In other ways gameplay remains almost identical, with each class retaining access to all weapons, but as players progress, their characters will level and learn new abilities that continue to augment gameplay in new and exciting ways. The beta contained a small tease at what we can expect from our characters in higher levels as well, though we were limited to level 8 the rest of the skill tree was available to see showing a number of exciting skills as well as revealing that each class will have the option to pick between two entirely separate skill tree’s once a certain level is reached. These separate skill trees seem to entirely alter the gameplay focus for each given class, changing their super attacks, movement abilities and all other skills.
Missions are split up into three types. The first type are Story Missions, which can be played alone or with friends and vary in size and objective drastically. These missions typically contain cutscenes and a fair amount of in-mission dialogue giving context to your actions, and in the earlier missions seem to act as a method for unlocking new gameplay elements. In the beta we had access to a single strike mission, which are similar to story missions but appear larger and with more of an emphasis on difficulty and cooperation. Players cannot enter strike missions alone and will always be teamed up with two other players for these missions. The one strike mission included, The Devils Lair, saw players sent to take out a powerful enemy to try and drive back one of the enemy races from their invasion of Earth. It’s uncertain if all strike missions will end in a boss encounter but it certainly seems to fit the formula well.
The third kind of mission is simply a free-roam mode, in which players are placed in the large open map and set free to do whatever they wish. You can simply explore in search of items, practice against enemies and improve certain skills or take part in a number of miniature missions that can be taken on from beacons dotted around the map. All of these missions are very simple and rarely take much effort, but can be a welcome distraction if all you want to do is see the map in more detail.
At any point during a mission it is possible for a special event to occur, signalled by the sky darkening momentarily, in which often drop-ships will appear or a large item will plummet from the sky. All players in the area will be alerted to the event and can work together to defend against waves of enemies, take on a boss or seize control of an important location. Joining in with these events is completely optional, but are a fantastic way for players to gain loot and level up whilst working together without necessarily having to be in a group. The events offer all players a common goal and throughout the entirety of Destiny loot and experience are isolated to individual players, meaning you will never find another player picking up a drop that you deserve and everybody gets fairly rewarded for their work. This allows you to play with strangers and friends alike without having to worry about fighting over ownership of items or having to repeat events because only one person is rewarded as has been known to occur in many online games.
There are a number of additional components to Destiny’s objectives that add more passive goals for you to achieve over time. First of all are a number of randomly placed item throughout the world that you can stumble upon any time you are in the open map areas. Be it in free-roam or either of the objective based missions, chests and collectable items will appear at a number of select locations around you, changing up each time you play. There are chests that most commonly give you glimmer, the in-game currency, or even new weapons or armour, as well as a collectable resource. This resource, spinmetal on Earth and helium coils on the moon, doesn’t seem to serve much purpose at the moment, but once 40 pieces are collected they can be traded to a vendor for a small reward. It remains to be seen if a larger role will be given to the items in the full release, but the current reward doesn’t quite seem worth the time investment it can take to gather the items.
There are also two kinds of stationary collectable that we currently know about, dead ghosts which unlock additional information about the game world, and golden chests which give players progressively more impressive rewards until all five are found. There are also bounties, which add additional objectives for you to complete during gameplay and reward you with reputation and experience upon completion. Bounties can be very dynamic and vary dramatically in goal and difficulty. Some may simply want you to kill a specific enemy a number of times, whilst others will task you with surviving a multiplayer match without a single death. It also appears that unique bounties will appear during special events, completing which will slowly work towards greater rewards from specific factions within the game.