Multiplayer has always been an integral part of the Destiny experience, and so the introduction of a new mode at this year’s E3 is a bold move.
Called Gambit, it is what Activision and developer Bungie are calling a “hybrid mode”, designed to excite hardcore multiplayer gamers who are always itching for something new but also appeal to less experienced players normally put off by the intense combat that can break out.
It works like this: two teams are dropped into separate play areas in which they battle computer-controlled enemies, with the first to kill the final boss being the victor.
Players kill enemies and then bank the “motes” they drop and bank them at a special meeting point to score points.
But there are tactics to be applied here, too, because if teammates collectively drop enough motes in at once, the other team members in the other arena are sent a blocker monster, which cuts them off from their bank and ultimately slowing their progress.
Players also have the option of staging invasions to the other team’s arena – with portals opening up for one player to jump into the other side’s game for every 25 motes banked. This then provides an opportunity for some more traditional player-versus-player combat if desired.
And finally, once enough motes have been collected, the final boss appears. Defeat it, and do so before the other side manages all of the same and you win.
It sounds complicated in theory, but in practice, it is brilliantly fun and engrossing to take part in.
AI-controlled enemies arrive in waves from all directions and in varying shapes, sizes and powers, and they offer decent competition, particularly if an invading player from the other side also happens to appear.
There is enough new and refreshing in Gambit to give seasoned multiplayers something to get stuck into, but also enough collaborative elements that will make less confident or aggressive players feel at home.
If Destiny was looking to strike the balance between its two very different sets of players, it has managed it perfectly.