The lights are on
We already had an introduction to each of Destiny’s classes and character progression when we visited Bungie for our January cover story. We returned to Bungie headquarters this month for an extensive period of hands-on with Destiny. I played one of the cooperative strikes, and had a chance to return to the same content multiple times to see how things felt differently with each new class.
Affectionately understood to be “space wizards,” the lighter armored warlock manipulates the power of the Traveler to create spell-like effects. But don’t worry – like all of Destiny’s classes, the centerpiece of combat remains tight gunplay and weapon usage. I had the choice between two distinct focuses (think sub-classes) when I played my warlock. The Order of the Void offers an offensive build in which the warlock manipulates energy and matter to devastate foes. The Order of the Sun is a more subtle focus built around buffing and protecting allies.
After choosing the void warlock, I dive into the game. While the warlock has been described as having lighter armor, I happily find that I’m not overly vulnerable. The warlock’s explosive super ability flings down a crackling globe of electricity that sends enemies flying. I’m also a big fan of the warlock’s melee attack, which sees a localized blast of energy flung outward at nearby foes.
Check out a few variations on the warlock loadout and look by clicking on any of the images below.
The heavily armored titans are built into the fiction of Destiny as the warriors who built and maintained the wall that protects humanity from attack. For pure bulk and awesome futuristic powered armor in the same vein as Master Chief, the titan is a good choice. Two focuses were available when I played. The Defender Codex does just what you imagine, built around strong protective benefits over outright damage. I explored the Striker Codex – a focus that lets the titan manipulate volatile arc energy, which looks like electricity, to bring down his or her foes.
While the titan’s armor keeps me well-protected during my time playing, I find that it’s the class with which I die the most. That’s likely because the Striker Codex seems to be built around close-up action, and its super ability sends the titan hurtling down toward a group of enemies to create a resounding shockwave of arc energy. More than once, I got in over my head by charging into the midst of too many foes.
Each of the images below shows a variation or pose of the sleek but formidable titan class.
The hunters seem to lie somewhere between the warlocks and titans in terms of armor weight, and their gameplay tone shoots for cowboys in space, or Star Wars bounty hunters. Like the other classes, our hands-on time offered the choice between two distinct focuses. The Edgewalker seems to have a single-strike melee focus, wielding an arc blade with deadly efficiency to bring down enemies, and reminds me of the classic rogue character in many MMOs, emphasizing agility and strength. I have more time with the gunslinger focus, whose super, the ghost gun, offers a great option when a lot of enemies are closing in fast, thanks to its high-damage, single-shot output.
Since it’s the third class I’m trying out in the same gameplay area, I take some time to explore the potential upgrades for the focus before entering the game. While my ship is hovering in orbit, I take a quick glance at the upgrade screen, where I find the focus has eight levels of upgrades that slowly unlock as I increase in levels. These upgrades change the effects of my grenades, my character’s distinct movement mode, and the behavior of my super ability, among other things. It’s clear after just a few minutes of investigation that my gunslinger is almost certainly going to be different from a fellow player’s gunslinger.
In-game, the hunter handles great, and I enjoy spending a lot of time using a sniper rifle for the first time, picking off foes while my companions engage at closer quarters. At one point, I’m charged by half a dozen Fallen soldiers, and a trigger of my ghost gun lets me bring all of them down with several well-aimed shots.
Explore five variations on the cool hunter class by clicking on the images below.
I had a great time exploring each of the classes, and I’m still torn about where I’m going to land for a main character when the beta launches this summer. Like many things related to Destiny, the true balance and enjoyment of progression won’t be clear until we’re given extended time with a single character. In the meantime, my early hands-on convinced me that each of Destiny’s classes has its own tonal and gameplay advantages, and after my last run at the strike we played, I wished I had more time to explore.
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