Feature

Get Ready For Destiny

by Matt Miller on Sep 03, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Destiny is on track for its big release on September 9th, and while we don’t yet know if the quality of Bungie’s latest game is going to match the legendary hype, it’s certain to be one of the biggest releases of 2014. We’ve gathered together some suggestions of what to do as you prepare to dive into Destiny’s open world, including links back to older stories, guidance on classes, and even the easiest way to get your skills up to snuff for competitive play.

Take a look at our recommendations, and let us know what you’re excited to see from Destiny in the comments below. 

Choose Your Guardian

The first choice facing you when entering Destiny is what kind of character you want to play. Three races are available, but know from the outset that your species is a cosmetic choice, and not a gameplay one. Being a human offers a standard spread of customization, while the exo race adds a mechanical/android-esque flavor, and the awoken have an ethereal, otherworldly quality. Similarly, you also get to choose gender and facial features, but these also won’t affect gameplay. 

The bigger choice is class. The hunter, titan, and warlock will each have their own available skills and subclasses, but you won’t notice a huge difference between them at the outset. That makes it all the more valuable to know what you’re getting into. You can read our hands-on experience with the three classes from a few months back, but here’s the short version: 

Warlocks are effectively space wizards, and their powers focus on combining magical effects provided by the Traveler with traditional shooting mechanics; the warlock's currently revealed subclasses focus on distance damage or buffing/healing. Titans are hulking armored units  that focus on either powerful strikes or defense, and they’re a great fit if you’re looking for a style that reminds you of Master Chief. The hunter is your closest thing to a space pirate, and focuses on high damage output from either range or melee, depending on your choice of subclass. 

Play Some Halo

Want to get your reflexes back up to fighting order? While there are lots of differences between the older Halo games and Destiny, the team making the game includes many of the same individuals. If you plan on investing a lot of time in competitive multiplayer, getting a feel for the combat in one of the Bungie Halo games, like Halo: Reach, is a good place to start. The feel of several of the most common weapon types in Destiny emulates similar weapons in Halo, and the overall level setup shares much with Bungie’s earlier work, including the integration of vehicles, turrets, and tight bottlenecks where fights often go down. 

So what’s different? Frankly, a lot of things won’t be like they were in Halo, including the wide variety of grenade types, the vertical nature of the level design (to allow for each character’s distinct movement mode), and the game-shaking potential of super abilities. Even so, players familiar with Bungie’s overall approach to multiplayer design will undoubtedly have a leg up on those who never played Halo.

[Next Page: The importance of the fireteam]

Find a Fireteam

This one’s important, and it involves enlisting some friends. Destiny can be played solo, but the real fun emerges as you link up with a two- or three-person fireteam. Many of the cooperative missions should be played with a fireteam, so rather than get matched up with randoms, aim to have some buddies who also plan to play in these early weeks after launch, and hop in with them. 

Fireteams aren’t exclusive affairs; it’s not as if being in one fireteam on one evening prevents you from joining a different team the next day. However, if you track down at least two friends now, you can agree to a regular partnership in the early days of the game’s release, and get the most out of the story and missions. Plus, you’ll be halfway towards the six-person raid group you’ll need to form once you get higher in level.

Learn About The World

Once Destiny is out, you can expect that the action is going to move pretty fast; there may not be a lot of time to get familiar with all the crazy fiction that Bungie has created for the game. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Bungie has crafted an intricate backdrop and storyline about the Traveler, the Guardians, and the Darkness enemy against which they fight. Plus, each of the main areas of the game has some cool details out there to learn about. Here are some resources to help you dive into the fiction ahead of release. You’ll enjoy the action a lot more if you have a little narrative context to put things in perspective. 

Our complete Destiny cover story from January 2014 

Learn about the enemies of Destiny

Explore the planets

Dig deeper with Bungie’s Google Earth-style Planet View

Bungie’s story summary

Download the Companion App

If you think you’re going to be one of those players who won’t want to step away from Destiny once it gets going, then you should go ahead and download the Destiny Companion app, available on iOS, Android, and online through Bungie.net.

Once the game launches, the free app should let players inspect their guardian and their current stats, as well as look at fellow player stats. The companion app is also built as a social tool for grouping, private messaging, and participating in the game forums. Finally, the app should allow players to explore the grimoire, and learn more about the lore of things they encounter in the game world. In short, the Destiny Companion is built to be your lifeline to the game when other things like work get in the way of your play sessions. 

What are you doing to get ready for Destiny? Share your thoughts in the comments below.