The Destiny 2 gameplay reveal last week brought tons of new information about the sequel, and I’m diving into almost everything that was revealed to look at implications for the future of the game. Before you read through this, make sure you take a second to read our previews of the first campaign mission, one of the new strikes, and the new Crucible mode, as well as our interview with Eric Osborne, and the things we’re most happy to see changed in Destiny 2.
History of the Vanguard
The Destiny 2 gameplay reveal opened with an amazing CG trailer titled Zavala. Before we can look at what comes next for our Guardians we have to look back. What struck me here is that Zavala puts the Ghost revival mechanic into perspective. We take for granted each time we die and are revived by our Ghost. This look at the process of bringing the dead back to life shows the pain of dying and being reborn again and again. It humanizes what Guardians go through each time Ghost sends a jolt of light through them. It creates an emotional connection to what is otherwise a typical game mechanic.
Zavala shows the Titan leader of the Vanguard when he was a fresh Guardian, woken from a long decaying corpse. He is inexplicably drawn to the Traveler, or more likely that Ghost guided him there in the same way that we were guided in the opening missions of Destiny. At this time, The Last City is a tiny refugee encampment, cobbled together tents, and the remnants of humanity trying to pick up the pieces of their lives and survive. Zavala is greeted at the camp by Shaxx, Saladin, and the Speaker, characters that we already know are crucial to the defense against the coming darkness, and we see glimpses of the battles that helped to define them.
As much as being a Guardian is about destruction, it’s also about rebuilding. The combined power of these legendary Guardians becomes the core of building The Last City from a refugee camp into a bustling mecca for the last surviving humans, complete with the Towers, one of which we called home for the last three years.
Destiny is a story about our Guardians, but there are so many stories from the past that we’ve only glimpsed. This trailer could hint at revelations and backstories about many well loved characters that help us understand them as more than “that Lance Reddick voiced character at the end of the table.” Having characters active with us in missions will lend more depth to them, but this short teaser about Zavala has me itching for more history of the Vanguard. Cayde, Ikora, Shaxx, Saladin, hell, even the Cryptarch has to have led some kind of interesting life. There’s so much rich lore to explore, and I hope that as much as Destiny 2 is a sequel, it takes an opportunity to look back as well.
A Fresh Start
A world that pulls you in. Amazing things to do. Always someone to play with. These are the three core tenets that Bungie stood by in their creation of Destiny 2. Every change. Every update. Every bit of world design. Everything they did was to satisfy making a bigger and better game than the first while maintaining what Bungie believes Destiny to be. Luke Smith was happy to say that this will be a convergence of veterans and new players alike.
For as long as Destiny has been out I’ve watched people come and go, and some people start playing fresh, even as recently as a few months ago. I’ve heard so many people say that they started playing Destiny and got bored, never to return, even when multiple updates completely revamped the game and fixed the very reasons they left. On the other hand there are millions and millions of return players, people who have played hundreds, if not thousands of hours. Destiny 2 is a chance for players to finally give Destiny a shot if they haven’t before; to get caught up in the loot grind, finding themselves with hundreds of hours before they know it.
For Destiny 2, Bungie is looking at a fresh start. It’s hard for players to jump into something new if they feel like other players have a leg up. While longtime Destiny fans may have a bit more to go on in terms of lore and general gameplay similarity, player progress is being reset to zero. New abilities, new guns, new armor, and nothing old carrying over means that new players just jumping into Destiny 2 won’t feel left behind.
Taking even a short break from Destiny between updates can mean getting left in the dust, so for all my friends that just started playing Destiny this year, there’s quite a bit to learn, and a significant gap between the endgame content that I am taking part in on a regular basis and them just trying to level up each of their subclasses. This September is a chance for us all to be on the same page and playing the same content at the same time. It’s going to be new for everyone.
Bungie hasn’t forgotten the past. Even though Destiny 2 is a fresh start for everyone, the gameplay reveal was full of references to the original game and some of those moments that only people playing during that time would remember. While talking about the inevitable return of raids for Destiny 2, Luke Smith dropped a joke about pulling the network cable on Crota. In the early days of The Dark Below expansion, it was discovered that if the internet dropped on the host while Crota was on his knee, he would glitch and stay down, allowing for an easy kill. It was quickly fixed, and how fireteam hosting works was changed. As Luke Smith says, that’s a year one deep cut.
Destiny is moments. People who started playing Destiny this year won’t experience things like pulling the network cable from Crota, the original leveling system, or the Christmas cave. These moments come because Destiny is a living game, changing and evolving with the community. Playing at any given moment in Destiny’s life would have offered different experiences, and Bungie isn’t forgetting that. The Destiny 2 reveal showed that they were happy to pay homage to some of these deep cut moments.
It means that Destiny 2 won’t be completely catering to the new crowd. There’s definitely a ton of respect and love for the players that have supported Destiny up until now, and that respect goes both ways. The major changes coming to Destiny 2 are at the request of the long time fans, and I’m sure there will be plenty of Easter eggs in Destiny 2 that only those same longtime fans will even understand. Most fundamentally, after my hands on time with it, I can say that Destiny 2 still looks, plays, and feels like the game that we’ve come to love.
On page 2 we look at the subclasses and deeper story. On page 3 we explore some core changes to weapon design, new free roam activities, and clan support.