Destiny will have a lot more to offer than we saw in the beta, including six-player raids designed to challenge end-game characters.
Destiny features multiple mission types, including boss-studded co-op story missions called Strikes. We've been describing these as "raids", but Bungie actually has another kind of experience in mind when it talks about raids.
Speaking to IGN, Bungie's Luke Smith said raids are end-game content that he expects players to want to jump into as soon as they wrap up the main story missions.
"One of the pillars of the game", raids are "extremely crafted" experiences. Players will have to form their own groups to tackle these six-player missions; there'll be no matchmaking with strangers, as Bungie says communication will be essential.
[At this point in the drafting of the article, I alt-tabbed to Facebook and created a Destiny raid matchmaking group. Pew pew pew!]
Unlike the shorter Strike missions, Destiny's raids could take a couple of hours at a time.
“The activity is going to take you and your group of five buddies into a place that you’ve never been. A place that you will return to frequently. And demand of you things you’ve never even really been asked to do in a shooter before," Smith said.
“It's getting people together and getting them into a group and making your way down to the Vault of Glass and seeing what's at the bottom of it – if you can get that far."
Raids won't have waypoints and mission prompts telling you how to proceed - their self-directed challenges. Players are expected to have to attempt raids multiple times before they succeed, building their character in the process.
"[Raids aren’t] an activity that we expect you to get through the first time through," Smith said.
While Strike playlists are sorted by level and will offer content aimed at that level throughout, a raid of a particular level will push you much, much further.
"In a raid, when the raid begins at level 25, it's not where it ends. Like part of going the raid is the journey of gearing up; building your arsenal to react to the situations that it's going to ask you to go through," Smith said.
Players will have to face "big cool bosses" which will be far beyond what we've experienced in strikes so far.
"The raid bosses are different: they're still big monsters, much like what you're going to see, they're still scary, but they have a bunch of abilities that are unlike anything you've really experienced in a shooter before," Smith said.
"When we were building this thing there was nothing that any of us could go home to play to try and learn from. I mean we were – as we were going – building and learning and failing along the way to find cool mechanics and occasionally we'd succeed."
So raids are not only quite different from what we've experienced in shooters and MMO's before, they're potentially not going to be accessible to more casual players.
“Raids are a really big bet for us. It's a bit of a risk. Because the activity requires you to have a group of five other friends to play with," Smith said.
"Like, if the worst thing that happens is you get your group together and you all have a great time, and make your way through the first difficulty level of the raid? Wow, that's going to be awesome. I bet you'll want to come back. Hopefully the gear makes you want to come back.”
The rest of the article discusses other kinds of end-game content besides raids, and it's really worth having a look at if you're keen on making Destiny a regular part of your gaming habit. Hit up IGN to check it out.
Destiny arrives on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in September and I cannot wait. Any questions?