Beta Day 3 – 19/07/2014 – The Crucible
Okay, so I’ve played through some story missions, I’ve wandered around the Tower with a sense of awe, and danced my socks off with other players. Time to examine the PVP element of Destiny, the Crucible.
The Crucible is the competitive multiplayer section of Destiny‘s loot ‘n’ shoot adventure. I’ve only got one option available at the moment and that’s a domination-style game mode called Control. The aim is the familiar goal of taking control of three control points on the map, taking over enemy points and defending your own. A game mode that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played an online shooter in recent years.
Personally, I would have preferred a standard Team Deathmatch, or Free For All Deathmatch style mode available here, as I’m being anti-social and playing solo today. Objective style game modes are far more fun when you’re playing with your friends and you can tactically dominate with a careful bit of teamwork and strategy, while on your own you have to just run to the control points as fast as you can and just hope that everyone else is playing tactically too (not that running as fast as possible to the control points is tactical by any means). A more simplistic goal of ‘kill all the other players before they kill you’ would definitely have been a preferable objective to get stuck into for me as a solo gamer, but I can see why Control is, in a lot of ways, the ideal PVP gameplay mode to start off with.
For a start, it’s embodies the very spirit of co-operative play that Bungie wants us to foster in the story co-operative missions. Success in Control can’t be guaranteed or pulled off alone; you need to work effectively with your teammates to dominate the map. For a first time solo player like me then, this quickly becomes apparent, and it’s not an awful lot of fun so far. However, I’m aware that as a solo player for the time being, that I’m not going to get the most out of the Crucible, so I will definitely return with fellow Guardians and see how everything feels then.
Most notably, I believe Guardians can bring in any loot and weapons they’ve found on their adventures into the PVP matches, and although I’m sure all weapons and player skills are balanced out accordingly, this makes it confusing to get to grips with the most basic of things. As anyone can bring pretty much anything in to PVP, it’s incredibly hard to recognise what weapons and which items your enemies are using against you. This makes it hard to develop appropriate combat strategies and tactics anything more advanced than just “Oh fuck, there’s someone there! Shoot shoot sho-” (dead). It’s hard to work out exactly what’s going on at times, and it left me feeling rather frustrated as someone who considers themselves to be in the ‘not bad’ category when it comes to online competitive shooters.
In an interesting deviation from a lot of online shooters, your ammunition appears to be consistent between lives. Destiny uses three types of ammunition in both the co-operative and competitive modes; white ammunition is for your main firearm, green is for your secondary specialist weapon, and purple is for your big-ass heavy weapon. However, upon eating a bullet from an opponent, and then subsequently (this game is from the makers of Halo, of course) feeling the damp, moist crotch of your killer tea-bagging your face, your ammunition isn’t replenished. This was quite an alarming realisation for me mid-game, as when my ammunition ran out for my secondary shotgun, it somewhat temporarily scuppered my chances of making kills in the near future, as my bog-standard automatic rifle appeared to be puny and ineffective against virtually every other enemy combatant I blundered into. From what I can gather, your primary ammunition is plentiful (and may even replenish so as not to leave you totally defenceless, I’m not 100% sure though), but you will have to carefully count your precious green and purple ammunition types and save them for desperate situations.
In another interesting twist, providing you have enough immediate space around your character, you can summon in your sparrow bike to quickly get around the map, which is really useful for the Control gameplay mode. With no guns equipped though, it just offers a fast mode of transport which will no doubt be very useful on the larger maps, and I’m sure will produce a variety of ridiculous ‘Xbox, record that’ roadkill-style kill moments.
From my first few games in the crucible, my first impression is that it’s something I probably won’t be prioritising come September 9th. The main draw for me is the fact that certain items the Tower vendors sell are locked away in the menus, and can only be purchased using specific crucible tokens/emblems that you earn from playing competitive PVP. I can see that as most of my interest lies in the co-operative Borderlands/Halo-style modes, I will periodically have to return to the crucible to grind out a load of matches in order to get whatever sweet new gun/armour/flashy and extravagant multi-coloured dream coat that the Tower merchants are teasing me with. It’s nice though that the game does have a gameplay mode for everyone, and the fact that you have all of these different types of experiences, all within the same one game, will no doubt keep me and countless other gamers around the world content and deeply-invested in Destiny over the months and years to come.
I shall return to the crucible later with one of my gunslinging guardian buddies at a later date, and I think that will be the time when I get my first taste of the delights of the PVP systems. Tomorrow though will be spent doing one thing and one thing only though – taking on that damned Devil Walker in the Devil’s Lair! (Raises fists to the sky) This isn’t over! YOU HEAR ME!?