This article can also be found at Bungie.net
This week at Bungie, we were able to collect a full sampling of life in the world of Destiny.
In the first 7 days, the incredibly charming and impeccably-groomed players of Destiny blew every Bungie record out of the water, and we’re not just talking about sales. You played far more and for far longer than we could have possibly imagined.
Here’s a small sample of the community post game carnage report:
100 Million Hours Played – Enough to watch the entirety of The Lord of the Rings trilogy 8,797,653 times. And yes, we are talking about the Special Extended Editions.
137 Million Activities Played – The equivalent of 535,156 regular seasons of the NFL. (Our European fans may know it as “American Handegg.”)
(note: one Crucible match would be considered a single activity, even though it may feature 12 unique players)
The Average Gameplay Session lasts about 3 hours. On weekdays. On weekends it turns out you have some extra time to kill, raising the average up to more than 4 hours per session.
1 Billion Players “Served” in the Crucible (player deaths).
We’re lovin’ it! We hope you are to. If there are ways in which you could love it more, don’t stop reading before you get to the Mail Sack.
This is just the beginning.
Weapons of Glass Destruction
Not everything that happens in Destiny can be measured in large numbers. Some of what happens out there in the wild is designed to be enjoyed (and conquered) by only a chosen few. There are missions so dangerous that they can only be completed by the most Elite of Guardians.
To see who among you was ready to have your skills pushed to the breaking point, we cracked the Vault of Glass this week. Then, we sat back and watched. Some of may have even lurked in that first public space, lending our gunfire to first of skirmish against Praetorians that guarded the hushed door.
Many of you had taken your marks on the starting line to see who would be the first to become the legends that the Raid demands. As it turned out, the first team to beat the Raid at the default difficulty realized a goal that was baked right into their mission statement.
It was at the Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin that I first met members from PRIMEGUARD. Even then, their Clan was widely known to the would-be community that was waiting for Destiny. Their objective was clear: They would be the first virtual fighting unit to beat the Raid in Destiny.
After a great day at RTX, and a few Margaritas to cut the Texas heat, I got to talking some trash.
“What if you’re not the first?” I asked Watts, one of PRIMEGUARD’s fearless leaders. “What if some random, unknown entity sneaks across the finish line before you guys?”
“We’ll still play together,” Watts insisted. “We’ve become friends.”
I could dig that. I might have even wished them the best of luck, knowing full well that they would need all of it to face what we were concocting behind the curtain at home.
Months later, that conversation would turn out to be completely irrelevant. On Tuesday, one week after the launch of Destiny, I found myself striding through our studio with phone in hand. That very same Watts was on the line. He and his PRIMEGUARD teammates had downed the final Templar.
“Do you have a Trophy?”
“Do you have new loot in your Inventory?”
With a final nod from the judges in Bungie User Research, I spoke the words they had been waiting to hear ever since they called themselves a Destiny Clan.
“Congratulations. You just became the world first to beat the Raid.”
Since then, hundreds of teams have walked in their trailblazing footsteps. Many more are sure to follow. To lend some insights as to what the Raid is, how a worthy team can beat it, and why they would want to, Watts has been given a full debrief.
It’s been a long road from the first boast to the final boss. How does it feel?
Watts: We’re relieved, but not complacent. The burden of finally doing what we said we could is a huge weight off of each of our shoulders. However, we’re still wheels up.
What was the most important part of planning to attempt the Raid in advance?
Watts: We couldn’t do this without the right people. Our Raid teams were successful simply because we had the right mix of folks on each. Each team needs an equal amount of skill, experience and chemistry.
What do people who have yet to try the Raid need to know about it?
Watts: Prepare to die. A lot. You’re going to fail for hours learning to execute correctly. However, you get better and better each time. Sooner or later, you become a machine.
Aside from all the Legendary gear you earned along the way, how was this crazy challenge rewarding emotionally?
Watts: Easily the most emotionally rewarding experience I’ve had in a game. There’s nothing akin to pounding your head against a wall for almost 12 hours to have the wall finally cave. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I love the hell out of it.
You’re gonna get a lot of fresh recruits! How will this change PRIMEGUARD?
Watts: Recruiting is currently closed. We’re only passively reviewing applications. However, getting World First has only pointed a huge benchmark cannon at us. From now on, our goal is simply to execute on what we put our minds to.
What’s the next challenge you’ll aim your clan at?
Watts: We’ve already sighted and fired a few shots at the Level 30 instance of The Vault. Nothing else matters until we have downed the real Atheon.
Right about the time Atheon was spilling his little secret, another raiding party of PRIMEGUARDians was bringing up the rear behind the world-firsters. They were being led by Datto, known to many in the Destiny community as one of the foremost authorities on deciphering Destiny gameplay mechanics.
This transplant from the MMO scene had been looking forward to the Raid ever since we announced it. This made him the most logical of PG recruits. Only hours after the World First milestone was reached, his team finished as a very close second.
How does it feel to be past your first Raid tier?
Datto: It feels very satisfying. Fights were difficult because you needed perfect execution, not the absolute best gear (although everyone having full Legendary/Exotic armor definitely helps). It was exactly what we were looking for with our previous MMO experience and we are all very hopeful for the future of Raids in Destiny.
How did your previous MMO experience translate to Destiny?
Datto: We were able to speed along the process of learning fights thanks to that previous experience. Typically, I knew what I was getting into with previous MMOs because people already knew how to do everything. This time around, we knew nothing, which was worrying, but exciting.
Without betraying trade secrets, what advice would you give to the uninitiated?
Datto: Communication is key. Make some friends. You can’t just get the best gear and expect it to carry you. Trying Raids with random people you’ve known for 14 minutes is not going to go as well as playing with people you have built a relationship with.
As you venture into Hard tier, what do you foresee as your new greatest challenge?
Datto: Getting Ascendant Shards and not getting arthritis. On a serious note, getting those Shards to drop is actually kind of important because it upgrades your gear’s Light levels, which is easily our barrier right now. Going forward, it’s mainly going to be fixing small mistakes that cause us to wipe. Patching those silly mistakes or lack of communication issues will be the best thing we can do to enhance our team.
As Watts said, the truest form of the Raid awaits. For the first to finish it, there are even more meaningful rewards. Nothing can undo PRIMEGUARD’s accomplishment in completing the opening act first, but Bungie is still watching to see who can unravel the tighter knot.
Don’t take it from me:
It was great watching streamers make their way into the Vault of Glass and eventually topple it. On behalf of us here at Bungie, congratulations. We learned a lot about the experience today and look forward to seeing (and helping) more folks make their way inside the Vault in the coming weeks and months. Good luck on Hard mode.
Luke Smith, Lead Designer – Raids
Raiders of the Lost Art
Ever since the launch, we’ve seen awesome Destiny art released by the community. All that sharing has our own artists eager to show off the love they’ve packed in the world you’ve been exploring. Today, they’re paying a visit to one of their favorite communities to open their own vault.
Polycount is a place where video game artists hold court and talk shop. It’s one of those exclusive haunts where artists can engage in some mutual appreciation and learn from one another. You’re invited to look in on the conversation as creators from Bungie talk about what they created.
Mutiny on the Bounty
The Raid was not the only first to celebrate this week. We also kicked off a new tradition that we hope to enjoy for a long time in Destiny.
The Bungie Bounty is our change to face you battle. It’s your chance to kick our asses and earn for yourself a fancy player emblem. Last night, we fell victim to our first champion. BroBQ was kind enough to report his victory on the forum. We demand as much from anyone who wants to claim the prize.
If you want to know the story in his own words, he also stopped by Reddit to brag about his great skills and good fortune. What’s missing from his account is the fact that ShatteredNeo was supposed to be on our team. In an act of heart-breaking treachery, he defected to the other team to try and deal himself in on the battle for rare vanity items.
Nevertheless, a deal is a deal. For BroBQ and his teammates, the Sign of Opposing Will has been delivered. For ShatteredNeo, there will only be the gallows.
We’ll issue more Bounties soon – on more platforms. Stay tuned. We’ll show you the true meaning of war, wherever you fight.
In a pre-launch world, the Mail Sack was a vehicle for your deepest curiosities about a world that was unknown to you. Now that the world of Destiny is wide open for exploration, we’re discovering how this weekly ritual will serve a different purpose. It’s inevitable that you’ll use this interaction to lobby for the changes you want to see made to the game. If the usual brand of dodgy playfulness throws your into a blind rage, please remember that we do host a lively forum, and we read it every day.
Let’s open the Sack.
Yes. And soon. Hell hath no fury like a Queen scorned.
Dmoney12321: Did you intend for the PvP reward system to be the way it is?
Yep. The question you should be asking is: Do we intend for the PVP reward system to work like that forever? The answer is: Ask us again sometime. We’re one week clear of the launch pad here. What we can promise is that Destiny is never finished.
ExpBountyHunter: What is the “unknown” reward for defeating Vault of Glass?
You, of all people who have gamed the Mail Sack, should know that this is not the venue where such sacred unknowns become known. Away with you, before I send your head back to your King.
RdN: Now that the game is shipped, are you guys having discussions about weapon balancing for the Crucible?
Every day. Some of what we discuss comes from our own games. We also pay attention to the Feedback forum if you have, you know, feedback.
You have reached the end of the Bungie Weekly Update. What is it we’re always saying? Oh yeah: Every ending is also a beginning. There are aliens out there that need to be shot in the face (or the stomach) and they’re not going to do it to themselves.
Get out there and secure our future.