Something big happened yesterday.

A collection of fans, journalists, and other industry folk gathered under a swath of Bungie-built, Destiny-branded flags and tapestries to see the gameplay premiere for Destiny 2. It sounds like indulgent overkill (and it definitely is that), but for a gigantic studio and a franchise sequel, it makes sense. This is the sort of mathematical equation that always equals results, even if it requires fans to overlook the multiple slaps in the face it took to get here.

Some actual news, though, thankfully emerged. But given the litany of problems that existed and even currently exist in the first Destiny, a single question rose up. How the fuck do they not open this thing by saying, “Hey, we got more enemies,” and then walk off the stage. More enemies, more content, just, like, more shit basically.

Anyway, let’s get into it.

Look to the Stories

Think about Destiny. Now tell me about the story. No, not the story about Nolan North replacing Peter Dinklage. Nothing? Not surprising. There wasn’t much of a story to speak of, even with the oversized 2.0 patch that landed a year after launch.

(That Year Two was pretty fucked up, actually, ripping a perfectly mediocre game from the hands of fans and replacing it with a marginally better but significantly different game.)

Destiny 2 aims to change that, however. We already knew the Cabal would be taking a more prominent role in the game, but now we know why. Dominus Ghaul, leader of the Red Legion of the Cabal, is set on taking the Traveler’s power for himself and thoroughly fuck up the Guardians’ Christmas. Lead writer Christine Thompson says that this would come through in more cutscenes and story missions, which obviously doesn’t translate to a better story, but at least we can rest assured it goes beyond a neat premise.

New Weapons

While it’s a kick in the soft stuff that we’re losing all our loot from the first game, there’s at least a story reason for it. That gameplay trailer is from the first mission called “Homecoming,” which is the before, during, and after of the Cabal assault on the Tower. But now we also know that there’s a mechanical reason why we’re losing all our stuff.

Rather that build on top of the old weapons system, there’s something new this time around. Rather than the primary, secondary, and heavy types, there are the new kinetic, energy, and power weapons. Game director Luke Smith put it as “more freedom and more choice to use the stuff that they love,” but from the outset, it sounds more like a streamlined and systemic way to not hop into menus over and over again to swap out your favorite rifle mid-battle.

Your arsenal is clearing expanding as well. You can see grenade launchers and miniguns being used in the footage, but there’s no word yet on how much more new types of gear we’ll see.

More (Sub) Classes

As you heard project lead Mark Noseworthy say, there are still the three base classes that you’re familiar with. The Titan, Warlock, and Hunter aren’t going anywhere. There’s just going to be more of them, namely in the form of new subclasses.

Destiny 2

The first that we see is the Dawnblade. Branching from the Warlock, you’ll gain the ability to fly over the battlefield and use your weapon in true Master Sword style to unleash hot fire blades at those below. Based on the gameplay footage, it’s pretty dang powerful.

Destiny 2

Then there’s the Sentinel, a Void Titan that basically turns into Captain America. Seriously, his super is a shield that he can throw into a crowd and it’ll ricochet them all to death. And, I guess, use it for normal shield things, too, or whatever.

Destiny 2

Finally, there’s the Hunter’s Arcstrider. (These names are getting kind of Tolkien, huh.) This one honestly seems the most exciting. You get an energy staff and then go forth to introduce everyone to what you learned watching The Raid: Redemption. It’s a good shakeup from the ilk of powers we’ve been used to with the first game, though no word on if those will carry over either.

Crucible Changes

Destiny 2

The Crucible, Destiny‘s PvP mode, is dropping to 4v4 across all modes. The original game supported up to 6v6, so this sounds like competitive multiplayer is aiming to be a more intimate affair. That new attack/defend game type Countdown seems like it’s really going to force a lot of communication at that team size.

There’s also a new HUD that gives you more information about your opponent. It’s supposed to allow for more depth, or as world lead Steve Cotton puts it, “Easy to get into but hard to master.” Sounds more like you’ll know when to run away from someone because they have their super or some power ammo.

No Orbiting

Destiny 2

Do you remember how you had to jump up into space to do pretty much anything? It was an almost punitive amount of loading to get to the opportunity to load even more. No more! You just point and go to wherever you want on the new searchable and (supposedly) useful map.

And there’s apparently a lot more to point to and go towards. Lost Sectors are dungeons where you have to kill a boss to get a key to unlock a bunch of loot. And there are things called Adventures, which is what Bungie calls missions, I guess. Or maybe Adventures necessitate new mechanics like Cotton says. It’s kind of unclear.

Hot Planet Action

Destiny 2

Almost too obvious, there will be new locations. Some will be on familiar planets like the European Dead Zone on Earth, which is the stand-in Tower with the Tower being, you know, exploded. But others will be brand spankin’ new. You’ll go to Saturn’s moon Titan, for example, and see its roiling, unending seas consuming an abandoned human utopia.

There’s also the little planetoid Nessus, which has been taken over by the Vex and is more machine than planet now. Sounds like a bummer, but at least Cayde is there. Also, there’s Jupiter’s moon Io, which honestly just looks like Venus from the first Destiny.

Join a Clan

Destiny 2

Like, officially. There is a new clan system built into Destiny 2. Welcome to 2004, I guess.

They are doing something interesting with them, though. Solo players can indulge in a sort of matchmaking (which was previously absent) called Guided Games. They’ll be able to shack up with clans that open their ranks for Raids, Trials, and Nightfall strikes where the members help ensure the solo Guardian don’t die/die less.

Or, from another perspective, the solo player will help make sure the clan players don’t die/die less. Whatever floats your pickle.

Tim Poon

Computer scientist turned journalist. Send tips to