Destiny 2 Beta Impressions: the Story, the Strike and the Crucible

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Destiny 2 Beta Impressions: the Story, the Strike and the Crucible

The Blog team dives in to the Destiny 2 Beta and brings back their initial impressions of the new story, The Inverted Spire Strike, and the changes to the Crucible.

The next chapter of Bungie’s sweeping science-fiction epic launches September 6 on PS4. To keep all the clamoring Guardians at bay, Bungie released a beta earlier this week starting with early access on July 18.

With the Last City in peril and plenty of Crucible matches to join, our team diligently played video games at the office to provide our thoughts on the Destiny 2 Beta, and how Dominus Ghaul seems like a truly unpleasant fellow.

The Story

The opening act of Destiny 2 is spectacular and catastrophic. The highly disciplined Cabal force known as the Red Legion batter the Last City, sending Guardians and civilians alike into chaos. Red Legion leader Dominus Ghaul plans to seize the light of the Traveler as his own — and seems largely successful, if the explosion-riddled first scenes are any indication.

This fleeting glimpse into the Destiny 2 campaign highlights Bungie’s desire to push storytelling into new heights, with an emphasis on the many heroes that fight at your side. The Vanguard anchor the action and represent the conflicting desires of the Guardian forces: Zavala prioritizes civilian evacuation above all else, Ikora Rey is desperate to save the Traveler, and Cayde-6… wants revenge, mostly.

Bungie’s prowess with environmental design comes to the fore here, with lashing gouts of rain, skylines peppered with fire, and familiar scenes ravaged by Ghaul’s forces. Stepping out into the main Tower courtyard to see everything in ruin truly is a gut-wrenching affair, given how many of us spent our time there planning the next mission and dancing our hearts out.

Needless to say, the final moment of the opening act will leave any Guardian hungry to push ahead come September. Myself included.

–Ryan Clements

Click here to download high-resolution mobile-friendly Destiny 2 wallpapers

The Strike

I’m not nearly the Destiny expert that Justin or Ryan are, but I do know a good game when I play it. And based on my beta experiences, Destiny 2 is demonstrating some serious refinements that will appeal to veterans and newcomers alike.

Above all, Bungie seems determined to shake up convention — but wisely, doesn’t try to fix what isn’t broken. The Inverted Spire Strike provides a tantalizing glimpse of what is (hopefully) to come in the full game this September.

Bungie’s decision to tilt Strikes a step or two closer to the Raid format yields a more dynamic, interesting set of activities. In the Inverted Spire Strike, an extended platforming sequence led to a perilous action set piece amidst the grinding drills of an oversized mining machine. It’s a big step up from D1’s reliance on wave-based shootouts.

Then came the big finale against the hulking Protheon in a boss battle that spanned three phases and multiple room configurations. I was impressed; the Inverted Spire brought equal doses spectacle and strategy, and consistently kept me on my toes.

On a side note, I’m greatly appreciating the punchier feel of Destiny 2’s reworked arsenal. The hand cannons and auto rifles seem to pack a bigger punch overall, and I’m pleased to see sniper rifles and fusion rifles graduating to the Power weapon class.

All in all, an auspicious start. Bring on the full game!

–Sid Shuman

The Crucible

Destiny 2’s Crucible has undergone some pretty sweeping changes — the switch to smaller, more intimate 4v4 matches chief among them. Based on the three to four hours I’ve put into the Beta’s Control and Countdown modes, this change makes PvP in Destiny 2 feel more team-oriented… and ultimately more exciting. Countdown specifically feels much more akin to D1’s Trials of Osiris — the ultimate end-game PvP mode that rewarded intense focus and synchronized team play — but without going quite that far.

Control is similar to its original implementation, but with much smaller, tighter maps and a few quality-of-life upgrades. For instance, when you first start a match the A and C points are already captured on behalf of their respective teams. This is a welcome change from D1, where every match began with a team standing on a point for 10 seconds before getting to the good stuff (the shootin’). In the Destiny 2 Beta, these matches have tended to kick off with players immediately either bee-lining to the B point or wrapping around to try and steal the opposing team’s home point, getting to the action right from the get-go.

Other welcome changes I noticed in my time with the Destiny 2 Beta’s Crucible thus far:

  • Power ammo spawns fairly frequently, but it’s now a drop point on a wall rather than a crate on the ground. It only goes to the player who pulls it, rather than everyone standing nearby — this adds a new strategic element to matches as they play out.
  • Control points no longer need to be neutralized before capturing them. If you stand on an enemy-controlled point it will now simply cede control to your team, rather than going neutral then making you capture it.
  • Points don’t cap faster if multiple Guardians stand on them. This means teams can be much smarter about the way they send players to capture points, rather than everybody crowding on one and standing around.
  • If you get shot while reviving a fellow Guardian, it resets the revive timer. Again, this will make players think twice about whether it’s really safe to dash out and get that res, adding another layer of strategy to matches. I’m beginning to sense a theme…
  • There’s no more Alpha / Bravo team. When you enter a match, the team intro screen now simply reads “Your Team” — a simple change, but I like it.
  • Sniper rifles are de-emphasized, since they’re now categorized as “Power” weapons. This means they can only be used by a player who manages to grab one of those limited Power ammo drops. I think it will lead to snipers being seen as but one option for advanced players, rather than a requirement for high-level play.
  • Callouts are built in now, right under your radar. In Destiny high-level competitive play, players agreed on names for specific places in each map, so they could quickly feed info to their teammates about where they see enemies and what their status is. These location names are now official, and made immediately available to everyone at all times.

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch here, but I’ll find more as I continue to dig into the Beta’s two available PvP modes more. Notice any more upgrades or changes? Let us know in the comments!

–Justin Massongill

Comments are closed.


  • “I’m pleased to see sniper rifles and fusion rifles graduating to the Power weapon class.”

    I could care less about Fusion rifles but I used the sniper as a secondary and having it as a power weapon now with such scarce ammo makes me drastically change my play style. Not liking the change much. I can see why they did this and it is to force players to interact in closer battles and avoid camping as much. I don’t consider myself a camper but snipers were crucial to control points in my play style.

    Anyways. Pace feel a ton slower in player movement. Maybe it is because I stopped playing Destiny before the last DLC arrived and moved on to Titanfall, which has a faster game style.

    Overall, I find there are improvements, especially graphically but game feels slower than usual.

    • What class did you run? I mainly used Titan in D1 so enjoyed the skating, which really made you fly (literally), and they made a major change to the speed of the skating. You no longer move in a straight line, but always have a lift to it, and they slowed down the acceleration. Does feel considerably more sluggish now, but I actually anticipated this going in since I had read somewhere those changes were being made. Also it seems like the maps are bigger, which makes it feel like it takes way longer to get places.

  • Overall, gameplay feels much better than D1. My only negative is the abilities recharge way too slow. It’s like having Trickle throught the entire beta. I hope it won’t be the case when D2 releases. Sept 6th can’t come soon enough.

  • Pleased that snipers moved to the Power spot? So you’re pleased that you can only use a sniper 2-3 times during a 25 minute strike? I can’t take this article seriously if you have 0 critical things to say
    For starters, D1 beta had hours of playable content, and built a lot of anticipation for launch. This beta has 3 things you can do and that’s it. There’s really not much to glean from what we’re able to do and see. And the new weapon/ammo system blows in it’s current state. I know Bungie said it’s not a full representation of what the game will be, but even still, if power ammo does not drop as frequently as special ammo did in D1 I will be thoroughly disappointed. It’s one thing to move shotguns/snipers/fusion rifles to the power spot. It’s another thing to cripple your ability to use such weapons. Not to mention I was lucky to use my super twice in a 30 minute strike. Grenades recharge quicker obviously but still felt like Trickle was on the entire time.
    I know this is a beta and that there should be things wrong that will be fixed for launch. That’s what betas exist for. But to write an article that doesn’t mention ANY of these issues is a disservice to your readers.

    • I agree with you that the ammo drops are very sparse. But the one thing i have to respectfully disagree with you is the content of this beta. The beta in D1 was WAY to big. so big that when the game dropped we were playing content we already played in the beta for the first few hours. I think the size of this beta was fine. they gave us just enough to get a taste of whats to come, and just enough to give feed back. like the grenade and supers recharging way too slow. ammo drops being light (which Luke smith already tweeted they need to adjust that). and just big enough to leave us wanting more. I dont know about you but i want to be surprised on September 6th when the game drops. I dont want the first 10 hours of game play in a beta.

    • I agree that the lack of any criticism in this article makes it next to impossible to take seriously.

      Go check out the Destiny forums or Sub reddit. The people who actually play the game are there.

      The story mission and the strike were well designed and a big improvement in story telling. I am excited for more of each.

      The fact that most (if not all) of the major weapon, ability recharge timing and subclass perk tree changes were made specifically with only pvp in mind is abundantly clear.

      My friends and I were hoping for more customization in the subclass trees, instead Bungie has decided for us what those options will be. Not gamer friendly and takes away from our ownership of our Guardians.

      Bungie needs to look at their player base and think about the majority, not the relatively small hype-competitive pvp crowd and streamers/youtubers.

      Destiny is not CoD, Battlefield, Halo or Overwatch. Our supers, grenades and abilitis are what make our Guardians feel powerful and our own! This movement towards less customization, slower recharge speeda, same guns with the same perks for everyone and hyper competitive pvp environment is turning a lot of hardcore fans off. Based one what I have been reading.

  • yea pvp is great now they just need to fix our ability charge rates in pve and i think d2 will be awesome…

  • I wanted to like this beta, I really did. But frankly it’s just not that good.

    – The movement is slow and clunky.
    – The PvP is horrible. Supers are rare. The fact that it’s basically nothing but primaries for most of the game makes it monotonous. Weapons feel like Nerf guns and I could go on.
    – The PvE is ok, but again the weapons feel weak as can be. Not only that, but the focus on two primaries again makes the gameplay extremely monotonous.

    I don’t know what Bungie is thinking on any of this. I mean yay they finally gave us a story, but they threw everything we actually liked about Destiny into fire at the same time. There is no way I’m buying this game at this point.

    • The PvP is fine. It should be about player skill rather than whoever has the best super.

    • you have the right to your opinion of course, but i couldn’t disagree with you more. I had no issue at all with the weapons, i was killing things with relative ease..a tad slower than D1 but not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. the movement of the hunter and titian i tried wasn’t clunky at all, have no clue where you get that from, i was flying around with ease, especially with the hunter. I rarely played PVP in D1 because it just wasn’t fun to me..tried out this version and i had a ton of fun, especially in control. you actually have to use skill, team work, and primary weapons to kill instead of relying on supers, snipers from a mile away, and shotguns everywhere. its fine you wont get the game, thats your right, and i hope you find a game more to your liking. As for me? im sold, September 6th cant get here soon enough.

  • Yeah the recharge rate of abilities definitely needs a slight boost. It felt like I couldn’t even use my abilities in a match, or if i did, then I was only able to use them once…. :/ Also, I feel like they need to put the titan shield and the bubble shield on separate buttons. I kept meaning to do the cap shield and was accidently creating a bubble…. Maybe instead of L1 & R1 for both, they make one ability L1&R1 and the other L2&R2?

    • I think having the bubble ability as a longer hold with the R1,L1 is fine, besides, R2,L2 is to aim and shoot lol…. Also the titan bubble should have just one buff or modifier like increased agility when used or increased reload or a recharged melee & grenade or sumn… can’t wait for D2!

  • My one minor gripe seems to be a common one. Ability and health recharge seems to be excruciatingly long. Other than that, I’m bursting at the seams with anticipation to get my hands on this game on 9/6. I absolutely love the tweaks to the subclasses and the new weapon loadout. The feel, look, and sound of this game has exceeded expectations. #warlockmasterrace

  • I was sold after playing the first story mission. very very good to see the story was a major focus for bungie. The strike was like a mini was huge. Looking forward to what they have done with all the strikes in the game. the PvP? Well, i didn’t play PvP all that much at all in D1, it just wasn’t fun for me. and yes, i was bad at it, i admit. But i tried control in this beta and i have to say, i love the fact you actually have to use skill, team work, and primary’s to get kills, have actual gun fights instead of one shot kills all over the place. and not relying on supers, snipers, and shotguns everywhere. I actually had a blast in this version of the PVP.

    My gripe is the same that seems to be a recurring theme. The recharge rate for supers and abilities are painfully TOO slow. i think they have the right idea with them being slower than D1, but not this slow, i think they need to adjust that just a tad. same with the ammo drops, they seems to be at a trickle, more so for power weapons.

    other than that, Like i said, im sold..September 6th cant get here soon enough

  • Can’t complain over here, it’s fresh to death. Literally.

  • Here are my problems with D2:

    -DLC pricing/practice. Destiny wanted us to pay a good amount for dlc that didnt always have lots of pve content. Pay this amount get this much pve and pvp stuff. But wait, I’m not a pvp player so to get the pve content I have to get the pvp? Cant get them separate? And later I cant get the other dlc without getting the first? Sorry I wanted a pve co-op game and if I have to pay for things I dont like then might as well not start.

    -social hub? So what? What is the point of having it? Really tell me. If you’re not going to make the social hub farm or whatever a room that get s filled with players around the same level and allow them to communicate why have it? Itd be a great place to meet, talk and join parties. Jeez warframe a f2p game did social interacting better than this big budget one. Shouldn’t the devs be embarrassed?

    -strikes turned into boss farming for lot. Remember how strikes were fun at first but then people stopped playing them and just run as fast as they could to a boss? Then they would suicide right before it to force the player that wants to play the game to spawn at the boss? Yeah…awesome and apparently unchanged in d2.

    Max word count, so I’ll leave it at that.

    • 1. you have never been forced to buy anything, you may purchase extra content if you wish to go further when it comes out. you know like every mmo type game from the late 90s and on. can talk and make parties in the social space, just be sociable. warframe was not a good example here.

      3.yes, after three years of running strikes it’s called a speedrun. after three years you should know what’s going on quite well.

  • I think the article is way off base for PvE.

    The movement speed is especially bad on such a large thinly populated strike map. This was clearly done to fit the pvpers. The new speed works on the smaller control maps.

    Personally, I think the gun handling is much worse than D1. I’m not sure how or why they changed this since it was one of the best parts of D1.

    On a related note, expect massive gun nerfs. My hand cannon and scouts do more dmg than my sniper at the same range. So many nerfs in D1 were justified because everyone used the same guns, the new system seemingly makes this a larger problem.

    Power ammo drops are horrible. Power ammo is more common in PvP than PvE. The reason for the nerf to pve was too much special/heavy in PvP, so I’m not sure how this makes any sense.

    Supers/grenades in PvE were sacrificed at the alter of PvP as well. The recharge rate in PvP needs to be tweaked slightly up but there needs to be a massive increase for pve.

    Also, hunters. Seriously dodge?

    From the beta, PvE just doesn’t seem very fun. Everything that made pve enjoyable in D1 was sacrificed for pvp. Hopefully the PvP community will carry bungie where they want to go.

  • I enjoyed the strike map over the D1 version. I agree with some saying that the recharge rates are to slow. My biggest thing is I hate how the weapons are now, I liked how D1 had them just fine. I will not be getting this on launch day, maybe when it goes on sale.

  • To everyone saying movement feels slow, let’s not forget the mobility stat is the same across all classes in this beta, I’m used to running with Mida and max agility so it felt sluggish but after a bit you get use to it.

    Supers definitely need a bump in PvE though, while I’m happy I don’t have to worry a out nova bombs every five seconds in the crucible it’s kind of a bummer in PvE.

    Overall I’m liking the changes to supers, the class abilities (the New skill nodes have some promising stuff for warlock. I.e the devour skill for voidwalker so you can heal by using up grenade energy) the fact every item can be dyed individually and being able to mod the elemental damage on weapons is slick and will alleviate the problems of modifiers like “Match Game” Bungie seems to be taking build diversity pretty seriously. Though, if the only skill nodes we see in the beta are the only ones total that will be a serious let down.

    Lets keep our hype in check, eh? And remember, Happy Hunting Guardians.

  • I’m a huge fan of the BETA so far. The strike mission is really giving me an appreciation of the size and scope of the levels now. It feels less like a sandbox map and much more like I’m adventuring on a small part of this massive planet. It’s encouraging to have to work closer with other gamers to push forward and think more about how you traverse the environment instead of charging through on your Sparrows (as fun as that is) The bigger the better!!

  • loving the beta at the moment just enough content to see what its all about ,I see a lot of people complaining about slow supers and grenades maybe this is due to the fact that we are low level guardians and our armor etc has no perks for this, maybe when full game is released we will get the kind of perks we had eg faster recharge etc I am quite happy to see snipers and shotguns banished too the only get a few uses from them pile makes you think before wasting shots and will stop a lot of camping ,i for one will be waiting with baited breath for the full release on 6th sep

  • Bungie has changed too much for the worse. D2 isn’t similar to D1, it’s worse, IF you’re a PvE person like me. Unlike D1 there’s less flexibility in choosing your perks as they’re separated into two different skill trees. Some of the classes are also nerfed from their D1 incarnations, like the Striker Titan no longer has the ability to combine shoulder charge & transfusion. In D2, weapon selection has been limited to 2 primary slots and the heavy slot is shared with special weapons (which makes PvP require more skill but makes no sense for PvE). I also liked the larger multiplayer 6v6 matches as it was more chaotic and don’t enjoy the smaller 4v4 matches; I would’ve liked match size to increase to 8v8, not decrease.

    I contacted PlayStation for a refund but was denied so now I have 2 months to wait for a $100 investment to unlock that I’ll never play. :(

  • I feel like luke was hell bent on fixing things that was not broken , it took getting use to the new weapons system which was not that fun. grenades are not effective and the cool down was wack, the supers take way too long to pull up and then when they do, not as effective or that fun . the four on four crucible is NOT as fun as six on six and countdown is at best ok. and the new Nova Bomb is slow as molassas, I can be in the line of a Nova Bomb and stand there for a second then dodge away clean I used the hunters new super and it last sooo long that I killed all enemys on field and was just standing there with all this super left like who else can I kill ……. the new warp/load screen looks like a kaleidoscope in slow mo, should have left that old warp alone just maybe changed the color . My overall opinion is it’s very lackluster a sequel is supposed to be MORE and every way this feel like an expansion .

  • I am very disgruntled with the addition of fusion rifles to the power slot. Back in Destiny 1’s hayday, before the special ammo change, I practically mained Ashraven’s flight: an Iron Banner fusion rifle from year 2. I feel that fusion rifles are fairly balanced, due to the skill required to use them as they take time to charge. They are also not overused to the point of frustration like shotguns were. I was very excited at the thought of a fusion rifle being in the kinetic or energy slot so I could once again main fusion rifles in Crucible, but I am not very saddened that this will not happen. Ah, maybe they will release a exotic fusion rifle that goes in one of the other slots.

  • I loved the beta. It’s different but still retains enough of the core of what Destiny is. I wish there was more story to play, but now I have something to look forward to.

    I played around with some of the lots on the gear and weapons and found some build outs that worked for me. It looks like each weapon might be more customizable in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see. I like that you can sacrifice mobility to get recoverability or vice-versa. Adds a new twist to how you play – how fast you want to move, how fast you want to heal, how much of a beating you want to take.

    I think this is going to be great as long as the story is consistent. D1’s story was all over the place. It got better with the expansions, but in the beginning it was just disjointed. If you read up on the lore via the app or website, it laid groundwork for the expansions, but just playing thru it gave you nothing as far as story went.

    I like what I’ve experienced so far.

  • The beta was good. I’m definitely renting it on Gamefly.

  • A lot of u mfs sound like u work for Bungie let’s get it right Don’t care what y’all say the Beta sucked PVE seems like it might be a little better but No Super for at least 8 minutes no matter how much crap u kill PLEASE an PVP just plain sucked ASS I was a huge fan of Destiny 1 played it every night but once again Bungie has taken everything good about the game an effed it up I won’t be playing Destiny 2 if this is the crap they are putting out

  • Won’t you people see Bungie for the snakes they really are they don’t care about us or what we like as long as they know they got your $60 it’s eff you and what you think after that they just gonna keep messing with the game giving you little bit s at a time an make you think that your actually getting something for your money before they give you CRAP then they gonna say oh well we got an update to fix all that an you know what happens next the update only further messes up the game to where nobody even wants to play it an by the time they done finished screwing with your head they done took all your money WAKE UP PEOPLE !!! Bungie is nothing but cheap scam artists no better than the guy who hacked you an stole your identity

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