Feature Article

Destiny 2 Guide: 4 Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting

Knowing is half the battle.

Destiny 2 brings many changes in this next adventure for the Guardians. With new gear, mission types, and other gameplay systems being introduced, it's a little hard to keep track of what's new and what's more of the same.

If you're a returning player still used to the way Destiny operated, it's important to single out the most important updates and tweaks in Destiny 2, some of which shake up what people are accustomed to. But whether you've played the first game or not, here's a quick list of things to know before starting Destiny 2, and what to expect when diving in.

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.

Gear And Loot Changes

Once you boot up Destiny 2, you'll likely be in a mad dash to get your levels and gear up to par to take down the forces of the Red Legion. The game has made a number of changes and tweaks that make the grind more palatable and less of a hassle than in Destiny 1. Unfortunately, some of the more subtle changes were kept vague and obtuse.

Destiny 2 drops random perk rolls and the need to level up weapons and armor--which required breaking in your gear before taking it on strikes and raids. But the most important change comes from the internal calculator that determines gear drops. In Destiny 1, players would have to equip their most powerful gear to yield the best results from decryption, opening loot chests, and regular drops from bosses. Bungie has rectified this quirk by reading your entire inventory to determine what level of drops you receive. So feel free to use whatever gear you like, as the game will know what your maximum Power level is when the loot starts to drop.

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How To Unlock Your Subclasses

With your Light stripped away, you'll be put through your paces once again in order to prove yourself as a Guardian of the Light. While you start off with the familiar subclasses from Destiny 1--the Voidwalker, Striker, and Gunslinger--soon after you are restricted to the new Arc Strider, Dawnguard, and Sentinel subclasses. From there, the game doesn't quite explain what happens next in the evolution of your class, which may make some returning players feel anxious. The process of obtaining your second and third subclass in Destiny 2 happens a lot differently and will take some extra work.

When opening up loot chests, getting drops from high-profile targets, and raiding Lost Sector caches, there's a chance that you'll acquire a class artifact. As random drops, these artifacts will allow you to learn the ways of the other subclasses. Charge these relics up by taking out enemies and completing public events across the sectors, and you will then be tasked with returning to the Shard of the Traveler to unlock the next subclass. As of now, there are two classes to unlock after the first one, with the final ones being the return of the Taken King subclasses Stormcaller, Sunbreaker, and Nightstalker. Though the drops are random, they're not overly rare, and you'll gain them in due time.

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Heroic Public Events

In the original game, taking part in Public Events was a staple of exploring the open areas on each planet. With big, set-piece encounters focused on taking down powered-up targets and machines of war, Guardians would have to work together to eliminate the threat in a short span of time. While these events return in Destiny 2 and are much easier to track thanks to the Director map (showing timers for upcoming opportunities), there have also been some changes to them that aren't as clear--and could be a valuable opportunity to take part in early on.

In the new Public Events, which are similar to the original's in setup and execution, there's a way to trigger a harder variation of these challenges. In one example, the Fallen in the EDZ set up machines to extract glimmer. By destroying several extraction machines--instead of focusing on the main targets--you will activate a new encounter with a squad of elite Fallen, who arrive to take out the Guardians ruining their operation. Every Public Event has a Heroic encounter option, which offers greater rewards but is much more difficult. If you're feeling bold enough and have a crew up for the challenge, take the opportunity to dive into these Heroic events. You can see how to unlock each one in our Destiny 2 Heroic Public Events guide.

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How To Get Your Sparrow

Aside from the Guardians, your Ghost, and all the weapons you acquire, one of the most iconic aspects of Destiny is the sparrow--a fast-moving mount that lets you darts across the map with ease. However, the Sparrow is unusually absent in the early hours of Destiny 2--a far cry from Destiny 1, which seemed eager to get the vehicle into your hands. Early on, the new maps you'll explore are large in scope, making for a lot of ground to cover.

While sparrows are in Destiny 2 (and with Exotic variants to obtain), acquiring one has been pushed till later in the game. According to the developers, the reason for making the Sparrow a late-game reward was to encourage players to explore and be aware of their surroundings, while taking in a number of side-events and exploring the hidden dungeons throughout. So rest easy, and take in the sights while on your travels; your new sparrow will be rewarded to you after reaching level 20, or by finishing the main story.

There's more to come with Destiny 2 content on GameSpot, but be sure to check out our other guides about all things happening in the new shared-world shooter. With new secrets and discoveries being uncovered, there's still a lot to show off in the worlds you'll explore. Check out our tips for returning players, guides to finding the Lost Sectors, and tips on figuring out which class is right for you.

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Alessandro Fillari

I'm an editor and producer at GameSpot with more than 10 years of experience covering the Games Industry. I love Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Metal Gear Solid, and I hope we'll one day see a new game for the latter's franchise. My job entails bringing in opportunities and producing some amazing features and content for GameSpot--I'm basically the Arthur Morgan of GameSpot.

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