Now we get to the fun part. Remember when I said I never wanted to see Old Russia again? Destiny proved that to be an untrue statement over and over again while I played. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait for the beta; even after having driven, walked, and shot through Old Russia for hours on end, I still want to see more of it.
The map of Old Russia is absolutely gigantic, humongous, mamothine, and sublime– any word for mind-blowingly large is a perfect description of Old Russia. To gauge just how big it really is, even in my last day of playing Destiny I found a ridiculously large canyon and cave that I hadn’t even noticed before. That’s something that I feel like everyone can take away from the alpha: you will always be finding new places.
Exploration mode was best described by my Ghost when I was first dropped down into the map, “Now, we can go wherever we want.” In exploration mode the world was my oyster and it was my job to do whatever I wanted.
When I wanted to explore and hunt down loot, the game welcomed me with open arms. When I wanted to get some experience, the game presented me with a wealth of options on how to do that. If I wanted more action. I could run around and get into fights with the many Fallen and Hive enemies scattered around the map. If I wanted a structured way to get some XP, I could do the missions peppered about the map. Even with those two options readily available, there were always the Spinmetal Leaves that were scattered about which could be turned in for mass XP. There was no reason not to collect them as I ran around. Protip: gather all of them that you can because you can turn in 20 of them at the main hub and receive somewhat disproportionate rewards.
Bungie even did a good job of dangling what was to come in Destiny with enemies I couldn’t possibly beat. In two areas I witnessed enemies who were at level “??” who took 1 damage at a time from my normal weaponry and only 2 from things like grenades, supers, and rockets. Even knowing that I couldn’t beat them, I went back time and time again to take a few shots and see if anything had changed. The moment I’m the correct level in the real game I plan to beeline over to them and wreck their worlds.
Even though I loved everything about Exploration mode, I did have a favorite part. Public Events are absolutely awesome. Public Events are randomly spawning/occurring events which just happen on their own time and you can either jump in and play them for all the XP and gear there is, or, take a pass. Every single one I saw (their coming is marked by the whole world getting very dark and a message appearing at the top left of the screen. They’re normally timed in terms of the objectives as well as how long they have for someone to initiate them before they despawn.
Public events vary in terms of what happens, though I had the opportunity to participate in three different events. The first I ever saw was a defense mission which had a WARSAT (I assumed it was some kind of satelitte) falling from the sky. The Guardians were tasked with protecting it for as long as it took a Ghost to scan it. Though it’s more of a timed event (you have to survive long enough for the Ghost to scan the WARSAT 100%), enemies spawn in waves and grow in difficulty.
The second public event that I saw (and ran from the first time) was the one which Bungie showed off in their first gameplay videos. A Devil Tank would drop down in a random area and it would be your job to put an end to it before the time is up.
The third, and last, that I played in was a point-to-point timed event. You had to kill off three parties of Fallen excavators who would be dropped from ships. This is the only public event that I nearly failed thanks to my cockiness.
What I love so much about the Public Events was the freeness of them, the very “drop-in and out” nature of them. My most memorable part of the alpha was when I was having a hard time defending a WARSAT, on the brink of death, and a Titan comes from above me, using their super, and joins the fight. The concept that any player nearby can just come in and team up with you is amazing to me. I also noticed the smart move on Bungie’s part where they clear out the mobs that would normally be running around in the area when a public event occurs. It just keeps the event as difficult as they planned it. No surprises.
Make sure to keep up with the whole “My Time With the Destiny Alpha” series over on the hub!