Destiny 2 is set to be one of the biggest games of the year, building on the ideas and universe established in Bungie's online console shooter that debuted back in 2014.
Returning to both PS4 and Xbox One - and making its series debut on PC - we already know plenty of high level details about Destiny 2 - the story, environments, and a bevy of new and returning features - and a few things we don't know quite yet, such as how the all important end-game Raid will play out.
Destiny 2 beta date and start times
We'll get a first proper hands-on with Destiny 2 as part of a beta, which we now know more about following Sony's 2017 E3 conference. Here's the info:
- Destiny 2 PS4 Beta start time - July 18th, 10am PST / 6pm BST - for those who pre-order
- Destiny 2 Xbox One Beta start time - July 19th, 10am PST / 6pm BST - for those who pre-order
- Destiny 2 Open Beta start time for all players on consoles - July 21st, 10am PST / 6pm BST
- Destiny 2 Beta end time for all players on consoles - July 23rd, 9pm PST / 5am BST - for consoles
- Destiny 2 PC Beta start time - some time in late August, more to follow
To gain access, pre-orders of the game at participating retailers (as always, while stocks last) will come with a code for the game's closed beta at some point before release.
What's in the beta?
An interview at E3 (via Destiny's sub-Reddit) taught us much of the hands-on we've seen so far - the 'Homecoming' story mission, Inverted Spire strike, 'Countdown' PvP mode and six sub-classes - will appear, alongside much more besides.
Until then, we could also learn something based on the beta for the original game, which also debuted in the July before release. Participants received an exclusive emblem to take into the full game (but not any character progress), and we wouldn't be surprised to see the same again.
There was a surprising amount in the original beta; after creating a character with any of the three classes, you could explore the Cosmodrome as part of four story missions, The Devil's Lair strike and patrol. Crucible was also available at a certain level, and close to its conclusion, a taste of the Moon, too.
It's also worth noting that, like the first game, there was a private Alpha test in early June (which last time was exclusive on PlayStation) which is likely to feature the exact same content as the beta.
Destiny 2 gameplay changes and additions
Following the May gameplay reveal - complete with the below gameplay footage - here's what we know so far about Destiny 2.
Story and characters
Destiny 2's story revolves around how Guardians will fight back against one of the game's returning enemy factions, the Cabal (specifically, the Red Legion faction headed up by Primus Ghaul) who has attacked and destroyed the game's central hub, The Tower, and imprisoned the floating orb that gives our heroes its power, the Traveller.
Doing so has destroyed this power - known as Light - as well as the weaponry and loot of each Guardian, and it's your job to reunite the Vanguard from the solar system - including returning characters Cayde-6 (voiced by Nathan Fillion) and fellow Vanguard leaders Ikora Rey and Commander Zavala - to fight back.
Four new locations
Similar to Destiny's first year, there are four new locations to explore.
The European Dead Zone on Earth is one of the first places you'll visit after the attack, with new settlements of the Vanguard (a new social space) amid a forest and a ruined village. Bungie describes it as twice as big as any environment seen in the original game, so expect to be spending a bit of time here.
Titan is a moon of Saturn, and where Zavalla is located. It was a human utopia built before the collapse, and is slowly sinking into an ocean of methane.
Planetoid Nessus is where Cayde-6 is hiding out. It's occupied by the Vex, who have transformed it into one of their machine worlds, but you can also expect some vast canyons covered in lush native vegetation to play around in, making is sounds similar to Venus from the original game.
Finally, there's Io, a sulphuric moon of Jupiter, and as one of the last places the Traveller visited before the collapse, is considered a sacred place by the Warlocks - which where we'll find the third and final Vanguard member, Ikora.
Mapped out larger areas with improved side-quests
The above four areas are bigger than anything seen in the first Destiny, with the promise of much more to do.
As well as the return of Patrols, ambient enemy encounters, public events and chests to find, there are two new excursions; Adventures, side-missions given to you by characters in the world, and Lost Sectors, which are marked on your map as new places to explore, with a cache of treasure and a boss to fight waiting at the end of it.
To help, you'll now finally have a map to chart your position and progress, and also give you a heads up of the public events and other timed activities that will take place, and when.
E3 saw the announcement of 'Flashpoints', where one location per week will have special attributes (different enemy encounters, treasures) for high level rewards. (Thanks, Destiny's sub-Reddit.)
No need to go to Orbit
A crowd-pleasing gameplay change that's worth highlighting on its own is the ability to jump from planet-to-planet without going to orbit (the screen where you chose which destinations or activities to play next) first. Bit of a timesaver!
New sub-classes with Supers and class abilities:
The three primary classes Warlocks, Titans and Hunters all return, but this time with one new sub-class and two reworked returning classes, complete with new Supers (which are assumed to work the same as the first game, gradually building over time and boosted with enemy kills and buffs).
Meanwhile, each sub-class also has a new recharging ability, activated by holding or double tapping the crouch button - this includes erecting a shield, a quick dodge and healing.
Here are the three new class types and their new Supers, and if you want to read more about other skill changes, our Destiny 2 classes and sub-classes page dive into these in more detail:
- Dawnblade (Warlock): This has you fly through the air and rain down arcs of fire projectiles down below.
- Sentinel (Titan): Equip a shield to knock down enemies with a charge or throw it at foes, Captain America-style.
- Arcstriker (Hunter): Not unlike the Bladedancer, dash from foe-to-foe with close-up attacks, except now with a glowing staff.
Redesigned weapon slots and armour stats
Firearms and melee weapons are once again organised into three different slots, with in a slightly amended way, now billed as Kinetic weapons, Energy weapons and Power weapons.
Several of the same primary and second types - such as hand cannons and auto rifles - are Kinetic and Energy weapons, though only elemental versions of these weapons can be in the Energy weapon slot.
Power, meanwhile, is essentially Heavy weapons from the first game with a few of the secondaries thrown into the mix (such as Shotguns) as well as other new weapon types, such as the Grenade Launcher.
Exotics are back, too, with three confirmed so far - the Sunshot, Sweet Business and Riskrunner - so expect these rare drops and quest rewards to have unique abilities you can't find anywhere else.
Meanwhile, stats have had a little change; Strength, Intellect, and Discipline are no more, and instead you have Armour, Recovery and Agility stats when equipping armour.
Loot won't carry over - but Destiny 1 characters can be imported
Gear, weapons, premium Eververse items and currency will not carry over from the first Destiny game, giving the sequel a clean slate to introduce new ideas. This has been explained briefly in the game's lore, with enemy faction the Cabal blowing up the Tower where it's stored. (Just don't tell Bungie items were also kept in two other social zones.)
Characters who had completed the Black Garden story mission and have reached level 20 will have their race, class and appearance carry over from the first game. It's currently unknown when you can transfer characters from console to PC.
There will be some additional bonuses for players of the original, with Bungie awarding "those veteran accounts with honours that reflect your Destiny 1 accomplishments," which we'd guess would be cosmetic items, if Bungie's previous rewards are to go by (Halo players will given exclusive Emblems in the original Destiny, for example).
Destiny 2 new features, what we know (and don't know) so far
There are several confirmed features to return, and several new quality-of-life changes incoming:
- Story missions: Starting with a mission named Homecoming and the destruction of the Tower, the adventure is touted to offer many more cinematic scenes than the original.
- Strikes and Nightfalls: Similar to the original, these are replayable three-player co-operative missions. The only Strike confirmed so far is on Nessus - named the Inverted Spire - which has you battle through Reg Legion territory to then fight the Vex. And while no specifics were detailed, Nightfalls - more challenging Strikes with weekly modifiers - will return too.
- Raid: One Raid is confirmed for the sequel, with few details so far - that's those to be coming at a later date, or even held back completely until it's out in the wild. We can expect the same blend of six-player puzzle solving, platforming and boss battling with unique and highly valuable spoils for your trouble, as well as a different death penalty system to replace no revives. Interesting!
- Crucible: Redesigned to be more approachable but just as hard to master, all game modes are now four versus four players, with new HUD (display) elements that tell you key information about your opponents, from when they have picked up Power Ammo to when their Supers are ready. Expect one new mode - Countdown - which will be the first attack and defend scenario in the series to date. Fans of the Private Match feature may be disappointed to hear it won't be in the sequel from day one.
Clans and Guided Games
While not new to Destiny, Clans are now built into the game itself, making it easier to manage, grow and customise. Being part of a clan will give you shared rewards, even if you only play a few specific missions or matches per week, everyone will benefit in some way.
For those who want to play solo, then Guided Games combines the two concepts. Clans can advertise for additional players to join a Fireteam - completing a team of three or six that wouldn't usually allow matchmaking, such as the Nightfall or Raid - with solo players able to select their desired group based their specific requests.
The solo players can then freely move on after the game, or if they enjoyed their time with the clan, decide to join up. It was noted Guided Games will only be available in Normal and not Heroic difficulty, according to GameSpot.
PC exclusive on Battle.net, support 4K and more
Destiny 2 on PC will support a range of visual options - from 4K resolution to an uncapped framerate, full mouse and keyboard support, text chat, adjustable field of view and 21:9 monitor support, as well as being exclusive to Blizzard's Battle.net service, the home of World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone and more, meaning you won't be able to play through Steam, Origin or other services.
You can read more on Destiny 2 graphics options with our dedicated PC page.
There will be two expansions confirmed as part of the limited edition reveal, with symbols hinting at possible returning characters and settings.
One features Osiris - a Warlock who lived on Mercury and whom the high-skilled Trials of Osiris multiplayer event is named after - and the other is of Rasputin, the Warmind intelligence found in the Cosmodrome in the original.
As with the first game, PlayStation 4 owners will receive year-long timed-exclusive content ahead of its Xbox One and PC counterparts. In the first game, this ranged from maps to loot including weapons and armour, so expect something similar here.
As of the E3 2017 Destiny news, we know that exclusive content to be a competitive multiplayer map, a three-player co-op Strike, a blue and white coloured ship, specialised ear sets and an exclusive exotic weapon.
There are dedicated servers - sort of
An improvement on the original game is there is a combination of dedicated servers and peer-to-peer networking in the sequel. "Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers," engineering lead Matt Segur explained. "That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center."
Grimoire cards are no more
Unlocked upon completing new activities or collecting new weapons in the original game, Bungie has confirmed Grimoire cards will no longer be in the sequel.
Why? It's thanks to the its greater focus on in-game storytelling; as well as a form of collectable, these cards also provided additional details about the universe of Destiny when read through the official companion app, so expect these worldbuilding snippets to move into the game instead.
Collector's Edition bonuses confirm swords emotes
There is another collector's edition (which is only available in the UK from GAME on PS4 and Xbox One, but all three platforms PS4, Xbox One and PC in the US from Amazon) which offers not only a real life bag, but a few extra in-game goodies - including a legendary sword, emote and emblem.
If you're the sort who enjoys a nice Destiny bag, then it might be worth taking a look at Jelly Deals (owned by our parent company Gamer Network) who has an article on the best Destiny merchandise.
And what we don't know about Destiny 2 so far:
- New enemy types: We know of two new Cabal adversaries as part of the new Red Legion faction, both which appear to be melee types - the Warbeast which hunts in packs, and the dual-sword swinging Gladiator, who leaps at you from a distance. How many other new enemies, and exactly which enemy factions are returning outside of the Cabal and Vex, is still unknown.
- Other modes returning: We know several core modes coming back, but what about Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner and Prison of Elders? Same applies to the many Crucible gamemodes.
- Xur and weekly vendors: Is Xur, the weekend vendor who sells items for Strange Coins, and other social space specific vendors returning with timed goods?
- Returning weapons: Exotics as a concept is back, but how many will return from the first game is uncertain. Will we be fetching a Gjallarhorn for a third time?
- Development studios: We know Luke Smith - the lead of first raid Vault of Glass and expansion The Taken King - will be the game's director, but not much else about broader behind-the-scenes talent of the project. We've seen several Activision studios join Bungie as developers for Destiny since the original's release, including High Moon Studios and Vicarious Visions, and while we can assume they are working on Destiny 2, in what exact capacity is still unknown.
- Destiny-themed Blizzard skins: Will pre-ordering Destiny 2 on PC give you a Ghost-themed Hearthstone card back? Okay, we're half-joking, but it wouldn't surprise us there's some kind of bonus for existing Blizzard games as the first non-Blizzard game to be available through the client.
- PC release date: Bungie has yet to commit to the September 8 release date alongside the PS4 and Xbox One versions, simply saying it's "coming soon".
Destiny 2 is due September 6, 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One, and month-and-a-half later on PC - with pre-orders already available in the UK for the standard edition (on PS4, Xbox One and PC) as well as limited edition (also on PS4, Xbox One and PC).