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Gaming: Destiny

Historical Background

Destiny was created by Bungie and published by Activision. It was released on September 9, 2014, for PlayStation 3, 4 and Xbox 360 and One. Destiny had the biggest launch of all time. It won many awards including Games Radar’s 2014 Game of the Year and the BAFTA Award for Best Game at the 2014 British Academy Video Games Awards. Destiny became the third best-selling retail game in the United States in 2014. By May 2015, the video game had sold over a billion dollars for Activision.

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Gameplay

It uses the first-person shooter style that is associated with massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements. Bungie refers to the game as a “shared-world shooter,” because of the absence of most features of an ideal MMO game. For instance, the players are not able to communicate with the rest of other players in the game or on a specific server as it is in most conventional MMO games. Destiny has on-the-fly matchmaking that makes it possible for players to communicate only with other players with whom they are connected by the game. Occasionally, events that are restricted by time are also incorporated in-game.

The division of activities in Destiny is on the basis of player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) missions across the globe (the Cosmodrome), its Moon, Venus, and Mars. The PvP missions also contain maps for Mars’s moon and Mercury. A massive ship called the Dreadnaught is in the PvE area. It is located in the rings of Saturn and was added with The Taken King DLC. It, however, requires the buying of the DLC. PvE missions can be either solo or as part of a “fireteam” of up to three players. Players can redeem “engrams” into items, purchase items, and gather challenges called bounties to complete during activities to gain experience, establish a reputation among factions, and at times earn items. The Crucible has playlists of PvP modes.

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Plot

The setting of Destiny is described as a “mythic science-fiction” world. It follows a developing period of exploration, tranquillity, and technological advancement called the Golden Age. The concept is of a universe where humans have spread out and colonized planets in the Solar System, a situation described as “the Collapse” where a mysterious dissolution of the colonies was encountered.

Upon humankind’s initial trial to repopulate and rebuild after the Collapse, it is discovered that violent alien races have taken the place of mankind’s former colonies and civilizations, and are fast approaching the City. In the entire game, players have to combat hostile aliens who have taken the place of humans in the Solar System. Four different races exist in the game, each occupying various planets. The Fallen, Hive, Vex and the Cabal. Destiny concentrates on the journey of the Guardians, the last defenders of humanity, set to defend and preserve Earth’s last city.

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Characters

The game features three character classes. After selecting a class, players choose one of three species for their character. These are Human, Awoken (bluish-grey-skinned descendants of Humans), or Exo (humanoid machines). Players can then customize their character to their preferred characteristics based on gender, skin color, and grooming the character. One can create two more characters to have a character of each class. Each class has their own specific upgrades, unique abilities, perks and two sub-classes that allow the player to tune finely their individual characters to provide a different play style. Some of the subclasses are: Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans.

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Popularity

The video game got a good but heightened reception when it was released. Review websites GameRankings and Metacritic graded highly the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions based on their reviews.

GameTrailers positively reviewed the game. They also criticized the weak story. They acknowledged the game graphics and the unique experiences provided for the player. Lack of cohesion was also a point that was criticized, with Game Informer terming it “downplayed and difficult”. The game environment was however substantially praised for reflecting an expansive and open world.

Destiny encountered one of the most prosperous launches with an estimated US$500 million shipment to retail stores and first-parties worldwide by September 10, 2014. In a week’s time, there were over 11 million gameplay sessions within North America. The video game sold 91,277 physical retail copies for PlayStation 4 and 49,503 copies for PlayStation 3 within the first week of release in Japan. This was placed second and third respectively in the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week.

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