DESTINY. What is...Destiny? What is fate? Are we the arbiters of our own lives, our own decisions, or but helpless fools trapped in a cycle already decided upon for us? What meaning is there to be discovered in such an existence, and if there is none, what does that mean of Man?

...I am being told I have the wrong kind of destiny.


DESTINY...2! The sequel to Destiny! Not the existential concept, but the game that kicked the entire concept of "shoot stuff with your buddies, get shiny gear to help you shoot stuff more better" in the dang head, mounted MMO community concepts to a co-op FPS game structure, aaaand had kind of a less than stellar launch. But it got better! And it turned into, by the end, a really solid game built out of the ashes of a really solid concept that went all topsy-turvy on them.

Which brings us back to the sequel. Which is still in the somewhat distant future, a full month and a half away. But, you know what isn't in the somewhat distant future? The BETA for Destiny 2, which is out...well if you're already committed and preordered you're already playing it. But if you're just curious, then it's out later today as of this writing! I know!

So we're gonna focus on the public beta, because yeah all the preorder guys already did their stuff. They're gone, all off recording video for their youtube channels and taking screenshots for their twitters and all that stuff. It's just you and me, hypothetical reader who's kind of curious about Destiny 2.

Let's talk the pitch first, or why you should care. Destiny 2 is the big sequel to kind of the genre-maker of the shoot-n-loot genre, a particular melding of FPS to MMO that was deeply flawed, but had enough of a really good core that it spawned a whole set of games to go into development a couple years ago to try and "be Destiny, but better". ...Those all come out like next year. Boy is there egg on their faces.

But I digress. Listen. This is an FPS by the people who made the classic Halo games. There are folks in the company who've been there since all the way back in their Marathon days. What I'm saying here is that the game, as an FPS mechanical experience, is and will be very very good.

If you don't know the first thing about Destiny, here's the story pitch: You're a Guardian, a big ass-kicking warrior of Light who's capable of coming back from the dead. You get to pick from a couple character types, a few different core classes that affect your powers and the like, and go. Core gameplay is solid FPS stuff, but it's always-online, always-multiplayer. Main game is cooperative with a story mode, but there's a competitive mode too. If you've played any of the various FPS games with RPG elements, you have some idea of what you're getting into here mechanically.

Now I'll assume you're curious about the beta if you're still reading. First, fair warning. Nothing you do here is going to carry over. You're not gonna get to take any gear you collect or anything into the real game, your progress won't carry over, none of that. Everything here is ethereal and temporary.

So you're gonna get the beta, bolt some Destiny 2 info to your PSN/XBL account, and make your character. Pick your favorite of the gun-fighter, gun-rogue and gun-wizard, and get in there, pretty much. Content wise, you're going to get some shiny stuff, but be aware that this beta's pretty focused on the PvP content, presumably so they can keep all the story stuff a secret.

But first is the PvE content. You've got two big shiny things to look forward to. One is "Homecoming", the opening tutorial missions. You've seen the windup to these if you've seen the trailers, or, like, any coverage. Shit's going down, big bad boys from outer space are stomping into your home turf, you've got to try and slam them back as everything comes apart.

So that'll be cheery and fun!

Once you wrap all that, you've got the other big piece of PvE stuff, the "Inverted Spire" Strike mission. Now, Strike missions are...What's the way to put it...They're like little small raids. They're not like a big huge Raid raid and they only let up to three people in, but they're a solid shot of content that lasts somewhere between 15 minutes and half an hour, and while the basic beats of the mission are always the same, the individual gunfights can obviously go really differently.

Those are your big things if you literally do not care about PvP. It's not a lot, but it's more than enough to know if you'll enjoy the real game(which will of course have far more PvE content), which is the important bit.

No, the bulk of the beta time is gonna be spent in PvP land. Competitive gaming. Esports, baby! And what have you got there? A decent crossup of stuff, actually. Two modes, two new maps, four variations of content to enjoy for a couple days.

Your two modes are Countdown, which is your classic "plant the bomb" style reverse-CTF, Counterstrike kind of mission; And Control, which is a refinement on the ever-classic "fight over three or four zones across the map" gameplay mode. Both of these will be 4v4, so nice tight gameplay where you might actually have some hope of getting a bit of teamwork.

As for maps, your two are a bit contrasty. Midtown is your more basic, set down on Earth where there are normal buildings and terrain and stuff. Then there's the Endless Vale, which is more...weird. Hopefully really weird.

Also I have to point out that the press kit for this beta makes a specific point of telling me that the dance emote will be in the beta, as well as the ever-versatile 'wave', 'sit' and 'point' interactions. Truly, Bungie knows what their fans want.

You're also gonna get access to some special guns, the fancy weird exotic ones that devs love to custom-craft in games like this, which will be very very fun. That said...I dunno, I've always felt a little odd about the fancy weird exotic guns. I kind of like the, almost purity of the more standard stuff. But hey, that's just me.

So, one last detail, and that's time. Let's talk how long you get to play. The public beta goes live at 10 AM Pacific/6 PM UK time, July 21st. That's today, Friday. Servers shut down at 9 PM Pacific July 23rd, or 5 AM UK time on July 24th. You get one long weekend with this game before you've got to wait for the whole thing.

Make it count, Guardian. I'll see you out there.