Your all-purpose beginner’s guide to the Destiny beta

Friday, 18th July 2014 07:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Destiny is an unusual game in many ways, so if you’re finding it hard to get into this guide to getting started may help you out.


Almost everything in Destiny seems a bit baffling at first before very, very quickly becoming second nature. You will find yourself casting sideways glances at games with less delightful inventory management, for example. You’re a smart type, you can probably just figure it out as you go – but if you don’t feel like you’re “getting it” (or haven’t even got the client) maybe these various explanations will assist you before fashion leaves you behind.

Getting started with the Destiny beta

First you’ll need the beta client. Redeem your invite code at to receive three download codes for your platform of choice. After that, or if you’ve only been given a download code, redeem this second code at the PlayStation or Xbox Store. You need to download the client and any update files, but once that’s finished, you’re not done; fire up the client itself so it can download the rest of the content.

Once you’re in, your first task is to choose a class.

  • Titan:
    The basic commando class. Play this if you want to be powerful and survivable; run and gun. Your first special power is an area-of-effect attack triggered at dangerously close-range; in later levels, you’ll unlock a defensive sphere which will have tactical applications. The Titan hits hard with an electrical punch melee, and is identified by heavy armour and a swathe of cloth worn on one hip. The Titan’s special melee does a megaton of damage; its grenades will disorient enemies
  • Warlock:
    The “magic” class. Play this if you want to rely on more than your guns and twitch skills. Your first special power is an area-of-effect attack triggered at medium range via a leaping throw, which must be carefully aimed; in later levels, you’ll be able to apply a self-buff. The Warlock thrusts an outstretched palm before them crackling with Traveler light to melee, and are easily spotted thanks to their long dusters or robes. The Warlock’s melee special reduces grenade cooldown; note that the Warlock’s grenade explodes on first impact, which can be easier for beginners to use effectively.
  • Hunter:
    The sniper or rogue class. Play this if you like to play either a precise distance game, or get up close and personal with melee. Your first special power is a powerful, three-shot weapon; in later levels your melee attacks will become even more deadly. The Hunter wears a short cape around their neck, and uses a brutal knife attack to melee. The Hunter’s special melee is a thrown knife which requires skilful targeting but is a lifesaver when retreating before a pack of enemies, and its grenade does persistent fire damage.

The rest of character creation is entirely cosmetic; there are no gameplay difference between the races. The Awoken are a race born from humans who fled the Collapse and returned changed. The Exo are a race of Golden Age machines far beyond the capacity of post-Collapse human science. Apart from the obvious cosmetic differences, the races have different emotes. You know who to pick if you want to do the robot.


Important controls

Most of Destiny’s controls are pretty standard fare so I won’t bug you with “right stick to aim” and “left trigger for iron sights” waffle. Here are the things you need to know about:

  • Summon Ghost:
    Summon your ghost to reveal a waypoint where applicable, and in later levels to summon a sparrow (ground vehicle) or return to orbit. Call Peter Dinklage to you with Select (PS3), the touch pad (PS4), Back (Xbox 360) or View (Xbox One; that’s the weird overlapping boxes one).
  • Grenade: left bumper. It’s on a cooldown and isn’t available at first level.
  • Melee: right bumper. A few levels in you unlock a special melee effect governed by a cooldown timer.
  • Super attack: left and right bumper. It charges with damage dealt and isn’t available at early levels.
  • Emote: D-pad
    – Up is “wave”, a greeting that varies by race
    – Down sits
    – Left points
    – Right is dance, an animation that varies by race
  • Player interaction: right stick tap. Highlighting and then selecting another player with this will allow you to open a menu with interactions like party up or inspect.


First steps

Unlike the alpha, the Destiny beta actually starts at the beginning of the game. Your character is revived by a ghost, and guided through a tutorial – how to sprint, how to use a gun, and so on. In this early mission you are only first level and won’t have access to your powers – grenades, double jumping, special melee and special attacks. Grit your teeth and push on; you’ll get to the good stuff.

Once you’ve finished this mandatory first section, visit the tower and have a bit of an explore. Green markers show important destinations; you need to check in at the post office (this is where you’ll find loot you failed to collect, but for now Bungie has a message for you) and possibly the decoder (who identifies equipment for you), as well as visit your class leader (an armour vendor) and visit the shipsmith and weaponsmith.

It’s a good idea to open your inventory and have a fiddle in this safe space; the weird virtual mouse takes a while to get used to, and it’s in your interests to learn how to quickly equip new gear, as there’s no pausing out there in the wild.

The other vendors aren’t useful to you right now, but when you come back at higher levels (or with more cash in your pockets) you can buy new ships and ground vehicles and well as cloaks and other customisation materials, and accept bounties for PvP and PvE.

It’s a good idea to open your inventory and have a fiddle in this safe space; the weird virtual mouse takes a while to get used to, and it’s in your interests to learn how to quickly equip new gear, as there’s no pausing out there in the wild. Any rare items you want to keep and share across characters can be deposited in the vaults in the Tower courtyard, but otherwise highlight and press square on PlayStation or X on Xbox to disassemble. You don’t sell stuff at shops; you trade it in for materials and currency right in your inventory.

Note that some equipment supports upgrades in addition to existing bonus stats; if you use these items enough, you’ll be given the option to pay a fee to unlock these, which range from faster reloading with specific weapon types to finding more items to better scopes. Press triangle on PlayStation or Y on Xbox to access the upgrade sub menu. The same system applies when upgrading your character, so check that out, too.

Do not jump off the balcony in the Tower if you value your skin.


Choosing a mission

Until you hit level 5 you cannot access the Crucible, Destiny’s multiplayer arena, and the Moon is off-limits in the beta even though it appears on the map once you’ve done a few missions. Nevertheless, the first time you visit the map you can learn all the basics.

In orbit, you access the map by selecting “choose destination”. You can then mouse between the Tower, the Earth and later the Moon and the Crucible.

What you see on the Earth map depends on what missions you’ve done and your level, but all you need to know is there are three kinds of mission available:

  • Story:
    You can play these alone or with up to two friends in a fire team (party), and if you go in alone you may see other players wandering the map with you. They unlock as you progress and unfurl the narrative. If you are well-equipped and in the right level range there’s no reason not to try these on your own.
  • Strike:
    A co-op mission, and Destiny’s equivalent of a raid. You must play these in groups of three; if you aren’t already in a fire team Destiny will matchmake for you, but you may then drop in halfway through the mission. These story missions feature difficult boss encounters and set-piece battles, and having a headset will be a major advantage. You will be rewarded with gear if you complete the mission. You can revive fallen comrades and if the whole party wipes you just restart at the last checkpoint.
  • Explore:
    Wander the environment with no narrative goals. Optional side-quests are automatically generated for you at various fixed points across the map, and mostly include visiting specific points, clearing out enemies, or collecting items. This is a great way to collect loot, level up and get to know the environments intimately if you’re not feeling up to a story or strike mission.

When you highlight a mission you’ll see a description with its name, type and suggested level range. Once you choose a mission you’re given the opportunity to choose a difficulty level; there are various rewards on offer for those who elect to challenge themselves, and a guide will show you whether your equipment is up to the challenge, so you can always go shopping before you do.



To access PvP, you need to reach level five and visit the Tower to speak to a Crucible recruiter. Accept his invitation, then return to orbit.

All PvP takes place in the Crucible, a map area to the right of the Earth. Any help you need beyond this point is best provided by the steep learning curve of going up against Bungie fans.

So what’s going on here?

Humanity was visited by a mysterious construct called the Traveler, which triggered the Golden Age, a period of expansion and scientific advance that saw humanity take to the stars.

Unfortunately, the Traveler was followed, centuries later, by its ancient enemy the Darkness, causing the Collapse. Humanity slowly worked its way back to a modicum of its former glory, but the Darkness is stirring again – and this time, we have no chance of survival.

Before the Darkness rendered it silent and powerless, the Traveler granted humanity one last gift – Ghosts, tiny independent AIs which seek out worthy warriors to take up the mantle of the Guardians, working with humanity’s remaining leaders to secure the Earth and fight off the encroaching Darkness once more.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to get in and start enjoying yourself in Destiny. Do you have any hot tips for your fellow players? Let us know!



  1. Legendaryboss

    I was going to say Borderlands x Halo MMO. But Borderlands was way harder than Destiny and featured much more loot in many situations, on solo journeys of course. So Watered Down Borderlands x Halo MMO.

    #1 2 months ago
  2. polygem

    I am tempted to teach you now that this is just an opinion and therefore completely irrelevant because you have no proof…but then I realise that it would just make me look like a legendary douche. “Oh Dear…”

    #2 2 months ago
  3. Legendaryboss

    Do you really think your obvious trolling is working?

    #3 2 months ago
  4. polygem

    i just hold a mirror in front of your face. if that looks like trolling to you…..well, then it should tell you something :D

    #4 2 months ago
  5. Legendaryboss

    Twisting, keep it up.

    #5 2 months ago
  6. polygem

    man, just take it with some humour. don´t take yourself so seriously :D
    we´re in it for the fun. aren´t we?

    #6 2 months ago
  7. dazedonthemoon

    Just remember the saying, opinions are like assholes… Everyone’s got one and often they are full of shit. And we are all tired of smelling your shit on. Every. Single. Thread.

    #7 2 months ago
  8. Legendaryboss

    I’m not altering my viewpoint about Destiny just because you don’t like it and if it is indeed a problem then you can email Pat.

    #8 2 months ago
  9. labtoy

    they wasted the entire d-pad for emotes? oO

    #9 2 months ago
  10. marporte

    This is still a beta our feedback on will make the game better. Bungie can make functional shooters on consoles and unlike EA they listen and work harder

    #10 2 months ago
  11. polygem


    #11 2 months ago
  12. polygem


    Sorry…don’t know what happened there.

    Post was going to be like this:

    +1 that. They really do listen. The beta is only a tiny tiny glance.

    They have changed a lot of things in the halo games based on feedback. Not rushed things but stuff that made sense.

    They continously added content, playlists, value to the game and improved things.

    They know their stuff and they want to deliver the best game they possibly can.

    In that regard I trust them and this is why I have a lot of respect for them.

    #12 2 months ago
  13. polygem


    i have played it now for quite a while now. it´s great. it gets better the more you play it.
    on the surface it looks like just another shooter but the more you play the more it reveals it´s finesse and details.

    i dig the raids and the pvp esepecially. the raid has been awesome (played it with friends – was tons of fun) and i can´t wait to play more of that stuff. the enemy AI is sooo good.

    i would love to have more content for the competitive mp in the beta but that´s not a complaint really, just a wish :D

    sure, it is a shooter. it has loot but it plays very very different than borderlands. it is much more refined. like – much. more.

    it is much better in every way. every single mechanic is better. it´s not watered down compared to BL at all. that´s just not true.

    you also forget the whole crafting element. you forget the PvP stuff completely.

    the competitive mp could be a game on it´s own. if you know bungie, you know what you can expect to come in this department.

    i think that you are only looking at this on the surface, like you often do actually unfortunately.

    you are not giving it a chance.

    it is black or white for you.

    which halo games have you played?

    what´s your xbox gamertag?

    #13 2 months ago
  14. Legendaryboss

    Oh brother! @Polygem Sigh… You don’t get it. @1 was a hands on comparison, it is not my full impressions of Destiny and it was never penned to be a good or bad thing.

    All I said was that it was easier and featured less loot in many situations, nothing more, nothing less. Taster impressions. So I forget nothing.

    #14 2 months ago
  15. polygem


    dude, i completely get that…and i posted MY first impressions.

    they differ from yours – so what?

    no need to give me your “sigh you don´t get it bullshit”.

    it´s not like your posts would need some encrypting.

    this is called having a discussion…it´s not rocket science.

    which halo games have you played?

    what´s your xbox gamertag?

    #15 2 months ago
  16. Legendaryboss

    @polygem “no need to give me your “sigh you don´t get it bullshit”. it´s not like your posts would need some encrypting. this is called having a discussion…it´s not rocket science.” = “i think that you are only looking at this on the surface, like you often do actually unfortunately. you are not giving it a chance.”

    This is a annoying, flawed discussion if you can’t realise that you don’t get @1. The entire post was very simple. If you think I’m not giving destiny a chance based on @1 that alone confirms it. Discussions only work if you understand the content. Stop requesting, Its not happening now.

    #16 2 months ago
  17. BrokenSpline

    And the game is still light on content. I agree with #1 It is a Borderlands-Lite and just remove the story element which is the least interesting then of the game. All they have done from the alpha to this beta is allowed you to play more content and added the story elements. The gameplay is still boring. Thank you bungie for just securing my preorder for Evolve.

    I guess I did have too much hope that Bungie would pull off another game that innovated like Halo but alas I was wrong.

    #17 2 months ago
  18. polygem

    dude, just communicate. you drop provoking oneliners all the time and/or leave room for interpretation with your posts and then you are butthurt if people show some sort of reaction to it and/ or you play the drama queen that has been misinterpretated and treated oh so badly again. you don´t explain yourself, you call others idiots instead, too dumb to understand you. that´s not taking part in a discussion. that´s just a bucket filled with shit emptied all over the discussion.
    you want others to prove everything, even when it´s clearly just an opinion but if someone asks for the same thing from you, you dodge away like a coward.
    make your point clear and stop the oh dear sigh shit. that would help a lot.
    you maneuver yourself in these situations with your own arrogant behaviour. don´t blame others for it. don´t be surprised to trigger extreme reactions if you act like you do. you are to blame for it. stop complaining about it. and don´t forget to :D from time to time.

    which halo games have you played?

    what´s your xbox gamertag?

    #18 2 months ago
  19. Legendaryboss

    @polygem Look at the post above you, then look at yours. Speaks volumes. Look at someone misunderstanding my post and then look at yours again speaks volumes. The differences are clear as day. My posting style isnt changing because of your incessant whining. Stopping it here, someone has to.

    #19 2 months ago
  20. polygem

    ok man, i thought we could have a discussion about halo and destiny and borderlands, about the fantastic enemy ai in the halo games, about the fact that you can change the difficulty in the beta already as well, if you think it is still easier than borderlands if you do that and so on…but you do not discuss. you drop offensive onliners and then you are searching for the back door when someone wants to get a bit more into detail.
    yea, maybe you´re right, maybe i don´t get it. i don´t understand what you want from a page like this.

    #20 2 months ago
  21. Dragon

    @Legendaryboss ,
    A humble advice.

    #21 2 months ago
  22. polygem

    damn, now you´ve ruined it…

    #22 2 months ago
  23. Legendaryboss

    @Dragon Looks like I have no other choice.

    #23 2 months ago
  24. polygem


    poor boss…you have another choice though, easy one. stop acting like a dick. problem solved.

    #24 2 months ago

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