Destiny 2 is a lot more Destiny. The structure is largely the same, as is the mechanically excellent shooting and satisfying loot grind. But there are a variety of changes both under the hood and throughout your activities that make it a significant improvement over the original and a better experience for more than just the most hardcore players.
From the onset, there’s an overwhelming amount of stuff to do. The Red War story funnels you through the four areas you can explore, introducing you to each one as you go. At each destination, there’s a bunch of optional activities to choose from, including story-like Adventure missions, simple loot dungeons called Lost Sectors that lead to hidden areas of the map, and public events and patrols, which return from Destiny 1. Then, as you progress through the story, you’ll unlock the strike playlist and PvP in the Crucible. For a newcomer to Destiny, it can be hard to decide what to do and when.
The Red War story missions are less about plot and more about acclimating you to everything there is to see. You’ll level up at a pretty steady pace, but there are two level-gated missions that essentially force you to complete Adventures and other activities for XP before you can move on. There’s no actual reason for the missions to have level requirements, which can be annoying, but having direction is welcome after Destiny 1’s lack thereof. And aside from netting you XP and loot, the semi-hidden Lost Sectors reward exploration while Adventures are filled with lore and interesting details about the world that fall outside of the scope of the main story. Plus, if you’re burnt out on standard PvE, you can switch to PvP to level up, which requires different gear and skills.
The story is enough to serve its main purpose, which is to contextualize the shooting and looting you’re doing through it all. Its villain is a derivative conqueror figure with a hunger for power and destruction, and the save-the-world plot is tired. But you don’t need to know much to get going except that humanity is in danger, and you of all people have the power to help. The story’s strengths lie in atmosphere and side details, like the endearing craziness of the deranged AI Failsafe or the mysteries of the Vex machine race, and that should be fine for the majority of players who see the story as something to rush through in order to reach the high-level “endgame.” The mournful soundtrack in particular is fantastic, and it carried me through the most basic story beats, even on repeat playthroughs.
Like Destiny 1, there’s a lot of grinding to be done between finishing the story and moving onto the high-level endgame activities like the Nightfall strike and the Raid. And again like in Destiny 1, the shoot-and-loot feedback loop feels fantastic. The gunplay is still excellent, and being rewarded for your efforts with an even better gun is something worth celebrating. The biggest change is how much quicker it is to increase your Light level–now called Power–with minimal grinding early on. The combat isn’t any easier because of it, though, so it simply takes away the Destiny 1-era frustration of running the same few strikes a dozen times before you can move on to literally anything else. Plus, knowing you might get a slightly more fashionable pair of gauntlets from a five-minute public event gives you the kind of instant gratification that will sustain you through to the endgame.
There’s a decent variety of weapons and gear to find, mostly in random drops. And once you know what gear is desirable, it becomes a fun metagame to hope you’ll find it. A favorite around the GameSpot office has been the exotic auto rifle Sweet Business, and though no one has been using it, we had a lot of fun embarking on the quest to get Rat King. You might get lucky and get what you want right away, but for most people, finding a combination of great weapons for both PvE and PvP and gear with abilities that complement them takes some time. As far as customization goes, the Eververse and its microtransactions return, though leveling up after the official level cap grants you the new Bright Engrams that can be redeemed for consumable shaders, emotes, and more (for free). The change to shaders wasn’t popular among fans at first, but making them consumable allows for a greater range of customization on different pieces of armor as well as weapons.
Some activities and areas are more cleanly or interestingly designed than others, and after a handful of hours, you’ll start to identify the ones you love to play again and again and the ones you aren’t as fond of. At least two of the Crucible maps are circular in design and essentially funnel you to your death if you aren’t paying attention, which can get pretty boring; some areas require a fair amount of platforming, which can vary from tolerable to tedious depending on your class. But others are laid out in all the right ways to be memorable and fun to replay, like the Arms Dealer strike that keeps you running from room to room and preserving your heavy ammo for a series of tanks.
Though there’s plenty you can do on your own, Destiny 2 is undeniably better as a shared experience. That can come on many different levels; you can work silently with complete strangers to trigger a heroic public event that gets you all better loot, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, you can coordinate with five friends for hours on end to tackle the Raid. You can also join a Clan, which can grant you a number of passive benefits, like legendary gear, as long as someone in your Clan is meeting certain milestones. On top of that, Destiny 2 also introduces Guided Games, where solo players can search for groups who are short one person and willing to help them through difficult endgame activities like the Nightfall or Raid.
Success through strong teamwork is absolutely the best part of Destiny 2.
Success through strong teamwork is absolutely the best part of Destiny, and the top-to-bottom tweaks and additions in Destiny 2 make it more accessible without dampening your sense of accomplishment. Meeting the level requirement for the Nightfall or Raid and actually completing it are two very different things, and getting in sync with your Fireteam and flawlessly executing a strategy takes a lot of work. The first two Nightfall strikes, for example, both introduced a modifier to the original strike that forces you and your team to coordinate loadouts and stay in constant communication about which weapons and subclasses you’re using. You have to figure that out while also shooting waves of enemies and trying not to die. You’ll most likely fail, but each failure helps you perfect your strategy incrementally, and the process of collectively achieving that goal is immensely satisfying.
At the highest level, the vast and visually striking Raid combines the need for top-tier weapons and gear, picking the correct subclass and loadout based on what your team needs, strong combat skills, and problem-solving as a group. Destiny 2’s first Raid, Leviathan, is very, very difficult, and solving its often obscure puzzles can be both rewarding and frustrating. For the most part, each failure teaches you something new, and the GameSpot Raid team actually cheered when we came up with a solid strategy after going in blind. But there was one section in the middle that we struggled to complete even after we figured out what to do conceptually. Of course, this was after about five straight hours of raiding, so fatigue was definitely a factor–but it didn’t blend the puzzle-solving part with actual execution as well as the previous sections of the Raid.
In true Destiny fashion, if you do something once, you’ll probably end up doing it many more times. The difference with Destiny 2 is in the variety and accessibility of what’s available, which cuts down on a lot of the frustration associated with grinding. And even after you’ve leveled up, there’s still more you can do, from keeping up with daily and weekly challenges to just hanging out with friends. It’s a much stronger foundation than the original had and one that’s enough on its own to keep people coming back week after week.
Bungie is not completely satisfied with the state of Destiny 2’s PvP. In Bungie’s latest weekly blog post, the developer said while the Quickly Crucible playlist is “working as we had hoped,” the Competitive playlist is running into some issues.
Specifically, it’s a matter of unfair matches happening too often. “Too many players are getting stomped by opponents who grossly outmatch them,” Bungie said. Indeed, in my own sessions, I’ve been on both sides of the equation–and neither is very fun. So it’s nice to hear Bungie is making a change to help even out the playing field.
In Competitive, matchmaking times are longer. But the tradeoff is that the matches are supposed to be hosted on a better connection and with opponents who more closely match your own skill level. Right now, however, there is a bug that is leading to uneven matches. Bungie said it is “applying that fix right now,” so this shouldn’t be an issue for much longer.
“If you’ve been having fun in Quickplay, nothing has changed. Game on. If you’ve been getting your ass kicked in Competitive, you’ll have more of a fighting chance,” Bungie said. “If you’ve been kicking ass in Competitive, we’re sending some worthier opponents your way.”
Bungie added that the Crucible will always be changing in response to feedback and data. “It adapts to the way you play, so this won’t be the last update we apply to the state of combat,” the developer explained.
In other Destiny 2 news, Bungie has released a brief teaser trailer for the game’s Trials of the Nine Crucible event, which kicks off later this week–watch it here.
Bungie is expecting to release the next update for Destiny 2 next week. In the studio’s latest weekly blog post, it said this update–126.96.36.199–will address “some known issues.” One of these is the “harmful imagery” that players recently discovered.
This is a reference to the piece of armor that was found to have a connection to a “hate symbol.” Bungie already started scrubbing this item from Destiny 2, and the new update will remove it completely, it seems.
The new Destiny 2 update should be out “within the next week,” Bungie said. Specific timing hasn’t been announced as of yet, but we’ll report back with the patch notes when they are released.
Destiny 2 being a live service game, fans can expect numerous updates coming down the pipeline in the time ahead. Bungie will also support Destiny 2 will paid expansion content, the first of which, Curse of Osiris, is reportedly coming out in December.
In other Destiny 2 news, the game’s first raid, Leviathan, is out now. For everything you need to know about, check out GameSpot’s in-depth guide here.
Destiny 2 had a big, successful release, but the launch hasn’t been entirely smooth for everyone. The game has been crashing on PlayStation 4 Pro, and unfortunately for those impacted, Bungie and Sony still do not have an final fix for the problem.
The error code is CE-34878-0. “At this time, we do not have any additional information. We are troubleshooting the issue internally, and attempting to identify specific causes for the issue,” Bungie said in its latest weekly blog post.
We’re aware that some Destiny 2 users have seen crash issues on PS4 Pro. We and Bungie are working to resolve, thanks for your patience.
— Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) September 11, 2017
Thankfully, there is an advised workaround you can use until it’s fixed. Bungie said it advises disabling HDCP settings on your PS4. This doesn’t guarantee it’ll fix the issues, however, as Bungie said doing this “may reduce or circumvent this error from impacting your console.”
In other Destiny 2 news, Bungie has released the first teaser trailer for the Trials of the Nine Crucible event, which kicks off later this week–watch it here.
Destiny 2’s first Raid has finally gone live. Titled Leviathan, this latest dungeon series is packed with an assortment of challenging puzzles and boss fights to overcome. To help you get past all of its hurdles, we’ve gathered useful tips to follow as well as what you need to do to access the Leviathan Raid. We’re currently diving straight into the Raid right now, so be sure to check back often as we update this feature with more details on how to beat each individual section.
We’re still digging deep into Destiny 2, but there are some basic things you should know (and habits from Destiny 1 you might need to break). Those include not waiting to decrypt Engrams and saving some of your Upgrade Points. You can check out more in our Destiny 2 beginner’s guide.
For more guides for the game, including breakdowns of the three classes, along with our skill and ability galleries for the various subclasses, be sure to visit our Destiny 2 guides and walkthroughs roundup for more information on what’s happening in the online world of the Guardians.
- How to Access the Raid
- Major Raid Prerequisites
- Suggested Gear
- Leviathan Raid Guide
- Part 1: Embankment
- Part 2: Leviathan Castellum (Part 1)
- Part 3: Royal Pools
- Part 4: Leviathan Castellum (Part 2)
- Part 5: Pleasure Gardens
- Part 6: Leviathan Castellum (Part 3)
- Part 7: The Gauntlet
- Part 8: Emperor Calus
How to Access the Raid
In order to access the Raid, simply select the Leviathan icon in the top right corner of the Director, which you can see in the image below. You’ll also want to initiate a questline called On the Comms, which is unlocked at random after having spent time killing Cabal. Once you complete its major steps, you unlock a new step called Destroyer of Worlds that requires you to complete the Leviathan Raid. Doing so will net you a sweet prize after completing the Raid.
Major Raid Prerequisites
Aside from completing the On the Comms questline, make sure your Power Level is at least 270 before taking on the Leviathan Raid. Going in with anything lower is manageable, but be aware that entering the Raid with a lower Power Level could make you a detriment to your Fireteam. It’s also recommended to enter the Raid with a full fireteam of six players.
Skyburner’s Oath – The Skyburner’s Oath fires solar slugs that do extra damage to Cabal and penetrates Phalanx shields. This is a handy weapon to use that’ll assist your efforts to take down the loads of Cabal you’ll encounter in the Leviathan Raid.
Rat King – The Rat King may seem like an odd choice to bring into the Raid, but it can be a worthwhile asset given it becomes more powerful as more members of your Fireteam have it.
Leviathan Raid Guide
Part 1: Embankment
After starting the Raid, proceed forward until you’ll encounter enemies. These foes won’t harm you unless you shoot them; attack them or run past them. Proceed up the slope and head through the door.
Part 2: Leviathan Castellum (Part 1)
Upon reaching the Castellum, you’ll begin a trial that has you claiming and defending three Standard. To accomplish this, your group should separate into two teams: one to defend the a central point where the Standard are to be taken, and another to retrieve them from their respective bearers. Keep in mind that if the Cabal manage to get too close to the central point, then the trial will restart.
Once all three Standard have been returned, a door will open up the path ahead where you’ll find the first of the Leviathan Raid loot chests, containing a Legendary engram, the Calus’ Selected shader, and the Emperor Calus Tokena Token.
Part 3: Royal Pools
In the next section, you’ll encounter four pressure plates, with a fifth located at the center. Each of these plates has an orb on it that imbues you with a one-minute buff that protects you from environmental damage. Make sure you and your teammates activate this buff before starting the trial, as standing in the water in this area without it will quickly drain your health. Once you’re ready, have four of your teammates stand on each pressure plate.
The premise of the trial is as follows: four people must maintain position on their respective pressure plates to slowly raise a weight up a chain that will expose nine lanterns that you need to destroy. But as you’d expect, powerful enemies spawn, making the process significantly more difficult. As the assault wages on, make sure you and your teammates keep re-activating the buff. Once all the lanterns are destroyed, the trial will end and a loot chest will spawn containing an Emperor Calus Token.
Part 4: Leviathan Castellum (Part 2)
The next section has you once again defending and retrieving three Standards. However, this time around the central point you must defend has switched places with one of the points in the surrounding area. Regardless, utilize the same two-team strategy to complete the trial. After you’ve succeeded, a loot chest will spawn containing glimmer.
Part 5: Pleasure Gardens
The next trial is trickier than the previous two. First, eliminate the enemies you see before heading towards the massive golden statue. Have two of your teammates pick up orbs and charge them at the light beams scattered around the area. An opening should appear beneath the statue; remaining members should then grab the pollen inside. The members up top must then guide pollen holders to special flower scattered around the area. But be careful, there are six Warhounds wandering the area that can make short work of your teammates if spotted. You also have a limited time to get the pollen holders to a flower before a Warhound’s Psionic Howl resets your progress. Regardless, once pollen holders reach a flower, those up top must fire their orbs at the flower to imbue their teammates with a strength buff. Do this two to three times to build up enough power.
Once powered up, the pollen holders should then attack the Warhounds. But if a Warhound sees your teammates, they have one minute seconds to damage them and retreat to the safe room below the golden statue. Rinse and repeat this process until the Warhounds are dead. Keep in mind that you only have three solid chances to defeat all six Warhounds, as the safe room will lock up after the third attempt. You’ll then get Irrigation Key a loot chest will appear on top of the safe room containing random loot and an Emperor Calus Token.
Part 6: Leviathan Castellum (Part 3)
Once again the same principle applies here. Simply utilize the same two-team strategy to obtain the Standards and complete the trial. A loot chest will spawn containing more glimmer.
Part 7: The Gauntlet
To start the trial, jump onto the round platforms to summon enemies. Steadily kill them to fill up the meter under each pillar in the room. Two orbs will eventually spawn; have two of your teammates pick them up. This transports them into tunnels in the surrounding area.
Those in the tunnel need to run through gates with rows of circles on them. Energy barriers close off these uniquely designed gates, so tunnel runners need to quickly call out which gate’s row of circles has a red one. Teammates outside then have a limited time to shoot at the rows of glowing triangles on the corresponding gate that doesn’t contain a red circle. Successfully doing this will open up the gate, clearing the path for the tunnel runners. The two tunnel runners converge and throw their orbs into an energy fountain.
Once you have completed this three games, your entire team can go to the middle and grab an orb and run through the tunnels. After the entire team throws their orbs into the energy fountain, the trial will end.
Part 8: Emperor Calus
After clearing the third Castellum challenge, you’ll be led to Emperor Calus’ throne room. To initiate the battle, shoot the cup from his hand, and he’ll start spawning enemies into the room for you to fight. Eventually, Calus will teleport three players into a purple dimension to do battle with a giant projection of his head, while the other three will be left to defend themselves in the throne room. Four Psions then spawn in the throne room each with a symbol floating above them–make sure your teammates don’t kill them.
Those transported inside the purple dimension will each notice a different symbol on the Calus projection’s forehead. Each player needs to shout out the symbol they see to their teammates in the throne room. The players back in the real world must then kill the Psion aligned with the symbol that wasn’t called out. This lowers the barrier surrounding the Calus projection’s head.
The Calus projection will then begin to spew skull projectiles. When this barrage is over, orbs will spawn that can take the players back into the throne room. At this point, everyone should climb on whichever platform is glowing in the throne room in order to receive the Force of Will buff. Fire at Calus until he becomes invincible, and then move to the next glowing platform to shoot at him again. Make sure to avoid his attacks during this portion of the fight; it can instantly wipe out your team. Rinse and repeat this process until he goes down.
Blizzard has posted the newest “Developer Update” video for Overwatch, and this one is not like the rest. In this video, titled “Play Nice, Play Fair,” game director Jeff Kaplan talks extensively about Blizzard’s reaction to the “rising tide of toxicity or bad behaviour in the game” and what the studio is doing to help make Overwatch a more welcoming place.
Starting off, Kaplan pointed out that the player-reporting tools that were already available on PC are now on console. The tools are not perfect, he acknowledged, but it’s a first step. Kaplan also spoke more broadly about poor behaviour in Overwatch, saying Blizzard has taken action against more than 480,000 accounts since the game launched in May 2016. 340,000 of those were a direct result of the player-reporting system, Kaplan said.
Whatever Blizzard does to improve the experience, there will never be a magic fix for bad behaviour. “There is not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behaviour go away,” Kaplan explained. “But it is a continual process that we are very dedicated to fixing and improving.”
Kaplan added that Blizzard doesn’t plan to create “naughty pools” as some games do, where offending players aren’t banned altogether but put in a pool with other jerks.
“Our highest level philosophy is, ‘If you are a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, we don’t want you in Overwatch,” he said. “Overwatch should be an inclusive game space.”
Generally speaking, Kaplan said he thinks the toxicity problem is worse in video games because there is an element of anonymity when you’re sitting behind a keyboard or holding a controller in some far-away room than where your teammates or foes are. He gave the example of if you were driving in your car and someone cut you off, you might curse them out. But if you actually met them and had an issue face-to-face, you might not be so aggressive or mean.
While Blizzard will take steps to stem the tide of toxicity in Overwatch, Kaplan stressed that players, too, must “take a deep look inward” and think about if they could be nicer. He also pointed out that creating systems in Overwatch that combat toxicity takes time away from actual game development. So if you want Blizzard to release more new features/maps/characters/whatever and faster, stop being a jerk, basically.
“The bad behaviour not just ruining the experience for one another, but the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress in terms of development at a much slower rate,” Kaplan said, acknowledging that he, too, has been guilty of being mean to people online.
How do you feel about the level of toxicity and bad behaviour in Overwatch? Let us know in the comments below!