Choose My Adventure: New tutorials and old habits see Destiny 2’s hooks set in


I’m going to admit it to myself: In spite of my misgivings about what awaits me at the endgame, I can feel myself getting wrapped up in Destiny 2 all over again. You know the feeling when you can sense a game’s hooks getting into you? When you realize that you’ve lost a few hours to it? When you’re considering what to do next just shortly after you’ve logged off? When even the act of logging off kind of makes you want to fire it back up again?

Yeah, that’s where I’m at with this one.

A lot of this has been helped out by experiencing more of the new opening beats as my character chased a Fallen Wizard across the Cosmodrome. This final boss fight of the storyline that I was dropped into did remind me of this game’s penchant for making bullet sponge health pool bosses that constantly spit out waves of adds “challenging” (it’s not; it’s just straight-up lazy as hell), but by that time I had also grown attached to the weapons I was fielding, and so through persistence and some recognition that this was the way of things, I saw my victory come through.

After that, it was off to the Tower to be reacquainted with the NPCs and their various goods and services. This held a couple of new surprises for me, particularly since the game referenced past events like the Red War, what happened to Ada and the Vault, and Cayde’s death. I don’t know whether that was because the game was reading the data from my old character’s life, but it was kind of nice to see this portion not be set backwards in time. Though I also don’t remember the Traveler healing itself. For the most part, though, this location held a nice sense of familiarity to me.

Once I had gotten the grand tour, I was in for another surprise from Zavala and the tutorial quest: I was being immediately kicked into a Strike, aka this game’s version of a group dungeon. Honestly, I was a little bit worried by this development. How many people are honestly going to be helping out some new sproutling with Baby’s First Strike?

Turns out quite a lot, as the fireteam was almost immediately formed up after I entered the queue. Not only that, but the Strike experience was vastly different from what I recall in years before, as people were actually moving at regular pace through the various rooms instead of running at full sprint at all times.

The Strike definitely saw the challenge levels raise up, forcing me to not only pick my shots better but consider more intelligent use of my skills. I have been using supers and grenades and powers to this point before, but for the most part the engagements were small enough that I kind of felt like I could simply shoot my way through them. That was certainly not the case in this dungeon, however, as I was definitely forced to up my game.

As intriguing and fun as this was, the difficulty ramping up also meant that some of Destiny 2’s design contrivances also got ramped up. The final boss fight in particular was a little too thicc in terms of health, and stopping to turn around and fight the constantly spawning waves of enemies made an already long fight that much longer, particularly since my teammates (and myself) were dying a bunch of times, forcing moments of panic where one person was left to kite enemies, avoid the boss’ attacks, and try to find a moment to revive at least one person so we wouldn’t need to do it all over again.

Annoying quirks aside, my team persevered, and we won the fight. I’m sure that strikes as mediocre to most veteran players, but for a newly returned player (and likely a neophyte), this victory was sweet indeed. As were the quest rewards, for the most part.

Finally, the opening quests took me on a trip to get my very first exotic weapon. This was, frankly, a nerve-wracking experience, as it involved tracking down a weapon hidden by Cayde that involved one of the most infuriating jumping puzzles I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing, all for a weapon that ultimately did not really appeal to me and a boss fight that further leaned on the old “HP sponge with endless mobs” “difficulty” pattern. I got past the boss and spitefully disassembled the exotic.

Don’t worry! To my surprise, I’ve got a few exotics still in my personal vault. Also I was given an item that let me claim some old exotics; I might pick up a bow that’s in the list. We’ll see.

On the subject of loot, the “looter” part of the “looter shooter” equation and the enhancements of my favored weapons was another big reason why I felt as if I was being drawn back in. The sensation of seeing an engram drop and watching that little weapon or armor icon pop off on the right side of the screen was still doing a lot for me, even if most of what I was gathering ended up being disassembled. There were some nice pieces of kit sprinkled throughout that slowly ramped up my light levels, and I was also able to experience a couple of new weapon types that I think I might jibe with later. For now, though, I’m pretty pleased with my primary rifle and the secondary pulse rifle. My power weapon is still to be determined.

Once the tutorial was well and truly finished, I was aimed at a few different directions, including the H.E.L.M. (which means almost nothing to me since the season was almost done at that point), to some small grinding to unlock the Arc and Solar Warlock subclasses, and to the opening quests of Beyond Light, which was a new experience to me. I started getting invested in this story. I started getting invested in finding the right weapons. I started looking at mods.

All in all, I think this game has me reeled back in to the point that I might want to try to be a part of today’s Lightfall launch. We’ll see. I still have those earlier referenced endgame reservations. But for now, I really have to admit that Destiny 2’s gotten my attention all over again.

But that’s Future Chris’s problem: Right now we’ve got a new CMA horizon in the world of Embers Adrift. Last week’s polling saw the Defender edge forward in the role voting, so now it’s time to pare down the choices further and consider the specialization to go for. Admittedly, this might not even happen – these things unlock at level 6, and there’s no guarantee that I’m going to find people to party with up to that level – but we might as well decide it here and now.

What defender role specialization should I get (assuming I get there)?

  • Juggernaut. Smash! (41%, 11 Votes)
  • Knight. Shield! (37%, 10 Votes)
  • Marshal. Tactics? (22%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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Now we have a second poll choice lined up this week as well and it’s primarily in the interest of creating a safety net. Assuming that there’s nobody to group up with at the lower levels of Embers Adrift, I figure some kind of other sandbox MMORPG should be a fallback title. So that means it’s time to choose what that may be.

What backup sandbox MMO should we head to if Embers Adrift doesn't work out?

  • Mortal Online II (21%, 5 Votes)
  • Wild Terra 2 (38%, 9 Votes)
  • Past Fate (17%, 4 Votes)
  • Vendetta Online (25%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Once again polling wraps at 1:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 4th. Fingers crossed this next month goes well, but just in case, maybe brace for the worst. I know I certainly am.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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