Destiny is upon us, and we'll be bringing you a number of impressions pieces from various perspectives over the next week or so as we get to grips with the Most Expensive Game Ever Made.
But, along with the Starter Guide we published earlier in the week, here's another helpful little article to help you get the most out of the vast PvE experiences to be had across the Solar System, and some tips regarding levelling, loot, and combat.
Save your Glimmer
Glimmer is the main form of currency in Destiny, and you'll earn enough in the first hour or two to buy some more powerful weapons back at the Tower. Don't do it. Although the game doesn't shower you in loot, completing the Story missions will see you gifted weapons and armour, and you'll gradually uncover a host of loadout options out in the open world and on Patrol. Comb areas thoroughly for chests, and be sure to mop up any dropped items after a firefight. You'll want to save your Glimmer for rarer things.
Save your Engrams
Engrams are basically blueprints for awesome, uncommon and rare pieces of armour and weaponry that can be decoded and brought to life by the Tower's Cryptarch. Though they're locked at the rarity at which you found them, Engrams will level up with you, so it can pay to exercise some restraint and hold off trading your Engrams in until you need an upgrade in terms of the relevant armour or weapon type. Do you want instant gratification for something good, or would you rather wait a bit and get yourself something that pretty much no-one else at your level has?
Remember to return to the Tower frequently
The Tower is one of my favourite things about Destiny. It's one of the few areas in the game that really feels alive and connected and meaningful. But, following on from the previous point, it's also stuffed with NPCs who'll flesh out your experience, give you rewards for most of the missions that you do, and provide you with Challenges and Bounties and more fun little things to do. It's easy to forget to check in, but you'll earn more XP and obtain more items if you make it your business to head home every once in a while. Besides, where else are you going to find a Cryptarch to turn those blueprints into an awesome new weapon?
Weapons and armour can be upgraded too
Somewhat overlooked in the beta, it's important to note that a number of uncommon weapons and armour earn XP as you use them, and that increased use can unlock special bonuses and buffs.
Once you hit Level 5, you can head to the Tower and start picking up Bounties -- challenges for both singleplayer and multiplayer that'll grant you experience and Vanguard points. You can only hold five Bounties at any one time, but it's important to note that when you cash completed Bounties in back at the Tower, you can earn XP for your upgradeable items as well as for your character themselves. With that in mind, make sure that you should equip any items that you want upgraded before you cash in your bounties.
Don't be afraid to deploy your special when playing with friends
If you're anything like me, sometimes you might have some hesitancy over using your special attack, saving it for sticky situations in which you might need it most. But if you're in a Fireteam, be aware that Orbs of Light are shared amongst teammates. Any enemy you kill with a special attack will generate an Orb of Light that will feed back into the charge times for you and your teammates. This means that you can create scenarios where all three of you are chaining specials one after the other. This works especially well when it comes to wave-based encounters.
When playing solo, though, it might be best to save that special for the end of level boss or a particularly fiendish late-level mob.
Don't forget the loot chests
There are five Golden Chests (separate for the standard respawning chests) in each world waiting to be found -- four through the story missions or free roam, and one usually in that area's Strike mission. All of them will contain useful weapons and armour scaled to the Patrol level of that area as far as we can tell, so you'll want to pick them up as you move through the missions. Pick up all five Golden Chests in an area and you'll unlock a larger prize.
There's no pause button
Being a game that takes some cues from MMOs and creates persistent multiplayer worlds, you can't pause the in-game action. Basically, make sure you're in a safe area if you're going to do some inventory management.
Take the time to manage your inventory
Speaking of which, it's important to keep things neat and tidy. The inventory and customistion UI is super slick, in fact it's one of the nicest UIs of its kind that I've seen in some time. You'll pick up items and weapons faster than you realise, so remember to swap out obsolete gear and turn it into more useful Glimmer.
All players have access to a centralised Vault back at the Tower, which can be used to share items and weapons amongst alts. Be aware that although armour is class-specific, weapons are not. If you find a sniper rifle that your Titan might have no use for but that could greatly benefit your Hunter character, share the love amongst your player characters.
Warlocks! Your double jump doesn't suck as much as you thought!
The Warlock Glide first appears to be something of a joke. But that's probably because, like me, you've been doing it wrong. Unlike most games that teach you to trigger the second leap of a double jump at the top of the first, the Warlock's Glide is best triggered with a swift double press, which can see the Voidwalking wizards get even higher and further than Hunters on occasion.
Shotgun + Melee = Happiness
Melee combat in Destiny is extremely satisfying. Add a shotgun to the mix for a one-two punch of close-quarters awesomeness and I guarantee you'll be cackling with glee as your foes succumb to your up-close-and-personal shenanigans.
Except for bosses. They like spamming AoE attacks and one-hit punching you into oblivion. But if you have nice friends who'll revive you or at least stay alive long enough for you to respawn, sometimes some close-range sacrifice can go a long way to reducing an enemy's shields.
Those are a few tips we've come up with, but what about you, dear readers? Let's pool our knowledge and run The Darkness out of our Solar System!