to the energy slot.
It sounds confusing, but Bungie said its goal was to give players more freedom in setting up their weapon loadouts.
7) The Crucible will feel more intimate and strategic
Destiny’s Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer component, supported six-on-six combat — a total of 12 players per match. This is one area in which Bungie is scaling things back for Destiny 2: The sequel will be limited to eight-player competition across all Crucible gametypes.
Yes, you read that correctly: all gametypes. That means that Trials of Osiris, the high-stakes mode that was a three-on-three affair in Destiny, will pit two four-person squads against each other in Destiny 2. That will completely change the nature of Trials.
Bungie has “rebuilt” the Crucible in an effort to gear it toward “smaller-team formats,” according to Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith. The studio has also tweaked elements like the HUD, providing players with details like whether an opponent’s super attack is ready or whether they’ve picked up power ammo.
So far, we know about one new mode in Destiny 2’s Crucible: Countdown, the first attack/defend gametype in Destiny. In Countdown, one team will attempt to infiltrate the other squad’s base, then plant a bomb and defend it until it explodes. A match of Countdown plays out in rounds — the teams swap sides at the end of each round, and the first group to win six rounds wins the match.
8) The new Guided Games feature is Bungie’s alternative to matchmaking
For Destiny 2, Bungie is holding fast to its position of not giving players the ability to try traditional matchmaking for high-level activities such as raids and Nightfall strikes. Instead, the studio has its own solution called Guided Games.
Clans will be integrated directly into the game this time around, with options like crafting their own coat of arms and setting up a message to other players. If members of a clan can’t gather a full fireteam for, say, a raid, they can fill out their group by opening up slots to solo players who are looking for a squad. Those people will be able to shop for a raid team by scrolling through the various clans’ messages.
“What Guided Games do is, they put you with a group that knows what they’re doing and wants to bring you in and help you get through this content,” said Cotton.
9) The PC version will be available exclusively through Battle.net
Destiny 2 is coming to Windows PC, but whether you buy it physically or digitally, you’ll only be able to play that version through Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net service.
While Bungie is an independent studio, Destiny’s publisher, Activision, is part of the same company as Blizzard, the studio behind World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and many other games. Destiny 2 will be the first third-party title on Battle.net.
10) There’s good news and bad news about the PC version
Let’s start with the good news. The PC port of Destiny 2 will support 4K resolution and 21:9 monitors, and it will run with an uncapped frame rate, so people with a powerful enough gaming rig will be able to play the game at 60 frames per second (or more!). Players will be able to get deep into the settings to adjust options like the field of view.
Now, the bad news: Destiny 2 is launching Sept. 8 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but Activision isn’t confirming whether the PC version will also arrive on that date. At this point, Blizzard is only saying, “We look forward to sharing additional information later this year.” That’s not encouraging, especially since the release date is locked in on the consoles.
Bungie also confirmed that Destiny 2 will not offer dedicated servers. And like in the first game, it won’t be possible to maintain character progress across multiple platforms. So if you buy the game on PS4 and PC, you’ll have to play with separate Guardians (and, of course, different groups of friends).
People on all three platforms — PC, PS4 and Xbox One — will be able to try Destiny 2 this summer, when Bungie launches the game’s beta.
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