Without going into spoiler territory for those who haven’t played Destiny before, the first cut-scene sets up that there is evil out there in the galaxy and you are tasked with stopping it. You’re kind of thrust into the story without knowing much of anything else. Maybe there’s more to the story if you read the supplemental stuff that came out to hype the launch or maybe more plot is shown in the videos used to advertise, but like I mentioned previously I isolated myself from everything as best as I could. I guess I never revealed why I chose to take that route in my previous entry, ‘The Destiny Diaries Part 0‘ so I’ll mention it here; I hate how much advertisement spoils games nowadays. You can’t open a video game magazine (Yes, they still exist) or read an article without some plot points or gameplay secrets spoiling the experience. I wanted to go into Destiny with no prior knowledge to what I was about to experience.
So after the cut-scene you create your character; I rolled a human Warlock because I love using magic based characters. My character was male and I gave him a few scars to make him look tough. After my character was created I saw a brand new cut-scene that introduced me to my Ghost, a cute little rubix-cube of a sidekick that was meant to help me along the way. I have to admit I was slightly disappointed to see that Destiny was another FPS just like its Halo predecessor. I wanted something new and different, but I hadn’t given up hope just yet. I ran through the tutorial level with a rifle encountering enemies that looked like they’d fit in well in the Halo-verse. The graphics were beautiful, and the gameplay was smooth and easy to pick up quickly.
After taking out a gang of enemies I was thrust into a new cut-scene and then a HUB world where I could purchase new weapons, armor, and abilities. I dug the RPG elements because it set itself apart from Halo, but RPG features in an FPS is far from a revolutionary concept. I passed by what I thought was an NPC but his user name was something akin to RoninWarrior1337…This was another player in what I thought was my single player game! I started having traumatic flashbacks to my time with Titanfall where not only were the servers buggy and slow, but also I could barely play without getting sniped in the head by some 12-year old that had never stepped out into daylight. I played Titalfall only once because I kept getting booted from the on-line only game sessions and there was no chance to get used to actually playing the game before you were thrust into an arena full of skilled killers. I feared I’d be in a similar situation with Destiny.
While I was in the HUB world, I found that the menus were easy to navigate, and I purchased a hand cannon that resembled a Magnum. I flew my ship down to my first mission where I was to recover parts so I could manage interstellar travel. I was doing fairly well at staying alive, and the enemies were easy to get head shots on with my steady hand cannon, but something scary happened; another player waved at me and I had no idea how to wave back. While trying to figure out how to reciprocate the kind gesture of my fellow player, I threw my character off a cliff. This was an epic newb moment and I’m sure the friendly player had a good laugh at my ineptness. I get really nervous when it comes to MMO’s; I had a panic attack trying to locate a player during one of my adventures in Star Wars: The Old Republic and I never had any clue as to how to interact with other players in World of Warcraft. I was never a big fan of online multiplayer because when you’re playing games in person you’re generally playing with people who will have patience with you. You have the comfort of playing with a friend who will show you the ropes, not shame you and call you racial slurs just because you don’t know any better.
When I respawned I dedicated a minute to figure out how to wave. Apparently, if you use the D-Pad you can either point, wave, dance (which is hilarious) and or sit down. I made it my policy to wave at every single character I crossed paths with from that moment on. Most ignore me, some waved back and I felt an odd sense of happiness; did I just make a new friend? While shooting at a group of enemies my character leveled up. I had gained a new ability and more advanced armor and weaponry were made available. I dug this feature, as I’m a chronic grinder who will kill low-leveled enemies ad nauseam until I’m satisfied that I’m buff enough to handle harder enemies with complete ease. I stayed on the first level just blasting respawning bad guys until I got my character to a level that unlocked the ‘glide’ ability. Gliding is a double-jump that acts much like the jetpack from Halo. I had fun flying around like an idiot and it came in handy a few times when the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against me. I looked down at my phone to see I had been playing for a little less than two hours.
I was having fun hunting loot, killing bad guys, leveling up, using new abilities, and waving like a massive goofball at other players when suddenly I stumbled into a large drop of enemies. The game gave me the option to involve myself in the challenge and soon I was joined by three other players as we took on waves of bad guys. When it was over we all waved at each other and went back to treasure hunting and level grinding, but I felt at ease with the process; we didn’t have to create a party, I didn’t have to talk to any of these strangers (I have anxiety about that) and everyone was working towards a common goal. So many multiplayer games only have player death matches where your sole purpose is to kill everyone else without being killed; actually banding together effortlessly to take down an enemy was totally refreshing. I understand that there are modes where you can team up with players and go after a common goal (like in Halo’s firefight mode) but to see an FPS MMO where the focus wasn’t completely on killing other players was unique to me. Maybe I don’t play enough games and this is more common than I believe it to be, but in my experience I’d never really played a game like that before.
I stumbled into a cave with a few high powered enemies and immediately got obliterated. I like the idea that there are enemies I won’t be able to touch until I put more hours into my character or I force myself to team up with other players; it gives incentive to loner players like myself to socialize with others. As I was walking around the desert level someone tried adding me into their party and I had no idea how to accept their request so I did my go to move and threw my character off of a cliff. I decided this was a good time to quit the game and go back to my real life responsibilities. All in all, my first experience with Destiny was a fun one, and I’m being completely honest when I say I’m currently having withdrawals; I can’t wait to play again but I’m currently out of town and away from my XBOX ONE; this is a big deal for me because as I get older my interest in long-term video game play has severely waned. I only have the attention span to play short games on my phone or tablet and I marvel at how I used to be able to beat 100+ hour RPG’s as a teenager; Destiny made me feel that old nostalgic feeling where I could easily spend entire afternoons glued to my TV blasting bad guys into oblivion.