Destiny is different from most shooters: it's an MMO that plays like Halo. That means loot drops, stat-grinding, crafting, and all the features you'd expect to find in games like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online.
While most will know the basics of MMO play, I'm here to offer tips and tricks for really getting the most out of Destiny. With my help you'll know what the hell that Guardian is talking about when he invites you to go on a 6-man raid, or when he wants to debate about the PvP build you've got on. Remember these tips and you'll dominate Destiny when it finally arrives in September.
All of that stuff you're picking up off the ground is loot
Loot is a wonderful thing. In Destiny, items drop in the form of white, glowing polygons called Engrams which you can pick up and immediately equip. However, the colored (green and blue) Engrams are encrypted and you'll need to bring them to the Cryptarch NPC at the tower to "decode" the item before you can use them. There are also items you can earn from gaining faction experience, doing crucible matches, and participating in other activities which I'll mention later.
Yes, picking up loot from enemies and chests is a blast, but do you want to get the best equipment possible? You're going to have to change your questing a bit. First, look for the golden chests hidden in each zone. These contain high level items and sometimes unique rewards like mounts. Also, you can redo Strike missions on higher difficulties. The enemies will be higher level, but they'll also drop better gear.
Gun parts and other materials are for crafting
If you played the Destiny beta, you probably came across different types crafting material without even knowing it. In your inventory, there is the option to disassemble any of the equipment you don't want. For the standard grey items, you just get a few glimmer, but if you disassembled a green or higher rarity item, you probably got weapon parts or other material as well.
Now, we haven't seen the crafting system in action yet, but you'll probably have to collect recipes / building schematics / whathaveyou out in the world to make a specific item. You get crafting materials from disassembling items, collecting them off the ground while on missions, or from enemy drops. Crafting typically has a progression system attached as well. You can't just build a masterpiece without any practice, after all.
Get the most out of grinding with Bounties
Getting experience points through the slow grind of killing enemies and completing quests can take forever. But if you want to give yourself a bit of a boost, head over to the Tower and visit the Bounty Tracker.
This guy offers you challenges to complete in exchange for large amounts of glimmer and experience. The bounties can be PvE or PvP-centric. Some bounties require you to kill a certain number of Fallen anywhere in the open world, while others require you to get 10 player kills while in the air during a Crucible match. And it's not just a one time deal either. Once you finish a bounty you can go back for more. Just make Bounty Tracker visits part of your quest grind and you'll be on the fast track to max level.
Strike instances isolate you (and your party) from other players
If you've never played an MMO, you might be a little confused when people start disappearing in front of your eyes during gameplay. No, they aren't dropping off the face of the internet. Those players are most likely entering an instanced game area or a Strike mission. What is that, you ask? It's basically an area that no one outside that player's party can enter with them. They get that area's enemies and loot all to themselves like you would in any other FPS single player mission.
In Destiny, you can gather a fireteam, a group of three players,,and enter an instanced mission. From the mission setup in orbit, you can set the difficulty for your team. Higher level settings get you better gear, but don't jump the gun. The last thing you want to do is have your team wipe (all die) and start all over again. When you have a party together; it's just you and your buddies against swarms of Hive and Fallen trying to complete that series of objectives. No one is going to save you, but no one is going to interrupt you either.
Join huge battles through public events
The other side of the instance coin is public events--a common MMO feature that you will get a lot of exposure to in Destiny. When players are in the exploration areas of the game world, random stuff can happen. Waves of enemies can start falling from dropships, a single, super-strong enemy will make a break for a valuable resource, or sometimes a massive boss will just plop itself right in the middle of an open field. And guess what? You can go and kill those things. But you won't be alone. Any player in the vicinity can join in on the action, and holy shit is it a blast!
If you and the other Guardians are successful, you will be rewarded with a gold tier rating (if not, you get bronze or silver) for that public event--which awards you with glimmer, bonus experience, and sometimes special items. Public events are good at breaking up your quest grind, and some extra experience points don't hurt either.
Raids are end-game grindfests
In an MMO, the end of a the story isn't the end of the adventure. When you reach the end-game, an MMO usually provides several ways for you to grind for better gear. And one of the most popular activities is running raids. A raid involves gathering a bunch of friends , taking on an incredibly difficult mission, and fighting a huge boss for random, super rare loot drops.
Destiny's raids are missions that will take a few hours, so you're going to want to make sure there are no ginormous tools in your party--because having to start all over sucks hefty gonads. Once you kill a few bosses and start collecting super cool ultra rares, you're going to start missing out on some sleep. Destiny will have 6-player raids, all of which need to be on your friends list. That's a small number compared to the dozens of players that take part in World of Warcraft raids, but judging by the hectic action we got from playing the 3-man Strike missions in the beta, having 6 players shooting at monsters and exploding everything in sight sounds like plenty.
Create a separate armor and weapon loadout for PvP
The Crucible may seem just like a multiplayer match from Halo. You just pick out your favorite gun, get in there, and start cappin' fools, right? Wrong. If you're not equipped with the proper gear equipped, you are going to be at a major disadvantage. Some Crucible modes level the playing field by canceling out all of the armor and weapons bonuses for damage and protection, but you can still use the armor bonuses to your strength and discipline to boost your grenade and ability usage.
Playing with your PvE gear probably won't turn out well in the Crucible. While your scout rifle might be good for blowing the heads off of the Hive, it might not be as proficient when going up against a fully armored, human-controlled Guardian. If you're going to be jumping into the Crucible regularly, visit the Crucible vendors often and upgrade. You'll be happy you did.
Stand out from the crowd by grinding reputation points
Besides repeating raids, playing through story quests, and competing in multiplayer matches to earn equipment, there are other activities you can sink into a bunch of times for special rewards. Factions can provide you with powerful, aesthetically unique items. All you have to do is dedicate some time to your prefered group by doing quests or whatever else they require.
The Destiny beta gave us a peek at the rewards that can be earned from factions like Dead Orbit and Future War Cult. How you go about collecting reputation points in Destiny is still unclear but, in most MMOs, you'd take on faction-specific missions, gather special items, or complete multiplayer challenges to raise your faction rank. The higher your rank, the better items become available for purchase at the faction vendor.
Are you prepared?
There are still a ton of unknowns surrounding Destiny but, with any luck, you're now better prepared for the game's MMO environment. Got any questions about the intricacies of Destiny? Let me know in the comments below.