While we here at PowerLeveled are just as excited for the launch of Destiny as everyone else, we’ve taken note of your questions about the game, and it’s time to answer them right now – before the game launches on September 9th.
When does the game launch/When can I install the game?
The answer to the question “when can I install the game” will vary based on your platform, but you can rest assured that Destiny will launch on September 9th at 12:01 AM [Local Time]. This is a true midnight launch for Bungie, as your personal midnight launch is the true midnight launch. Attesting to this ideal, on Bungie’s last day of Beta testing, during server load testing they reset the servers to build a queue for re-logging into the title. This test is standard preparation for a concurrent launch, and we should expect a smooth launch if the Beta is any hint toward the final queue.
Unlike on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One where Destiny digital versions will download two days ahead of launch and be ready for play the minute that the midnight launch occurs, no other platform will truly see a midnight launch as they will have to install the game before it’s ready to play, including all available day one patches. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms apply to this rule.
PVP Matches: How do they work?
The Crucible, Destiny’s multiplayer competitive combat is broken down into six varying match types which will award players for their participation through Crucible Marks [currency], experience toward your character and character’s items, as well as awarding you with the items themselves. That sentence itself is a lot to absorb, so let’s break it down.
There are six match types, Salvage, Skirmish, Combined Arms, Rumble, Clash, and Control.
Salvage is a three versus three player match type, where players are tasked with securing and defending relics “to reclaim the secrets of our past.” Salvage awards Crucible reputation and gear, as well as experience. Level advantages are disabled in Salvage. Those who compete in Salvage will be fighting on behalf of Dead Orbit.
Skirmish retains the three man team theme, but simplifies the rules. This 3v3 fight asks only that you kill the enemy and revive teammates in a “focused engagement between two fireteams” Skirmish awards Crucible reputation and gear, as well as experience. Level advantages are disabled. Fighting a Skirmish match will effect your influence with the New Monarchy.
Combined Arms asks you to heed the call of the Future War Cult for their honor. In this six-on-six combat, you’ll play in the largest scale possible with vehicular combat at the forefront. Matches will take place on maps similar in scale to First Light to allow for vehicular combat to be prominent. Level advantages are disabled and traditional gear and reputation awards will be available.
Rumble sets Guardians on the task of killing everything and watching their own back. This is a traditional free-for-all match, and you only have to be the best around to win. With a fireteam of up to 3 players, this match type leans on 6 total competitors. If you’re not the best among your friends, you’re probably not going to win many of these matches, so go it alone to improve your odds. Level advantages are disabled as gear and reputation will be awarded at the end of the match, and honor with the New Monarchy will come in time.
Clash is all out team warfare. Form up and destroy in six versus six battles across the ruins of former human planets. Level advantages are again disabled in Clash and reputation with the Future War Cult will be rewarded to those who compete. Gear, reputation and experience will of course make its way to you as matches end.
Control is the mode you are likely most familiar with. If you played in the Alpha and Beta tests of Destiny, you’ve already had a hands on with Control, and you likely have a good idea what it’s all about. This six on six match tasks teams with capturing three flags and destroying the other team in the process. Flags effect the weight of each kill, as kills are nearly the only way to generate points toward your team’s victory. We’ve got a very extensive guide on Control if you would like to know more, written during the Beta testing phase. Control awards reputation and gear, as well as experience as usual and level advantages are disabled.
Iron Banner is the most intense of all PVP match types. With all of the above game modes in mind, consider playing through these match types with uneven odds. In Iron Banner, a player’s weapon damage and armor rating matter, bringing the damage rating you have from the “single player” experience into the world of PVP.
The Iron Banner weighs heavily on PVP play in a few different ways, and after playing in Iron Banner we finally begin to understand how all other match types measure your character. If the Iron Banner measures your character’s damage and armor rating, then all other modes must not. Whether you are level 5 [the first level where you can compete in PVP] or level 20 [“max” level in Destiny] all characters are placed on an even plane for non-Iron Banner matches. Most importantly, how you build your character has the greatest impact in traditional PVP fights outside of the Iron Banner. If you build a Warlock and your character has a short bar for Agility and a full bar for Armor based on the progression choices in your subclass, you will absorb more damage outside of Iron Banner matches regardless of your item’s armor rating. Most intriguingly, this also means that a level 5 weapon with Exotic rarity and a tiny amount of damage will be better to use in traditional PVP than using a level 20 Uncommon item. Why? Exotic items have more progression benefits when you level them up, so they mean more on this “even playing field.”
How many worlds are there? How many missions?
The road map for Destiny doesn’t come to an end when the title launches – in fact, that’s only the beginning according to Bungie, as they want to keep working with Destiny for the next ten years. As of launch, we will enjoy missions on Earth, the Moon, Mars, Venus. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn have been listed in canon within the Destiny universe and Mercury is slated for PVP. Saturn and Jupiter can be found on the physical Destiny Star Chart in limited edition versions of Destiny that players will receive at launch. We have also taken note of the “Reef” zone on the in-game star chart from IGN.com play through footage during the IGN First program last month. This zone is expected to host at least one end-game raid in Destiny post-launch, with the “Queen of the Reef” bounty available to level 20+ characters. Mercury has been confirmed for post-launch content, and may be available in PVP combat at launch.
Details on the number of missions are not solid, but according to a datamined list of information we picked up after the Beta, at least 44 missions, including daily and weekly “Nightfall” missions atop the traditional Story missions should have us occupied for a very long time. For scale, if 44 missions seem like a small amount of action, consider this. The first of ten reported Missions, Strikes, and Nightfalls on the Moon took my fireteam 30 minutes to complete. Bungie has noted that Nightfalls may take up to a few hours to complete with their advanced difficulty. Assuming that you’re a God of Destiny and you complete every mission in 30 minutes, every strike in 45 and every Nightfall in just one hour, the game will take at least 25 and a half hours of straight game play, without a single break in the Tower or full exploration of the areas in which you are fighting. Compared with Call of Duty or Battlefield, this is a massive undertaking for a first-person shooter, and the datamined information that was leaked DID NOT include the entirety of what Destiny has to offer. Don’t forget that we just talked about PVP before any of this.
Character progression and the fabled “third subclass”
Character progression in Destiny is what the game is all about. Building your Guardian up from your rebirth into a massive specimen of destruction will be the goal of everyone, but each individual’s goals will vary. Depending on your personal preference, you can develop your Guardian into a speedy and agile Warlock, a strong and armor-driven Titan, or a resilient and quick-to-recover Hunter. Most importantly, you can do any combination of these ideas. With two subclasses in each of the three primary classes, as you progress with your character you will unlock skills to use in combat. As an example, the image below showcases a Titan’s “Striker” subclass, where the Titan may level up and improve on their grenade attacks, super attack, and their resilience or speed during combat. Each option has multiple selections to choose from, meaning that you’ll be accepting a certain disadvantage for every advantage you choose. Only one of the two subclasses can be selected at any given time, and each subclass will give your character an elemental advantage on the battlefield. The Striker Titan is an Arc damage based Titan, but the Titan may also choose to be a Defender subclass, allowing for Void damage options. Warlocks will enjoy the options of Voidwalker and Sunsinger, with Void and Solar damage respectively. Hunters take watch with Gunslinger and Blade Dancer subclasses, playing on Solar damage and Arc damage.
These elemental damages are key in the end-game missions of Destiny, and it is intentional that each subclass doesn’t have every element available at this point in the Destiny universe. Not having every subclass element in Destiny encourages players to experience new classes outside of their own. Sure, you can survive and fight on with a Voidwalker Warlock for the duration of your journeys through the solar system, but you will encounter fights in Destiny where enemies are resistant to Void damage, so you’ll have a choice to make. If you’re like me, and you decide to lock in your character at level 20, you won’t be able to swap the skills in that Voidwalker subclass and play your character as a Sunsinger. If you’re like most, you’ll click on the Sunsinger subclass and rebuild your talent tree to compensate for the fight ahead. Those who choose to lock in their selections will enjoy a significant boost to their Recovery stat, making raiding and Nightfall missions much easier when your element cooperates with you. With this in mind, I intend to build six total characters – one for each subclass, built around that respective element until I find which I prefer. As of Beta testing only three characters were allowed for creation. An expansion on this three character limit has not been announced by Bungie.
If you had a keen eye during the Beta, you’ll have noticed a minor highlight to the left of the second subclass. According to an interview with Bungie’s Tyson Green, conducted by Eurogamer, there are only two subclasses at this time. So what is the ghosted box for? Early reports suggest that we may build our subclasses and save them for hot-swapping through later. As this information is not confirmed, we will follow up on this at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle in just under two weeks – stay tuned for the follow up.
Elements, what elements?
As mentioned with subclasses, elements can be a huge factor to consider when taking on level 20 [and higher] content. With the use of Arc, Solar, and Void damages, your skills will hurt some enemies more than others outside of PVP combat. You can pick up which enemies are weak to your damage by assessing which damage they are strong against. Those enemies which have traditional Halo style over-shield effects will also have an element color to their shield, if your skills or weapon deal that color’s damage type, you’re not going to hit very hard against their life.
Weapons have the same ability for elemental damage as soon as you pick up your first uncommon or better quality weapon. White, or standard quality weapons will only deal in Kinectic damage – the damage type that most shielded units protect against. As you step up to an Uncommon, Epic, Legendary or Exotic weapon you will have to begin considering its worth against this damage modifier. As your character can carry up to 9 weapons [+1] of each of three weapon types, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it does significantly expand the depth of the very top-tier items.
Wait, there’s more after level 20?
Yes, there are more character levels after level 20 – and there’s footage to prove it. It’s no secret that we’ll be leveling up past level 20, and we are going to have to fight in a level 31 raid for the best gear in the game, according to the leak I mentioned earlier. How we get that level is actually not as complicated as it may seem, and it harks back to an old World of Warcraft tradition.
With each level and each piece of gear you have picked up along your path to level 20 you’ve become statistically stronger. Those who had a keep eye in the Beta may have noticed that their number made its way from a white number to a shade of yellow. This shade of yellow indicates that you deal damage equal to a character above your level. In the final version of Destiny, as your character’s gear becomes better than what a level 20 receives, your effective level will hit 21 based on you gear score. Things will only get better, of course, and eventually you may reach a confirmed level 29 [or higher, if possible.]
As Bungie has previously confirmed that your first raid will be set at an effective level of 22, reaching a max gear score level of 29 may well be the cap, but no confirmed details on this have hit to this point. Once again, this will be part of my active discussion with Bungie at the end of this month. My estimation is that there is an effective level of 30 before any DLC content is released, but only the hardest of core gamers will ever see this number without add-on content.
Most importantly, Bungie is firm to state that reaching level 20 is only the beginning of Destiny, and that the fun of the game is in learning Raids and Nightfalls with your friends. Making Destiny an adventure, and growing together is the goal. Destiny is one of the most spectacular experiences I have ever personally played, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the title in just a few short weeks.
We will be building guides and tutorials as the title launches for you to enjoy, so keep it set to PowerLeveled for more details on the game in the coming weeks by subscribing to the site, following us on Facebook, or simply visiting. Those who simply can’t get enough Destiny footage can also watch our 20 hours of footage streaming on our live stream right here on PowerLeveled.com. If you have questions about Destiny, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will credit your question in this article as it expands until the launch of Destiny.