Destiny 2: My Thoughts on the Beta
The Destiny 2 beta opens for everyone today, but I've been playing a lot over the past couple days. And the first thing I want to point out is how much I enjoy the game so far before diving into anything else. I have had a ton of fun trying out the new subclasses, seeing the changes to old ones, and playing the available game modes.
I will say that the first Destiny beta had more in it than Destiny 2 beta, and it felt more like you were in the world. This one feels more like a multiplayer demo since you can only choose activities and can't walk around or explore anything.
This doesn't spoil the fun, though, and I have a lot to say about Destiny 2 based on my experiences in the beta. Check out the header video above if you want to see some gameplay and prefer to hear my thoughts rather than read them.
Weapons and Abilities in PvE
Before continuing, note that this is a beta and things can/will change for the final release of the game. Bungie even confirmed in its weekly update that the beta build is months old, and there has been significant PvE tuning since then.
Right now I would say that submachine guns are quite underpowered compared to the rest of your artillery options. I never found a reason to use one, except for the exotic Warlock one under specific situations.
Auto Rifles are king right now in both PvE and crucible. The enemies during the strike seem to take a lot of damage -- more than necessary -- but Bungie has already mentioned plans to change that.
Ability cooldowns are definitely pretty slow, specifically the supers. The new class skills come back pretty fast, and I'm happy with where those are at.
One thing people need to notice is the level, weapons, and armor we have during beta. We don't get much of a selection, no special perks, and no mods. The full game might have plenty of weapon or armor mods to change cooldowns, damage, etc. So I'm not worried about that at this point.
Change to the Weapon System
Some will love it, some will hate it. Personally, I love the changes. Now you can basically equip any 2 primary weapons -- with one having an element and the other having none.
I also noticed that when you customize the weapon, elemental guns have an energy mod equipped to give them an element. I'm almost positive this means that we will be able to collect different elemental mods and change them at will.
This is huge, because now you can use your favorite gun for every burn or enemy shield that appears. I'm also hopeful that you can take them off to switch them between kinetic and energy weapons.
The new mod system is intriguing, and I'm excited to see what other mods will be in the full game.
Heavy to Power Weapon Change
This is the part some people won't like. The heavy weapon slot has been renamed Power weapon and includes special and heavy weapons from last game -- including some new ones. This means shotguns, sniper rifles, fusion rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, etc., all share the same slot.
You will no longer be able to carry a sniper rifle and rocket launcher at the same time, which was the standard in most PvE activities. Now the beta does not give you a good view of the entire game, but I didn't mind it. The change to primary weapons more than makes up for it.
Again, mods, skills, or something else we haven't seen yet could affect this.
The biggest complaint has been how long it takes to charge supers in both crucible and PvE. You are lucky to get your super once during a match. This should definitely be changed, so hopefully Bungie addresses this.
The biggest change in my opinion is how Power weapons are dealt with. In the first game you would get a heavy weapon ammo box appear during the match, and all teammates in the area would get it if they were close enough.
Now, only the person who picks up the ammo gets it. There are 2 boxes on the map, which means a max of 2 people can have Power weapons. Anyone could pick it up, so the same team could get it, or even 1 person.
I'm okay with this because it means you won't have a whole team of rockets, shotguns, or snipers. The game will be more focused on the primary weapons and abilities rather than Power weapons.
This has changed drastically as well. In the first game, armor gave you Strength, Intellect, or Discipline. These reduced the cooldowns of your melee ability, super ability, and grenade ability respectively.
Now, your armor will reduce the damage you take, increase your mobility, or increase health regeneration, which was how the skills trees worked in the first game.
I think this is fine for now -- again, we can't change much in the beta so it's hard to see how it will be in the long run.
I wasn't sure at first, but there have definitely been some changes made the class perks system, so now they're groups of set perks. You can choose between 1 of 2 categories at the moment, whereas you could freely select individual perks on the original game.
This is a letdown for me because I liked having those options, but I will forgive Bungie if this allows them to add multiple builds to each subclass in the future.
New and Altered Subclasses
I love all 3 new subclasses, and the Hunter has my favorite super ability in the game.
I think that Hunter is lacking overall in the teammate department, though. Their class skill is a dodge roll, which is exactly like shade step for Nightstalkers in the last game. Don't get me wrong -- I love this ability, and it has great synergy with the new Arcstrider subclass. But I think that should have been a perk rather than an ability.
Titans and Warlocks get great class skills that help the whole team and make a bigger impact. There is nothing a Hunter brings to a group at the moment, other than the player being good. Gunslingers will probably still do a lot of damage, but there isn't much else.
Blade Dancers in the last game had stealth, which was huge for safely reviving teammates. I think they should have used stealth as the hunter class ability instead. This would have made them useful for a team again, And they could have given a damage bonus and some other bonus as options, which would have fit the class well.
Overall, I like the Titan the most. It was my main in the first game, and after seeing the new Sentinel class -- along with the new Fists of Havoc -- I'm sold again.
I do think that raid groups are going to want at least 2 Warlocks, to have both healing and empowering rifts, along with 1 or 2 Titans for their team buffs and shields. I wouldn't be surprised if most people run 4 Warlocks and 2 Titans.
Buy or Wait?
Even though there were some issues with the beta, I still think this is a buy. If you liked the first game, I'm sure you will like Destiny 2. I, and many others, don't have problems with the fundamental game design -- only numbers that can be tweaked.
Just remember: this is an old build and Bungie has already relieved us by saying its team thought the same way and tuned things. I look forward to the full game and can't wait for the next Destiny adventure to unfold.