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.


Blizzard and Destiny

Lot of interesting stories coming out of the Blizzard camp this week.

A shot from Destiny 2's cinematic trailerYesterday we learned that Destiny 2’s PC version will be published by Blizzard and playable only through Battle.Net.

This is simultaneously very surprising and not at all surprising. On the one hand, I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but on the other Blizzard and Activision are part of the same conglomerate, so it makes sense.

For me personally, this feels bizarre because two companies that helped shape my childhood, Blizzard and Bungie, are suddenly collaborating. Though it’s far less exciting than the Warcraft/Myth mash-up my eight year old self would picture if I was to go back in time and tell him about it.

I was already curious about Destiny 2, and Blizzard’s involvement — however minimal — puts it a little more on my radar. The fact you’ll be able to potentially buy it with WoW gold certainly doesn’t hurt matters.

To be honest, though, most of my interest stems from Bungie’s past history, and it’s an ancient history by now. I stopped playing their games when they gave up on PCs, and that was quite a while ago now. I’m sure a lot has changed since then.

The one trailer for Destiny 2 I watched was less than inspiring. It tried to be funny. It did not succeed. The Bungie of my youth this clearly is not.

There’s also the fact I never played the original Destiny, and I’m really not a fan of jumping into the middle of franchises. I’ve done it from time to time, but it always leads to a certain degree of confusion and dissatisfaction.

Still, it’s worth mulling. I shall mull.