Destiny 2 beta tips - 11 ways to get the most from your early access

Destiny 2 may not be arriving until September, but console players have the chance to try it out this week with a series of beta opportunities. Those who pre-order Destiny 2 can access the closed beta now, then from Friday July 21 to Sunday July 23 the open beta will be available to all on both consoles.

This only gives you a few days to hone your skills in the modes included with the beta, so we're providing you with tips and tricks to get a competitive edge on your fellow Guardians. Check out our top tips, and we'll show you how to get the best from your time with the Destiny 2 beta.

1. Remember to tweak your skill tree

It might all seem like utter chaos as you land just as The Tower is falling, but take some time to head into your skill tree. Everything is open from the get go so switch out your grenades, boost and get that precious triple jump back. This also leads us nicely onto our next point…

2. Really read the skill tree instructions

Seriously. You might think many of these skills look familiar, but a lot of them are very different to what you know in practice, are attached to classes and subclasses disparate from where they originated in Destiny 1, and otherwise have a ton of less obvious but powerful functions that can often also be synced up for brutally effective strategies.

Warlock Voidwalkers can now charge their grenades using their super energy for much more powerful explosives and zone control. Dawnblades can air-dash and down-strike. Hunter Arcstriders get a full reload on a successful dodge. Really pore over this stuff, learn it, and think about how you can really, really use it. Not all of these new and reimagined skills are obvious at first, but when you dig deep and start strategising, they’re where Destiny 2 really turns into a full-blown sequel revolution. 

3. Find enemy weaknesses

There are all kinds of new foes to take down in the Destiny 2 beta across both the initial Homecoming mission and Inverted Spire, and it’s worth noting that there are of course specific ways of taking them down faster. Incendiors, a new kind of Cabal attacker, might want to toast you with flamethrowers but aim for their canisters and you won’t just take them down but everyone around them in a joyous fireball. Saying "that’s my hot take" afterwards is absolutely optional.

4. Don't forget your new class abilities

Every Guardian now has two new class abilities to go alongside their grenades, melee, and super. A double-tap or prolonged press of Circle or B will trigger these new tricks, and once you do you'll discover a whole lot more versatility and power, as well as a few interesting shake-ups in traditional class divisions. Dawnblade Warlocks, for instance, can dodge in mid-air (an ability lifted from the exotic Titan armour, Twilight Garrison), and also lay down an area-of-effect field for buffing team damage or recovering shields. Make no mistake, these things are game-changers, and you need to integrate them into your play-style immediately.

If you’re a Hunter it’s also worth saying that you really need to remember to dodge. Whichever of the two hunter dodge abilities you go with, they both come in seriously handy. Dodge with the Marksman’s Dodge as an Arcstrider and you’ll get a sweet automatic reload of your equipped weapon, or use the Gambler’s Dodge successfully and you’ll get an insta melee refill. Nice.

5. Leave no Guardian behind (it's a lot easier to now)

Stick together and remember to revive. With the Inverted Spire Strike's verticality and jumping puzzles taken into account - and thus, its multitude of opportunities for environmentally inflicted instant death - that's a lot of scope for accidentally leaving people behind if you're not conscientious with revives. The Inverted Spire is a long, rangy Strike, and that 30 second respawn countdown is more than enough time to get very well separated from the team.

6. Juggle those weapons and remember your power ammo

Don’t worry, the Juggler modifier isn’t on. But you’re still going to want to try out the different weapons for size. In fact, with Destiny 2’s new load-out system in action, managing your weapon-set is going to be an even more important part of the game than ever. Now divided into Kinetic, Energy, and Power categories, Destiny 2’s new gun ratings offer more freedom - the universality of the first two slots means that you can equip, say, two Pulse Rifles at a time - but they also demand more careful thought.

All weapons capable of a one-hit kill (shotguns, sniper rifles, etc.) have now been moved to the Power category, which replaces the old Heavy shelf and comes with similarly limited ammo. So while your options are much greater, you’ll need to plan your load-outs more carefully, to make sure your guns are sympathetic to each other. With less of the balancing work done for you now, and certain options limited in how often you can use them, there is great power to be had, but more careful consideration required to unlock it.

7. Get to grips with Countdown

If you’re loading up brand new mode Countdown, here’s a quick primer of how it works. Your team of 4 is either on offense or defence, and tasked with planting or defending a bomb. Those on offense are planting the explosives at an enemy base and defending them until things go boom and those on defence are, you guessed it, trying to stop that timer from ticking down to zero. The first team to win 6 individual explosive rounds are crowned victorious.

Of course it’s not that simple. To bring your teammates back into the fray you can’t just revive them, you’ll need a revive token and it’s worth noting that the Guardian who cracks open the Power ammo is the only one who can get it - so don’t go wasting it on someone who isn’t going to make the most of that extra oomph.

8. Find those exotic Destiny 2 beta weapons

From what we know so far there are three Exotics to be found in the Destiny 2 beta - Sunshot, Sweet Business, and Risk Runner. Sunshot is, as you might expect from the name, a Solar hand cannon, complete with 150 rounds a minute and can hold 8 in the magazine. The only perk we’ve seen so far is Sunburn, which highlights targets and fires explosive rounds so your foes explode in a shower of solar energy.

Next up is Sweet Business, a Kinetic auto rifle with 360 rounds a minute and a magazine of 90. Again, the only perk we’ve seen so far is Payday - this means increased hip fire accuracy and also a handy ability that increases range and rate of fire the longer you squeeze the trigger.

And finally you’ve got Risk Runner, an Arc powered submachine gun with a whopping 750 rounds a minute and a magazine of 40. Arc Conductor is your perk here, which means taking Arc damage actually increases the power of the Risk Runner. When Arc Conductor is active, shots fired have the chance to become chain lightning and return ammo. Not bad at all.

The good news is that these are yours for the taking, but currently the only way we’ve found so far is with each individual class at the start of the Homecoming mission. Hunters pick up Sunshot, Titans get Sweet Business and Warlocks will lay their hands on Risk Runner, which comes in particularly handy for the Arc boss at the end of the Inverted Spire.

9. Own the Crucible

The important thing to know about Destiny 2’s Crucible is that it’s basically an ultra-distilled version of Destiny PvP. Between the smaller team-sizes, smaller maps, and much lesser emphasis on one-hit kill weapons and supers, Destiny 2 vs. play is a much leaner, tighter, more precise and immediate version of the Halo-inspired multiplayer you’re used to. As such, you’ll need to change your mind-set somewhat in order to conquer. But don’t worry, it’s mostly a case of refocusing rather than than reinventing. 

First up, high-fliers die faster than ever. With fewer players, there are fewer distractions, so anyone floating through the air is little more than a giant, dangling target. Stay low, and punish those who don’t. Secondly, cautious use of cover - in terms of both combat and movement - is now vital. You need to plan every run from point to point in terms of firing angles (both incoming and outgoing), and combine dynamic improvisation and opportunism with constant strategic awareness, knowing that more drawn-out, medium-range battles are now the order of the day.

Thirdly and most importantly, never lone-wolf it. In D1 Crucible, the larger scale chaos would allow one-man armies to thrive. Now, you absolutely have to buddy up to maximise attack and defense. And an important note about Power ammo when it does drop - in a huge change from the first game, only the player who grabs the ammo will get any. No more knock-on benefit for players who happen to be nearby. This means two things. One: Power weapon use is now far more limited than before, and such guns should be saved for a real tactical advantage rather than spammed as soon as you get access to them. Two: Rapidly locking down the Power ammo is easier than before, and something that can give you a huge momentum advantage if you split your team quickly enough to do it.

10. Play the floor is lava in the Inverted Spire

The Modular Mind at the end of the Inverted Spire strike isn't just content to send waves of Vex as well as pain at you. Oh no, on your second drop, every so often the floor will deliver a swift flamey death to those who are standing on it. Keep your eye on when things start to glow orange and you'll be able to float into the air and onto one of the nearby columns where there's no nastiness to toast you. 

11. Play on the final day of the Destiny 2 beta to visit The Farm

As a special final day treat on July 23, we’re all going to get a chance to see new social space The Farm.only for one hour! Yep, a greener version of The Tower awaits, complete with football and chickens - so don’t miss the last day of the beta to go exploring!

Looking for help with the original Destiny? Check out our Destiny Walkthrough for tips, collectibles guides and much more!