Destiny (video game)

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Destiny box art.png
Cover art featuring the game's three character classes: Warlock (left), Hunter (center), and Titan (right).
Developer(s) Bungie
Publisher(s) Activision[a]
Artist(s) Christopher Barrett[1]
Writer(s) Joseph Staten
Release date(s) WW September 9, 2014[3]
JP September 11, 2014[4]
Genre(s) Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Destiny is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Activision. It was released on September 9, 2014, for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One consoles. Destiny marked Bungie's first new console franchise since the Halo series, and it is the first game in a ten-year agreement between Bungie and Activision. Set in a "mythic science fiction" world, the game features a massively-multiplayer "shared-world" environment with elements of role-playing games.

Players take on the role of a Guardian, defenders of Earth's last safe city, as they wield a power called Light to protect the city from different alien races. The Guardians are tasked with reviving a celestial being called the Traveler, while journeying to different planets to investigate and destroy the alien threats before humanity is completely wiped out. Since launch, Bungie has released three expansion packs furthering the story and adding new content: The Dark Below in December 2014, House of Wolves in May 2015, and The Taken King in September 2015, which marked the beginning of year two of Destiny and changed much of the core gameplay.

Upon its release, Destiny received a polarized critical reception with criticism centered mostly around the game's storyline and post-campaign content. The game was praised for maintaining lineage from the Halo franchise, particularly in regards to its competitive experiences. On day one of its release, it sold over US$500 million at retail, making it the biggest new franchise launch of all time. It was GamesRadar's 2014 Game of the Year and it received the BAFTA Award for Best Game at the 2014 British Academy Video Games Awards.


Destiny‍ '​s 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.[5] Instead, the game has been referred to as a "shared-world shooter,"[6] 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.[5] Time-limited events and modes are also occasionally added or featured in-game.[7][8]

Activities in Destiny are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) missions across Earth (the Cosmodrome), its Moon, Venus, and Mars (maps for Mars's 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, was added with The Taken King DLC, but requires the purchase of the DLC. PvE story missions can be played either solo or as part of a "fireteam" of up to three players. Each playable area offers an open world "Patrol" mode, where players can travel freely around the area and perform small jobs gathered from beacons. Players travel around the areas on foot or with their sparrows (very similar to the speeder bikes of Star Wars). Public events happen periodically and any player in the same location can participate. "Strikes" are cooperative missions played with a party of three players that culminate with a major boss. Raids are advanced cooperative missions designed to be played by a team of six players. From social spaces (the Tower on Earth, and the Vestian Outpost added by the House of Wolves DLC), players can redeem "engrams" into items, buy items, and collect challenges known as bounties to complete during activities to earn experience, build their reputation among factions, and sometimes earn items. Beyond armor and weapons, items that players can obtain include ships that represent themselves during travel cutscenes, shaders for customizing the color scheme of their armor, emblems (banners for players' names), and shells for their Ghost, the player's AI companion.[9][10][11][12]

The Crucible contains playlists of PvP modes, including "Control" (6-on-6 point capture), "Clash" (6-on-6 deathmatch), "Rumble" (6-player solo deathmatch), and "Skirmish" (3-on-3 deathmatch with the ability to revive allies). New modes have been added via expansions, including "Elimination" (similar to Skirmish, except divided into nine rounds in which the team must kill all three of their opponents at once),[13] and "Rift" (a 6-on-6 capture the flag-like mode where players must deliver a "Spark" to the opposing team's base, killing enemies in its radius).[14] Other modes are available occasionally during time-limited periods, such as "Combined Arms" (a playlist of games on maps with vehicles and turrets), "Salvage" (a 3-on-3 "king of the hill" game), "Inferno" (Control or Clash games where points are solely scored on kills, and the player's radar is disabled), "Mayhem" (The Taken King; modifier on Clash where cooldown times for all abilities are greatly reduced), and "Zone Control" (The Taken King; a version of Control where points are only scored for maintaining control of zones, and not by kills or point captures).[15][16][7][17][18] As of September 2015, players who do not own The Taken King expansion only have access to 3-on-3 and 6-on-6 Crucible playlists on previous maps with assorted modes, and no longer have access to playlists for individual modes.[19]

In Crucible modes, player statistics (such as weapon power and defense) are balanced between players. Periodic events such as Iron Banner (which uses the Control mode) and Trials of Osiris (House of Wolves; uses Elimination) are offered, which disable balancing, and allows players the chance to earn exclusive items.[8][13][20][21][22]

Character classes[edit]

Destiny features three character classes. 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 by selecting its gender, skin color, and grooming the character. A character's species is only cosmetic and does not affect gameplay. Players can create two more characters to have a character of each class. 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. 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.[23][24]

  • Hunters are designed 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.[23][24] 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.[25]
  • Warlocks are designed as a mage, 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 pen is allowing the player to temporarily improve their statistics, or revive themselves if killed.[23][24] The Taken King added the Arc-based "Stormcaller" sub-class that includes the super "Stormtrance", which produces lightning bolts that chains between enemies.[25]
  • Titans are designed to be "tanks", with a focus on withstanding large amounts of damage to allow close quarters combat. The Titan's 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.[23][24] 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.[25]

Weapons and armor[edit]

Players collect weapons and armor to improve their character's attack and defense. The higher the rarity of the item, the better the attack and defense will be of the weapon and armor, respectively, as well as better perks. Legendary and exotic items are the best items for players characters. Although multiple of a rarity can be equipped, only one exotic weapon and one exotic armor can be equipped at a 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 an enemy of their shield if it has the same shield type as the weapon's damage type. The gun will also do extra damage to enemies if the modifiers 'arc burn', 'solar burn' or 'void burn' are active. The original maximum weapon 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. The Taken King DLC numerically changed weapons of 365 damage to 170 (and lower for weapons that were lower than 365), but with no loss in damage output (365 damage of Year 1 equals 170 damage of Year 2). Newer weapons have higher numbers and can be upgraded by infusing other weapons into them to increase that number.

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 character's sub-class. Each piece of armor increases overall defense. Before The Taken King, class items were only cosmetic and did not have any stat or defense boosts. Class items now have defense that contributes to players' Light level. Players' Ghosts now also have defense that contributes to their Light level. In addition to earning gear from loot drops by playing missions, players can purchase gear from faction vendors. Players can pledge their allegiance to one of three factions—Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, and New Monarchy—and earning enough reputation with a faction allows players to earn and purchase that faction's 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.

Prior to The Taken King DLC, all legendary and exotic armor, and some rare, contained a stat called Light. Once players reached level 20, they no longer earned experience to level up (experience was still earned after level 20, but only for 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. Levels above 20 were referred to as Light levels, and one Light level required 12 Light. To reach the maximum Light level, players had to obtain legendary and/or exotic armor. The initial Light level cap was 30, which required four pieces of legendary armor, or three legendary and one exotic, with 30 Light each. The Light level cap increased to 32 with The Dark Below DLC and 34 with the House of Wolves DLC, respectively. Update patch 2.0, released in preparation for The Taken King DLC, removed Light for leveling up; level 20 is no longer the experience level cap, meaning players continue to earn experience to level up to the new level cap (level 34 for all players; level 40 for players who purchase The Taken King). Light is now a separate statistic, which is an average of the attack and defense of all equipped gear (for example, if all equipped gear has 170 Light each, the character's Light level will be 170). A higher Light level improves damage output and defense.[26]


Bungie described the setting of Destiny as a "mythic science-fiction" world.[27] The setting follows a prosperous period of exploration, peace, and technological advancement known as the Golden Age.[28] In a universe where humans have spread out and colonized planets in the Solar System, an event known as "the Collapse" saw the mysterious dissolution of these colonies, the end of the Golden Age, and mankind teetering on the brink of extinction. The only known survivors of the Collapse are those living on Earth, who were saved by "the Traveler", a white, spherical celestial body whose appearance centuries before had enabled humans to reach the stars.[29] The Traveler now hovers above the last safe city on Earth, and its presence allows the Guardians—the defenders of the City—the ability to wield an unknown power, only referred to as "Light".

Upon mankind's first attempt to repopulate and reconstruct after the Collapse, it is discovered that hostile alien races have occupied mankind's former colonies and civilizations, and are now encroaching upon the City. Throughout the game, players have to combat aggressive aliens who have occupied the Solar System. There are four separate races in the game, each occupying different planets. The Fallen are an insectoid race of nomadic pirates who scavenge ruined settlements on Earth, the Moon, and Venus for resources. The Hive are a macabre race of ancient aliens who have created massive underground settlements beneath Earth and the Moon's surface. The Vex are semi-organic androids who are attempting to seize control of Venus and Mars by turning them into their machines, which they have already done to Mercury. Finally, the Cabal are a military-industrial empire of massive amphibians who have established massive fortifications on Mars. Every race utilizes different strategies and weapons in combat. The Fallen possess cloaking and short-range teleportation technologies to increase their mobility. The Hive use superior numbers to overwhelm their opponents in close quarters while more elite units attack from a distance. The Vex utilize hard-light shields and teleport units of infantry into the battlefield en-masse. The Cabal rely on heavy armor, ballistic shields, and jump packs to combat players. All of these races are hostile towards each other, as they can often be observed attacking one another in-game for territorial dominance. The player takes on the role of a Guardian, and is tasked with reviving the Traveler while investigating and destroying the alien threats before humanity is completely wiped out. Destiny centers on the journey of the Guardians, the last defenders of humanity, set to protect Earth's last city. The majority of the game's lore, detailing backstory on characters, weapons, the alien races, planets, etc., is found in Grimoire cards collected throughout the game and accessed through Bungie's website and the Destiny app.


The AI Ghost with the default "Generalist" Ghost shell.

In addition to the playable Guardians, Destiny has many non-playable characters (NPCs) that aid the Guardians either in story missions, or by selling gear, weapons, or materials. The main NPCs in Destiny are Ghost (Peter Dinklage in Year One; Nolan North there after[30]), a robot AI that accompanies the Guardians;[31] The Speaker (Bill Nighy), the representative of The Traveler; the Exo Stranger (Lauren Cohan), a mysterious female Exo who is interested in the Guardian's activities (but is not a Guardian herself); Mara Sov (Kirsten Potter), the Queen of the Reef and the Awoken who has some Fallen under her rule; Uldren Sov (Brandon O'Neill), the Queen's brother; Ikora Rey (Gina Torres), the Warlock Vanguard; Commander Zavala (Lance Reddick), the Titan Vanguard; Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion), the Hunter Vanguard; and Master Rahool (Erick Avari), the Tower's Cryptarch who decodes engrams and buys curiosities from Guardians.[32] A player's Guardian is voiced by one of six people, depending on which species and gender the player selects when creating their character: Matthew Mercer and Susan Eisenberg as the male and female Human Guardians, Crispin Freeman and Grey Griffin as the male and female Awoken Guardians, and Peter Jessop and Cree Summer as the male and female Exo Guardians.[32]

Other NPCs include Lord Shaxx (Lennie James), the Crucible Handler; Lakshmi-2 (Shohreh Aghdashloo), the Future War Cult faction merchant; Arach Jalaal (Peter Stormare), the Dead Orbit faction merchant; Executor Hideo (James Remar), the New Monarchy faction merchant, Tess Everis (Claudia Black), Special Orders; Banshee-44 (John DiMaggio), the Gunsmith; Amanda Holliday (Courtenay Taylor), ship merchant; Lord Saladin (Keith Ferguson), Iron Banner merchant; Petra Venj (April Stewart), the Queen's Emissary (she was the vendor of the two-week long Queen's Wrath event and returned in the House of Wolves DLC as one of its main NPCs); Xûr (Fred Tatasciore), an Agent of the Nine and exotic items merchant; Eva Levante (Nika Futterman), the Guardian Outfitter (sells emblems and armor shaders); and Xander 99-40 (Dominic Keating), the Bounty Tracker.[32]



Destiny incorporates a new game engine that allows global illumination and real-time dynamic lighting to occur together in cohesion.[33] In addition, Bungie's goal is that Destiny will natively render graphics at 1080p on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.[34] An innovation in Bungie's "hopper" technology, which has been the backbone for Halo‍ '​s matchmaking system, will allow better player matchmaking in order to create a more natural experience in either cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes.[35]


In designing the playable classes, Bungie was inspired by different sources of science fiction. Hunters are a reconnaissance class meant to be reminiscent of the classic bounty hunter. Bungie cites as influences Star Wars‍ '​ Han Solo and classic characters from old Western films such as Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name. Warlocks combine weapons with special powers from "the Traveler", and are meant to be a form of "space wizard". The Warlock class is influenced by the Star Wars series's Jedi Knights, The Lord of the Rings series's Gandalf, and The Matrix series's Morpheus. Titans, which favor heavy weapons and melee attacks and are intended to be reminiscent of the classic "future soldier", were inspired by Bungie's own Master Chief from Halo, Stormtroopers from Star Wars, and other "space marines" from science fiction.[36]

Peter Dinklage originally voiced the character Ghost in the base game, which was poorly received, and the character did not have any lines in the two expansions of Year One. For the first year two expansion (third overall), The Taken King, veteran voice actor Nolan North replaced Dinklage as Ghost, and also re-recorded all of Dinklage's lines from the original game, as Bungie wanted "to create a consistent storytelling experience from beginning to end." Ghost's script is the same, but with North's interpretation. Of the role, North said "I was really excited to do this", and he hopes to continue the role in future Destiny releases and evolve the character. He said that he did not listen to any of Dinklage's Ghost recordings, as he did not want any preconceived notions of how the character "has to be".[30] According to Bungie, the actor change was made due to Dinklage's availability.[37]

David Cross was hired to write jokes for the character Ghost but none of his work was used in the final game.[38]


The first known reference to Destiny was shown in Bungie's 2009 game Halo 3: ODST, in which a sign on a wall read "Destiny Awaits" and showed a picture of Earth with a mysterious orb floating nearby.[39] Though several vague statements by Bungie employees in interviews and presentations from 2010 through 2011 were interpreted to be Destiny references, the next overt references to Destiny were not shown until Bungie's August 2011 20th anniversary documentary, O Brave New World, in which appeared several early environment renders, an environment editor named "Grognok", and a brief shot of actors performing a scene with motion capture equipment.[40] At that time, the game was still known by its original code name Project Tiger, a term used by Bungie co-founder Jason Jones when discussing the game in August 2011.[41] The game later became known by its working title Destiny.

On May 21, 2012, a publishing contract between Bungie and Activision was published by the Los Angeles Times. The ten-year contract originally had been entered into evidence under seal in Activision's lawsuit against former Infinity Ward employees Jason West and Vincent Zampella, but was later unsealed by the judge in that case.[42][43][44] The contract outlined an agreement between Bungie and Activision to develop and publish, respectively, four Destiny games, with the first to be released in the second or third quarter of 2014.

Initially, claims made by Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick suggested that the total investment in Destiny would be around $500 million; It was subsequently stated by Bungie's COO Pete Parsons in an interview that the game's development cost is not even close to $500 million, saying, "For marketing you'd have to ask Activision people, but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million."[45] Activision subsequently confirmed the $500 million figure, stating that up front infrastructure costs and investment in the game's engine were included, and could be amortized over the life of the IP.[46]

The first public details of Destiny were leaked in November 2012, revealing concept art and plot details.[47] Bungie supplemented the leak with the release of further details, whilst expressing regret that details of an upcoming video game had once again been revealed before their planned release.[48] In describing Destiny, Bungie's lead writer Joseph Staten stated that the studio was approaching the game with the intention of "building a universe" that would "take on a life of its own".[49] Further information became available in February 2013, when Bungie released a video documentary revealing information on Destiny and some of the core ideas behind the game, including the company's "seven pillars" philosophy, identifying the seven underlying elements of the early development process that they adopted to make the game appeal to as wide an audience as possible,[28][50] with particular emphasis on making the game accessible to casual, novice gamers and dedicated fans of the genre alike.[27] Also revealed were plans to incorporate social media into Destiny, allowing players to remain connected to one another even when offline. With the in-game universe being in a state of perpetual change, Bungie explored the potential of using a mobile app to update players about new quests and inform them as to what their friends are doing in-game.[27]

During a PlayStation 4 preview event on February 20, 2013, it was announced that Destiny would be released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, and receive exclusive content.[51][52] It was later announced that Destiny would be released for Xbox 360 and Xbox One also.[53] On October 1, 2013, Bungie announced that a closed beta of Destiny would be made available to those who pre-order the game at selected retailers. Additional beta codes were also given out via social networking services.[54]

On April 11, 2014, Bungie terminated the employment of its long-time composer and audio director, Martin O'Donnell. Initially fans were concerned that the absence of Martin O'Donnell would affect the in-game music of Destiny; however, Pete Parsons of Bungie later confirmed that Destiny‍ '​s music was already complete and that O'Donnell's absence would have no effect on the development nearing its completion.[55] At E3 2014 on June 9, Bungie announced an alpha version of the game for PS4, which was open from June 12 to 16.[56] On June 17, 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that Destiny would be a PlayStation exclusive in Japan.[57]

A public beta version of the game was released on PlayStation consoles on July 17 and Xbox consoles on July 22. Before the beta closed on July 27, it attracted around 4.6 million players.[58][59] During Sony Computer Entertainment's Gamescom 2014 press conference on August 12, 2014, Bungie announced that the first expansion pack for Destiny, titled The Dark Below, would be released in December 2014.[60] On August 23, 2014, Bungie and Activision confirmed that Destiny had gone gold.[61] Players who pre-ordered Destiny received early access to the Vanguard Armory.[62] Additionally, pre-orders from GameStop received an exclusive "red" sparrow.[63]

On September 2, 2014, Activision revealed that an exclusive item (Blacksmith armor shader) would be available for those who bought Destiny and pre-ordered Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.[64] On September 5, 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment announced and released a trailer about an exclusive mission for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions will receive the mission sometime in late 2015.[65] That same day, publisher Activision announced that those who buy the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions digitally were able to download their respective next-gen version at no additional charge.[66] The offer was available until January 15, 2015.[67]

In addition to the standalone version of Destiny, there were three collector's editions: the Limited Edition, the Ghost Edition, and the Digital Limited Edition. The Limited Edition included a SteelBook game case, the Arms & Armament Field Guide (details the game's weapons), Postcards from the Golden Age (providing more context about the Destiny universe), Antique Star Chart, and in-game content: an exclusive Ghost shell, ship, character emblem, and the Destiny Expansion Pass. The Ghost Edition included everything in the Limited Edition, as well as a motion-activated replica Ghost with lights and the voice of Peter Dinklage and a set of photos and stickers. The Digital Limited Edition included Destiny and the in-game content included in the physical collector's editions.[68] A PS4 bundle was also available, which included a 500GB glacier white PS4 and a copy of Destiny.[69]

Post-release content[edit]

Prior to the official release of Destiny in September 2014, Bungie declared that a major component of the game would be a continuous release of new content, part of the game's 10-year-plan. Bungie Director of Production Jonty Barnes said: "We're going to continuously update the game from now until the end of time. That's always going to be part of the philosophy of Destiny. We always wanted to build a new universe but keep building upon it, rather than to do a complete and utter restart periodically."[70] By the time of Destiny‍ '​s launch, two planned packs of downloadable content (DLC) had been officially announced: The Dark Below and House of Wolves.[71][72] From the launch of Destiny, players could purchase the Destiny Expansion Pass, which includes the first two expansions at a discounted price versus buying them separately.[73] Players also received an exclusive sparrow (EV-30 Tumbler) if they purchased the Expansion Pass or The Dark Below by January 15, 2015.[74] At E3 2015, Bungie officially announced a new expansion called The Taken King.[75]

Some of the game's initial content, including certain items and missions, were timed exclusives for PlayStation platforms and became available for Xbox platforms in September 2015.[76] These included the "Dust Palace" strike, the "Exodus Blue" Crucible map, two exotic weapons (the auto rifle "Monte Carlo" and hand cannon "Hawkmoon"), a rare gear set for each class (Manifold Seeker for Warlock, Vanir for Titan, and Argus for Hunter), and three ships ("Aurora Awake", "Crypt Hammer", and "Outrageous Fortune").[77] Shortly after the launch of Destiny, there was a two-week long event called the Queen's Wrath, which featured multiple challenges for players to obtain exclusive items.[78] Bungie released the game's first raid, the "Vault of Glass", as part of the September 16, 2014 update and it was described as "Destiny's most difficult mission". The Vault of Glass centers around the Vex race on Venus and requires players to defeat Atheon, who has powerful control over time, being able to send Guardians into the distant past or future at will.[79]

In the weeks proceeding from the release of Destiny, players were reporting areas that could be accessed by various glitches or secret accesses.[80] These areas have been described as appearing “half-baked”, and were noted to often be devoid of items or NPCs.[81] In an interview with Eurogamer, on the claims that these were on-disc DLC, Bungie president Harold Ryan replied that the content were incomplete resources intended to reduce download requirements for future DLC.[82]

The Dark Below[edit]

Destiny‍ '​s first DLC pack, The Dark Below, was released on December 9, 2014. The expansion added new content centering around the Hive race and their deity Crota, led by new character Eris Morn ("Crota's Bane" reputation), including three new story missions and several quests, new bounties and equipment, the strike "The Will of Crota", new Crucible maps, and the raid "Crota's End", where a team travels deep within the caverns of the Moon to take on Crota directly. Maximum weapon attack damage was increased from 300 to 331 for new legendary and exotic weapons, and the Light level cap was increased to 32 (requiring new legendary and exotic armor with 36 Light on each piece). Although previous legendary items could not be upgraded to the new stats, exotic items earned prior to the expansion's release could be upgraded through Xûr, however, players lost all previously earned perks, requiring them to relevel their exotics.[83][84][85] An additional exotic weapon ("The 4th Horseman" shotgun) and another new strike ("The Undying Mind") were also added and were time-limited exclusives for PlayStation platforms[86] until September 2015.[76] A hard mode for Crota's End was added on January 21, 2015.[87]

House of Wolves[edit]

"House of Wolves" redirects here. For the My Chemical Romance song, see The Black Parade.

House of Wolves was released on May 19, 2015; the expansion added new content centering around the Fallen race, as players attempt to thwart a campaign by Skolas to unite the Fallen race under his rule. A new social space, the Reef's Vestian Outpost, serves as a hub for the expansion's content, and is the residence of Petra Venj ("Queen's Wrath" reputation) and new character Variks (a Fallen Vandal loyal to the Queen and new "House of Judgment" reputation)—who serve as guides during the campaign's missions.[20]

The expansion added six new story missions, new bounties, new weapons and gear, a new special weapon class (sidearm), the strike "The Shadow Thief", and new Crucible maps (including one, "Timekeeper", that was a time-limited exclusive for PlayStation platforms until September 2015). A revamped upgrading system was introduced: players can reforge new legendary weapons (except House of Judgment and Trials of Osiris weapons) to try and achieve better perks. Upon obtaining Etheric Light and Exotic Shards, players could "ascend" all legendary and exotic items to the highest levels possible as of the expansion: Light level cap 34 (requiring 42 Light on each piece of armor) and 365 damage for weapons. Because of the backlash of the first expansion, players did not lose any perks on their items when upgrading to the new stats.[88] Two new multiplayer modes were also added: the Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris.[20][20][76][89][90]

Prison of Elders is a cooperative mode reminiscent of the "Firefight" modes of Halo, in which players fight against waves of enemies with varying modifiers, culminating with a final boss.[76] The Trials of Osiris is a weekly, time-limited PvP event held between Fridays and Tuesdays, in which a fireteam of three members attempts to win as many matches as possible. Matches use the Crucible mode "Elimination". A fireteam can continue participating until they amass 9 victories or 3 losses. Participating in Trials of Osiris requires the purchase of a "Trials Passage" card from Brother Vance at the Vestian Outpost, who also sells items that can add a win to the card or indemnify a loss, which are bought with "Passage Coins" that are earned through any PvP mode. Reaching varying numbers of wins on the score card allows the player to earn rewards—for example, reaching five earns a featured armor piece, and reaching seven earns a featured weapon. Going undefeated with nine wins unlocks The Lighthouse, an exclusive social space with rewards. If a team amasses three losses, they can try again by buying a new Trials Passage.[13][20]

The Taken King[edit]

The third expansion, The Taken King, was released on September 15, 2015, marking the end of "Year One" of Destiny.[75] The expansion focuses on Oryx, father of Crota, as he leads a new race of enemy, the Taken, to avenge his son's death.[75] Players have access to a new PvE area, the Dreadnaught, Oryx's massive ship situated in the rings of Saturn (with its own Patrol mode), as well as playable missions on Mars' moon Phobos (previously only available in PvP), and the raid, "King's Fall", that "put[s] players to the ultimate test" and unlocked on September 18. A new activity called Court of Oryx is accessed during the Dreadnaught's Patrol mode. During Patrol, players collect items called runes that can be used to activate a new type of public event with random bosses and three levels of difficulty. A new heavy weapon was introduced, a sword, which has new mechanics from the swords that can be used during certain Hive missions. Three new strikes were added and three Year One strikes were revised to include the Taken race in addition to the other enemies.[91] Seven new Crucible maps were added, in addition to three new PvP modes, "Rift", "Mayhem", and a new version of Control called "Zone Control".[18][92][93] New sub-classes were added for all three classes; the Void-based "Nightstalker" for Hunter, the Arc-based "Stormcaller" for Warlock, and the Solar-based "Sunbreaker" for Titan.[25]

Access to an additional mission, which "test[s] the speed and strategic abilities of [players] in new ways", is available to those who redeem a code from specially-marked Red Bull energy drinks. During the month of July 2015, those who redeemed the codes also received an additional consumable item, "Focused Light", which boosted experience gained by 50% for 30 minutes. The mission is a timed exclusive until January 2016.[94] Like the previous expansions, The Taken King has time-limited exclusives for PlayStation platforms, which will last until late-2016. These include the strike "The Echo Chamber", a new Crucible map "Sector 618", an exotic scout rifle ("The Jade Rabbit"), and a legendary gear set for each class: Hesperos (Titan), Azoth Bend (Warlock), and Neuroghast (Hunter).[76]

Two new retail versions of Destiny, the "Legendary Edition" and "Collector's Edition", were released alongside The Taken King: both include a copy of the game, all "Year One" DLC, and The Taken King. The Collector's Edition is exclusive to GameStop and includes a SteelBook case, digital content (three armor shaders and an exotic class item and emote for each class), and "Cayde-6's Intel Cache"—a collection of artwork, other items, and a Strange Coin replica. A Digital Collector's Edition is also available, which includes Destiny, all "Year One" DLC, The Taken King, and the digital content. Owners of the original game, the previous two expansions, and had a character of at least level 30 prior to The Taken King's launch received additional commemorative items, and have the option to receive the digital content of the Collector's Editions for an additional price.[95][18] Bungie also offered two pre-order bonuses for The Taken King—the "Vanguard Pack" and the "Suros Arsenal Pack"— which were early access to the new Vanguard weapons and the new Suros family of weapons.[96] A new PS4 bundle is also available, which includes a limited edition white 500GB PS4 with Destiny artwork on the face of the console, the Legendary Edition of Destiny: The Taken King, and all bonus content from the Legendary and Digital Collector's Editions.[97] Players who purchase The Taken King receive an item called Spark of Light, which boosts one new character to level 25, the minimum level needed to play The Taken King content.[98]

Gameplay changes[edit]

Alongside the new story content, other major changes were made to the core gameplay of Destiny as part of the version 2.0 patch released on September 8, 2015, coinciding with a week-long free preview of the PvP multiplayer modes and maps of The Taken King; some of these changes apply to all users, regardless of whether they purchase The Taken King.[99][100] The voice of the player's Ghost, Peter Dinklage, was replaced by Nolan North; all of Dinklage's existing Ghost dialogue was retroactively replaced with new versions recorded by North.[101]

Experience points are used to level past 20, as opposed to the previous "Light level" system. Characters' existing Light levels are converted when transitioning to the 2.0 patch, while a new separate Light stat is determined by averaging the strength and power of the character's equipped gear.[102][103] Class items, newly-introduced Ghost shells for all players, and a new equippable item, a relic, provide additional boosts to a player's abilities.[104] The process of earning faction reputation changed; players "pledge" to a faction for a week, during which they earn reputation for the chosen faction in addition to standard reputation.[105] The Gunsmith NPC now offers reputation for the completion of weapon field testing bounties, which allow the ability to purchase a weekly Legendary weapon from his "Foundry Orders".[104] A mercy rule and matchmaking improvements were added to the Crucible.[104] Players' vaults can now hold up to 72 armor pieces and 72 weapons.[106]

A new "Progress" tab was added to the user menu, which displays character progression through the game's quest storylines, as well as currently active bounties and faction reputation. Up to four active bounties and quests can be pinned to be displayed on the bottom-right of the screen when Nav Mode is used.[107] Players can turn in quests and bounties at any time, and up to 32 quests and 16 bounties can be stored in their inventory.[104][105] All existing storylines were adapted to work under this new system.[99] A new interface known as "Collections" allows players to track their exotic items, emblems, armor shaders, sparrows, and ships that they have found, as well as clues for how to obtain those they do not possess.[104][105]

The new "Legendary Mark" currency replaces Vanguard and Crucible marks (which were completely removed), and are shared across all of a user's characters.[104] Legendary Marks can be used to re-purchase exotic items that had already been found by a user, along with upgraded versions of some pre-existing exotics through the new "Exotic Blueprints" system (although this also requires Exotic shards),[106] and engrams that are guaranteed to contain a legendary weapon. Gear can be "infused" with more powerful items to increase their strength, provided they are "of the same Year and gear slot, a similar quality and a higher level than the current gear".[104][106]

Newer weapons and some Year One exotics are capable of higher damage than existing Year One weapons; damage values on all existing weapons were scaled down numerically from 365 to 170 (though damage output is the same), with higher values representing weapons that are more powerful than those from Year One.[106]


Destiny Original Soundtrack
Destiny Soundtrack cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson, Martin O'Donnell, Paul McCartney
Released September 26, 2014 (2014-09-26)
Genre Classical
Video game soundtrack
Length 2:18:48
Label Bungie Music Publishing

Destiny Original Soundtrack is the official soundtrack for the video game, composed by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson, Martin O'Donnell, Skye Lewin, and Stan LePard, with contributions and input from British musician Paul McCartney. Released digitally via iTunes on September 26, 2014, the soundtrack contains 44 instrumental compositions from the game.[108][109] The soundtrack marked O'Donnell's final work for Bungie, after years of composing for the Halo franchise, as well as several games before that. In addition, McCartney wrote and recorded an original song inspired by the game.[108][110][111]

Early in Destiny‍ '​s development, O'Donnell was contacted by Pete Parsons (current Chief Operating Officer of Bungie), and was asked to begin writing music for the game. At the time, Destiny was still in its infancy, as it lacked any gameplay material for O'Donnell to score music to, so instead, O'Donnell began creating music based solely on the games ideas, stories, and artwork.[112] By February 17, 2013, over 50 minutes of the soundtrack had already been recorded with a 106-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.[113] O'Donnell gave the early pieces of music to Bungie in hopes that they would foster inspiration within the development team.[114]

Unlike the Halo series, where pieces of music were only 2–3 minutes long, Martin has stated that the soundtrack for Destiny has no time restrictions, with the pieces clocking in "as long as they need to be."[113] O'Donnell collaborated with Paul McCartney on the soundtrack for the better part of two years, as they traded ideas, melody samples, and themes back and forth.[115] On April 11, 2014, Martin O'Donnell was dismissed without cause by the board of directors at Bungie.[116] This caused concern as to whether this would affect the game; however, Pete Parsons stated that O'Donnell's work on the game had been completed before his dismissal and would appear in the final product.[117]


Critical reception[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (XONE) 78.55%[118]
(PS4) 76.83%[119]
Metacritic (PS4) 76/100[120]
(XONE) 75/100[121]
Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 8/10[122]
Eurogamer 8/10[123]
Game Informer 8.75/10[124]
GameSpot 6/10[126]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[125]
GameTrailers 8/10[127]
Giant Bomb 3/5 stars[128]
IGN 7.8/10[129]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[130]
OXM 8/10[131]
Polygon 6/10[132]
Hardcore Gamer 4/5[133]

Destiny received positive critical reception upon release. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox One version 78.55% based on 10 reviews and 75/100 based on 11 reviews[118][121] and the PlayStation 4 version 76.83% based on 64 reviews and 76/100 based on 95 reviews.[119][120] Bungie halted pre-release reviews stating that they felt the game should be graded only when its social aspects were operative and populated with "thousands of gamers" in order to give a proper assessment.[134]

GameSpot described the game as "a multiplayer shooter that cobbles together elements of massively multiplayer games but overlooks the lessons developers of such games learned many years ago"; however, the game's competitive multiplayer modes were praised for carrying on Bungie's expertise from the Halo franchise with well-designed maps.[126] Danny O'Dwyer stated Destiny's development surfaces some troubling ethical questions about the role of game design in keeping players addicted, and compared it to slot machines and lab-pigeons in variable reward experiments. "I'm not saying it's a bad game... I'm saying it's a manipulative one. I mean its 'farm-ville' for shooter fans; instead of farming for land, you're farming for XP, loot, and whatever fake new currency the game creates to keep you inside another masterfully crafted ratio-scheduling system."[135]

GameTrailers gave a generally positive review, but also criticized the weak story and uninspired game locations. However, they did praise the graphics as well as the rush the combat can provide the player.[127] A general lack of cohesive communication between players was also criticized, with Game Informer calling it "downplayed and difficult".[136] Eurogamer felt that the game's environments were "meticulously built, with plenty of enticing nooks and thoughtfully placed cover to support that thrilling combat", but that Patrol mode exposed the worlds as being more like "giant shooter levels connected by narrow passageways than a truly expansive open world" [123]

DLC criticism[edit]

Destiny was criticized for its lack of story content, with many pointing to the disjointed narrative and shallow plot implementation. Bungie has since acknowledged that the story was lacking in some respects, and stated that the game's first DLC expansion, The Dark Below, would focus on providing more background to the universe of Destiny.[137] The game's end-game content was the subject of criticism, due to its particular focus on grinding for rare items through various means (including multiplayer games and other missions).[138] The discovery of "loot caves"—locations with quickly re-spawning enemies that could previously be used to farm for items, along with initial issues surrounding the Vault of Glass raid mission, became associated with these lingering issues.[139][140][141][142] Despite the criticism, the game received the title of Game of the Year from GamesRadar[143] and the BAFTA Award for Best Game at the British Academy Video Games Awards.[144]

Many gamers have criticized Bungie for its "pay and play or go away" business-model. Sarmad Lillah of SegmentNext stated that the The Taken King expansion reworked some of the original content in the game, which has consequently locked out "vanilla players" who technically have paid for said content.[145]


On September 10, 2014, Activision claimed that Destiny was the most successful new gaming franchise launch, as the game shipped more than US$500 million to retail stores and first-parties worldwide.[146] As of September 17, 2014, there have been over 11 million gameplay sessions within North America.[147] It was also the biggest software launch for the PlayStation 4 since holiday 2013.[148] On November 4, 2014, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed that the game has 9.5 million registered players.[149] On December 23, 2014, Bungie revealed that 13 million people have played the game since its launch.[150] As of January 5, 2015, the game has 16 million registered players.[151] As of September 17, 2015, the game has 20 million players.[152]

Destiny sold 91,277 physical retail copies for PlayStation 4 and 49,503 retail copies for PlayStation 3 within the first week of release in Japan, placing second and third place respectively within the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week.[153] Destiny was the third best-selling retail game in the United States in 2014.[154] On May 6, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced that Destiny, along with another title from its subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft have generated nearly one-billion dollars for the company.[155]

57% of Taken King's UK sales were on PlayStation 4.[156]


In November 2014, Bungie confirmed that a sequel to Destiny was already in production.[157] Players' characters and progression are confirmed to be able to carry over to the follow-up.[158]


  1. ^ The game was published by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan

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