Did Destiny 2’s Beta Help or Hurt Sales of Bungie’s Sequel

When the Destiny 1 beta arrived, it helped boost interest in Bungie’s new IP by a considerable amount, allowing gamers to finally see what the game was all about. Destiny 2’s beta, however, has been a lot more polarizing.

Prior to the Destiny 1 beta, players didn’t really understand how the game would work. Bungie’s E3 presentation teased certain elements, but there were still a lot of questions. Luckily, an alpha and then a beta test would follow that E3 unveiling, and gamers were able to finally understand what Bungie was going for.

More importantly, the beta helped build hype for Destiny, making it one of the most successful new IPs in recent memory. It may not have done much to test the servers, but when it came to helping players understand the game and develop interest in the game, the beta succeeded.

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For Destiny 2’s beta, it’s a different story. What was initially thought to be a hype-building machine has instead turned into a major debate in the fan community. There have been many points of contention regarding the beta, but a few stand out.

Ammo Changes Hurt PvE

When Bungie first revealed the changes to weapon loadouts, it seemed to be a change for the PvP community. Taking every one-shot-kill weapon and moving it into a Power Weapon slot and then limiting that Power Ammo to a single drop at various points on the map would ensure a more fair experience. Gunfights would be between primary weapons, and when someone did get Power Ammo they instantly became a target.

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But while this change does help PvP, it hurts the flow of PvE significantly. Power Ammo may be a one-shot-kill in The Crucible, but it’s also integral for doing massive damage to bosses. And without it, boss fights can become a grind, much like they were early in Destiny 1.

Thankfully, Bungie has already come out and addressed the ammo economy problem and said it is working on improvements. It’s unclear how significant those improvements will be, but anything is better than what was on offer in the beta. It was possible to go through the whole Inverted Spire strike with only a handful of Power Weapon shots, and never see any new purple bricks drop from enemies.

destiny 2 beta power ammo economy

Cooldowns Are Too Long

Alongside the ammo issues, cooldowns in Destiny 2 feel like they favor PvP. Bungie wants to eliminate scenarios where players are relying too much on their abilities to win gun fights, and so the studio has made abilities weaker and their recharge times longer. Melees and grenades no longer do massive damage, and throwing a grenade feels like an important tactical choice…in PvP, that is.

In PvE, the ability cooldown times still apply but the lack of consistent ability use takes away a lot of the fun in Destiny 2. Grenades, Supers, and Melees are what set Destiny apart from the pack, but without their consistent use in missions and strikes, the game starts to feel more like a straightforward FPS.

It’s true that ability use in PvP can feel like a crutch, but in PvE it is what makes the game distinct. Unfortunately, the cooldowns in the Destiny 2 beta were such that abilities were rarely used, and a player earned a super twice during a mission if they were lucky. There are rumors that armor will improve ability cooldowns but Bungie has yet to confirm or deny if that’s true. But no matter what it would be nice to have PvE content get a little buff in that department.

Hunter Class Ability is Weak

Hunters have been a contentious class practically since Destiny launched, and the Destiny 2 beta is no different. The Arcstrider super feels a little weak compared to the Warlock and Titan subclasses, but there are easy ways to fix that. Where things really seem to be lacking for the Hunter is in the class ability.

While the Warlock and Titan class ability offer an advantage to the whole team, the Hunter’s ability, Gambler’s Dodge, is situational and only benefits the player. One version reloads the player’s magazine, which is useful but not a game-changer, and the other will recharge melee energy but only if an enemy is near.

Now compare that to the Warlock class ability, which lays down a rift that heals or buffs any players in its radius. Or the Titan’s wall, which can protect the team or even reload their ammo any time they duck behind cover. Both of those abilities can help support the entire fireteam and are incredibly useful in battle. The Hunter’s, on the other hand, is a flashy move that is only useful in specific scenarios.

There’s no easy answer for making the Hunter’s ability more viable, but it’s hard to deny it feels extremely weak by comparison. Perhaps lessening the cooldown time would make it better, but the ability still doesn’t have a support action like the others.

The Positives of the Destiny 2 Beta

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Ultimately, there were a lot of positives to take from the Destiny 2 beta, but it’s safe to say that players weren’t as bowled over by the experience as they were with the first game’s beta. The new strike proves that Bungie is going for larger scale encounters and trying to incorporate variety into the experience. The Homecoming story mission has a greater cinematic quality and ends on a really intriguing note. And although PvP has some issues, it does feel like every weapon class is viable.

The good news is that the beta is just that – a chance for a developer to test servers and see what does and does not work in its game. Bungie seems to be taking player feedback to heart and will make changes to Destiny 2 accordingly. We will find out how much of the game changes when Destiny 2 releases in September.

Destiny 2 releases September 6, 2017 for PS4 and Xbox One, and October 24th for PC.

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