A Crash Course for ‘Destiny’ Newcomers

Carl Waldron

Firing into the abyss, a teammate shouted, “We aren’t going to make it, just go!” I took off across the newly-formed bridge we worked so hard to generate. Halfway across, I stole a look back. A wave of enemies swarmed past my now fallen team, headed straight for me. Before they could reach me, I crossed the checkpoint, and a wave of cheers erupted in my headset.

Moments like those are what make Destiny so great. Sadly, there are some people who have never played Destiny or experienced such a victory. If you’re worried it’s too late to jump into this open-world first-person sci-fi shooter, here is a high-level Destiny primer to get you ready to go.

You Must Love Loot

Oh, the possibilities.

Destiny is a loot hunt. Characters are defined by the gear they wear and their various stat bonuses. Gear is gathered playing Raids, Strikes, Patrols and other in-game events. You’ll spend the bulk of your time killing angry aliens and gathering the sweet item drops they leave behind.

In this way, it isn’t much different than other loot-based RPGs like the Diablo series. If you enjoy a treasure hunt and upgrading your character’s gear and weapons, Destiny can fill that role. Just imagine you are Indiana Jones in space with a laser gun — I guess that’s technically Han Solo, but you get the idea.

Choose Your Guardian, Guardian

Guardians are the gun-toting avatars you embody in Destiny. There are three classes to choose from. Do you enjoy standing on the front lines and like to brawl in the thick of battle? Pick the Titan. Would you rather stalk the battlefield like a ninja? The Hunter class is for you. Would you rather hover above the battlefield firing lightning from your fingertips to fry your opposition? The Warlock is the answer for you. With three character slots to play with, test each Guardian out and choose the one that fits your play style.

The Destiny Story

The original story campaign was brief in the original Destiny. A majority of the story was told through Grimoire Cards. These were pieces of text you were awarded for completing certain tasks in the game. Here’s the twist: Grimoire Cards were not accessible through the game itself, but rather you found them on Bungie.net. This meant that the entirety of Destiny’s story wasn’t present in the game itself.

In previews for Destiny 2, Bungie has made a point to emphasize the story of the new game. Bungie has stated players will no longer scour the web for Grimoire Cards. The story of Destiny 2 will be told through the characters, new locales, and player adventures. No longer must we hunt for story, we must only hunt for loot.

What Is Light?

Light is the core of Destiny’s progression system. The more Light you have, the more damage you can deal and the higher the level of content you can access (like Nightfall Strikes). Light-infused weapons and gear, when equipped, add to your accumulated Light average. Removing a piece of Light-infused gear decreases your Light value.

The Light system takes a while to get accustomed to. If you get better gear, you get more Light. This allows you to do more damage and take part in more events.

Engrams Are Mystery Boxes of Joy

This could be something good!

Engrams are the mysterious polygonal drops you receive from fallen enemies. Unlocking them will potentially grant you a new piece of gear or weapon. Engrams are sorted by rarity, similar to gear and weapons. They come in Encoded (White), Encrypted (Green), Decoherent (Blue), Legendary (Purple) and Exotic (Gold). Find the Cryptarch in the social hub and have them crack your Engrams open to reap the rewards.

Patrols, Strikes, and Raids, Oh My!

I have a bad feeling about this...

Patrols, Strikes and Raids are the bread and butter of Destiny 2. Patrols are held within open world maps where you roam around killing endlessly-spawning enemies and completing short missions found at beacons.

Strikes are missions you can complete alone or with a group of players, known as a Fireteam. You battle through a level, clearing out enemies and taking in the sights. It all culminates in a rather difficult boss battle and buckets of loot.

Raids are the bigger, badder siblings to Strikes. Success hinges on communication and coordination of your Fireteam. Raids will net you some of the best drops in the game along with the satisfaction of completing something challenging.

Xûr: Agent of the Nine

Xur, Agent of the Nine

This squid-faced figure is Xûr, the difficult-to-find merchant. He spawns weekly in random locations, so he is hard to pin down week to week. It’s worth it to find him, as he comes bearing gifts of exotic gear and weapons for you to purchase with Strange Coins. You get these coins from completing events and Raids. Keep an eye out for this Agent of the Nine to score serious gear.

Don’t Brave the Galaxy Alone

I get by with a little help from my friends

Sometimes finding a good group is hard. Bungie has revamped Clans, making them easier to create and join. Guided Games allow solo folks to search for clans and Fireteams with open spots. Raids and Strikes are very difficult (and less fun, in my opinion) to do alone, so finding a team is a really good idea. As a solo player, I can attest that Destiny is better experienced with others. Get out there and join a clan. Heck, join my clan!

Destiny Needs You

Destiny is a huge game with three years worth of content under its belt. Jumping into the franchise now can be daunting, but it’s never too late. There will always be a need for new Guardians and people to play with.

Always remember to be kind to the people you game with, shoot relatively straight, and most of all, have loads of fun. See you on the battlefield, Guardians.

Carl Waldron
Host of Super. Black., a podcast about characters of color. Lifetime nerd and video game enthusiast
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