A few months ago, our own Matt Smith played the Destiny alpha and said that “Destiny is a hugely promising game that knocks down many MMO preconceptions and forges its own, unique path,” and he was right—it’s a new animal, and it’s amazing. If you didn’t pre-order the game and start playing it for hours at a time on the release date, you might be coming to it a bit late, but that doesn’t mean you can’t level up quickly and catch up with the guys and girls who have been playing since the beginning! Here are six tips that will help you kick-start your Destiny career.
1. Finish The Story
Destiny is a very deep game, and provides a lot of different things for you to do—patrols, strikes, raids, and multiple player-versus-player modes can keep you occupied for hours. But when you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to get through the story quickly, as it will help you level up, and gear up, sooner.
While you gain experience for completing any of the game types mentioned above, finishing a story mission often rewards you with bonus experience; in addition to all of the experience you’ll get from annihilating evil aliens, you’ll also get a boost at the end of the mission. This is a great way to level your character up quickly. And many missions also provide gear upgrades when you finish them; you’ll be able to choose a new piece of armor, or a new weapon, for free once you’re done.
2. Complete Bounties
It can be easy to pass over bounties when you first see them, but their importance can’t be overstated. (If you haven’t seen them yet, bounties give you specific tasks, like killing 100 enemies with precision damage, defeating 25 Titans in the Crucible, or taking out a specific enemy in a mission.) Each completed bounty gives you bonus experience that will help you move up the ranks more quickly. In addition to gaining levels, you’ll also be able to upgrade your weapons when you gain enough experience, which will help you defeat tougher enemies.
There’s more to bounties than experience, though. To get Legendary gear, you’ll want to be accruing Vanguard or Crucible marks, a type of currency that you can earn in the strike playlist, public events, and the Crucible. In addition to these marks, you’ll need to increase your Vanguard level and Crucible level by gaining reputation; bounties are the best way to improve this. The earlier you get started on them, the better.
3. Decide On A Mark Strategy
Speaking of marks, it’s a good idea to come up with a strategy for getting them. For example, if you really like player-versus-player, you might want to concentrate on getting Crucible marks by playing and winning PvP matches. If you’re less a fan of PvP, you might want to focus on Vanguard marks and reputation instead.
You can even decide to collect them both; it’ll be slower, but once you get enough to buy some Legendary gear, you might be able to get two pieces at once instead of one. Even if you decide to collect both, having an idea of what you’re aiming for will help you choose which events to take part in. For example, I’m currently saving Vanguard marks for a piece of armor that costs 65 marks, and putting Crucible marks toward a weapon that costs 150. Keeping this in mind helps me prioritize the time I spend working toward them.
4. Grab Items
You might notice early in the game that you can pick up items on the different planets: you can get spinmetal leaves on Earth, helium filaments on the Moon, spirit blooms on Venus, and relic iron on Mars. At first, it won’t look like they’re very useful, so you might not make a point to explore worlds to find them (especially relic shards, which are difficult to see against the Martian landscape, even though they’re slightly shiny).
However, as you continue through the game, they become extremely useful. First of all, they’re required to upgrade some weapons, especially the rare, legendary, and exotic ones. And not only that, but if you collect 50 of one of them, you can trade them all in for five Vanguard or Crucible marks in the Tower, which will help you get Legendary gear faster.
5. Play to the Strengths of Your Class
If you’ve played RPGs like Diablo, Path of Exile, or World of Warcraft, you know that choosing and specializing in a class is half the fun of the game. That’s no different in Destiny; whether you choose a Hunter, a Warlock, or a Titan, it’s important that you understand what they’re good at and where their weaknesses lie.
Hunters, for example, are really fast, and you can use this to your advantage, especially in the Crucible. They’re also good at fighting from long range, but can be lethal if you can catch someone off-guard with your blade. If you’re fighting hand-to-hand, though, you might not last long. The Titan, on the other hand, is a bruiser, and excels at charging enemies and leaving a path of destruction, but its big and slow. The Warlock can dish out huge amounts of damage, but is a bit fragile; if you take a big hit, you might not live long enough to exact your revenge.
By understanding the merits your class and sub-class, you’ll better be able to contribute to your fireteam, whether you’re battling in the Crucible or completing a strike. (And if you’re as attached to your class as I am, you’ll love the minimalist prints from CaptainsPrintShop, linked from Joel’s awesome article on cool gaming-related items on Etsy.)
6. Use Elements to Your Advantage
Special and heavy weapons (and, supposedly, some very high-level primary weapons) often display a colored attack rating—this is the element that the weapon strikes with. There are three elements: void (purple), arc (blue), and solar (red). For the most part, these elements don’t matter; when you’re battling in the Crucible or any non-shielded enemy, they don’t make a difference.
When you’re duking it out with a shielded enemy, however, knowing your elements can really come in handy. When a shielded enemy takes a hit, you’ll see the shield glow with a faint color; the color of the shield is the color of the element that it’s weak against. If it glows blue, as in the image above, hit it with arc damage. If it glows purple, use a void weapon.
But elements go beyond just weapons; both supers and grenades have elements as well. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Arc-based supers and grenades: Titan (Striker), Hunter (Bladedancer)
- Void-based supers and grenades: Warlock (Voidwalker)
- Solar-based supers and grenades: Hunter (Gunslinger), Warlock (Sunsinger)
Using these to your advantage will help a lot when you go toe-to-toe with high-level shielded enemies.
Destiny is a massive, complex, and quickly evolving game that requires quick adaptation (not to mention hours of practice) to succeed, which is what will keep players coming back in droves for years. It can be intimidating to start playing when your friends are all at level 22 or 23, but by keeping these six tips in mind, you’ll have a good grasp on the basics that will help you progress through the game quickly.
Have you been playing Destiny? What sorts of tips have you found to be useful? What advice do you have for beginners just getting into the game? Share your thoughts below!