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There’s no denying that Destiny is shaping up to be one of the biggest launches of the year, set to arrive on PlayStation and Xbox home consoles on Sept. 9. The PlayStation beta begins this Thursday, with the Xbox crowd joining in on the fun just one week later. In other words, the whole world is about to find out whether or not the folks at Bungie, developers of the Halo series, are able to deliver on their promise to mix first-person shooting with MMO trappings on a scale that has never been seen before.
The hype is skyrocketing for Destiny, but some folks still have a hard time jumping on the bandwagon alongside the rest of the Guardians. Katy Goodman is pumped to “become legend,” while Ryan Winslett is not entirely convinced that Destiny will be the game changer so many thumbstick jockeys have it pegged as.
In this inaugural edition of 2Player, Katy and Ryan chat about Destiny, what sets it apart from the pack, and what fans should expect out of the upcoming beta and subsequent launch. Readers are encouraged to add their voice to the conversation in the comments section.
Ryan Winslett (RW): Heeeeeeey, Katy?
Katy Goodman(KG): RYAN! What up?
RW: So, you remember when we were at E3, leaving the XBOX conference, and I mentioned that I just couldn’t get excited for Destiny?
KG: Unfortunately, yes. I do indeed.
RW: I believe your exact words were somewhere along the lines of “I’ll make you love that game, you piece of human trash,” or something like that.
KG: Wow… I never knew I was that mean. But I mean, I’m fairly certain you were rather offensive, so, I’m sure it was well deserved. And I will make you like it, but Bungie will make you like it more. Did you play the alpha?
RW: Well, there’s a good place to start: Bungie. What is it about the developer that you dig so much? Big Halo fan, correct? And negative on the Alpha. I was...um...busy with Pokemon?
KG:WHAT!? Whatttt!? You didn’t play alpha. Pokemon will always be there! But that aside, yes, I’m a massive Halo fan. The FPS genre in general isn’t my favorite, but Bungie changed that. Prior to the first Halo my only FPS experience was 007 on the N64. When I started playing Halo I really got into playing multiplayer, and that changed the way I play games.
RW: Well, there’s some common ground. I was a big fan of Halo; probably had enough hours logged online in college to minor in it. In what ways are the two games similar? Control the same? Similar weapons? Glowy swords? Tell me there are glowy swords and I will sing Destiny’s praises starting today.
KG: This is going to sound absurdly cliche, but in some ways they are similar and a lot of ways they are different. It largely depends on what class you play, an aspect I thought wouldn’t really change the way the game played, but it absolutely did. Nothing feels like you're playing Master Chief anymore, if that makes sense. Each class gives you a different purpose. There aren’t plasma pistols or anything like that, but there are weapons similar to the Battle Rifle or Shotgun, which is pretty typical. No shiny swords as of yet, but it’s Bungie. That’s bound to happen. To me, the controls felt way smoother and a little more fast-paced than Halo itself. It’s sort of like first person Mass Effect. There are neat specialties that each class can get. I played the Titan and it reminded me a lot of the Vanguard in that it has a charge/smash all the things action.
RW: Yeah, if I’m being totally honest, I did a lot of extra reading/watching to prep for this chat, which has given me a much better understanding of what to expect. I like the idea of mixing MMO bits and baubles with classic first-person shooting, especially on the scale that Bungie is talking about here. I also tend to prefer class-based shooters, like Battlefield, so the idea of joining a team and each member having their own strengths and weaknesses is pretty sweet.
KG: Agreed. The entire idea behind it, plus Bungie, had me confident about the game from the start, though at times I still worry that, with its massive budget, it will fall short in sales despite the hype. I never played Battlefield, but I played MMORPGs for too long….Way too long. And I think I got a little bored with FPS multiplayer because eventually it became the same thing over and over. I love class systems because you can adapt it to your own play-style.
RW:Yeah, I’m on board for that. So what about the social aspects? Were you able to run into randos while cruising around the map, easily join up with friends, easily dive into competitive matches? I know that all of that stuff is supposed to be available in the beta, but not sure if it popped up in the alpha.
KG: Good. That means I’m winning. I’m still a little confused on how they select individuals, but you encounter random people in the world you’re in all the time. It’s not nearly as overwhelming as an MMO, which is refreshing. When you start off in a world you may run into one or two people, quest with them if you want, and then spend the next half hour not seeing anyone. It’s easy to team-up with friends as well, as the game provides a smooth transition into whichever server the party leader is in, and your friends can join you as well. All of the PvP is in the Crucible, which you can access from the Star Map. With the alpha there was only one game open (Capture the Flag), but even in the alpha build, it took seconds to get into a match. And no server issues.
RW: Well, I AM a big fan of Star Maps...So I guess that’s a mark in the plus column. I had planned on making this more difficult for you but, honestly, what you’re describing sounds exactly like something I want to dive into head first. My number one gripe with modern shooters is that they all feel the same. Then, when someone comes up with something slightly new and interesting, they just run it into the ground with never-ending iterations. I like the idea of taking shooters in a new direction. We’ve seen something similar to this with Defiance, a game I actually enjoyed quite a bit, but it sounds like Destiny is doing it on a much bigger scale. Not to jump back into Battlefield comparisons, but that’s why I like that series so much; I can snipe for a while, switch over to flying a chopper, then switch over to more close quarters combat. I like a game that offers a lot of options as to how you can play, when you want to play it that way. But let’s not just cover Destiny in hugs and kisses, do you have any constructive criticism from the alpha? Something you’d like to see added, changed or improved?...Glowy swords, perhaps?
KG: I mean I’m slightly bias, there are definite concerns—my idealism simply disguises them. You can only have three people in a fire team right now, which makes it difficult when you have a lot of friends who want to play anything outside of the PvP. Perhaps they will turn it into something like Diablo or Borderlands, where the difficulty of enemies increases as your party does. I know a lot of people have complained about that. In addition, I have no idea how big the game is going to actually be, but that’s hard to say because the alpha was only one area of the world…But it was an area that could be explored in about an hour. I also hope that, through DLC, they will introduce more classes. It’s early, and with everything they have going for them and the budget they used, part of me already feels like all of these things will be addressed. Swords are a definite, and maybe even more spells and abilities to further contrast the classes. I love the Titan, but I want to feel more like a tank when I play him/her, maybe add some sort of aggro abilities, etc. Also, vehicles your whole party can ride on. And maybe horses. Or the ability to put a unicorn logo on my armor.
RW: Not just swords. I can’t stress enough how much those swords need to glow. And GLOWY HORSES, oh my god! As for that DLC, it’s shaping up to be, like, the most expensive extra content I’ve ever heard of, so I’m sure they’ll be packing in loads of additional...well, basically everything. But it sounds like they’re on the right track in these early goings and, thankfully, the rest of us unwashed masses won’t have to wait too long to see how things are coming along. Full disclosure, I already preordered the game to make sure I got a crack at the beta. I figure I can always move funds around if I’m not picking up what they’re putting down. But it sounds like they’re heading in the right direction. It also sounds like they’re treating the game more as a platform than a game, something we’ll be able to play for years to come, with more stuff being crammed in, instead of Destiny: Sky Killer coming out as a full retail offering next fall. So, should we meet back and recap following the beta?
KG: Exactly. I think that’s what it’s difficult to make judgments now. Didn’t they say they were going to be covering the game for at least the next 10 years or so? That’s insane to me. But even the alpha… I played the same content three times (each with a different class) and wasn’t bored once. I couldn’t stop playing it, and wanted more; to me that was enough to merit buying the game. What were your concerns with it in the first place? I love of FPS’ are getting revamped this gen, we saw it with Titanfall as well. Change is good, it needs to happen to sustain the industry, but as we’ve seen with some games, it can come out not so pretty. *cough* Watchdogs *cough*. And yes, this conversation must continue.
RW: It was more my ignorance about what the game is all about than anything. I do my best not to just judge a game off of first glance, but everything I had seen in the early goings made me think “Borderlands with a Halo skin.” Obviously, that was way off base. But my fatigue with the genre made me take it off my radar completely until recently. So, okay, we’re both going to play the beta, where I will likely come up with new and creative ways to let my friends down in cooperative/competitive play. I think I’m excited now. Mission accomplishd.
KG: YES. I should 100% work in marketing. I can see the Borderlands comparison. And, to be honest, I felt somewhat the same way after playing the E3 demo… but the alpha changed that.
RW:This is the internet, I’m sure some folks will accuse us of working in marketing anyway. Either way, given where the beta will take place, I’m excited to finally have a reason to say this: Get your ass to Mars!
KG: FLY YOU FOOLS! I’ve always wanted to say that, too. But literally fly… don’t run away from a Balrog. If you see a Balrog, you have gone the wrong direction. Or you put in the wrong disc.
Katy Goodman is a freelance writer and graduate student in English. When she isn’t busy training birds of prey, horses, or freshman composition students, she can be found playing video games or climbing trees. She also really likes grilled cheese. Follow her on Twitter @InvizzyB or on her blog, Pixel Hearts.
Ryan Winslett writes for Gaming Blend when he isn’t churning out stories for his local newspaper. Follow him on Twitter under his especially creative handle, @RyanWinslett