Redesigned Weapon Slots
Goodbye primary, secondary, and heavy. Hello kinetic, energy, and power. It may seem unnecessary to rework the weapon slots, but shifting things around here solves a lot of problems that Bungie had with the first game’s weapons and the balancing.
Exotics filling unintended slots, like primary shotguns. Players demanding elemental primaries. And some of the more problem, powerful weapons taking a role as the go-to weapon choice, instead of feeling like those powerful alternatives they should be. Kinetic and energy weapons consist of the same weapon types, but one will have elements. What this means is they can give scouts, autos and pulse rifles elements, but also give you ones without for the kinetic slot. There’s more freedom to choose from a player perspective, and more freedom for them to create really cool weapons without thinking about the drawbacks of putting an elemental gun into a primary slot. Want to run a kinetic sidearm and an energy scout rifle? Go ahead, Destiny 2 will make that happen.
Power weapons are where all of the… well… powerful weapons are going. This means that shotguns, snipers, and fusion rifles that were previously secondaries are now set in a slot to be more moment to moment as opposed to constant use, while your other two slots are freed up for more utility based weapons. What concerns me is the removal of the ability to run something like a sniper along with a rocket or grenade launcher, but as with subclass limitation, this will require players to make more tough choices on what to run with instead of just having a series of go-to weapons that they never change. It’s all catering to a more risk/reward style of making tough gameplay choices, as opposed to being all powerful at all times.
In fact, with many of the changes to Destiny 2, I see players changing their loadouts much more often to fit the needs of different fireteams and activities, rather than having a go to set of stuff that is always equipped. We’re also getting new weapon types, like the grenade launcher (power) and submachine gun (kinetic and energy), so veteran players will want to play around with things they aren’t familiar with, as opposed to sticking to their staples from the last three years.
Clans to Guide Your Games
Destiny had clan support, but it was a throwaway feature that was never utilized in game in any meaningful way. Destiny 2 is bringing clan support in game, allowing you to join and manage your clan right from the game itself, which will go a long way towards bringing players together. Destiny is an inherently social game, and the best content is experienced with other people, so giving Guardians a place to group up with like minded folks is going to be a big boon in getting more and more people to play the best endgame content in the game.
A new progression and rewards system will be shared by clans, so there’s a good incentive to join. It’s not clear what this system will entail, but I would wager that it will be community goals that every member of the clan will contribute to. Whether it’s something like Crucible matches won, raids completed, or something more complex remains to be seen, but this is a cool way to not only incentivize formation and joining of clans, but also participation in clan goals to earn rewards together. Right now, my clan is little more than the name beneath my PSN ID and a roster of people who never play anymore. Soon it could be the very armor that I am wearing thanks to the rewards from everyone’s participation.
Opening the door to clans in game creates a great opportunity to solve a long standing matchmaking problem that Bungie has. Destiny’s endgame content is not good for matchmaking. Period. Trying to complete a raid with a matchmade fireteam is akin to… something very painful and difficult and awful. Guided games is effectively an in game Sherpa system where clans can come together to offer their open slots to solo players who would otherwise miss out on endgame activities.
Instead of slamming together six random people, guided games will be likeminded people working for a common goal. It will create a clear hierarchy of leadership within the fireteam, unlike a matchmade game, and also help the solo players to feel more comfortable seeking out help in taking part. At the end of it all, the clan may just find itself with a new member too. From this pre-release perspective, it seems like the perfect middle ground to get more players playing together.
Worlds to Explore, Activities to Do
Every time you load up Destiny, you have to decide what you want to do. Run some campaign missions? Strikes? Raid? Compete in the Crucible? There are so many different activities with different rewards for different playstyles that Destiny is rarely dull. Getting bored of on thing may not mean moving on to a different game, it just means finding a different activity to do. According to Bungie’s Steve Cotton, Destiny 2 has more to do than any game that Bungie has ever made before, which is an exciting prospect.
All of the expected basics will be back. The massive new campaign. New strikes and playlists. A new raid. Crucible is coming back to give players an opportunity to compete, and while I won’t go into it here, I did get a chance to go a couple of rounds on a new map, with a new mode Countdown, in the new 4v4 focused gameplay, and you should check out my preview for more on that.
Planetary patrols will also be back in four new areas. The European Dead Zone on Earth, Io, Nessus, and Titan (the moon, not the class of Guardian). Bungie now calls this free roam. Things like adventures, treasure maps, and lost sectors, will round out the free roam in the world. Steve Cotton talks about adventures as basically side missions that will empower our guardians as we meet new characters in the world, providing things to discover and new mechanics. This is just the thing that could not only help round out the story and lore of the game, but also help the worlds to feel so much more alive than those in Destiny 1.
An in game map with objective icons will make Destiny 2 feel much more like an RPG than it did previously, allowing Guardians to explore the worlds more thoroughly to discover their secrets. What I hope is that the secrets to discover feel worthy of exploration. Whether we’re rewarded in story or great loot, Destiny 2 needs to give players compelling reasons to seek out these map objectives other than just a compulsion to complete things, even though that didn’t stop most of us that played Destiny 1. And as a bonus? You no longer need to go to orbit between activities, though there is still an orbit state in the game. It’s still unconfirmed what the orbit state is ultimately for, but less loading times between shooting enemies and sweet, sweet loot is a great thing.
Impactful Sound Design
I have to end with something that stuck out the most to me when I played. Destiny 2’s sound design is incredible. The guns sound awesome. The grenades have a percussive impact. Even small things like the Titan jump has a new sound that just resonate a little more deeply. Its impressive what they’ve done with not only the sound effects, but also the amazing soundtrack that was hinted at all throughout the reveal event.
I don’t know how they’ve done it, but Destiny 2 is both looking like something entirely new, and wholly familiar at the same time. As excited as I was for the original Destiny not knowing fully what it was or how it would consume my life, I’m more excited for Destiny 2 having a good idea of what I am getting into and seeing all of the ways they can still expand and surprise me.
Sure, after 1300+ hours with Destiny, I’ve got some complaints and criticisms. Plenty of people with even more time in game than me also do. But these very criticisms and suggestions are the core of what went into making Destiny 2 exactly what it will be. Those 1300 hours are also because Bungie did so much right with their social shooter, and the things we criticize are out of a love for the game and a desire for it to be the best it can be. The vocal Destiny community will be the first to let Bungie know if anything is wrong with Destiny 2, and just as the first game did, we’ll see a living and evolving game that will change dramatically during its lifespan.
If the 4000 words that precede this sentence are anything to go by, Destiny 2 is shaping up not only to be a great game, but an amazing social experience that will bring people together for incredible moments like no game has brought them together before. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Destiny 2 previewed at Bungie’s reveal event. Travel and accommodations provided by Activision.