How to prepare to meet your Destiny

Destiny is going live at midnight, and we've outlined a few things you'll need to know before you jump into the skin of a Guardian.

11

You can tell we're approaching the AAA release season when games start launching at midnight. Only suckers wait until stores open on Tuesday morning! Such is the case with Destiny, Bungie's shooter-MMO hybrid that convinced Activision to bet big on its success with a long-term publishing arrangement. Plenty of players will be kicking off their festivities tonight or tomorrow, so we've put together some advice on how to get started.

Picking a Platform

If you're already settled on obtaining a copy of Destiny, you'll have to choose which platform to play it on. It's a console exclusive, despite the confusing presence of a PC-like cursor, so your choices boil down to the four consoles from Microsoft and Sony: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Part of this will come down to which consoles you actually own, but if you're the sort to own multiple consoles--or even if you plan to upgrade this holiday season--your choices expand quite a bit.

PlayStation platforms would appear to be the obvious choice in terms of sheer content. Thanks to a deal with Sony, Bungie will be putting out some extra content on PS3 and PS4. That means more gear, along with extra competitive and co-op missions. 

The new generation is likely your best option if you have one, but even if you don't you can upgrade later. Activision and Bungie recently announced an upgrade program, which will allow you to get the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One digital version for free, if you previously purchased the digital version of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version, respectively. Your progress will carry over too.

Picking a Version

That deal only applies to digital versions, which is another decision to weigh. The digital versions come with one big advantage: pre-loading. The feature is now live, letting you download the game in its entirety so you can get right to it at 12:01 AM. For those who simply can't wait a single minute more than they have to, this is the only way to go.

Slightly more patient Guardians can wait for midnight openings to get the physical version, and a hard copy means you'll have the option to trade it in or sell it later. That's an important factor for gamers on a budget, so your choice might come down to immediate gratification versus long-term return. GameStop has set up an events page so you can check which local store is doing a midnight launch.

With all that settled, you'll still have to decide which version you want to buy. The regular version is available both physically and digitally for $59.99. An Expansion Pass will be available for purchase for $34.99, a savings of five bucks for the $19.99 expansions individually. You'll also have a choice of some special editions, should you choose to spend a little more cash. Keep in mind that some of these have consistently been selling out, so you may have trouble finding a store with copies available:

  • Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99) - includes a digital copy of the game, Vanguard Armory and player emblem bonuses, The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions, and Collector's Edition skins and emblems
  • Limited Edition ($99.99) - includes a physical copy of the game with Steelbook case, field manual, star chart, Guardian folio, postcards, the Expansion Pass, Collector's Edition skins and emblems
  • Ghost Edition ($149.99) - includes a physical copy of the game with Steelbook case, field manual, star chart, Guardian folio, postcards, the Expansion Pass, Collector's Edition skins and emblems, Golden Age relics, a life-size Ghost replica with lights and dialogue voice samples from Peter Dinklage

Picking a Class

Once you've picked your copy and started up the game, you're faced with your first choice. Which class will you play? Bungie is plumbing new ground for itself with three distinct classes, each with their own specializations and abilities. Destiny has MMO DNA amid its shooter roots, so you're meant to be playing in your class for a long time, and fulfilling certain roles on the battlefield when playing with friends. Choosing a specialization early will let you target your upgrade paths to fulfill the part you want to play.

Titan - Titans are the Tank of Destiny, with heavy armor and weapons meant to attract the attention of enemies and keep them off your more surgical Vanguard and Hunter classes. Its abilities and specializations focus on getting up close and personal with your foes.

  • Ability: Lift - The Lift ability launches you straight into the air, giving you a chance to rain down pain on enemies. It does leave you vulnerable, but your increased armor provides the extra oomph you need to withstand the assault.
  • Specialization: Striker - The Striker sub-class is all about dealing heavy damage on the battlefield. Its special ability smashes into the ground from high in the air, which pairs well with its high-reaching Lift ability.
  • Specialization: Defender - The Defender is more attuned to providing shielding for you and your allies. Its special ability creates a powerful bubble that can reduce damage and buff weapon damage.

Warlock - The Warlock isn't as hearty as the Titan, but it can dish out much more damage. It's easily the most vulnerable of the three classes, which will mean hanging back and attacking from afar while your Titan draws their fire.

  • Ability: Glide - Rather than jumping high into the air, the Warlock's ability lets it move seemlessly between pieces of cover. This is invaluable for its focus on staying out of danger and dropping damage when you have an opening.
  • Specialization: Voidwalker - The Voidwalker is a risk-reward sub-class. You can get much bigger attacks out of your attacks, but to gather energy for it you'll need to be in the thick of the battlefield. 
  • Specialization: Sunsinger - The Sunsinger is a classic support class, letting you focus your efforts on buffing and reviving your allies more than dealing direct damage to enemies. Invaluable for teams, but not as useful if you're going it alone.

Hunter - The Hunter has the highest mobility of any class, letting it zip around the battlefield quickly and gain distance to snipe enemies from afar or get in close for a quick melee attack before the enemy knows what hit them.

  • Ability: Double Jump - The biggest asset to the Hunter's mobility is the double jump, which can change directions as well. This is perfect for gaining or closing distance, or dodging enemy fire.
  • Specialization: Gunslinger - The Gunslinger may sound like he's walking into a saloon with six-shooters, but the focus is actually much more on sniping enemies from afar. This is best for players who want to stay out of the fray and practice their aiming skills.
  • Specialization: Bladedancer - Bladedancer is just the opposite. Rather than gaining distance, you'll need to get up-close and personal with enemies, sneaking behind their backs to deal extra damage while enemies are focused on the Titans.

Living in Infamy

Once you've set up your class and spent some time exploring the world, you'll eventually hit the end-game content. At this point, hopefully you'll have gained some solid friends, because you'll need them for the end-game raids. Bungie has already announced that the six-person end-game content won't support matchmaking. This is ostensibly to assure players find their own partners, which presumably would mean a greater degree of communication and coordination. But, that also means that if you haven't found some friends to team up with, you're out of luck for that content because it will be impossible to go it alone. Make sure you spend your time to level 20 forging some bonds with fellow players, because you'll need them.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 8, 2014 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, How to prepare to meet your Destiny.

    Destiny is going live at midnight, and we've outlined a few things you'll need to know before you jump into the skin of a Guardian.

    • reply
      September 8, 2014 12:07 PM

      There's one question I can never find an answer to about the different versions of Destiny. All limited editions have the same digital extras right? So if I bought the digital deluxe or the limited physical copy or Ghost edition I'd still get the same stuff?
      I only ask because when they showed off the ghost edition they said you'd get a RED ghost in game. And there is no where saying its an exclusive thing in list form (like a bullet point or whatever) and since they all have the same digital extras I was hoping the digital deluxe got a cool skin for their ghost. I'm sure I'll find out when the game unlocks, but it was the only reason I wanted the ghost edition, and well cause of the cool toy, but man that thing sold out within like 2 hours of it just being announced.

      • reply
        September 8, 2014 3:01 PM

        Seems like the ghost skin comes in the digital guardian edition.

        • reply
          September 8, 2014 3:06 PM

          Yeah I've been trying to find a definitive answer but no one ever really talks about it so no one ever confirms it. I'm crossing my fingers!

          • reply
            September 8, 2014 3:22 PM

            Amazon lists "ghost shell" as one of the bonus items for that edition. That's the one I got, so I'm hoping it's in there.

            • reply
              September 8, 2014 3:33 PM

              Oh sweet! Last time I checked the little details that wasn't on the Amazon store

    • reply
      September 8, 2014 3:51 PM

      VITA OWNING MENZ - Don't forget to setup remote play and open ports on your routers so you can play from work because fuck it. http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/psvita/ps4link/viainternet.html

    • reply
      September 8, 2014 11:17 PM

      Wake me up when the inevitable PC version is announced next year.

    • reply
      September 8, 2014 11:37 PM

      Is the PS4 interface complete garbage, or am i just not getting it? I wanted to preload Destiny, i buy the digital copy, but there's nothing in my downloads. All i get is a timer telling me when it's about to be released.

      This is fucking ridiculous.

    • reply
      September 8, 2014 11:41 PM

      Just went up on PSN here in Taiwan. So...should I get the regular or guardian edition?

      Its going to be a while before I have this stupid thing downloaded. :(

      • reply
        September 8, 2014 11:43 PM

        Looks like a no brainer. Cheaper to go guardian and get both 'expansion' things as well as all the preorder shit.

      • reply
        September 8, 2014 11:45 PM

        Yeah I've been checking every 30 minutes. Downloading now \m/

        • reply
          September 8, 2014 11:58 PM

          I'm like 250 shy in my wallet on PSN. Thing is going to take forever and a day to download. Should be able to get in by the weekend!

        • reply
          September 8, 2014 11:59 PM

          Also why the everloving fuck can't we preload. Looks like everywhere but here has the option. Fuckers.

          • reply
            September 9, 2014 12:03 AM

            I found that really strange. Probably government rules and regulation shit.

            • reply
              September 9, 2014 12:05 AM

              At least we get the "buy it this month and get all the preorder shit free!" thing.

    • reply
      September 9, 2014 12:01 AM

      Server is down, shocker

Hello, Meet Lola