I am late. The mysteries have been solved. The loot cave has come and gone. I’m the guy just now turning in his first encrypted engram—green, of course. I’m either playing Destiny the best way or the worst way.
Argument for this being the best way to play Destiny: A few million gamers have beta-tested this massively multiplayer online first-person shooter for me, worked out a bunch of kinks, had a to-and-fro with the people making the game at Bungie, got things sorted. I benefit. The game is now full of things to do and, from what I hear, more fair.
Argument for it being the worst way: I bought the DLC before I started, wanted to experience the full offering. Well. The Destiny newbie who buys expansion one and expansion two before starting the game, winds up with an awesome vehicle...
...a bunch of gear that is wayyyy too high-level to use at the moment...
... and regularly risks walking through the frigging starter area of the game and running into a guy like this...
Queenbreaker Captain. That sounds...bad. Wasn’t this room full of level-one enemies? What was he doing in there? Wait. I paid extra for him to be there? He is part of the House of Wolves DLC and just hangs out in the way of a baby-difficulty patrol quest? And he can take me down in one hit if I’m not crafty enough to sneak by?
This is a disaster. A fun disaster!
Revised Argument For It Being The Best Way: If you are just starting Destiny now your travels through this game will be treacherous. Story missions won’t be affected, but the open levels of the game will be full of death traps whose armor is too strong for your blasters, though not too strong for the higher-level players who are sharing the game world with you. Having that additional post-launch enemy encounters loaded in turns Destiny into something that feels like a Souls game. You know what I mean: an occasionally brutally tough experience, one where it is beneficial to have a friend or an employee who is unhealthily obsessed with the game within texting range to offer advice. Here I am in blue:
Yes, I am playing Destiny as if it’s a Souls game. I shoot stuff, turn the wrong corner, get mauled, ask colleagues for help. I did this two days ago after finding a large, brooding alien who I incorrectly guessed was going to respond angrily when I stole the object next to him:
Luckily, I employ the world’s foremost Destiny experts who are always available to assist:
I actually don’t need anyone’s help, really. I’m fine. When I’m just level five and my co-op buddy Kirk Hamilton is level 34 and he says: “Do you want me to shoot that guy with my Gjallarhorn?” I say, “No thanks” and wait for him to revive me. And revive me again. And again. Then he shoots that guy with the Gjallarhorn and it takes some damage off. He laughs like a man who has just hit a building with a wrecking ball and is amused that one wall is still upright. I’m at the foot of said wall with my chisel. Then we remember that I bumped up the difficulty level of that mission because he was with me and I realize I can probably chisel through a normal version of this mission on my own.
I mean, really, what kind of help can a person like this provide?
Oh, he can probably help me a lot. But I can—and I have—charged through this game mostly on my own.
I’m already level 7 and look dashing. (Actually I’m already up to level 8, not pictured in this GIF!)
I’m having my own fun playing Destiny this way with all of its meals on my plate at once.
I like that the Destiny I’m playing runs smoothly but is full of high-level danger. The game looks alien and exotic. To me it plays that way. It’s weird and spiky, goading me into missions I can completely handle that are roadblocked with enemies I probably shouldn’t be fighting until I get from kindergarten to college.
I can’t complain, right? I’m stabbing guys while wearing pin-striped sleeves.
I’m plunging into random events that are so far beyond me and maybe I’m actually lending a tiny helping hand.
I’m going to the bounty board to gawk at how awesome the bounty guy looks. I want to show it in my post, after all.
But I’m such a novice that I leave this guy without remembering to grab his latest bounties.
I’m still figuring this all out.
I’m still figuring out how you deal with the fact that you can’t pause the damn game. Maybe, I figure, I can hide behind this wall here while I have dinner with my wife... only to discover an hour later I’ve been kicked by the game.
I’m figuring out that the loading times in this game stink and that I don’t have to worry about the story because no one seems to understand it or care about it anyway.
I’m figuring out that, predominantly single player gamer that I am, I can still enjoy Destiny a lot, though I’m still intimidated by the idea of scheduling one of these raids I hear are so good and still wary of jumping into player vs player Crucible matches.
I marvel at how good the game looks and how satisfying its shooting feels. I don’t get why my sparrow speeder can’t shoot, don’t have any idea what to do with half of the loot I am collecting and don’t think my starter spaceship looks that bad:
I’d advise other Destiny neophytes to also play this game, but unless you bought the game and its first two expansions already, you should wait. In mid-September, the game’s publisher, Activision, is going to sell an entire package including the base game, the two expansions I have and a new, significantly bigger expansion called The Taken King, all for $60. That’ll be the best deal. I just hope they don’t rebalance the game to make it too easy for newcomers. The weirdly uneven challenge I’ve experienced has been a large part of the fun.