Matt Martin jumped into Destiny as soon as it went live today. Here he races to get XP, loot and weapons, and offers tactics on the first Fallen enemies.
As Destiny goes live this week, the VG247 team will be exploring the world through each class, offering tips and sharing experiences of Bungie's first-person MMO. First up is Matt Martin, who jumped straight into the game the instant the servers went live.
I reached level 2 before the intro mission had finished, and it felt as though the reward structure is something Bungie has got right during the lower levels.
I actually think forcing a player to choose a class before they're even played a game is a flawed system, but Destiny has gotten around this with the beta. I dabbled in all three classes when the beta was live, and Titan won out for me. As no stats or characters are being carried over from the beta, I haven't lost anything by starting again from scratch. I do wonder how people who aren't familiar with the three classes are going to make up their minds (you could use our amazing Class Guide to help, obviously), but then it's been often repeated that it won't take long to reach the max level of 20 for each class, allowing players to start from scratch again.
So I'm going Titan. The all-out warrior used to be my default selection in traditional pen-and-paper RPGs, and I like the idea of getting stuck in straight away, racking up kills and worrying about finesse and refining my character later down the line. It should also fit for my stubborn and moronic play style, where I barge ahead for death or glory.
I felt a little insecure in an MMO with so many other players, so my first tactic was to toughen up my Titan while soaking up some of the story mode and getting involved in some of the game lore. I wanted to start filling out the the first subclass quickly - the Striker - and juggle through some weapon variants to find what I'm most comfortable with.
I may have played the beta but Destiny has lost none of its impact for me. It looks lush, the soundtrack is this rousing background score, and I still cringe when dropships sweep over head if I'm snuffling around the terrain like a pig looking for truffles. Destiny already feels alive.
After the intro mission it all comes flooding back. I've decided to play as a female Awoken because, let's be honest, who wouldn't want to be a blue-skinned women with wicked facial scars? I reached level 2 before the intro mission had finished, and it felt as though the reward structure is something Bungie has got right during the lower levels.
Once the intro was done there was a quick strut to the Tower for some new chest armour I'd unlocked as a reward, and my flashbang grenade was already mapped to my shoulder button. This felt like progress.
The illusion is that you're upgrading at a rapid pace. In the early parts of an MMO like this I welcomed and need the encouragement. After I grabbed a Scout Rifle to compliment my auto rifle I went back to Russia for a couple of missions to scavenge parts for my ship and to take on some more of The Fallen. Shopping and exploring in the Tower could wait.
I regreted the decision to take the Scout Rifle within the first five minutes (I could have gone for the Hand Cannon). The fire-rate was too slow and single shots took more concentration, but I forced myself to stick with it and I felt as though I was getting more accurate as time progressed. I was getting more headshots than the spray-and-pray of an auto rifle, and by the time I took down the first boss, Riksis the Devil Archon, I felt much better about the gun. Riksis is hampered by his own surroundings, so stay back and take him down from a distance. The Vandals that support him are the real threat.
I found the beta harder than this, I'm sure. I remember having to team up with other players by the time I was on the second story mission, but now was blazing through. After 90 minutes play I'm well over level 4 and carrying some pretty lethal kit.
Destiny's first hours aren't a real challenge, but you'll need to keep moving when you're out in the open. Enemies respawn quickly, so don't hang around too long after you've wiped out a small unit of Fallen. Be careful of getting flanked if you're shooting from a distance because you're never too far away from a enemy unit.
Once you unlock the Sparrow bike, the temptation is to burn to the next checkpoint, and by all means have fun tearing up Old Russia. But keep an eye out for loot. I jumped off the Sparrow in a canyon and found a cave holding a Baron rocket launcher with only the laziest of exploration.
Although I've only explored Old Russia, the Moon unlocks at level 3, although the first mission is recommended for level 6 and up. I'll wait for more players before tackling that and I have to admit I get a bit OCD about finishing as much of one location as possible before going on to another.
I haven't poked around the Tower yet, nor investigated Bounties, which open up at level 4. But I'm filling up with leg, body and chest armour; I'm on the Mark 2 versions of both my scout and auto rifles and my first mobility skill - Lift - has been put to some use. It's not a quick jump but it does allow the Titan to get to higher ground, which is great for outdoor combat.
The problem with the first couple of hours of Destiny is that you've already played them if you were part of the beta. It shows just how big the beta was, but it's something that might backfire to those that want to race through to get to the level cap. I'm going to race through a few more levels and then calm down, explore the Tower, round out my character a little and start making friends for future Fireteams.
What has impressed me is the richness of the worlds in Destiny. I'm rushing through some early missions but there's plenty to explore, not just in the environment but with things like the Grimoire cards, which I haven't even begun to look at. There's plenty of loot, your XP goes up all the time, and weapons and equipment can be found and earned easily enough. I'm only two hours into Destiny, but thanks to Bungie's reward structure I want to get right back playing.
Head over to our Destiny guide for more tips and info.