Destiny 2 is one of those sequels that's easy to get into without having played the first entry Destiny. But for a game that can be described as Halo with an RPG-styled progression and loot system, it can feel like a foreign experience even for shooter veterans.
If this is your first time playing, here's what you should know to make the most of the early first five or so hours in Destiny 2, after you pick your class, of course. After you've played through the prologue, be sure to check out our collection of guides for all your Destiny 2 questions.
For more about Destiny 2 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, read our in-depth feature containing Xur's location, all our reviews and guides, plus all the PC details you need.
Play At Your Own Pace
Whether you're spending time in The Farm base or taking down war beasts in the field, you'll almost always see other players. Forming a Fireteam is one of the most popular ways to play Destiny 2, but that doesn't mean you should rush to buddy-up. The story missions--which are what you should focus on first--are well-suited for solo play. It's also best to get used to the unique mechanics and game flow before joining friends, especially if they're more experienced. By playing solo during the initial hours, you're able to quickly decide and try out the various mission types Destiny 2 quickly introduces.
Mix Up Questing
Beyond the missions that advance the story, Destiny 2 is heaped with activities that can make you appropriately leveled and well-equipped for many campaign challenges. While exploring a planet, there are public events that introduce you to one form of Destiny 2's cooperative multiplayer, Crucible PvP matches, and opportunities to take down high-value targets solo. Whatever you're in the mood for, you're rewarded with experience and loot drops. You should also keep an eye on Milestones, that can keep you on top of what you need to do next, and later introduce rewarding challenges that refresh weekly.
Watch Your Cooldowns
No matter your class, you'll quickly earn a lot of abilities including the utterly magical power of creating grenades. Whenever your super ability is recharged, you'll get a clear, unmissable on-screen notification. This doesn't happen with your other powers that are subjected to a cooldown, like your equipped grenade, class ability, and charged melee attack. These abilities are immensely useful in the field and activating one when you need it the most can be very gratifying. Conversely, attempting to use an ability before it's fully charged can throw you off, so keep an eye on those three squares on the lower left corner of your screen.
Power Number Isn't Everything
There's a reason why the Power Number is the largest font size out of all the on-screen text in the character menu. It's a status symbol that represents an average of the power of your equipped gear. It's also a reliable grade that determines whether you're qualified to take on a given mission. Always having your highest-rated gear can make you well-rounded but that doesn't necessarily mean you're playing to your strengths. Depending on your play style, a weapon with a lower power number might be more useful to you because it has, say, better stability or impact. Same goes for a weapon's perks, everything from increased handling to faster reload when the magazine is empty. When you are ready to leave a piece of gear behind, you can sell weapons by dismantling them.
Be Situationally Aware
The majority of Destiny 2's battlegrounds are open areas where enemies are almost as mobile as you. Jumping into the fray for close quarters melee can lead to a ton of kills, but an aggressive scrum can overwhelm you quickly, which can be frustrating in restricted areas where resurrection is not available. Along with watching your cooldowns, you should also check your radar frequently to get a general idea of your targets. And knowing when to make a brief retreat to heal is as important as knowing where to retreat. So it also helps to be aware of good cover spots you might've passed before your current firefight.