Gameplay in Destiny revolves around its basic genre and thematic elements: an open-world, always-online, first-person shooter with persistent-world and massively multiplayer online elements in a sci-fantasy setting. However, Bungie has explicitly refused to call Destiny an "MMO" game; instead, Bungie and Activision describe the gameplay style as a "shared-world shooter," as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to see and interact with all other players in the game or on a particular server — as is the case in many conventional MMO games — Destiny utilizes on-the-fly matchmaking that enables players to see and interact only with other players with whom they are "matched" by the game and/or with whom they have voluntarily opted to play.
Though there are some differences, generally, Destiny's gameplay can be compared to several other first-person shooter, loot-focused, role-playing games in MMO-style environments, such as DayZ, Dust 514, and Borderlands.
User Interface/User Experience
Destiny's basic gameplay departs from video game convention in a few ways. First, it does not have a traditional "main menu" upon starting the game; instead, players (after creating their character) are launched directly into the game, viewing their jumpship in orbit, and selecting their destination and activities from there. Once inside the game, other menus, such as player inventory, settings, and friends lists, are more traditional, with an onscreen pointer (guided by the thumbstick) used to select options.
Uniquely, Destiny utilizes on-the-fly matchmaking, invisibly matching players with each other as they play. Due to this and other persistent-world elements, Destiny requires players to have a constant internet connection; there is no "offline" mode. However, Destiny does not require a separate paid subscription to play (though the usual fees required to play online multiplayer over PlayStation Network and/or Xbox Live will continue to apply). In an interview, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said, "I've heard all the rumors, and let me just rip this bandaid off right here, we have absolutely no plans to charge a subscription fee for Destiny."
Guardians are the players of Destiny and its main characters. When creating a new character, players choose from one of three Player Species (Humans, Awoken, and Exo), and one of three Player Classes (Hunter, Titan, and Warlock). Players can also customize their character's appearance in a number of other cosmetic ways, such as gender, facial features, hairstyle, lip/skin/eye color, and facial markings.
Any species may be matched with any class, but species and gender are purely cosmetic choices for players, affecting only appearance and not gameplay. Instead, player specialization and progression, including available subclasses, abilities, weapon specializations, and armor, are dependent on the player's choice of player class.
Players' choices in customizing their appearance, skills, armor, weapons, and other items are extensive and a central focus of the game. However, players may have more than one character on their account.
The Tower and Travel to Other Locations
The Tower, located within The City, is the central "home base" and a starting point for players. The Tower is a no-combat zone where players can socialize, form parties, and prepare for battle.
To leave The Tower, players use their Jumpship, which operates as a "mobile home of sorts, carrying your spoils of war." Using their jumpships, players can travel to locations both on Earth and throughout the Solar System to complete missions and explore. Space travel takes place via a cut-scene; players cannot pilot their jumpships manually. As described by Bungie, jumpships serve as "that story vehicle to get you from Earth to the Moon, then Venus or Mars." Jumpships can be upgraded and customized by their owners; they "herald your arrival" in public spaces, where upgrades and customizations can be seen and admired by other players.
Combat and Activities
Destiny is, first and foremost, an action-based first-person shooter. Depending on the activity, player combat takes place cooperatively with other players against a variety of hostile alien species and/or against each other.
Depending on a player's class and skills, he or she may employ a variety of weapons, armor, grenades, melees, and abilities to defeat his or her foes. Combat mechanics are similar to those found in most modern first-person shooters. The default perspective is from the first-person perspective, with a simple heads-up display (HUD), the player's gun barrel visible, and a reticule on the HUD showing the approximate impact zone of any rounds fired. Players can also switch to an aiming-down-the-sight (ADS) view that magnifies targets, slows player movement, and places the weapon's sight or scope in the center of the screen for greater accuracy. When the player uses a Super Ability, the perspective briefly switches to third-person for the duration of the super ability animation.
Destiny features a variety of activities. For a full list of activities, please visit the activties category page here.
Player progression will take place via subclasses. Each subclass is a bundle containing a selection of specific grenade types, movement abilities, melee bonuses, weapon specialties, passive abilities, and upgrades to abilities. Please visit the main article on subclasses for more information.
- Up to 3 Subclasses (including the equipped subclass)
- Up to 10 Primary Weapons (including the equipped weapon)
- Up to 10 Special Weapons (including the equipped weapon)
- Up to 10 Heavy Weapons (including the equipped weapon)
- Up to 10 Helmets (including the equipped piece)
- Up to 10 Gauntlets (including the equipped piece)
- Up to 10 chest armors (including the equipped piece)
- Up to 10 leg armors (including the equipped piece)
- Up to 10 class-specific armors (including the equipped piece)
- Up to 15 Materials
- Up to 15 Consumables
- Up to 10 mission-specific items
- Up to 10 Bounties
- Up to 10 Sparrows (including the equipped Sparrow)
- Up to 10 Ghosts (including the equipped Ghost)
- Up to 10 Jumpships (including the equipped jumpship)
- Up to 9 Shaders (including the equipped shader & excluding the default shader)
- Up to 10 Emblems (including the equipped emblem)
Loot can be gained by defeating enemies, completing tasks, or via purchases from vendors. Loot is personalized for each particular player, meaning, for example, that players do not have to fight over weapons as they drop from enemies and different loot can be obtained at different player levels even if you revisit the same location. Additionally, loot purchased from vendors in the Tower can be purchased more than once and/or by more than one player.
In most situations, the exact loot awarded is based on a random number generator (RNG) system, which, upon completion of an activity or event, provides a random chance to receive different kinds of loot from that activity or event's loot table.
Death & Revival
When a Guardian dies during multiplayer combat, that Guardian's Ghost appears at the place of death. In most circumstances, another player can immediately revive the dead player by standing nearby and holding down a button for a few seconds, or the player can respawn on his or her own after waiting for countdown timer to expire. In some situations, revives and/or self-respawns may have longer countdown timers or not be available at all.
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