Eyes up, Guardian: the end of an era.

(WARNING: this post contains very, VERY minor spoilers for Destiny 2 as I’ve seen the trailers and played the beta, so if you’re going in completely blind you might want to stop here!)

Destiny. A game that managed to worm its way into my life like few have. If you’ve even a surface interest in gaming you’ll probably have seen the criticisms levelled at it: a MMORPG with no content, a story thinner than the disc it came on, servers that felt like they were running in someone’s garage.

And I hate to say it, but a lot of them were right.

So why, you might ask, did I spend so long playing this mediocre game at the expense of all other games?

The same reason I do most other things: the people. I fell into a group of players of all ages from all across the world (hi Wise Warriors!) and gained many things. A community, many new friends, an increased knowledge of US timezones…

In just over an hour (UK time!) Destiny 2 will drop and we’ll start a brand new and long-awaited adventure, but it wouldn’t feel right to move into the next chapter of the story without paying tribute to the original.

So in honour of this game that has consumed my life for the past two years, my Warlock is here to walk us through the top five fond memories of Destiny that I’m going to miss when we move into the sequel.

The Weapons

I played the majority of my time in Destiny using three weapons, which given the entire canon (no pun intended) of primary, secondary and heavy weaponry is impressive.

I genuinely don’t know what I’m going to do without favoured primary weapon – Nirwen’s Mercy, the Iron Banner pulse rifle. You could see the player radar while aiming and reload incredibly quickly if you got a good shot. It was the first weapon I saw and felt a deep need for within my soul and I used nothing else once I’d ground my way to it.

We won’t even talk about the shotgun that regenerates its own ammo. It hurts. I miss it already.

gun
Nirwen’s Mercy. My one, my only.

Kings Fall

Kings Fall has always been my favourite raid. Probably because it was the first one I played, but it became the yardstick for all the others. I loved the mechanics, the boss fights, the traditions (teabagging the chest for luck, convincing new raiders that they’d get an exotic if they jumped into the ball at the Warpriest, my emote sign language that everyone understood), the laughs (Lydia getting torn nearly all the time, velcro shoes, that time I sat on my controller and started the Totems by mistake.)

I even miss those awful ships you had to jump from, which took me HOURS to master and still caused me a whole lot of stress right up until the end.

raid
King’s Fall.

Iron Banner

Ah, Iron Banner. I hope I don’t have to miss this for long in D2.

Anyone who’s ever played this game with me knows how excited I get about this once-a-month sweatfest. I usually avoid PVP modes like they’re on fire because I get absolutely gubbed – but I found out that the Iron Banner loot distribution was based on a Random Number Generator system (RNG – the three most frustrating letters in the game) and I decided I could cope with getting ruthlessly crushed by ‘Sniperboi66’ repeatedly for some gear that would level me up for the raid.

What I wasn’t expecting was to both enjoy it and be reasonably competent at it.

IB scores
Space magic. *Blows finger gun*

Sure, it sucked when you came up against the people who were tampering with their own internet connections to manipulate the game, but running riot with five clanmates in an Iron Banner control match is the best.

Plus Lord Shaxx is the best character in the game and I play Crucible matches just so he’ll shout at me. “TWO FOR ONE.”

iron banner
The Iron Lords are watching.

SRL

Sparrow racin’!

This might be THE most fun I’ve had in this game so far. Honestly, I can’t even pick one specific moment to use as an example because they’re all gold. It’s literally just racing what amounts to a Star Wars pod racer round and round a track but with far, far more competition. The hatred of the spinning fans, the indignation when we were racing against random players and one of them had the audacity to overtake us, the sudden acts of violence among friends that resulted in someone getting pushed off a cliff…

This is another one that had better make a comeback in D2. Christmas won’t be the same without it.

sparrow
Couldn’t get into SRL, so I had to pretend. 😦

The Tower

This one hurts the most.

The beta threw us right into the first story mission of D2, which is the Tower under attack and burning in ruins and I am GUTTED. I spent as much time in the Tower as I did in any of the missions, whether it’s turning in those disappointing engrams, throwing weapon parts into the faction leaders in a desperate bid for decent gear, or just hanging out with my friends waiting for everyone to show up for a raid. Hide and seek in that tree, throwing the purple ball around, trying to stand on each other’s heads, dancing in a circle while we chewed the fat for an hour or so.

It burns tomorrow, and I’m really sad about it even though it’s just a video game.

tower

*

I’m genuinely more than a little bit sorry to be leaving this game behind. Even though I know it’ll still be there if I ever want to log in and fly around Venus for nostalgia’s sake, even though I’m going into D2 with the same mad clan I’ve been part of from the start (I’ve even taken two days annual leave so I can play on US time), even though from what I’ve seen from the beta makes for a game that is vastly superior in many ways to the original. I’ve made friends all around the world through Destiny, my entire weekend schedule for a long time was organised around raid runs and Crucible shenanigans and it became a Saturday night social life in its own right. I’ve got so many good memories from this game.

Let’s make some more, team. I’ll see you tomorrow. ❤

The Third Forth bridge: an experience

They’ve been building the Queensferry Crossing for so long it feels like we should be celebrating its centenary, never mind its opening. So many years of driving down towards Ferrytoll and finding out the road layout is completely different every single time – I sweated my way through four driving tests in case the test route took me down there and I ended up in a pile of cones GTA-style. Thankfully I didn’t have to drive over it on the day it opened, as a broken down lorry (beautiful irony) and a swathe of people who wanted to be among the first to cross meant it was choked with traffic by rush hour.

Sean and I waited until 11:30pm to drive across, but by that time it was disappointingly dark and we saw nothing outside of the headlights. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to cross it as one of the 50,000 people selected by ballot to walk over it at the weekend. Unlike the Forth Road Bridge (known going forward as ‘Old Bridge’) the New Bridge is going to be motorway all the way so no pedestrian access after this weekend, so despite the fact that I was ridiculously light headed, I made the 1.7 mile wake in glorious blue sky sunshine, and it rammed home something I’ve been slowly realising over the past year.

Three of us
With the parents pre-crossing. Maw wanted a photo, Paw and I weren’t keen, hence my awkward hands.

I love where I live. I love Scotland. I’ll sit and slag Fife off until I’m purple, but I love it here too. I love the water and I love the bridges. One of my earliest memories is waving to my dad in his drivers cab at the end of my grandparents’ garden in North Queensferry when he was crossing the rail bridge. My wedding reception is on the south bank of the river, between the rail and road bridge.

And, despite all of the protests of “it’s just a bridge, get over it” (which is the best unintentional pun ever by the way) I’ve grown up in the shadow of these bridges and it was really cool to walk across the new one.

This has been a relatively brief wander through the weekend as I’ve spent most of it lying on my back with food poisoning, idly wondering whether I’m more likely to be sick or explode but yeah. Bridges are cool and Scotland is cool. Peace out and look at these photos I took.