As the reveal timer counted down on the Twitch channel, there were already 75,000 people watching. 75,000 people watching a clock counting from one hour. This should give you some idea of how anticipated this reveal of Destiny 2 was, and boy did Bungie bring their A game tonight. To put the number of people watching the countdown into some form of context, by the end of the stream, Twitch’s own figures put the number of viewers at over 428,000. And I was one of those faceless masses. Somehow Bungie neglected to send me my personal invitation to the event, so I settled for watching online.
The event started with a cinematic, as you may have come to expect from Bungies streams. This one was special, however, showing Zavala as he was resurrected as a Guardian, fighting the Fallen, dying, being born again and then struggling to build a safe place for the people who looked up to him. This of course became the Tower, and the cinematic showed Cayde coming in, Shaxx when his hat still had two horns (it is gone after a particularly brutal fight with the Fallen) and Ikora all standing by Zavalas side. We see Zavala unleashing a Fist of Havoc to devastating effect, and finally the world with the Traveller has a kind of peace. Peace that is held in the barrel of a gun. But still peace.
After the cinematic, Luke Smith, the overall Game Director took to the stage to tell us about the vision for the new game. A new game, a new start and a new community, based around three central tenets. These tenets are, in order of them being spoken about:
- A world that pulls you in – Bungie intend to have this by telling a compelling story, by bringing in new characters for you to relate to and new enemies to fight and overcome.
- Amazing things to do – They are going to bring in exploration of the world, new strikes, nightfalls, rethinking the Crucible and even new public events and treasures to be found and unlocked.
- Always someone to play with – Luke hit us with an amazing statistic at this point: only 50% of the people who reached the light cap had completed a raid, the highest level activities in Destiny. They want to up this percentage in Destiny 2, and as such are going to make it easier to find a team for Trials, for the Nightfalls and to venture into the new Raid when it goes live.
I am in favour of all of these points, as disagreeing with them seems to be a little like not liking puppies, or rainbows. I’m sure we can all see that these tweaks would go a long way to remedying the faults with Destiny as it stands today. A compelling story in particular, straight out of the gate and not being saved for DLC would finally lay to rest the biggest criticism of vanilla Destiny.
Another cinematic then, and we see the Cabal launching their attack. The Vanguard are discussing how the sensors seem to have gone, and Ikora reports that all the satellites they relied on for early warning are gone. Zavala sees the Red Legion looming out of a convenient storm outside, and just has time to trigger his Ward of Dawn, protecting everyone as the rocket onslaught begins .I can’t be the only one wondering why he had a full super sat there waiting, especially after being in the Tower for so long, can I?
After this, it was finally time to get the thing we had been all been chomping at the bit for, some actual gameplay, and they delivered by showing a playthrough of the first mission, Homecoming. As the mission opened, Cabal were raining down in spherical projectiles that folded away as they landed, and looked amazing doing so. The Red Legion, and their commander, Dominus Gaul, look much meaner and meatier than the Cabal we are used too, but luckily went down as you’d expect – with the application of some bullets to the face!
New supers were unleashed by the players, and whilst they will be covered in more detail later on, suffice to say they looked amazing. New weapons, like grenade launchers and a cool looking mini gun type affair are deployed, a multiple rocket launcher firing in volleys was amazing to see in action, and even the base pulse rifles that were in use looked sweet in a Suros paint scheme.
The story carried on as they went to locate the Speaker, to be met by Ikora who told us the Speaker was gone, before Void Bombing the hell out a Cabal ship and leaping on to it, flying off into the distance. Amanda Halliday eventually rescues the player, and in an amazing cinematic flies them to the Cabal command ship, where Zavala thinks the Speaker has been taken. Rampaging through, slaying Legionaries and Psions left and right, as well as yellow bar enemies that had different names against them (maybe mini bosses?), finally the mission drew to a close as the players came up against Gaul – or as the chat exploded with, Gary!
In the notes I scribbled as I watched this, I’ve recorded this bit as “The Cabal aren’t messing about” and indeed they aren’t. The main ship transforming into something like a net, encapsulating the Traveller, with the knock on effect that the Light is cut off from all the Guardians. No special powers, no resurrections, and in a first for these streams, no Ghosts on display. How the light being taken will play is going to be a huge part of the story, and the loss of the light leads to the splintering of the Vanguard. The game leads spoke over this with the story of Destiny 2: a story of loss, a lost home, the lost light. Are they even Guardians when they cannot wield the light any more?
The story then becomes a story of recovery, reuniting the Vanguard, getting a link back to the Traveller and the Light. Ikora has become angry at the loss and has fled. Cayde has tried, somewhat unexpectedly, to be a hero, and Luke said, as usual, it all goes sideways. An awesome animation of Cayde played, firing his Golden Gun and saying “I have a date with whoever’s behind this, and its going to be a short date”. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but Nathan Fillion as Cayde is one of the best game characters ever written, and his delivery is second to none. It turns out that the premise of the attack by Gaul is because he feels that the Traveller chose wrong when it gave the Guardians the light, and has come to take what he feels is his by right. Weirdly, at this point Gaul was compared to Hans Gruber, the baddie in Die Hard. Maybe because he died in a fall from a Tower? It all begins to make sense!
Destiny 2 is promised to be an all new cinematic story, with more cinematic cut scenes, more story missions and bigger areas to explore than ever before. There are new worlds, new weapons, all new armour and a stack of new exotics to find and equip, as obviously our vaults are all gone. Speaking of weapons, there’s been a shake up there as well. Now, there will be a slot for a Kinetic weapon, one for an Energy weapon and one for a Power weapon. Weirdly, fusion rifles are classed as power weapons this time around, but the guys talking about the weapons did say that the same one can be equipped in multiple slots, if that’s the way that you want to roll. To be fair, this needs more explanation and I’m hoping that the Beta that is still to come (which was dated by the way) will let us see how this new system works.
Then the new supers were showcased, and by this time I was running around in small circles, squeaking. In fact at this point I texted a friend who was also ridiculously pumped for this reveal, asking if he could believe this *expletive deleted*, and he texted me back with “Mate, I don’t even know what to do with myself”. First up, a Warlock unleashed the Dawnblade super, summoning a sword of pure fire, and being able to fly above the battlefield, raining fire down on the enemies and also able to smash people directly with the blade.
Next up was the Titan with the Sentinal super, which summoned a Void shield that can be used to bash your way through enemies, and also thrown, a la Captain America, ricocheting off enemies and smashing them, rebounding from the scenery to hit those tricky bank shots.And last, but certainly not least, the Hunter gets the Arc Strider class, which summons a staff of electric energy and goes full on martial arts flurries with it, spinning it around and generally bringing the pain. This has overtones of the bladedancer, but looks way more cool and impressive to watch. This class alone doesn’t seem to have a projectile attack built into the super, but the speed the Hunter was moving should make up for it. In the course of the demo, we saw the Fallen and Vex are still going to be around and a problem, so the focus isn’t purely Cabal based.
After this, Steve Cotton took the stage, whose job title was, interestingly, World Lead. He came to tell us about the new worlds, and the new ways that Guardians can interact with the worlds. There are four new planets and areas revealed today, and apparently the story, known as the Red War campaign, will take us across the Solar System and back in our quest to redeem the Guardians. As the story reveals around finding and reuniting the Vanguard, each of the members has fled to a new area.
Zavala has gone to Titan, which is reported as having no land mass and liquid methane seas, with 40m swells on them. There are enormous structures built in the sea that have to be explored, and the scenery looked extraordinary, with seascapes are far as the eye could see. Cayde has gone to a planet called Nessus, which is deep within Red Legion territory but has been almost completely transformed by the Vex into a living machine world. The scenery here is very “vexified”, as you’d expect, and pulling Caydes irons out of the fire may be a little trickier than you may think. At the reveal, there was a brand new strike to play on Nessus called the Inverted Spire, which involved a three stage boss fight. Ikora meanwhile has gone to Io, which is the last place that the Traveller touched during the Golden Age, and as such is sacred to Warlocks and their love of knowledge. The landscape here is full of sulphur and looks very grim.
The last area to be revealed is the European Dead Zone, or EDZ, right here on Earth. This is the part of the story reveal that sparked the most interest for me, the way that the Guardians are going to interact with the landscape and the brand new map. First up, to launch events now, there#s no need to go to orbit as all events can be launched straight from the map.You can even travel to other planets using the map, so it appears there is no need to go into orbit at all.
The EDZ is apparently the largest area that Bungie have ever created in a game, and as such looks amazing. The map shows you missions, public events and new areas called Lost Sectors which can be explored in order to find new gear. They described these as dungeons with a treasure to find, and a boss to defeat who holds the key. Also in the EDZ is a camp to find, new NPCs to interact with who will give you new missions to undertake, and in general sounds a lot like the new game hub, given the Tower is now a smouldering ruin. The new direction the patrols are taking sounds very exciting, with a real reason to go out there and explore every corner, to uncover the secrets, to get behind every door and see what the devs have left for us to find!
After the pinnacle of the new supers and the new way that the game is going to be played, the Crucible has also not been forgotten.The new Crucible is confirmed as sees every mode being 4v4, which is a bit of comedown from the 6v6 possible today, and I’m not sure why having less players would be a good thing. But the response from the crowd seemed positive. There are new modes confirmed too, the only one of which revealed was called Countdown, and is the first attack/defend game mode in Destiny.
Next on stage, M.E.Chung, the Social Lead for Destiny outlined her vision for the way that people are going to play Destiny 2 together.
Clans are going to play a huge role in the way that people interact with each other, and as such have been integrated directly into the game, making organising a Fireteam much easier than in the current game – all the organisation is done outside on the Bungie site or via sites like the100.io. In addition, thought has been given to those aforementioned 50% of players who haven’t done end game activities. In a new mechanic called Guided Games, single players can choose from a list of clans who are looking for a single person to fill a Fireteam and in return the lone Guardian can experience the activities with a team who can help them learn.This is going to remove the horror that many people have when the phrase “Shall we LFG it?” is uttered, as I’m sure we’ve all had bad experiences with some of the people who float in that particular pool.
After this, an Activision guy took the stage to thank Sony for their help and to reveal that the PC version of Destiny 2 will be run through Blizzards Battle.net. Given their experience in running loot based games online, that in itself sounds like a marriage made in heaven.
So, all in all, Destiny 2 looks absolutely amazing. The story looks to be there, the new mechanics are shaping up to make this game something special, and the new supers are the icing on a delicious cake of goodness. I’m somewhat biased, but the excitement levels in my house are through the roof. The beta, later in the Summer, will be the next big milestone in the game, so I’ll be looking to report back then unless some big news is released in the meantime.
This is one very excited Guardian, signing off!