Coming out of last weekend's Destiny beta test many felt a renewed interest in Bungie's online shooter. At the same time, that short sample raised a lot of questions about the game, specifically with regards to how the developer hopes to keep that initially exciting experience feeling fresh after 20 hours.
Thankfully, now that Destiny is almost upon us, Bungie is finally willing to get into the finer details of their upcoming game. They want gamers to know what they have planned for them, not just at the outset but in the endgame as well.
Bungie's Luke Smith sat down with IGN to talk a little about the endgame content, promising that not only is there a ton of activities for players to complete once they reach the "end" of the story but also to reveal more about Raids, something Bungie has, up until this point, said very little about.
As one might expect, Raids are experiences meant to challenge 6-player teams and force them into pre-determined roles. But Bungie isn't throwing Raids into matchmaking, as these focused gameplay events require absolute teamwork.
“The activity is going to take you and your group of five buddies into a place that you’ve never been. A place that you will return to frequently. And [it will] demand of you things you’ve never even really been asked to do in a shooter before.”
When talking about the Raids, Smith reveals that, unlike the game's instanced Strike missions, Raids will take hours of player's time to complete. He wouldn't launch into too many specifics, but it sounds to me like Raids will task the team with going through a set series of objectives and only after they have completed them all will the team be rewarded...with cool loot of course.
Challenge also plays a factor in the raids, as the game increases in difficulty as the team goes on. In Strikes, for example, players jump into a mission with a certain level indicator and the experience stays at that difficulty. Raids, on the other hand, start at a base line level and ramp up from there.
“How do we make something that leverages all of the feelings of the raiding that we understand from a game like Warcraft or EverQuest: cooperation, relying on each other, teamwork, and how do you marry that with a game where you jump, shoot, have abilities, supers, grenades that you activate? How do we bring those things together, and then, on top of all that, create an activity where everyone in the activity has a job, they have a role?”
Raids also toss aside some of the handholding in the main game, specifically the waypoints and checkpoint system. That means players will not only have to be diligent about reviving teammates, but they'll have to explore.
“Unlike a bunch of the other activities in Destiny, where you begin the activity — like let's say you pick the level-22 Strike playlist — everything in that activity is going to be level 22. It's going to be consistent. If you're level 26, you're going to have some relationship to it. You're going to be more powerful than that activity. In a raid, when the raid begins at level 25, it's not where it ends. Like part of going the raid is the journey of gearing up; building your arsenal to react to the situations that it's going to ask you to go through.”
From Smith's descriptions, it sounds like Destiny's Raids will hit a solid note for players, giving them plenty of endgame content. Talk of unique bosses with interesting abilities and new spins on familiar gameplay all sound well and good, but ultimately we just want something that draws us back in without retreading old territory. The beta showed us that Bungie knows how to deliver a solid shooter built in an interesting world, but the final game will tell us how deep the rabbit hole goes.
What do you think of Destiny's raids? How would you like to see Bungie keep the experience going after beating the "main story?"
Destiny releases September 9, 2014 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.