The Destiny 2 Beta Tells Me Nothing

I have been curious about Destiny since its inception. This is not, if I’m being honest, because anything about it seems particularly appealing, but mainly due to its pedigree. I still have tremendous love for the Myth franchise, and even after so much time, it makes my ears perk up whenever Bungie is mentioned.

A promotional image for Destiny 2I also freely grant this is not a particularly rational way to be. Destiny is about as far away from Myth as any game could possibly be, and even if it wasn’t, it’s been twenty years. Odds are most if not all of the people who made Myth aren’t even with the company anymore.

But still, I chase the nostalgia, and that has kept Destiny on my radar. I couldn’t play the first game because it was console exclusive, but I was very eager to jump into the open beta on PC.

It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience. Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.

Most of the beta experience consists of what I want to call a tutorial but can’t because it doesn’t actually teach the player anything.

At all.

There is no explanation of anything. Not even some pop-ups to teach you the keybindings. Now, Destiny 2 is not by any stretch of the imagination a complex game, and I was able to get through fine just by reading the keybindings in the options menu and engaging in some basic experimentation. But it seems sloppy to just throw people in and expect them to swim.

Something about the power of the Zug Side.Nor are there are any clues given as to the world or the story. There’s no lore, no codex, and no effort whatsoever to catch-up people like me, who didn’t play the first game. My understanding of the Destiny universe right now is that there are Sith space Orcs and they shot at me so I shot them back.

None of this is hyperbole.

After that, the only things you can do in the beta are PvP matches (I didn’t bother with those) and a short three-person dungeon. I wasn’t able to fully explore or gain a good impression of this because even in beta the “go-go-go” MMO culture is in full effect, and my teammates treated the whole thing as a sprint to the finish.

Even character creation is remarkably stripped down. I was able to choose a class (warlock) and nothing else, not even gender. I’d like to believe this is a beta limitation, but I thought the same thing about The Division’s character customization, and we all know how that turned out.

Mind you, I suppose it wouldn’t matter anyway. It’s a first person game, and our characters never seem to take off their helmets, so I don’t suppose visual character customization would actually serve any purpose.

I want to be clear that I am not hating on the game here. I haven’t seen enough of it to form any meaningful impression, critical or otherwise.

A shot from Destiny 2's cinematic trailerThere are only a few clear opinions I was able to form from this brief experience:

-The class abilities are fun, but their cooldowns feel excessively long. I was hoping for an RPG/shooter hybrid like Mass Effect, but it hews much closer to a traditional FPS.

-The game often seemed to be trying to be funny. Never once did I so much as a crack a smile.

-I adore the pistol they gave me in my starting gear. Accurate, large clip, and hits like a truck. If that gun were a woman, I would make it my wife.

And that’s pretty much it. I honestly think I could have learned more by reading the game’s Wikipedia page.

This was a great opportunity for Bungie to convert me from a fence-sitter to a customer, but they blew it.

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4 thoughts on “The Destiny 2 Beta Tells Me Nothing

  1. Interesting to hear your thoughts on this one! Obviously I love Destiny, and it sounds like this beta (which I didn’t play) was really limited compared to what the actual game will be. Character customization is pretty good in the original Destiny, and there is tons of great lore. No in-game codex entries though. I think the game is probably too fast-paced for that since people are playing together, so no time for reading.

    The character classes are fun, and I’m excited to see the new abilities. I know what you mean about comparing it to Mass Effect, I would have liked the RPG side to be more like that too. In the first game, you basically choose from three classes and then, within your class, three subclasses. And there are very few skill options within those to customize your character from there, you just kind of fill up the existing tree. I felt more ownership over my character with regards to the weapons I played with, rather than with the skills I had that every other Warlock seemed to have too. I’m curious to see if the skill tree is more involved this time. I’m hoping it is.

    In any case, I do hope they bring a lot of the lore in for new players. I’ve been enjoying the trailers and finding them really funny, but I think it’s because I know the characters already. If you do end up playing the full game, I’m curious to hear what you think about it!

    • As a warlock in the beta, I had access to two sub-classes that I could swap between whenever I wanted, and those determined all my other skills (again, possibly a beta limitation). I spent most of my time as a Voidwalker, because I like purple. It gave me a grenade that vaporized enemies, an ultimate ability that was pretty much a super-charged version of said grenade, an AoE healing field, and an extra-powerful melee strike. That last one triggered automatically whenever I used melee and it wasn’t on cooldown, which I found irritating since it meant I sometimes wasted it on trivial enemies.

      As it stands now, I’d say my playing the full game is unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it entirely. Due to a relative lack of disposable income and the wealth of games I already want to play, I don’t often buy new AAA games unless it’s something I’m sure I’ll enjoy, and the beta didn’t convince me of that. I’d need either another, meatier free trial and/or a very steep discount before I’d consider buying it.

      • I go for the Void abilities too, and I also like purple! I understand your thoughts on the beta not convincing you. Even being so limited, it does sound like it’s true to the Destiny experience, which isn’t for everyone. I also have soooo many games I want to play coming up, I’ll have to narrow down the list I think!

  2. Pingback: Destiny 2: Maybe – Galumphing

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