Subscribe To Destiny's First Reviews Will Be Incomplete Updates
I've already subscribed
Bungie launched the servers for Destiny this morning so press with early copies can dive into the game. We should start seeing the first reviews very soon but they may not tell you everything you need to know.
The issue, Bungie said in their latest Weekly Update, is that the game doesn't have a conventional FPS structure. There isn't just a set campaign for you to beat. Destiny is more like an MMO, in that you'll have several ways to compete completing your character after the level cap.
"Destiny really begins at Level 20," Bungie said. "Afterwards, each player’s power is displayed as their Light Level – this is the yellow number in their nameplate post-20 in the Tower. The way to increase that Level? Get better gear."
Gear can be acquired in several ways. For starters, you can find it by completing Strikes or Crucible matches. You can also purchase Legendary items at the Tower using currencies earned through these activities. The gear available for purchase depends on which faction (New Monarchy, Dead Orbit, or Future War Cult) you choose to represent.
"Which Faction you champion is related to what kind of build you’re focusing on. If you’re Warlock looking to focus on Discipline and Strength, you’ll be looking at the Dead Orbit Legendary Set and coveting it. If you’re looking for a great Legendary Hand Cannon you might champion the Vanguard, or maybe the Future War Cult, depending on which piece tempts you most."
Players can also undertake Heroic, or more difficult, versions of existing missions. These Heroics can also feature modifiers that change the mechanics of the game. For example, the Arc Burn modifier will boost both players' and enemies' Arc damage by 300%.
Many max-level activities will rotate out on a daily or weekly basis. For example, Xander 99-40 at the Tower will offer different Bounties to you every day. Players can also expect special, time-limited events like Iron Banner.
Arguably the biggest challenge awaiting players are raids, challenging adventures that require a group of players to work together to survive. The first raid, Vault of Glass on Venus, will be available to players level 25 and above.
The earliest reviews won't reflect all of these endgame activities. Even a review posted a few days from now will be somewhat incomplete. Vault of Glass won't actually be opened to the public until September 16th.
This is a common issue with MMOs. These games are so huge that summing them up in 700-1000 words is difficult. The fact that the developers are constantly changing or adding features throughout the game's lifespan doesn't help. As a result, a review of World of Warcraft at launch would be dramatically different than a review six months or a year later.
It's a good thing, then, that players got a chance to log hands-on time with Destiny through those alpha and beta. Those tests at least let them see how the game feels and how it's structured. Those early impressions might end up being even more useful than other rushed reviews coming out in the next day or so.