This week I’m going to talk more about the different aspects of the Hunter, the various focuses and my impressions. This is a fairly large post so continue after the jump to continue reading.
What I Did on Day 3: I ended up completing the only available Strike mission that was active on the Alpha, which was overtuned in some parts in my opinion, and participated for about 30 seconds in the Crucible which is the PvP aspect of Destiny.
The Strike: I entered into the Devil’s Lair a couple of times, the first time I got interrupted midway through it and had to log off to help around the house, the second time I completed the Strike. I really enjoyed the mission overall, but there are certain things that were way too overtuned, considering this will most likely be the first Strike a player will participate in. There is a section about one third of the way through where you and your two partners are forced to wait in a room while your Ghost disables 3 sets of laser beams blocking your progress in a tunnel. The first wave is decently difficult, but the second and third waves are way too over tuned and we had to constantly duck into the ever expanding tunnel of laser beams to get out of fire and recover our health before ducking back out and taking potshots or reviving our dead teammates. There are a bit too many enemies that spawned in those last two waves of enemies and reducing the overall number of enemies in those waves by about 1/4th each would solve plenty of problems.
The second problem area was the section where you face off against a heavily, huge emphasis on the heavily, armored Fallen Tank that can obliterate you if you let the easily dodged cannon fire hit you. The problem I had with this section is that while I appreciate the fact that you need to hit the weak points of the tank to damage it in any sense of the word, I was using one of the best primary weapons you could obtain in the Alpha and even than I was only taking off thousandths of it’s health when hitting the weak points. Another problem was that ammo would get dangerously low for even my primary weapon before a squad of Fallen infantry led by a Captain, think a high ranking Elite from Halo, would spawn and we could pick up more ammo from their corpses. If you took the health of the tank down overall it’d be a better fit for an entry level Strike. Again we all had to scamper around a vast outside area with plenty of cover trying to dodge fire from the tank while running to our dead teammates to revive them.
The last problem area of the Strike was the end boss, and it’s pretty much an amalgamation of the previous two problems I had with the strike. Too many enemies spawning in waves that could easily overwhelm lesser skilled players, and too much health on the boss overall which forced us to wait for those huge enemy waves to replenish our Heavy Weapon ammo to damage the boss. For an entry level strike on normal mode, because I noticed later that you can do Story missions and Strikes on two different difficulties, this last boss was just a bit too hard. I have no issue with higher level Strikes and the rumored Raids being much harder to complete. For an entry level mission however it was too hard.
One final note it seems that Strikes, and I assume Raids, and the Crucible are the only two places where you need a Playstation Plus subscription for Destiny. This can obviously change prior to release, but from what was stated in the Alpha it looks to be that way.
Focuses: In Destiny the skill tree system is something that you can swap out at will, at least from what I’ve heard, and the more you use a Focus the more abilities you unlock. Think of them like a sub-class, with each focus having the following abilities.
- Grenades like the standard FPS staple of a fragmentation grenade and a Seeker grenade(A grenade that splits into about 6-7 little fragments that home towards nearby enemies and damage them. It can hit one enemy multiple times).
- Super Abilities like the Ghost Gun that I mistakenly called Golden Gun in the first day’s impressions post
- Movement Abilities These affect your ability to traverse vertically, Double Jump and Hover are two examples
- Melee Abilities, the only one I really got to test was the Throwing Knife from the Gunslinger focus. It’s fairly useful and when you are within melee range you don’t waste it.
- Passive Abilties like one for the hunter where you get increased weapon stability for precision shots made repeatedly with a stacking buff. I particularly like this one. Precision shots are shots into a enemies weak points, and is indicated by yellow numbers that are a bit larger in size and damage than the standard white numbers you see whenever you damage an enemy. Headshots against Fallen are precision shots for example
- Weapon and Armor specialties. Certain focuses will favor certain weapon classes, like the Handcannon for Gunslinger, but you are not forced into any weapon choice by these. They are just small perks that increase their effectiveness, but aren’t straight damage buffs to a certain weapon class.
- Other Bonuses and Upgrades.
If you look at the picture above you will see that some of the circles have arrows below them and those indicate choices you can make for which bonus you wish to choose. You cannot for example take the Movement Ability upgrades for both Double Jump to be given extra height and a Third Jump. You have to choose between one or the other. Other abilities are straight up mutually exclusive like the three choices between grenades. You can only have one type of grenade. From what I can tell you can change these at any time, even in the middle of a fire fight, but there is no pausing the game world and you can be killed while you are in menus. I’m not sure if you can change between Focuses mid fight or even mid mission however since we weren’t able to get to level 15 for the second Focus that was shown in the Alpha.
Bungie has stated that all the classes have access to all the Focuses, but that class choice will affect focuses differently. For example certain abilities might be more powerful, either in pure damage or effectiveness in other ways, for a Warlock and considerably weaker for a Hunter or Titan. While I’m not sure that this will actually be true come release that makes me interested in what ways all the focuses will change for each class.
Gunslinger for example seems to be a primarily damage dealing based Focus, while the Firesinger Focus seems to be for buffing and supporting your allies and using your super ability to revive your allies instantly and boost their damage and armor.
Items: Armor and Weapons are fairly easy to get and while you start off looking fairly shabby, you can easily assemble a set of armor that meshes visually easily and not look like infamous Burning Crusade era World of Warcraft armor clown suits.
In addition to looking good you will also get cooldown reductions for your grenade, melee ability and super ability from stat increases on higher quality items like the one pictured below, in addition to some random abilitiy modifiers like a faster melee swing animation from lesser, but still good quality, armor.
Those ability modifers are the greyed out circle you see in the above picture and they are on every Green or better quality item. To unlock the ability to use those modifiers you just have to keep using that piece of armor while you play. Weapons also have these modifiers, though they modify the guns themselves. For example you can upgrade from the standard Iron sights on a Scout Rifle to a Laser Dot sight. You can also give weapons increased damage or damage in the form of certain elemental types such as Fire or Void (Think darkness element). The higher quality the armor or weapon the more modifiers you can unlock, although you will need to use them for much longer times to unlock each modifier.
Take this Hand Cannon you can get from one of the different Factions in the game called the Future War Cult as an example.
In the above picture the Green circle is a currently selected modifier, I think it’s a scope modifier if I remember my time in the Alpha correctly.
UI: I mentioned briefly that there was no true Mini-map in the game and that was partially incorrect. For friendly players and objectives they will show up as blips on the radar, but for enemies they will appear as wedges in one of two rings around the center of the radar or in a circle if they are right on top of you depending on their position. Take a look at the picture below to see what I mean about the friendlies.
Overall: I’m really impressed with Destiny and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of playing it when it releases. Certain balance issues aside, I think the game is very polished and I can’t wait to play around in this world that Bungie has created.