Destinys style has been described as a first-person shooter that incorporates role-playing and massively multiplayer online game (MMO) elements, but Bungie has avoided defining Destiny as a traditional MMO game. Instead, the game has been referred to as a "shared-world shooter," as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to communicate with all other players in the game or on a particular server—as is the case in many conventional MMO games—Destiny includes on-the-fly matchmaking that allows players to communicate only with other players with whom they are "matched" by the game (to communicate with other players in the game world, players must use their respective consoles messaging system). Time-limited events and modes are also occasionally added or featured in-game. Activities in Destiny are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types across Earth (the Cosmodrome), its Moon, Venus, and Mars (maps for Marss moon Phobos and the planet Mercury are also available in PvP). Another PvE area, a massive ship called the Dreadnaught that is situated in the rings of Saturn, and two PvE maps for Phobos were added with The Taken King DLC, but requires the purchase of the DLC.Character progression and classes
Players are able to improve their characters, referred to as Guardians, by gaining experience points (EXP)—when a set number of experience points are accumulated, the players character will "level up" and gain improved statistics which further enhance performance in battle. Quests, including the "main scenario" quest line, are specific tasks given to the player by non-player characters which reward items and EXP. Completing main scenario quests progresses the overarching plot of the game.
Destiny features three character classes. Each class has their own specific upgrades, perks, special abilities, and two sub-classes that allow the player to finely tune their individual characters to provide a different play style. After choosing a class, players select one of three species for their character: Human, Awoken (bluish-gray-skinned descendants of Humans), or Exo (humanoid machines). They can then customize their character, such as changing its gender or skin color. A characters species is only cosmetic and does not affect gameplay. Players can create two more characters to have a character of each class. The Taken King DLC added a third sub-class for each class, but requires the purchase of the DLC to access the new sub-classes.
Hunters are designed to be like a bounty hunter with a focus on agility and mobility. Its Solar-based "Gunslinger" sub-class tree includes stat boosts that award accurate play, a throwing knife attack, the ability to upgrade to a triple jump, and the "Golden Gun" super, a very powerful, flaming magnum with a base magazine of three shots. The Arc-based "Bladedancer" sub-class has a heavier focus on close combat, offering an extended-range "Blink Strike", and an "Arc Blade" super (which allows the player to quickly dart between and kill enemies) with a temporary invisibility option. The Taken King added the Void-based "Nightstalker" sub-class that includes a bow-like super called "Shadowshot" that tethers enemies together, limiting movement and preventing enemies from using abilities for a short time.
Warlocks are designed as a mage, or a space wizard, with a larger focus on offensive abilities, recovery, and melee attacks that can reduce the cooldown time of its abilities. Its super in the "Voidwalker" sub-class, "Nova Bomb", is an explosively powerful sphere of Void energy capable of being thrown in different ways. Its "Sunsinger" sub-class features abilities based around the Solar element, with the "Radiance" super allowing the player to temporarily improve their statistics, or revive themselves if killed. The Taken King added the Arc-based "Stormcaller" sub-class that includes the super "Stormtrance", which produces lightning bolts that chains between enemies.
Titans are designed to be "tanks", with a focus on withstanding large amounts of damage to allow close quarters combat. The Titans super in the Arc-based "Striker" sub-class, "Fist of Havoc", is a ground slamming attack that destroys all enemies in its radius. Its Void-based "Defender" sub-class offers the ability to generate a shield with its "Ward of Dawn" super. The shield can also provide temporary stat bonuses to other players that step within it. The Taken King added the "Sunbreaker" sub-class, which features a Solar-based super, the "Hammer of Sol", creating a flaming hammer that can be thrown at enemies, or used for close-quarters combat.
Upon reaching the character level cap, character progression shifts to improving their "Light" level by acquiring new and better equipment. This equipment can be gained through a variety of sources, including "strikes", raids, and in-game events. Prior to The Taken King DLC, all legendary and exotic armor, and some rare, contained an attribute called Light. Once players reached level 20, they no longer earned experience to level up; EXP earned after level 20 went towards upgrading weapons and armor, and creating Motes of Light, an in-game currency. Players could only go beyond level 20 by obtaining armor with Light, and these levels were referred to as Light levels. The initial Light level cap was 30, which increased to 32 with The Dark Below DLC and 34 with the House of Wolves DLC. Update patch 2.0, released in preparation for The Taken King DLC, made the characters experience level and Light level separate: level 34 is now the experience level cap for all players; level 40 for players who own The Taken King. A higher character level allows for better equipment to be equipped. A characters Light level is now an average of the attack and defense of all equipped gear. For example, if all equipped gear has 170 Light each, the characters Light level will be 170. A higher Light level improves damage output and defense. The highest obtainable Light level was 320 for players who owned The Taken King; the expansions April Update increased it to 335.
Players equipment includes weapons and armor. Legendary and exotic items are the best items for players characters, and only one exotic weapon and one exotic armor can be equipped at one time. There are several different classes of weapons that are categorized as either a primary, special (secondary), or heavy weapon. Several weapons have an elemental damage type. There is Arc (blue), Solar (orange), and Void (purple). All damage types will deplete enemy shields of that type faster, and the weapon will also do extra damage to enemies if the gameplay modifiers Arc Burn, Solar Burn or Void Burn are active. The original maximum attack damage for legendary and exotic weapons was 300. This increased to 331 with The Dark Below DLC and 365 with the House of Wolves DLC. Because of the change to the Light level system, The Taken King DLC numerically changed weapons of 365 damage to 170, but with no loss in damage output (365 damage of Year 1 equals 170 damage of Year 2). As with armor, weapons attack damage contributes to the Light level and all gear can be infused to increase their numbers.
There are six armor slots: helmet, gauntlets, chest, legs, class item, and artifact (artifacts were added with The Taken King). Each class has armor specific to them with exotic armor that compliment a characters sub-class. Each piece of armor increases overall defense. Before The Taken King, class items were only cosmetic (such as the Hunters cloak) and did not have any stat or defense boosts. Class items now have defense that contributes to players Light level. Players Ghost companion now also has defense that contributes to their Light level. In addition to earning gear from loot drops by playing missions and other activities, players can purchase gear from faction vendors. Players can pledge their allegiance to one of three factions—Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, or New Monarchy—and earning enough reputation with a faction allows players to earn and purchase that factions legendary items. Players also earn reputation with other vendors, such as the Vanguard and Crucible, by doing playlists or bounties for that vendor that also have their own set of legendary items.
Player versus environment (PvE)
Player versus environment game types makes up the majority of the game. PvE story missions can be played either solo or as part of a "fireteam" of up to three players. Though there is an order to the story missions, they can be played in any order as more missions become available. For example, after completing Earths second story mission, three more become available, and those do not have to be played in story order. Every day, a random story mission is featured as the Daily Heroic Story Mission, featuring bonus rewards. Each playable area offers an open world "Patrol" mode, where players can travel freely around the area and perform small tasks gathered from beacons, and they can collect materials that are used for upgrading weapons and armor. Players travel around the areas on foot or with their vehicles called Sparrows (very similar to the speeder bikes of Star Wars). Public events happen periodically and any player in the same location can participate. These location-specific events include eliminating a target, defeating incoming waves of enemies, and defending a Warsat (a crashed satellite)."Strikes" are cooperative missions played with a party of three players that culminate with a boss; most strikes are side missions that are not part of the main plot. Players can play much harder versions of the strikes in what are called the Vanguard Heroic Playlist (formerly Weekly Heroic Strike) and the Weekly Nightfall Strike, which grant bonus rewards. While the Vanguard Heroic is a playlist of strikes, the We