Beta Day 6 – 24/07/2014 – Lootin’ and Shootin’ & Hive Knight Base Jumpin’
Another day, another Destiny diary for you to peruse. This time, it’s back out to (you guessed it) Old Russia to level up on the ol’ Xbox frontier with my combat compadre in arms and all round Halo-God Joe.
One of the funny, unintentional and subsequently very useful moments that happened to us today involved accidentally luring an unsuspecting Hive Knight over the edge of a cliff – allowing us to explore a cave that was almost certainly impossible to explore otherwise.
We were playing through the Old Russia explore mission. Unlike the story missions, which have a single main objective, and a clear defined end point, the exploratory missions provide a nice alternative for those who just want to…well, explore and take in the scenery as well as kill plenty of enemies of course.
Come September, I can see myself spending an awful lot of time taking part in explore missions in between bouts of the main story beats. Why, I hear you ask? Well, what’s great about them is the fact that they are essentially unending missions with an unlimited number of quests to do. These missions might sound like boring or undesirable activities to undertake when there’s more exciting plot-driven missions on offer, but trust me, they’re not.
What these missions let you do, by nature of their open-plan design is to comfortably and enjoyably grind away to your heart’s content. You and your fireteam bring up your ghosts to track down mission beacons scattered throughout the environment; open reaching and activating one, your team is given a little side-quest to complete, which nets you Vanguard points (which I’m not entirely sure what exactly these are used for yet), alongside a fair amount of Glimmer and loot.
Anyway, we had just completed an objective, which was to scan a specific crashed helicopter with our Ghosts, and we were preparing to track down the next beacon. Just when we were getting ready to move on, Joe called me over to the viewing platform and said to check something out.
Cautiously moving to a gap in the railings, I see a great vast expanse of snowy land stretching out before us, a picturesque blend rolling white landscape dotted with rusty towers and buildings. Upon moving close to the edge, I hear a deep grumbling/roaring sound.
Looking down, I nearly jump up out of my seat in shock and my eyes widen in surprise…unpleasant surprise. I find myself staring into the face of a hideous massive green Hive Ogre lurking underneath the viewing platform we’re standing on. The beast couldn’t get us, but it decided to wander out of its cave to make its presence known to us – a clear warning to back off. Due to the floating double question marks above its head indicating it to be of a level far superior to the measly level 8s of our Guardians, we decide to, once again, do a Monty Python and “Run Away! Run Away!”
On a subsequent return to the area on a different mission, we carefully sneaked along the thin precipice that led to the Ogre’s cave, trying to work out if it was still there. Upon sneaking up to the cave entrance, we discovered that the Ogre had gone, but a similarly terrifying and massively overpowered Hive Knight had replaced it instead. Not good! Stuck on the thin ledge, with little room for us to manoeuver, the Knight quickly takes us out with two deft swings of its sword. However, in an unexpected and surprising move, in slicing us up with it’s sword it accidentally stumbled over the edge of the precipice to its doom. Hooray! We quickly clamber into the cave after respawning nearby to discover a dead Ghost and a loot chest to collect, both of which would have been absolutely off-limits had the Knight still been there.
It’s cool that the Destiny Beta included fearsome monstrosities such as these for weak and underpowered Beta players to find, even though they have no hope whatsoever of taking them on. Unless these powerful enemies accidentally die through an environmental hazard such as the one we managed to luckily send sailing off the edge of a cliff, you’re left with one choice and one choice only – run!
However, come September when the full game launches, I’m sure the satisfaction of returning to previously off-limits areas and dealing out some payback to these previously invulnerable enemies will make hunting them down and destroying them even more satisfying.
In other news, we also discovered that you could perform tactical gestures whilst riding your Sparrow bike, to our great amusement. Well, to be specific, you can only perform them whilst you are stationary on the bike, but you get the idea. Pressing up on the d-pad now makes your character point forward, pressing left or right gives the corresponding point in that direction, and down performs a SWAT-style closed ‘hold up’ sign.
These gestures feel really cool, and should hopefully add another option of communicating non-verbally to non-fireteam members or those outside of your party. They seemed to be easily understood by others too; on various occasions Joe would mount his bike in front of other players, signal forwards and shoot off, only for the other players to similarly mount up immediately and follow him. Once again, Destiny is really impressing me not particularly with its promised big-bombastic story or its pontification on the revolutionary next-gen features, but with small and nuanced minutiae instead; small but meaningful social interactions between players, in-combat gestures and co-operative gunplay, and of course, lots and lots of silly dancing.