At the Activision booth here at E3 2014, Bungie is giving people a chance to get some hands-on time with Destiny's competitive multiplayer. But before you're let loose to play Destiny, a video presentation sets the stage. It talks about the arrival of the Traveler (the giant sphere you've seen hovering in the sky in Destiny artwork and screenshots), and how its arrival spurred human progress forward tremendously, and how now, humankind's existence is once again threatened by the darkness that vanquished the light of the traveler so long ago. But as a guardian, you're not just motivated by a selfless desire to fight evil and save humanity, or just by a desire to explore the universe and discover its long-lost secrets, but by a hankering for sweet, sweet loot. The presentation referred to the vault of glass, where Bungie's Jason Jones says you can attempt “to defeat the most challenging experience we've ever created, and earn Destiny's ultimate rewards.”
After the presentation, I was able to play two matches of Control, a conquest-like mode in which two teams battle for control of three spots on the map. The first map I played on was an abandoned moon base, and there were a few vehicles available for the taking. These vehicles, called pikes, are somewhat similar to the speederbike-like vehicles you can use to zip around in solo or cooperative play, but feel heftier, and claiming a pike gave me a very enjoyable advantage over players who were on foot. It wasn't exactly a fair fight as I zapped them from atop my mechanical mount, and I didn't care at all.
The other map I fought on was called Rusted Lands and was set back on Earth; it's the same map I played competitive matches in during my time with the Destiny alpha. It's a more close-quarters map, with no vehicles, and I didn't find the combat encounters on it quite as interesting, though unleashing my warlock's super on unsuspecting adversaries to eliminate them and maintain control of a command point was still satisfying.
Still, like so much about Destiny, at this point the competitive multiplayer feels solid, competent, and enjoyable, but not inspired or innovative in the way that I was hoping the latest game from Bungie might be. But as the video presentation that preceded my time with Destiny today indicated, there are mysteries in the game's universe that have yet to be revealed.