Destiny Has a Few New Tricks (Updated, Again)

I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised, but I’ll confess I was and still am. Most of the time [in this modern era of gaming] when a developer releases a new update, or a new game, there’s little that’s really new to game. Sure, games have done a lot to distinguish themselves from other game franchises, but it’s rare to see something really new in that franchise. Look at Call of Duty, not counting the different versions of the game (standard, Black Ops, Advanced Warfare) it’s virtually the same game with each new release. The enemies change, but the basic game play stays the exact same. Though honestly, that could be said for most first person shooters. Doom is fundamentally the same now as it was when it was originally released twenty years ago; sure it has new creatures and updated graphics but fundamentally, just go and kill everything.

I’m not trying to say that’s a bad thing, it’s just that it gets ridiculous sometimes. I respected and loved Insomniac’s Resistance series because they changed things from release to release. The first one had some unique weapons, particularly in multiplayer. The second one introduced co-op with unique classes such as the medic which was responsible for keeping the team going. (Yeah, I know classes like that were introduced in some version of Quake, but Resistance 2‘s implementation was beautiful.) And Resistance 3 changed again. I respect that a lot, and I really, really, REALLY wish Insomniac would do a Resistance 4 (and more) for the PS4.

What I expected out of Destiny, based on The Dark Below and the House of Wolves was more of the same. Not “it’s the same as all other FPS games”, but more of the same that we’ve already seen in Destiny. Over the last 36 hours or so, I’ve noticed that there are some new, unmentioned things in Destiny. The new subclasses, weapons, armor, strikes, and raids are getting all the attention, but as far as I know, no one’s mentioned anything about the new details in things that we’ll probably find ourselves doing far more often. (Aside from play the Crucible for those who get off on that.) While what I’ve seen has only been in the Patrol missions, I’m sure that we’ll see new touches in the other modes as well.

So what am I talking about? For starters, what I’ve encountered twice so far while doing Patrol missions is a new type of mission; basically the goal is to collect energy samples for analysis. Unlike all the other collection or analysis missions in Patrol, you simply have to go and stand in various spots for a few seconds. Easy right? The catch is that you have to be fast about it; each spot gives you about 10% of the amount of energy you need, but it decays very quickly. If you stand still for a little too long, the energy that you’ve collected disappears. So you have to be quick to get the percentage up and finish the mission; that means riding your sparrow, which is really not suited for the job given it’s sluggish acceleration, terrible braking, and imprecise handling. And then there’s also the various enemies in the area shooting at you and obstacles to making maneuvering even more difficult. It can be done, and fairly easily, actually, but it can be a little frustrating as you try to do everything perfectly and as fast as possible.

The other mission caught me off guard. I was actually between missions at the time when suddenly Nolanbot said there was an incoming transmission from an unknown source. Initially I didn’t really think anything about it, I think I was slightly confusing the mode with the story mission when the Stranger first contacts you. When it finally did register that this was different, I started recording the video I’ll add below. (Long story, but I currently have the worst internet connection of my life, and that includes dial-up.) The gist of it is, that the Ghost can’t make any sense of the transmission, and works on decoding it. Initially, the mission description is nothing but question marks on the screen, and it remains on your screen unlike with other Patrol missions. As you’ll see in the video, I’m left running around trying to randomly discover what I’m supposed to do until enough of the message has been decoded to give me enough letters to guess what my objectives are. It then led to another two quest objectives . Ultimately, all three objectives were very easy to complete once you knew what they were, and I think it’s an excellent new addition to the game and hope there are many more similar missions and surprises in The Taken King.

Update 9/21/2015:

Alright, now that I’ve had about a week of playing The Taken King under my belt, I’ve encountered the mystery transmission mission several more times. While the list below isn’t necessarily the complete list of mission objectives for these missions, they’re what I’ve encountered most often. By cycling through these actions, you can frequently figure out which of the objectives you’re supposed to accomplish before the decoding process has even begun. I’m doing these from memory, so if I miss one, I’ll update the list again later.

  • Head shots (Heads Blown Off)
  • Dance emote (Dance Floors Mastered)
  • Kill enemies (Enemy Creatures Slain)
  • Find chests (Treasures Reclaimed)
  • Sit emote (I think…)
  • Dropped items from enemies (Bodies Looted)
  • Generate Orbs of Light (Orbs Generated)