Destiny is my most anticipated game of 2014. As such I am following it very closely straight from the BUNGIE website. On Thursday they released their first BUNGIE Podcast of the New Year and it seems like they are finally divulging information about the game after the big month long gameinformer reveal. This week’s guests are Tyson Green, Lead Investment Designer and Lars Bakken, Lead Designer in charge of Competitive Multiplayer Activities. Both of these leads are extremely important in Destiny becoming BUNGIE’s next powerhouse IP.
The hosts (DeeJ, Halycon, and Urk) start off by discussing the new Winter Build of the game that was finished just before BUNGIE went dark for the holidays. From how they make it sound, it seems like they are well on their way to a well-polished, bug free game come release. They are also focusing on “what is good and what sucks.” This goes hand in hand with their mantra of making games they want to play. That’s all great and everything, but my question is, is this a game I want to play? So far, it seems like it.
When Tyson Green enters the picture, the podcast focuses on the investment game. Or the concept of making you care about the game in as many ways a possible. It’s about telling the story of your character but also about telling the story of you as a player. Your memories of killing a raid boss with your buddies for the first time, or earning your first exotic weapon. Your character’s weapons will have background lore to some sort, but they will also have a personal story to them of how you obtained it. This is all part of the investment game. To me, investment is absolutely essential when it comes to success in a game. Lately, I have been having difficulty investing myself in games. I have been trying to make a World of Warcraft come back, but the investment just isn’t there, at least not yet. Ghost’s Clan Wars have be coming back somewhat, but not like I was when I first started playing the game (and was a top player in TDM.) And while NBA2K14’s MyCareer storyline is cool, some of the situations still have my frustrated and the lack of freedom (including skipping cut scenes) is really making me want to bang my head against the wall. I want; no I need a game that I am going to invest in. A game I can play with a group of people and destroy others in multiplayer, or work together to complete a raid, or help people level up their new characters. I am hoping Destiny will finally be able to fill my need for lots of social interaction (without all of the shit-talking) and my enjoyment of both RPGs and FPSes.
Some of the things Tyson Green focuses on are these different types of investment. You have your 1000 hour grinds which used to be pretty common in MMOs (and sometimes still sought after by traditionalists) and the very different (and much shorter) investment into MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games such as League of Legends and DoTA2. In these games, each round is a new investment. It’s a new character, a new build, new gear, and a new chance to prove yourself. I think Destiny is going to try and combine these different lengths of investment into Destiny (without the extreme 1000 hour grinds) in order for everyone to find their niche.
The other staff member in the podcast is Lars Bakken. And he divulges some neat information about competitive multiplayer experiences and some of the balancing issues that come with it. He first iterates that they are not making Halo again (wait what? Yay!) but the combat will still have that Halo/BUNGIE feel to it. However, with the addition of different load outs and armor, different grenades and foci, the variation of combat will be much greater than that of any Halo title. Also, BUNGIE is making for quicker kill times and combat resolution with Destiny as compared to Halo. It won’t be like Call of Duty kill times, but it will be quicker than previous Halo titles. This is so that players won’t immediately think to retreat when they start getting fired upon, which causes a lack of combat resolution that I personally think that Halo has always struggled with.
One of the things Lars said that I’m impressed with is that skill is very prevalent, but it isn’t just thumb skill. It’s going to be more about your load out, your tactics, your build, and basically everything you do to make your character unique and the best it possibly can. There still will be thumb skill of course, but it will be part of a greater whole, which is something that makes me happy. I have above average thumb skills, but I pride myself I knowing tactics and out thinking/ out maneuvering my opponent. To me, that is real skill. Flanking someone and getting them dead to rights is a lot more skillful than a strafing shootout in my opinion. This is why I’m glad BUNGIE is moving away from the Halo style strafing shootouts.
A little bit of information that BUNGIE has finally leaked is how supers will effect PvP combat. From what I understand, supers will be just as powerful in PvP as they are in PvE, but you have to earn them. DeeJ even says that in Destiny PvP he has more reasons to stay alive because if not he’s just feeding them supers, which to me means that players earn supers similar to kill streaks on Call of Duty. I would guess you get a super for every 3 kills you get without dying (complete speculation) and you can just keep earning them with every kill streak of 3 (or whatever number they have.) This is great in my opinion. It makes players think more tactically, because they don’t want to be just giving other players supers, and it provides a nice balance to moves that if made available all the time, would be really overpowered.
Another leak of information that the Podcast provided was that there are proximity mines that can act as traps or bottle necks within the map. One of these, called the Arc Prox, discharged an electrical pulse that isn’t lethal but extremely weakening. They also mention something called an Axiom Bolt, which seems to have a similar effect to a Nova Bomb. My biggest surprise, given the jetpack tactics of many Halo games, is that BUNGIE has stated that movement modes will be “weapon down” movements. Meaning you can’t fire, or rain down grenades, or anything combative while in these modes. I don’t believe it includes slide, which is a standard movement mode, but I am sure it includes the double jump, glide, and teleport movement modes. I am not sure how this will affect teleporting though, because that is supposed to be instant. It might make it completely overpowered comparatively, but I am hoping BUNGIE has some sort of balancing solution.
They have also stated that a lot of the maps in Destiny are changing and have a lot of vertical variance. This is good news, because it means tactics will be more important than ever, and it will require a lot more time for players to master. Also, with maps changing, those people who camp (to me campers are players who sit in one particular spot and wait for an enemy to pass by, usually at close range, to me snipers on a perch are not campers, they are snipers and players that protect and guard a certain part of a map aren’t campers, they are defenders, but that is another topic to discuss) will be a lot less effective, because change breeds movement.
Finally, BUNGIE has confirmed that PvP will only take place in specific “arenas” within the game. PvP will not be available “out in the wild” or in public areas. This is because BUNGIE understands that most players will not want to deal with the experience of some idiot sitting in a public area saying “Let’s play PvP!” And attacking everyone who comes around, and yes there would be people who would do it, and think it’s funny. It’s not. The only thing I would like to see them do is maybe add acceptable duels between players in these areas. Kind of like the WoW duel system. It’s one on one and has to be accepted by the other player, and only those players can attack each other. It would be a fun little side game for players who want to improve their PvP skills or prove they are the best one versus one.
There was A LOT of information released with this new BUNGIE podcast. So much it took me 4 days to write this and actually be happy with it. I will try and stick with BUNGIE updates on Sundays though, so it gives me time to go through the weekly update, any monthly podcasts, and sorting through the mail sack. This week’s BUNGIE update pretty much just reiterated what was said in the Podcast and provided new screen shots from the game. I’ll be adding them to this post and to the Catalyst Games gallery.
The Bungie Podcast can be found here: http://www.bungie.net/en/News/News?aid=11358
(all images were taken from the Destiny public image gallery. The gallery can be found here: http://www.bungie.net/en/destiny#page=media)