Destiny 2 open world activities detailed

Last week's Destiny 2 beta, as sampled on PS4, left us with as many questions as answers—the biggest of which was whether PvP balancing is having a detrimental effect on the feel of PvE. You can chew on our thoughts here, but they should be caveated by the fact that until now we've seen precious little of the open world exploration—'patrol mode', in Destiny parlance—that will account for much of the game. Until today, that is. 

As part of its month-long Destiny 2 coverage jamboree, IGN has posted a video guide to what players will be doing on a typical planetary destination. All the activities shown took place on Nessus, a part-machine planetoid colonised by the Vex, with azure skies and crimson vegetation. It's also the location of the Inverted Spire strike mission, which you can watch us play here.

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Nessus is one of four major destinations in the game revealed so far, the others being Earth's European Dead Zone, Jupiter's Io moon and Saturn's Titan. Whereas patrol in Destiny 1 soon became a chore due to the lack of meaningful stuff to do, Bungie is trying to cram the planets with all kinds of activities for the sequel. Public events in which you have to complete an objective against a timer—protecting a downed warsat against waves of enemies being a typical example from the original—return, but there will now be more types.

The example given in the video is guarding a drill site from an aerial bombardment by a Cabal warship (the sequel's main antagonists). "It's just complete chaos", says Rob Engeln, who is rituals and programming lead at Bungie. Sidenote: having 'rituals' on your business card must be cool. That chaos will be amplified by the option to activate 'heroic' difficulty versions of each event, which will bring new objectives, greater numbers of enemies, and bespoke bosses with correspondingly impressive loot.

We knew we wanted to create a big weekly activity with an awesome reward that everybody could do that was focused on the open world.

Rob Engeln, Bungie

These sound like a straight up improvement from Destiny 1, and the variety is also welcome given that public events play a big part in the new weekly Flashpoint events. When Destiny 2 resets each week, a new location will be chosen as the Flashpoint. "We knew going into Destiny 2 that we wanted to create a big weekly activity with an awesome reward that everybody could do and that was focused more on the open world," says Engeln. "Kind of a counterpoint to, say, the Nightfall." 

The Nightfall was a weekly one-off Strike mission with potentially sweet (and sometimes sour) rewards but also ramped up difficulty modifiers. It sounds like Flashpoints will offer rewards from the same tier, but you'll have to complete multiple public events to earn them. These will also feature new named enemies, only triggered when that destination is the weekly Flashpoint, which might be done by fulfilling a secondary objective, such as finishing an event particularly fast.

"We realised that public events are one of the most exciting pieces of content that we have," says Engeln. "Especially with the heroic and a couple of other things that we're not even talking about yet." Though some stuff is under wraps, he did reveal that the Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6 (the sassy Nathan Fillion robot one) will also be selling treasure maps for the Flashpoint destination.

Elsewhere there are Adventure missions to seek out, which will be fully voiced and expand on the main story. Engeln said these would be reasonably quick, and the "scan cache" prompt on screen suggested there's some sort of reward at the end of them. In a similar vein but more multipart, are the World Quests, which are threaded mission lines designed to tell the story of the destination they're set on. In the Nessus example (very mild spoiler incoming) it meant discovering more about Failsafe, the female AI from a crashed colony shop.

Lost sectors

Most interesting to me, and potentially replayable, are the new Lost Sectors. These are effectively dungeons with their own boss and loot chest, the entrances to which will require varying amounts of exploration to uncover. Engeln suggested just getting inside some will require an amount of gameplay (perhaps some platforming?) and the idea is that, unlike Destiny 1, when you discover a cave there should be a chance there's something exciting in it.

My hope is that the Flashpoints and Lost Sectors have rewards attached that enable them to stay relevant deep into Destiny 2's endgame. In the past, patrol activities like Court of Oryx, Agonarch Runes and Archon's Forge all lost their lustre once we out-leveled them or exhausted the possible drops. Nonetheless, there's little doubt that patrol in Destiny 2 is going to be a substantially livelier diversion, and as someone who was looking for good PvE news, I can't wait to go planet hopping. Better still? There's no sign of having to collect materials to upgrade our gear. Press F for all the vanilla Spinmetal grinders