Destiny’s interesting mission structure

vandal_grimoirI was trolling (in the fishing sense of the word) some gaming forums the other day, reading people’s thoughts about Destiny. One person shared a concern that got me thinking.

His (or her) concern was that the story missions keep sending you back to the same area. In the beta there are 4 or 5 Story Missions and they all take place in what was once Russia near some space-port-ish place. I hadn’t really thought about this, but then I’m an MMO player. If you’re coming to Destiny from a strictly single-player FPS point of view it must be strange. If you’re playing Call of Duty or something similar, (virtually) every single player mission has its own map/level, right?

Destiny story missions are a little more like an MMO. There’s a huge zone to explore and your story mission objectives are scattered around it. You can stumble upon them before you take the mission, in fact. Old Russian is the Elwynn Forest of Destiny. You might encounter the equivalent of Hogger well before someone hires you to take him out.

The only strange thing is that at the end of a Story Mission you beam back to your ship, which is essentially your hub. It’d be like finishing a quest in Elwynn and being teleported back to Goldshire, sort of. When you’re ready to start the next story mission you beam back to Old Russia in the same place you’d started all your other missions. Which *is* a little weird.

I think I get why, though. When you first hit dirtside for a story mission you’re in an open world. You will see other players going about their business. You can ignore them, or help them. No PvP here though. As far as I can ascertain these people aren’t necessarily doing the same story mission as you, and they might even be in ‘free roam’ mode (more on that later). By starting everyone in the same place it means there’s a bigger chance you’ll encounter other players (I assume you can turn this off so as to get a truly single-player experience if you want to).

When you approach the objective of your story mission you hit an area that The Darkness (the game’s ultimate enemy is The Darkness…every time it is mentioned I think of this:

“I’m attacking The Darkness!” LOL
Ahem, anyway….)

So you get near the objective and now you are on your own, unless you’re part of a FireTeam, which is Destiny-speak for Group. Point is you won’t get any help from random players in here. Respawning in the Darkness-controlled area is prevented. If you die you’ll respawn prior to the current encounter, which will be reset. The good news is you keep any experience you gained in previous attempts. The bad news is that any consumables you’ve used will still be gone. Once you accomplish your goals, you get auto-teleported back to your ship (after a brief countdown that lets you gather up any drops that might be laying around).

So that’s story missions. Destiny also offers a ‘free roam’ mode where you just teleport down to the planet and explore. There’re are missions here too. You get them from ‘beacons’ which could just as easily be NPCs with a ! floating over their heads. These missions tend to be pretty easy and just give you a little extra incentive for running around killing bad guys. Once again in free roam mode you’ll encounter random players and in this case you can work together to complete your missions. Really you’re just working together to kill bad guys but as a side-effect of that you’ll complete your free roam missions.

Destiny also has Public Events where some uber boss-type critter will spawn and everyone in the area can swarm it and try to take it down. In the beta at least (which has a level cap of 8) these are pretty straightforward fights, but they’re a lot of fun and the rewards are solid.

There are also Strikes that I haven’t tried yet. These seem to be the Destiny equivalent of instanced dungeons, but I’ll know more once I actually, y’know, play through the one in beta.

I’m really enjoying my time in the beta and am super excited for Destiny to launch so we can level past 8 (sub-classes don’t even kick in until 15 so we know nothing about them) and see other worlds!

4 thoughts on “Destiny’s interesting mission structure

  1. Strikes work just like a Story Mission, but with bigger “instanced/Darkness” areas, and they’re tuned for a fire-team of 3, whether you have 3 or not.

    That said, I’ve soloed the endboss a couple times after inexplicably losing the other two fire-team members after the devil walker fight.

  2. Yeah when I went back and did it I found the hardest part was the swarm of bad guys that you encounter before the devil walker. By the time I got to the end my biggest concern was running out of ammo.

    I started with 3 guys and 1 dropped. I don’t know if people are bailing or if the game is dropping them; if it’s the latter I hope they get it sorted before launch!

  3. The “swarm of bad guys” before the Devil Walker is actually infinite and respawning. Turns out it’s best to just barrel on through them.

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