Last week I talked about how Destiny can be looked at as a MMO. It wasn’t an exercise in trying to convince people that it is an MMORPG so much as it was to show people that if you have some preconceptions about the game, Destiny just might surprise you in how familiar some of its core aspects are. That said the beta ended this past weekend after we received a tease of the moon and it has left us time to reflect on the good and the bad we came across over the past week.
I played beta on the PS4, so I can’t speak for the XBox Live experience. I think it is safe to say, however, that it was almost identical to the PSN. If you have XBL and experience something different let me know. One of the first deterrents for people to play the game is that it will require a PSN subscription or XBox Live to participate in multiplayer and that is a huge part of the game. While you can partake in the story missions solo, if you hover over a Strike Mission it will tell you that a PSN sub is required. This also extends to PvP. So while the game will cost you $59.99 you will also have to pay a sub... at least one for the platform services. While the sub is not to Bungie it is another added fee you will incur. Let’s just call it the "PSN(XBL) Tax".
I’m also concerned about how many different types of PvE missions players will encounter. On a number of adventures I was left protecting my ghost from oncoming waves of evil while he attempted to hack into a computer system. I was definitely putting the guard into Guardian. At the end of the day I was left wondering who was Tonto and who was the Long Ranger? While most quests can all boil down to, kill, fetch, or FedEx it will depend on how Bungie can present theses quests that will keep them feeling fresh.
The strike mission Devil’s Lair was a bit of a mixed bag. It was interesting to see the first bit of content that Destiny had which required a 3-man fire team to complete but once the initial excitement wore off on subsequent playthroughs it was easy to spot a few weaknesses in the design. The most glaring issue which could be written off as a major annoyance is the amount of hit points the final two bosses (Devil Walker and Sepiks Prime) have. Both of them have interesting mechanics but feel like they are beefed up in the HP department just to drag out the encounters. How many times should you have to repeat a pattern before you “win”? The Devil Walker was the more obnoxious of the two and while it is a modified tank I think after 10 minutes of beating on it that horse should have been dead 5 minutes sooner. I hope that Bungie doesn’t equate hard or epic with “it has a bajillion hit points.”
Communication in online games is key to the experience. Destiny has missions that require you to cooperate to complete yet communication in the game can be lacking. The game will group you with random players to put a fire team together but once grouped you cannot easily talk to each other. Players would need to all leave the mission, join the leader’s fire team, and then travel back to the mission to be able to voice chat. Currently there is no chat channels that players can manually type in. I have talked to a number of people that have participated in the beta and it really feels that instead of BYOB to the party you need to bring your own friends. It is quick and easy to hop into fire teams with players already on your friends list. The lack of chat channels does have one nice side effect however, and that is the lack of trolling going on in chat and the amount of name calling in PvP.
On the Saturday we finally got to see the place that Wizard came from and it wasn’t just a PvP map. The moon felt different enough from Earth that I was interested in exploring the zone and finding the hidden secrets like I had in Old Russia. Another interesting change from the Earth missions was players were able to pick up cast off vehicles from the members of the Hive that had infested the lunar surface. Unlike the standard issue Sparrows these craft had guns and could quickly move side to side to avoid incoming enemy fire.
My last concern worth mentioning is probably the number one complaint about the game. Why is it console only? The game looks amazing on the PS4 and while I’m sure there are better looking games on the PC, Destiny would have nothing to be ashamed off. Barring any exclusivity deals that Bungie has with Sony and Microsoft it just doesn’t make sense not to bring this game to the PC. Give it mouse and keyboard support and this game is a sure thing for millions more fans.
Robert Lashley / Robert Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can find him spending his free time checking out the latest games and technology. Feel free to hunt him down on twitter @Grakulen
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