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Destiny Alpha: First Impressions

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Those of you who caught wind of some of Sony’s E3 announcements may have heard that Playstation gamers were treated to an early taste of the new Bungie game, Destiny, for a weekend. Coming from someone whose preferred gaming style isn’t First Person Shooters, and whose experience with Halo games is as extensive as going to a few LAN parties in college and getting killed repeatedly, I will say this:

Destiny is pretty freakin’ awesome, and I am actually excited for its release.

The only reason we downloaded it is because my husband has a new love for multiplayer shooters and last year’s E3 made this game look promising. Tickled pink when he received his Alpha access code, he called me from work and asked me to download it. I didn’t have a lot of gaming time over the weekend, but I decided to give it a try.

The Alpha weekend gave us access to 3 different classes, 3 different races, 3 different zones, the main hub city, and a couple PvP arenas (which I didn’t check out as I never really PvP, but I heard the maps offered weren’t very impressive). Staying true to my MMO WoW roots, I decided to play a Warlock. Plus, the special moves are purple.

Anyway, I had a blast. The game gave off a Borderlands (minus the vast amounts of loot)/Mass Effect vibe. And Halo, I’m sure, but I never really played any of the Halo games. Even though the setting and gameplay were totally different, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to my WoW days. No matter what anyone says, this is a MMO. Mandatory online, instances (called “Strikes” here), and a projected 10-year lifespan? Yeah, MMO.

Of course my life is a lot different nowadays than when I was playing World of Warcraft. I’m already wondering how I will be able to do group quests without sacrificing many hours of sleep or making lots of online strangers angry when I go idle for half an hour at a time. Sure, they’ve stated it is possible to get to max level mainly solo, but you lose out on a lot of potential loot drops and content that way.

The Alpha only made levels 1-8 available. These levels go by pretty quickly, too. Class skill trees unlock at 15, so there wasn’t a whole lot of class customization to check out. There was some loot to tinker with. They kept the classic loot tier from the looks of it. I saw white, green, and blue loot drops. Some equipment is also “Encrypted.” This means the stats are locked and you have to take it to the Cryptologist in the city to unlock it for you. There are also shipwrights to help you upgrade your ship to fly to other planets. And, more MMO/RPG staples: class trainers, vault (a bank to drop items to share amongst toons on the same account) and a mail system. Reading online, I discovered something neat: If equipment drops for you and you don’t pick it up, the Postmaster will give it to you when you go to the Tower. How awesome is that?

I know the Alpha access was limited, but the game played smoothly and the environments are absolutely gorgeous. I also liked the character creator system.

The small taste of this game was enough to convince me to play it when it comes out. Well that, and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion, Game of Thrones) offers his wonderful voice as your constant companion, called Ghost. I hope the Beta offers more to sink our teeth into. But even if it doesn’t, I’d love to sample the other classes before the game releases. If you like games like Halo, Borderlands, Phantasy Star Online, Mass Effect, or just shooters, action games, or MMOs in general, I strongly suggest you look into this game!

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