Yet another post about Destiny

I’ll have something other than Destiny to talk about soon (I hope), but until then I’m going to keep enthusiastically posting about Destiny. The first week of The Taken King has been awesome so far, and at times I’ve found I’ve been unable to put the controller down. Destiny seems to have finally gotten the loot driven gameplay loop right. I’ve never seen so many items and engrams drop at almost a constant rate during missions and strikes and I’ve found myself wanting more and more as I’m almost always finding something useful that edges my light level higher.

Destiny

I worked my way through the story missions throughout the week, and with a little help from the Crucible I managed to hit level 40 by Friday. It was a slow rise, as many players hit 40 the day The Taken King released, but I wasn’t dedicating an insane amount of time to the game. I was excited to see Xur return on Friday with new wares, and purchased my first Taken King Exotic, An Insurmountable Skullfort, to get a decent light level bump.

My goal was to get as close to a 290 light level this weekend as possible, so with that in mind Friday I began running Strikes. The very first Taken King Strike I encountered was Cerberus Vae III, one of my least favorite Strikes in Destiny. Luckily they reworked the Strike a bit with new enemies, however the overall Strike plays out exactly as it did before.

After this disappointing rehash I finally got into the new Strikes, and they were great! Every new Strike has an interesting aspect or two that makes them more fun to run through than the older ones. For example, the Sunless Cell boss fight in the dark is a blast! The first time I dove into the dark pit I felt my palms get sweaty as I had no idea what I was about to encounter, and my heart raced during the entire encounter until Alak-Hul finally fell.

The Project S.A.B.E.R. Strike has its own wonderful moments, such as the beginning of the Strike in which your Fireteam has to avoid being overrun while defending an uplink. The Taken enemies really make this section of the Strike challenging and exciting. The last time I ran through it I could tell I was grouped with people who were running the Strike for the first time. Unfortunately, neither was utilizing voice chat (I have yet to encounter a single person in playlists who does) and I found myself the sole survivor of the initial onslaught which I somehow survived. The boss fight at the end of this Strike can be challenging the first few times, especially if your teammates don’t know what to expect, but once everyone knows what’s going on it’s actually rather easy.

The Shield Brothers Strike can be one of the most frustrating, especially with no communication. Encountering the dual boss fight the first time is chaotic, however a lot of jumping seems to help the chances of survival.

I’ve had a blast playing through all the new Strikes, even as I ran through them multiple times. The amount of engrams dropping all the time makes it hard to stop running Strike after Strike. I’ve watched my light level constantly creep higher, and ended the day at 254, just shy of the 260 recommended for the Heroic Strikes. I tried entering a Heroic Strike at a lower light level (the Shield Brothers) but it proved too much to handle and I had to bail out as we never would’ve completed it.

Destiny gear

I’ve also had fun in the new Crucible modes, although I’ve always been a terrible PvP player. I’ve played more matches than I normally would have throughout the week because after every other match I was getting Strange Coins while on a losing team. I looted at least ten Strange Coins through just a few matches which left me with more than I had ever had at one time by the end of the week. If they continue to drop as frequently in the Crucible I’ll probably play more than I ever have to prepare for Xur’s weekly visits.

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Had a bit more fun with Destiny tonight

I jumped right back into matchmaking Strikes tonight, and I had a lot better luck as I was matched with people interested in actually playing the game!

I was initially matched into the Devil’s Lair strike already in progress and my teammates and I made quick work of the strike and final boss. Much more enjoyable with a team that works together!

After that I stayed in matchmaking with one of the players from Devil’s Lair and we actually matched with another third team member who was just as capable as the last. We knocked out the Nexus quite smoothly and I had an enjoyable time doing so.

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My only complaint would be that no one used the team voice chat in either strike. I don’t know what it is, but no one ever wants to chat in Destiny. The same goes for the Crucible match I played to end the night, no one was using the team chat channel. Too bad.

I ended the night with a Crucible control match and went a respectable (for me) 20-13 (and we won!). I didn’t really get any notable gear tonight and still sit midway between level 24 and 25. Still, I enjoyed the night and look forward to running another strike or two tomorrow night, hopefully I’ll be just as lucky with the matchmaking!

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Destiny has started to grow on me..

After quite a few more hours spent in Destiny I’m starting to enjoy it a bit more than I had initially. There are still problems, as I’ve stated before there absolutely¬†needs to be some sort of voice chat (ideally limited in range so that it’s not overcrowded) in the open world and also in matchmade strikes and crucible matches. The lack of voice chat makes it feel like the entire world consists of AI bots who aren’t really human controlled at all.

That said, as a Halo fan I’m enjoying the Crucible. It’s satisfying in many ways, one of which is the fact that you get to bring your own guns into the fight. This makes everything feel all the more personal, even if there’s some sort of behind the scenes work to even the playing field. My favorite Crucible matches are the Control matches, which are basically 6 vs 6 three point king of the hill matches. When you get matched up with a good team there’s nothing more fun, especially if you get the chance to stay with those players for several rounds. Unfortunately the lack of voice chat again makes it feel as if I’m playing with a bunch of AI that occasionally acts human.

The story is still…Destiny. Not quite sure how to put it, but it’s a bunch of jibberish with the occasional cut scene spouting some nonsense or your flying Cortana cube spouting some nonsense during a loading screen. Every single mission follows the same format, infiltrate some place, find a terminal, defend, fight a boss, end of mission. This would ruin the game if the shooting wasn’t so satisfying.

There’s still no real loot drive in the game, at least for me. In games such as Diablo and Borderlands I’m constantly driven to try to find a better weapon to devastate hordes of enemies with. In Destiny no loot drop seems to make any significant difference at all. Sure once you hit level 20 you need to find legendary loot to increase your Light level (I just hit 20 today, so I can’t comment much on this process), but there’s no endless pull to cause you to keep playing like there is in Diablo and Borderlands.

All that said, I’m going to continue playing for awhile longer, probably until Master Chief collection and GTA V come out for the Xbox One.

Until then, I’ll again leave you with this: If you enjoy shooting things, Destiny may just scratch that itch. If you enjoy first person shooter multiplayer games The Crucible may give you what you’re looking for. Destiny excels at giving you stuff to shoot at and making it feel satisfying, but it’s not necessarily great at anything else. At least Halo had an enjoyable story alongside its lasting multiplayer and Borderlands gave you interesting characters and an endless supply of satisfying loot.

Friday Morning Football in Korea, Destiny with Bungie

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I’m enjoying some Friday Morning Football here in Korea thanks to Dish Anywhere (which allows you to stream anything from your receiver via Slingbox). I’m a Ravens fan rooting for the Giants. I really love the Manning brothers as players and as all around nice people so I always tend to root for them.

In about 40 minutes Bungie employees will be playing Destiny Skirmish matches in the Crucible (on Xbox One) so I’m going to jump on and try my luck getting a game in with one of them as I continue checking in on the game via the Dish Anywhere iPad app.

You’ll be able to watch the action via Bungie’s Twitch stream.