‘Destiny’ – Cheaters Given A Smacking This Week

Destiny developer Bungie has brought down the ban hammer.

Destiny PvP modes Crucible, Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris are good fun, but have their share of problems. Most prominent of these is lag, and more specifically, lag switching – a form of cheating which is very frustrating for innocent players on the receiving end of teleporting, invulnerable shottie-wielders.

In the latest Bungie Weekly Update, the developer said it has taken action against such cheaters.

“Yesterday and today, our Security Response Team has restricted access to the Crucible by the worst offenders among us all,” Bungie said.

“We started with a look at the most notorious cheaters that had been reported by other players. After a cross-reference against our own player-data, we gave the

Banhammer a mighty swing.

“Contained in its blast radius were hundreds of people who have manipulated network traffic. If you don’t know what that means, we love you. Never change.”

Bungie asked players to keep using the reporting tools to dob in cheaters.

“Shaming your offenders in a video might feel good, but it doesn’t factor into our process for passing down a guilty verdict – and it might get you in trouble with the moderators of your favorite Guardian clubhouse,” Bungie said.

This wek’s update also gave us a sneak preview of the new Dreadnaught destination coming with The Taken King, which includes all-new Destiny Bounties, Patrol Missions and Public Events.

Destiny: Armour building foundations for head-scratchers

What to do when not all armour pieces are the same, not even the same ones? It’s time to sort this whole business of balancing bonus attributes and cherry-picking the best perks.

First of all, here’s a recap for those of us that do know and a primer for those you that still do not: when it comes to armour drops, and items sold by Xur, their attributes and in many cases perks vary enough to be of significance. Destiny power leveling make upgrade more easy. You may have received ‘a’ helm from defeating Crota, but this may not be ‘the’ helm with the perk you’re longing for unless you smashed him on Hard. You may own the exotic bucket Knucklehead Radar, but wait before ditching it because the newer one could boost your Strength stats by a further 35 points or more. It could also be less. But at least you checked.

Armour building foundations for head-scratchers

Now, a disclaimer. We are not in possession of a list that details every single armour permutation in Destiny. We can, however, assume from our own experience that there are six basic variations for pieces obtained from RNG drops such as raid checkpoints and strikes.

These are: 100% Strength, Discipline or Intellect; Strength + Discipline/Intellect; and Discipline + Intellect.

Depending on your play style, the benefits of stacking each attribute will be more or less relevant. These also impact the usefulness of many character subclass set-ups, such as grenade-oriented perks paired with higher Discipline values. This, in itself, is enough to worry about.

In addition, however, Destiny armour can have perks similar to the rolls affecting weapon performance. A quick glance might show negligible difference between performance attributes to the piece you already own, but on Rare and Legendary gear some perks may be more to your liking.

For example, our equipped Warlock’s Kellbreaker’s Gloves generate Orbs when killing Fallen with precision hits. Even though the Strength rating is higher on the spares we recently acquired, they generate Orbs after killing Fallen with melee attacks. This isn’t helpful for Intellect/Discipline oriented set-ups.

It’s not just play-style up for consideration either, but weapon ammo too. We own a pair of Titan Willbreaker’s Resolve chest pieces that are frankly frustrating because the 100% Discipline option boosts ammo for Auto Rifles and Shotgun, while the more balanced Discipline/Strength alternative carries more for Hand Cannon and Fusion Rifles. We’d keep both because Abyss Defiant and Swordbreaker are great tools for the later stages of CE, while Fatebringer or Vex are so useful earlier on in the Raid.

However, as every Destiny player knows, there’s no room for such luxury. Like, literally. There aren’t enough armour slots to carry all this stuff around.

A taste of the exotic

By accident or (let’s give the benefit of the doubt) design, Bungie has engineered a situation in Destiny whereby Vault space alone is starting to limit your wardrobe. Anyone running three high-level Guardians will be uncomfortably familiar with this state of affairs – there’s simply not enough room to hold onto every armour piece that comes your way.

So what will you keep? And why?

Raid armour for the Vault of Glass only varies across ammo perks, plus the type and potency of any Strength/Discipline/Intellect attributes. It’s straightforward to assemble kit with attributes balanced in your favour. The age-old torment with the Vault is that you’ll only acquire the helmet after killing Atheon on hard. It doesn’t drop often, and you can be waiting forever to get the ideal example. Our advice is to keep everything other than the helm as balanced as possible, since an exotic lid is more than likely going to be the main option regardless.

Optimizing armour from Crota’s End is more of a grind, particularly while hoping for the Infusion helmet perk that replenishes health each time you pick up an Orb of Light.

Also, you’ll be wanting Hive Striker or Breaker on gloves creating Orbs of Light upon killing Hive with melee or critical hits. For this reason, your attributes may not be ideally balanced for a while since such qualities are worth chasing more than boosts to ability recharge speeds. The drops are much more plentiful during this Raid compared to the Vault of Glass, however, no doubt owing to the increased permutations.

When factoring in exotics, the decisions are based on which Raid armour perks you can live without. After a while, an experienced team isn’t going to be so fussed about reload speed while Oversoul’s Gaze is active, so chest armour with Moment of Speed can be exchanged for, say, a Hunter’s Crest of Alpha Lupi that generates more Orbs from Super kills (especially handy for Hard Mode).

Choice pickings from Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner

Helmets and gloves gained from the Iron Banner and Trials are worth considering for performance enhancing perks that benefit PvE as much as PvP.

You may land a helmet with the Infusion perk, for example, alleviating the pain of the Crota’s End grind. Also, for killing Crota, there are melee-enhancing perks across all three classes, enabling two-sword take downs of Crota at the end.

Otherwise the perks are obviously more PvP oriented, granting faster reload speeds on preferred weapon types and longer grenade throws for flushing-out tactics. Super usage tends to come to the fore in all PvP modes, so guardians will most likely invest in Intellect at the expense of Discipline or Strength, depending on whether you prefer the proximity attacks of shotguns and melee or ranged hits from sniper rifles and grenades.

Etheric Light to the rescue

Something that’s heartening to know while piecing together your ultimate kitbags for PvE and PvP is that Etheric Light, that ascends Legendary armour and weapons to max House of Wolves potential, also boosts Strength/Discipline/Intellect attributes on older armour. It’s not a huge amount (we noticed just seven points per category on our Warlock Vault of Glass collection) but if you’re not running sword on Crota and only concerned with heavy ammo capacity, the VoG boots are great.

Equally, in relation to the PvP comments above, an ascended Iron Regalia helm can be awesome.

I am Level 34. I feel badass. Don’t tell me I’m not.

Right now in Destiny, a Guardian that has reached the soft level cap of 20 can attain the max rating of 34 inside a few weeks without sweating too much. This is especially true when you’re boosting an alternative character, regardless of class. Since Destiny Expansion II: The House of Wolves, the arrival of Variks in the Reef guarantees one piece of light level 42 per week, per character. If you’re able to run a level 32 Prison of Elders arena this drops an Armour Core to exchange for Variks’ Kell Armour, and this Armour Core can be used by any of your Guardians. Even complete newcomers can aim for this in a short space of time by running Vanguard activities such as strikes and dailies. Upon gaining enough reputation for Vanguard Level 2, you simply buy level 32 gauntlets, chest and leg armour.

You may have noticed, and we hate to break it to anyone happily parading silly Strength stats, that Variks’ gear is a brilliant example of how Bungie is keeping us all glued to the grind by switching up the Kell armour attributes each week. Also – and you can hear the Vault creaking in anticipation – there’s the promise of armour sets that are specific to activities in the same way Kell armour accelerates recovery speed and puts a spring in your step.

And that’s before we even get on to the subject of a whole new era of Raid armour required to face Oryx The Taken King.

You armour choices in Destiny depend dramatically on situation, of which there are many. Seriously serious Bungie: more vault space!

Guns And Weapons Blaze Off Before ‘Taken King’ Arrival with Destiny

With little more than a month before The Taken King expansion lands in “Destiny,” developer Bungie has provided some eye candy for players. After last week’s controversy and outrage among fans with the nerfing of the Gjallarhorn, the new guns in the game may fuel another round of discussions among guardians.

In the latest Bungie update, the developer gave a brief backgrounder on the kind of new weapons by introducing three product lines in the game. There are sample concept art pieces for the gun completing the illustration.

There are three product lines for the weapons, and each has its own thrust in weapon-making and focus in terms of the weapons’ contribution in the battle against the Taken. The first are the Hakke weapons, which have stable base stats that make them ideal in upgrading the weapon. As for their battle capabilities, the Hakke weapons are more offensive and tactical.

The Omolon range of weapons are concerned with breakthroughs and breaking borders with weapon design. The weapons are lighter, and the perks are more behavioral in nature rather than stat-based. Finally, perk selections are more beneficial when choosing those that are energy-based or are interactive with the guardian’s abilities.

Suros, the last line of weapons, is concerned more with customizability and adaptability of the weapons in battle. This allows Suros weapons to suit the situation on the battlefield. This is made possible by the ability to have more options in changing the weapon stats compared to others, and it has the ability to swap nodes and change its range effectively and efficiently.

The new guns and weapons are not the end in terms of additions for “Destiny” and its upcoming expansion. PlayStation Lifestyle spotted a feedback forum exchange with new manager Chris “Cozmo23” Shannon. He shared with fans some features taken from the community’s wishlist. He noted not all can be implemented, but he wanted fans to know the developer is listening to what people want.

On the list are skins for guns and ghosts, more options in terms of aiming, matchmaking, customization and storage, private crucible matches and rebalancing of weapons. Players also brought up two things that will be interesting additions to the game: the ability to dismantle consumable items and player trading.

The latter had been hinted at repeatedly. The most recent sighting was in early June, wherein three trademarks for “Destiny” surfaced. Forbes previously reported the trademarks revolved around “Eververse” and “Eververse Trading Co.” While there are no direct relations to “Destiny,” at least based on the trademarks, Bungie has already said it plans to have player economy down the road for “Destiny.”

How Guitar Hero Live Borrows from Old-School MTV with Destiny

In the ’90s, there was no Spotify. There was no Vevo. Traditional music-based channels were a cultural norm, with live shows and music-video rotations alike. But with the advent of the internet, all of that changed. Listeners can now subscribe to a library of countless songs, and music videos are only ever one search away. Our content is no longer curated by the provider, but by us, and the days of thinking “what song will I hear next” are slowly fading away.

At least, for the most part.

Guitar Hero TV is less of a singular game than an entire platform. In October, it will release as part of Guitar Hero Live, Freestyle Games’ reboot of the seminal plastic instrument series that began 10 years ago. While the latter’s live-action sets, reactive crowds and new control scheme are doing their own part to set the reboot apart from its predecessors, Guitar Hero TV is the separate, online aspect with progression elements of its own. And it could be the thing to keep players coming back again, and again, and again.

“With Guitar Hero TV, we want to bring back that feeling,” an Activision representative tells me, while strumming a chord progression perfectly during one song’s chorus. ”That idea that the next music video is completely up in the air. You might know it’s going to be punk rock, or metal, but outside of that, no one knows.”

From what Activision showed, Guitar Hero TV is easily accessible. One press of a button on the new guitar brings up what looks like a TV guide, complete with separate channels, each based around a certain genre. Songs rotate on each channel, and there’s a schedule with a week’s worth of programming: Saturday at 7 p.m. could be pop hits, followed by a midnight shift to dirty punk music. Essentially, Guitar Hero TV is a collection of music-video channels. But these are ones we can all play along with.

A bar on the left-hand side of the iconic Guitar Hero highway shows a list of names. This is the leaderboard for the current song. Whoever hits the most notes, gains longer streaks, and uses their score multiplier at the best times will rise to the top. Subsequent rewards are based on player scores, and can be turned in for certain items–these include new note highway aesthetics, and also, of course, songs.

And that’s the thing–this mode can be completely free. If you come across a song you love, you can use in-game rewards (called “plays”) to save it to your Quick Play library, ensuring you have it on-hand for the next time you want to play it. You can use real money to buy the songs as well. But refraining from doing so won’t hinder your experience at all, like many free-to-play models might. Guitar Hero TV doesn’t bar you from any content–all the songs are available from the outset. It’s just a matter of when you’ll see them.

This model borrows heavily from MTV nostalgia, but also from something more recent: Destiny. Similar to Bungie’s flow of scheduled content, Freestyle wants to find ways to keep players returning. And as it turns out, rotating content on a weekly basis might be a good way to do that.

“Keeping a player base can be hard,” the Activision representative says, nailing a series of hammer-ons during a particularly hard solo. “And we needed a way to differentiate Guitar Hero Live from the older games, because people played those ones to death. This is our way of doing something different, and we think it will keep people hooked.”

Much like Bungie reels players back in with daily story missions, weekly cooperative strikes, and weekend events, Freestyle will swap out programming every week. While Destiny players return for the promise of new loot and experience, Guitar Hero Live players will, ideally, return for the music.

And then there are premium shows. These weekly challenges will unlock specific rewards for players skilled enough to beat them. The rewards also scale with the difficulty of the tasks. For instance: completing a certain song with a three-star rating could increase the rate of in-game currency accumulation, while a five-star rating on the expert difficulty could give access to live concert footage.

“It’s not just a question of how we can get the content to players. It’s a matter of, ‘How do we keep giving players worthwhile content, and how do we keep people interested in Guitar Hero past that first release week? That’s why designing TV was more like designing an entire platform,” according to Activision.

This school of thought is very much like Bungie’s shooter as well. Although Destiny released almost a year ago, its player base is still alive and well. Freestyle is aiming to maintain a similar crowd with Guitar Hero TV.

Destiny – New challenge for the week of July 28

Tuesday means only one thing if you’re a Destiny fan: Reset day.

It’s that wonderful time when Bungie’s rotating selection of high-reward activities are rebooted (along with any raid progress made in the previous week), giving everyone a fresh chance at scoring some of the game’s sweetest and rarest loot.

Are you new to Destiny? Don’t know what any of this means? Good news. There’s a Destiny wiki that’s packed with information. Click for details on what Strikes are, and how Nightfall differs from Weekly Heroic challenges.

The House of Wolves add-on also adds a new weekly wrinkle, in the form of Prison of Elders. The multi-round gauntlets are built for endgame play, with the specific enemy types and modifiers changing from week to week.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening this week:

Nightfall (The Shadow Thief)

  • Epic – This is a standard Nightfall modifier. It just means there are more enemies to fight, and a greater number of Majors (the yellow health bar dudes) on the field.
  • Nightfall – Another standard Nightfall modifier. This one boots the entire Fireteam back to orbit if everyone is downed inside one of the revive-only respawn Darkness Zones.

Arc Burn – All Arc damage is increased.

  • Juggler – Ammo doesn’t drop for your currently equipped weapon.
  • Brawler – Guardian melee damage is increased.

It’s a House of Wolves-only week for Nightfall runners. You either have the add-on or you’re out of luck. We’ve seen this exact lineup of modifiers applied to this Nightfall before, so there are very few mysteries here.

The most dangerous moment of the quest is the mini-boss battle against the spider tank, because its main weapon is an Arc launcher. A good strategy is to have all three Guardians hang a left when they first enter the chamber and defend that corner of the room. The tank can’t easily shoot you there, so the fight becomes a matter of clearing out reinforcements as they rush in, then popping out to lay some damage on the tank (with Arc weapons, naturally).

The final boss is a snap. Enter the chamber through the left-hand door and shoot the boss until he teleports, Then head up to the raised platform at the opposite end of the chamber from where you entered, and rain hell down on the boss (who should appear on the right side of the chamber after his first teleport).

Weekly Heroic (Winter’s Run)

  • Heroic – Standard Weekly Heroic modifier. More enemies show up than you would see on a standard Strike, and they’re more aggressive.
  • Juggler – Ammo doesn’t drop for your currently equipped weapon.

Yawn. Exactly the same Strike as the previous Weekly Heroic. The only difference: instead of last week’s favorable Void Burn modifier, we’re saddled with Juggler. Nothing to deduce here. Just shoot all the thing and don’t forget to keep switching weapons so you get ammo drops for everything.

Prison of Elders

If you’ve got House of Wolves then you can also participate in the weekly Prison of Elders activities. These endgame challenges send players through a multi-round gauntlet in which each round has its own enemy type and Nightfall/Weekly-style modifier(s).

The lineup of enemies, modifiers and, in some cases, bosses for the level 32, 34 and 35 activities changes every week. You can find some general tips for surviving Prison of Elders right here. Read on for a breakdown of enemies and modifiers for each round this week.

Level 32: Broken Legion

  • Round 1 (Hive): Trickle (All abilities recharge very slowly)
  • Round 2 (Cabal): Small Arms (Primary weapon damage increased)
  • Round 3 (Cabal): Exposure (Guardian shields are significantly increased but recharge very slowly)
  • Round 4 (Hive): Arc Burn (All Arc damage is increased)
  • Round 5 (Urrox boss): Solar Burn (All Solar damage is increased)

Fighting Urrox amounts to a deadly game of “Hot Lava.” Every once in awhile throughout the fight, Urrox goes into rage mode, which makes anything that counts as “ground” (including the tops of crates and rocks) burn, causing damage. The trick is to keep hopping for the 10 seconds Urrox’s rage is active.

Defender Titans should save their bubble shield (equipped with Blessing of Light) for these rage moments, as the Blessing upgrade gives you a bonus overshield each time you hop out of then back into the bubble. It’s important to understand the mechanics of how each class jumps, the better to maximize your air time. Pro tip for Hunters: switch to Gunslinger, and turn on your triple jump.

In the spectrum of Prison of Elders boss fights, Urrox is one of the easier ones. Especially with Solar Burn active. Vision of Confluence/Black Hammer/Gjallarhorn is the ideal loadout. If you’re a Hunter Gunslinger and you have the Celestial Nighthawk exotic helm from House of Wolves, use that; the natural damage boost that the helmet offers is compounded by the Solar Burn bonus.

Level 35: Skolas’ Revenge (all modifier descriptions listed here)

  • Round 1 (Hive): Exposure and Brawler
  • Round 2 (Vex): Grounded and Airborne
  • Round 3 (Cabal): Catapult and Arc Burn
  • Round 4 (Fallen): Specialist and Juggler
  • Round 5 (Fallen): Trickle and Small Arms
  • Round 6 (Skolas boss): Brawler and Juggler

Skolas is a Fallen boss and the constant big bad for all level 35 Prison of Elders runs. He’s a tricky one. You can’t even damage him until you take out one of his two special Servitor defenders (they keep respawning), and even then you have only a small window (20 seconds) in which to dish out damage. That’s the first half of the fight; once Skolas is at half health, the Servitor issue goes away.

They’re replaced by Skolas’ “Devouring Essence” attack, which puts one randomly chosen player on a 30-second countdown to death.The countdown can be reset by passing Devouring Essence to another player, but there’s a 35-second delay before the player that gives it up can grab it again. This means that all three fireteam members need to participate in a deadly game of hot potato.

The second half of the fight also features two rounds of mines that need to be dismantled. It’s tricky to juggle dismantling alongside the Devouring Essence hand-offs; frequent, clear communication is vital. Designate someone (preferably a Bladedancer Hunter with invisibility) to grab the more distant mines. You should pretty much ignore Skolas until you can get those taken care of.

If you’re looking for favorable Skolas fight conditions, it doesn’t get much better than Brawler/Juggler. These are great modifiers mainly because neither of them create any major problems, complicating what is already a lengthy and challenging fight. Brawler gives you a great “Oh shit” button to lean on when you’re surrounded and out of ammo, and Juggler is just inoffensive. If you still need a Skolas win to finish out your Moments of Triumph, make it happen this week.

Destiny: Guardians Will Be Useable For The Next 10 Years

Destiny has without a doubt been one of the most talked about games of any other since it released last year and that is likely not going to be changing anytime soon. We previously heard Bungie say that the money put into Destiny was part of a 10 year plan and now they have given even more details on the future.

In an interview with GamesRadar+, Destiny’s Engineering Lead Luke Timmins spoke about the future of Destiny and how seriously they are taking their ten-year plan moving forward. The most interesting aspect is that he confirmed we will continue to use our same character created Guardians that we made from the start.

We certainly take it seriously that Destiny is a ten-year thing. It’s a long-term thing and with these adventures that we’re adding my contract to you – and any player – is that your Guardian will always be there.

While this is something that many expected, with MMOs being the same it is interesting to have confirmation on the subject from Bungie themselves.

The biggest problem here though is how far behind newcomers will feel multiple years in, especially in the shooter genre that usually you can just hop in and be on a close to level playing ground with.

The Taken King is the first major expansion for the game, but I’m sure we’ll see a Destiny 2 and beyond in that span as well. As a result, we’ll have to wait and see just how they handle transitions when they aren’t just merely expansions with new missions and such like we’ve gotten so far.

The Taken King And All Future Sequels/Expansions Will Use Same Guardians With Destiny

Destiny: The Taken King won’t be the game’s last expansion, if Bungie can keep the game’s community around to see most/all of its 10-year plan for Destiny, and now fans finally have some confirmation that the characters they’ve come to love won’t be left behind in an upcoming Destiny release.

Bungie and Activision don’t typically like to discuss their long-term plans for Destiny, with both companies frequently dodging questions about the future of the game in favor of promoting whatever Destiny release is closest on the horizon. But a new interview with a member of the Destiny team offers a bit of departure from the trend, even if on a subject that probably won’t come as much of a surprise to the Destiny community.

In an interview with GamesRadar, Destiny engineering lead Luke Timmins promised the community it would always have access to the Guardians they’re currently enjoying. More specifically, Timmins says your current Guardian(s) will “always be there” but (like so many topics related to Destiny) the engineer remains a bit vague as to what that could mean post-Destiny: The Taken King.

To be clear, this doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of Activision attempting to capitalize on fans desire to continue growing there Guardians. It’s always possible (though admittedly unlikely) that the introduction of a new console, towards the end of Destiny’s life, could bring a paid character transfer service. It’s also possible that an eventual sequel could require players to pre-order, or own all of the prior Destiny releases, to keep their existing Guardian instead of starting anew.

Given Bungie’s desire to continue growing the Destiny community, it’s hard to imagine the company going out of its way to drive away those most-supportive of the studio’s vision. And Timmins comments suggest Bungie plans on using your Guardian, and fond memories of the many adventures you’ll take him/her on, to sink the game’s hooks into Destiny players around the globe.

Destiny: The Taken King is being developed for PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The next Destiny expansion is scheduled to hit PSN and Xbox Live on September 15.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for additional Destiny coverage throughout the rest of 2015 and for however long Activision and Bungie keep the Destiny franchise alive in the years to come.

Destiny share the 9 worst ways exploits its players

Since its release, Destiny has been engaged in a bizarre game of tug of war with the people that play it. Bungie’s very ambitious shared-world shooter (basically: MMO) is unlike anything else on the market today, and with that innovation comes a whole lot of bugs, glitches, and unbalanced situations.

In the modern era of game development, a game is never truly “done.” The ability to patch games on the fly has led us into a potentially inescapable cycle of fixes, updates, and brand new bugs. The biggest problem is that Bungie’s approach towards dealing with these issues has been uneven, to put it nicely. The company has a vision for the game that seems to revolve around squeezing money out through regular expansions that keep players locked in an endless grind of the reversed missions and similar activities. So, it seems that any fixes that would get in the way of that grind are either not going to happen, or will take way, way too long to happen.

Don’t get us wrong: the game is fun to play. Bungie knows exactly how to make a console first-person shooter feel great. But by insisting on keeping players locked into a flawed system of grind and rewards, they exploit the very gamers that pay their bills. These are the most noticeable ways that flawed system has reared its ugly head since the game’s release — some have been squashed, while others still persist today.

Expansions making equipment useless

Probably the most notorious example of Bungie screwing with players came with the release of the game’s first expansion, The Dark Below. It’s generally standard for expansion packs that weapons get upgraded and numbers go up, and that happened here with max damage and levels rising. One problem, though: your previously earned legendary items couldn’t be brought up to the new level, making all the work you poured into them prior to the release useless. When most MMOs released a new expansion, it makes older gear obsolete, but in Destiny, there isn’t enough in-game content to maintain that type of cycle, so players naturally revolted against this decision, which forced Bungie to rethink the leveling system with the next expansion, House of Wolves.

Now, you can bring any weapon or piece of gear up to the current weapon cap using a certain material. We’re still not sure if they got it right, but time will tell — especially with the major expansion, The Taken King, coming out this September and potentially rehashing all of the same issues.

Grimoire cards

Destiny’s story and narrative have received a lot of well-deserved criticism, but one of the strangest decisions that Bungie made was to take the majority of the game’s admittedly deep, awesome lore and put it on a website. When you play through the campaign and revive Dead Ghosts (collectible items scattered around the environment) or reach a certain number of enemy type kills or kills with various weapons, you get rewarded with cards. Each one has a well-written story containing information about the world, its denizens, and more. To read them, though, you need to exit the game and log on to Bungie’s website or mobile app.

This is so weird and backwards that it boggles the mind. Sometimes we just want to chill out in the Tower and read some lore, and it makes no sense that the game won’t allow us to do it. It’s one thing that Destiny doesn’t really have much story in the campaign to begin with, but to take the remaining shreds and put them on a website is something else.

Heavy ammo bug

Managing death penalties in a game like Destiny is tough. You want respawning to have consequences and mean something, but you also don’t want it to be absurdly punitive. For the longest time, when you croaked in a firefight, one of the consequences was that you lost a percentage of your heavy weapon ammunition. It was a known bug. Heavy weapon synths, a consumable item, let you replenish that ammo, but here’s the rub: if you die after using one, the cool down doesn’t reset. So, players were burning synths, dying, and then losing ammo due to that bug, and having to wait for the synth to cool down before trying again.

Adding insult to injury, Xur — the game’s special weekend vendor — randomly sold heavy ammo synth at the time, but when the bug was at its most prevalent, the vendor mysteriously had the longest heavy ammo drought he ever had. Bungie was aware of the ammo loss on death bug, and aware Xur could have simply sold heavy synths until the bug was fixed, yet Bungie took months to fix the bug and Xur frequently didn’t sell synths in the interim to help ease the blow.

Unskippable cutscenes

We get that the atmosphere and story of Destiny is an important part of Bungie’s game design philosophy, but this is something that we resolved in 2004. There should always be an option to skip a cutscene. Yes, they play during multiplayer missions, but that’s a simple fix: add a voting option to skip it. Being able to skip pre-mission briefings, especially if you’ve heard them a half a dozen times, would also be nice. We get not being able to pass over them the first time, but making them permanently unskippable is a waste of our time in a game type that’s dedicated to wasting our time.

Adding expansion missions to the full game

One of the most bizarrely exploitative aspects of Destiny is the expansion system. The whole point of paying extra for additional content is that it’s supposed to be optional. However, taking inspiration from MMOs means that Bungie has basically made it necessary to shell out extra cash to keep up with the rest of the world. If you didn’t buy the Dark Below expansion and one of its missions was picked as the weekly strike, you couldn’t play it. No soup for you. The weekly mission could’ve substituted one of the disc missions you had access to, but it didn’t. Throw in the upcoming Taken King expansion bundle that basically gives you the base game, the two existing expansions, and new stuff for less than we paid for the base game and expansions alone, and this policy starts to feel pretty screwed up.

Player-to-player trading

Destiny obviously takes a great deal of inspiration from the MMO genre (despite Bungie’s insistence that it’s not an MMO even though it is), but one thing that Bungie seems to have missed is that those games let players do other things besides kill stuff. In a game that already has a fairly borked economy based on random drops, it’s incredibly frustrating to do a raid and get rewarded with a bunch of crap that you can’t use. MMOs handle this by letting players trade items with each other or toss them up on an auction house — it’s a simple system, easy to implement, and it would actually give players more to do in the Tower than hunting for Xur or kicking both balls around. And yet, three expansions in, there’s no sign of trading or player-to-player selling. Bungie is basically saying, “Didn’t get what you want from all that grinding? Grind harder.”

Paid emotes

One of the trickiest balancing acts in a game with a long tail is managing player expectations. You have to give them enough to keep them interested without overburdening your development team. Often studios put out little bits of free content to do that — like emotes, for instance. You see where we’re going with this. Bungie announced that the $80 Collector’s Edition of the upcoming Taken King expansion would come with a trio of class-specific emotes to add to the game’s paltry four. However, that requires you to spend money to buy content you already have. Bungie’s Creative Director Luke Smith made matters worse in an interview and the company eventually backpedaled and decided to sell the new stuff for an additional $20, which is better than $80 for content you already have, but a few emotes and shaders for one-third the price of the entire vanilla game isn’t even a microtransaction — it’s a macrotransaction.

Enemy level cap the players can’t reach

The problem with a skill-based game like Destiny compared to a numbers-based MMO, is that whereas numbers keep everything capped to a limit, it’s tough to cap player skill. Destiny is a skill-based action game, which means even though the damage guns can output are capped to a limit, killed players can shoot faster than enemies, or even dodge enemy fire and literally never take damage. In fact, a very skilled player can pull the weight of six. To counteract this, since the very first DLC, Bungie has made it so enemy levels can reach a number that player levels cannot to ensure a level of difficulty for even the most skilled players.

In Destiny, when an enemy is a higher level, they do more damage and players do less damage, plain and simple. The fact that players cannot reach the enemy level has thus far infuriated the player base, calling out Bungie for lazy design; why not create interesting mechanics rather than just arbitrarily nerfing player damage due to forcing them to be one level below enemies?

Closing the loot cave

We’re not going to argue that the Loot Cave was fun or good — it wasn’t. Lining up with a ton of other players to farm Hive for engrams was the most effortless way to level up your gear and get some loot, though. When Destiny patched out the infinite respawning bug from the location, the way they did it displayed a flagrant disregard for the essential rule of game design: let the players play. Designers can’t — and shouldn’t — control everything the player does, and implying that people were “playing the game wrong” by not grinding missions over and over was simply ludicrous. If you want people to play the story missions, make them more fun, diverse, and challenging. If gamers are happier shooting at a hole than going through your content, you’ve made a mistake.

So those are our picks for the most egregious ways that Destiny exploits its players. Bungie went from one of the best-loved companies in the business to an EA-grade villain with the release of just one game. We’d like to think that the next expansion will make things all better, but isn’t that just what an addict would say?

The Taken King will add “largest armory” ever with Destiny

Destiny had a decent variety of weapons when it launched and DLC packs The Dark Below and House of Wolves have only added to the fun. But we haven’t seen anything yet; the first major expansion, The Taken King, will bring huge amounts of boomsticks when it launches in September.

“The Taken King features the largest armory any Guardian has ever seen, and that includes the original launch of the game last year,” according to a new Bungie.net update.

These weapons won’t just be plentiful; Bungie wants to infuse the weapon selection with “more diversity – and heritage”. To this end it has created three “foundries” – weapon manufacturers with very different approaches and selections.

Looks, design goals and special abilities vary between foundries. Even the way the foundry weapons’ perks work is different according to its approaches. Here’s a quick run down of each:

Häkke – Functional. Reliable. Unapologetic.

Design Pillars provided by Lead Artist Raj Nattam:

  • Hammers, not scalpels
  • Relatable design harkening back to a lost era
  • Hakke is not about exciting form, it is about exciting function
  • A weapon’s weapon
  • Hakke is the instrument of the people

Tactical Analysis provided by Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski:

Building reliable tools built for soldiers in the field, Hakke values simplicity over intricacy. Function over flair. Hakke weapons all start with a more tightly focused band of base stats that don’t spike as high or low as other weapon families, granting a solid foundation for growing the weapon. On a Hakke talent grid you’ll see a simplified set of scopes that work best for the weapon, front-loaded perk nodes, with the stat upgrade options occupying the final column. Hakke perk selection is focused on offensive actions and combat tactics. Hakke Pulse Rifles fire a burst of four rounds with damage adjusted to match the DPS of a three round burst, meaning the pulse rounds do less individually but are equal as a group. Fire time between bursts is slightly faster.

Omolon – The future is what we make it.

Design Pillars provided by Lead Artist Raj Nattam:

  • Experimental, bordering on irresponsible
  • Powered by barely understood technology
  • A fusion of the mad scientist and product engineer of the new frontier
  • Hallmark is the liquid ammo displays and Omolon power cells
  • Omolon is the future returned

Tactical Analysis provided by Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski:

Pioneers of energy weaponry, Omolon is the first foundry to experiment beyond the world of combustion ballistics. Sporting lighter ergonomic frames, Omolon weapons all start with generous base handling stats to build from. Omolon talent grids focus on behavioral perks over stat customization. Legendary talent grids are the only weapons that offer three perks: one as the first non-scope upgrade and two as a binary choice in the final column. Perk selection favors perks that are energy based and/or go beyond the weapon to interact with the wielder’s abilities or status.

Suros – Elegance in the face of brutality.

Design Pillars provided by Lead Artist Raj Nattam:

  • This is my sword
  • Function is a given; it must be given form
  • Design is honed, precision
  • Every curve, every line, every chamfer speaks to the Suros philosophy
  • Suros is elegance amidst brutality

Tactical Analysis provided by Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski:

Some say the best weapon for a Guardian is the one they can customize to match their intent. Suros believes in options – weapons that can be repurposed for a variety of combat situations. Suros talent grids offer two columns of two stat perks, granting more options for changing weapon stats than any other foundry. The single behavior perk is grounded in the middle of the talent grid as a focus point for the weapon’s core potential. If you want a weapon that can flex from CQ to ranged, quick to powerful, fast handling to hard hitting all with the swap of a few nodes: SUROS.

You can see example weapons from these three brands through the source link above. Destiny: the Taken King launches both as an expansion and a stand-alone re-release on September 15.

Destiny: Action Figure Comes With Hawkmoon

Toy manufacturer 3A is known for making incredibly detailed figures, and now the company has partnered with Bungie and Activision to translate the world of Destiny into action figure form.

First up from the company is a 1/6th scale Titan figure. It stands 12.6 inches tall, features more than 24 points articulation, includes interchangeable hands and sports a tailored cloth undersuit and Titan mark. The Titan’s red armor features some impressive battle damage as well, giving the figure the look of a Titan who has seen the worst the Darkness can come up with.

But this wouldn’t be Destiny without some exotic weaponry, and that’s why this Titan figure comes packing some heat…and a major price tag. It also comes in two versions. The standard retail version comes with three weapons: the Shadow Prince auto-rifle, the Felwinter’s Lie shotgun and the Zombie’s Apocalypse heavy machine gun. The Bambaland exclusive version of the figure, available now for pre-order, will come sporting an additional firearm in the form of the exotic hand cannon Hawkmoon.

This Titan figure is sporting more weaponry than the characters of many actual Destiny players. That’s also probably why it costs $190. But it’s so worth it. Too bad you can’t pay in strange coins. Pre-orders for the Bambaland variant begin on July 23, with pre-orders for the standard version starting July 31. These are certain to go fast, so be sure to have your finger on the trigger if you want one. Or mouse, as it were. You can check out some detailed images of the figure below.