Humanity's defenders in the far future are Guardians, long-deceased warriors selected by a Ghost to return to life, imbued with the Light of the Traveler. Don't worry, the Ghost will explain along the way.
After your unexpected awakening from a centuries-long slumber here in the Cosmodrome, the first task is to cross the wasted landscape of the Divide. Along the way, the fresh Guardian (that’s you) will receive a quick primer-by-fire on Destiny 2 combat.
READING THE HEADS-UP DISPLAY
- 1. It won’t be hard to discern threats to humanity, because they’ll be firing at you and your allies. Enemy names and totals for shield and health are displayed.
- 2. The tracker in the corner highlights in red threats approaching from different vectors. It’s extremely useful for confirming at-a-glance the direction in which danger lurks.
- 3. Ability cooldowns and ammo totals are grouped together to make their availability easy to confirm. Current weapons and available ammo are also displayed.
- 4. When you get hit, damage will initially deplete the white shield gauge. Once the shield is shattered, hazards will begin chipping away at your red health gauge. If this is fully depleted, your Guardian will perish. When in danger, rest briefly behind cover, hidden from enemy attacks, to give the shield time to regenerate.
Rewards earned will be shown onscreen on the right side. Most often this will be Glimmer and other types of currency gained by defeating foes. Weapons and armor pulled from loot caches and engrams picked up from vanquished targets will also be displayed.
After picking up a piece of gear, wait for a break in the action, then check out the Character screen to see if you’ve received an upgrade worth equipping right away. Check out Weapons, Armor, and Rewards
for more about upgrades.
During the introductory mission, you’ll be introduced to a few of the game’s different weapon types and enemies, as well as various Guardian powers.
Kinetic weapons will tend to be your primary tool. They deal high direct damage to unshielded targets, but are less effective against shielded adversaries.
Energy weapons deal elemental damage, allowing them to melt through enemy shields much more effectively than Kinetic weapons. Bonus damage is dealt if you break an enemy’s color-coded elemental shield with the corresponding element: Solar for orange shields, Arc for blue shields, and Void for purple shields. Against unshielded enemies, Energy weapons are slightly weaker than Kinetic weapons.
Power weapons hit like trucks, inflicting far more damage per shot than Kinetic or Energy weapons. They’re strong against any target, but are particularly valuable against challenging foes (indicated by yellow health bars). Power weapons are typically a bit unwieldy, and you can’t carry very much reserve ammo for them.
PRECISION SHOTS AND WEAK POINTS
Most enemies have a weak point you should target to inflict extra damage. You can tell if you’ve struck the weak point because damage numbers will be displayed in yellow. For most enemy types, the weak point is naturally the head, but this is not always the case. For example, against biomechanical Vex adversaries and orb-shaped Servitors, the weak point is right in the center. When in doubt, shoot different spots till you see yellow numbers.
Against some enemies, the weak point will be basically the only vulnerable part. Particularly during boss encounters, you might have to aim at shifting weak points, while dealing with phrases of boss immunity.
DEFEAT, REVIVAL, AND RESPAWNING
When a Guardian’s shield is busted and their health is fully depleted, they are downed, leaving behind a glowing sphere of their essence.
But death is not the end. Other Guardians can bring back a downed Guardian by standing nearby and following the Revive prompt. A defeated Guardian can also follow their own prompt to Respawn, which brings them back on the fringe of the current battlefield.
Revival rules change in Restriction Zones. You’ll know when you’ve entered a Restriction Zone because you’ll get a clear notice onscreen, and your vision will shimmer ominously.
Manual respawning isn’t possible in Restriction Zones. The only way for a Guardian to rise up is through an ally’s revival. A coordinated fireteam can brave a Restriction Zone with multiple individual defeats as long as they keep reviving each other and progressing as a unit.
If all Guardians are defeated at once, the whole fireteam will be booted back to the entrance of the Restriction Zone, which works like a checkpoint. Anything accomplished prior to being wiped out will have to be redone.
In most locations and during most activities, fireteams move in and out of Restriction Zones, alternating between sections of normal or heightened stakes. But during Nightfall strikes, the entire activity is a Restriction Zone, raising the challenge substantially!
Apart from having different movement options when airborne, it’s these abilities that differentiate the three Guardian classes. Each Guardian subclass has its own selection of specialized Super, grenade, melee, and class ability actions.
Grenades are powerful explosives with a wide variety of effects. They vary from straightforward explosive ordinance, to sticky bombs that attach to victims, to area-denial tools that briefly wash the detonation zone with pulsing damage. Take care not to hurt yourself with a grenade tossed too close!
Tapping the grenade button (the left bumper or L1 or equivalent shoulder button by default) will toss a grenade if grenade energy is full. For some subclasses, holding down the grenade button activates an alternate effect, like “cooking” the grenade for extra power or consuming grenade energy to replenish health.
Guardians can bash opponents up-close with a standard melee strike (by tapping R1 or the right bumper or equivalent by default). When melee energy is full, a better melee ability is available. Full-energy melee strikes have better reach and damage than standard melee, along with additional effects like shield, health, or ability energy regeneration.
Class abilities do a variety of things depending on the subclass. They tend to offer effects that can benefit an entire fireteam, if used cooperatively. Using class abilities to complement teammates goes a long way toward making tough firefights winnable. For Hunter, class abilities are dodge maneuvers activated by double-tapping the crouch button. For Titan and Warlock, class abilities help fireteams stand their current ground, bolstered by temporary buffs or cover. These are activated by holding the crouch button.
Supers are the most powerful tools in Guardians’ arsenals. A Super’s expression depends on a Guardian’s chosen subclass, but the end result is a devastating attack (or temporary alternate state) that’s capable of laying waste to many minor opponents at once, or heavily damaging a boss. Defeating enemies with a Super generates Orbs of Light, which teammates can collect to quickly build up more Super energy. Coordinated teams use Supers judiciously to help everyone get Supers more often, greatly increasing fireteam lethality.
Finishers provide a stylish melee twist on taking down low-health opponents up close. When a foe has less than half health, they’ll glow subtly, and a small circular tick mark will appear above their head. Approach this enemy and press in the right analog stick to initiate the finishing move. If within range, you’ll take them out with a flashy third-person cinematic. As an added bonus for taking enemies out this way, you’ll have increased damage resistance while this brief sequence plays out.
Different Guardians have different starting finishers, and more styles can be acquired from Tess Everis’s Eververse store in the Tower. Some special finishing moves expend a little Super energy to generate extra effects, like spawning Heavy ammo or replenishing health.
UNIQUE CLASS ACTIONS
Depending on your Guardian’s subclass, you may have access to more actions.
Some classes have a special dodge maneuver on the ground or even in the air (executed on consoles by double-tapping the crouch button or on PC by using the “air move” key, which defaults to X).
Some subclasses also have alternate abilities activated by holding down the grenade button.
Powered-up melee strikes have preconditions for certain subclasses, like sprinting or jumping first.
And several Supers are not simply fire-and-forget mega-moves, but instead are powered-up states that enable temporary actions.
Carefully read your favored subclass’s ability breakdowns on the Character screen so you’ll be aware of any non-standard capabilities worth weaving into your battle plan!
MAKING THE MOST OF SPECIAL ABILITIES
Special abilities recharge over time, in addition to building up more quickly under certain conditions (picking up Orbs of Light regenerates Super energy, some melee attacks help regenerate grenades, and so on). Unless you know an especially sturdy adversary is coming up soon, don't save available special abilities for a rainy day; Use them as often as possible, especially on clustered enemies, challenging foes, and particularly nasty commander-types.
SPRINTING INTO COVER
To sprint, push in the left analog stick while moving on the ground. Sprinting gets you from point A to point B faster than a normal running pace and makes it much more likely you’ll dodge enemy attacks and gunfire along the way. A life-saving habit to develop: Whenever your shield is broken, drop what you’re doing and sprint into cover to let the shield regenerate. Don’t get greedy during shoot-outs!
The only catch regarding sprinting is that it’s a commitment. You can’t do anything else while sprinting, so no firing or reloading a weapon. If you need to move quickly while reloading at the same time, try aerial movement.
SPRINTING ON OPEN GROUND
When facing off on open ground, without convenient cover to hide behind, sprinting perpendicular to current threats makes it much more likely they’ll miss. (By perpendicular, we mean sprinting laterally around attackers, maintaining the same distance, not sprinting toward or away from them.)
If a vital tip for dodging bullets is “stay moving,” then it stands to reason that “stay moving, but faster” is an even better tip.
SLIDING FOR FUN AND PROFIT
When sprinting, press the crouch button to perform a high-speed slide. When hurrying to cover, this gives you a brief speed boost while lowering your profile quite a bit. After the slide’s momentum ends, you’ll be crouching. Keep that in mind while continuing to move around. To stand up, either tap the crouch button or sprint again by pushing in the left stick while moving.
Extreme air mobility is one of the defining traits of Guardians. Pressing the jump button while airborne (whether after jumping or stepping off a ledge) engages some type of specialized aerial move, depending on the current Guardian class and subclass movement choice.
Each subclass has three aerial movement options to choose from. Hunters have an array of double- and triple-jump options available, while Titans and Warlocks use boost jets to glide for extra hangtime (and Warlock’s Voidwalker subclass has a unique teleporting aerial ability called Blink).
Air movement helps cross chasms and reach higher ground. The initial momentum increases of Hunter’s Strafe double-jump, Titan’s Catapult glide, and Warlock’s Burst glide are also great for a little extra forward oomph when crossing dangerous airspace. And when you need to reload while seeking a better attack angle or the safety of cover, jetting through the air while reloading is faster and safer than plodding on the ground at normal speed.
Boost, glide, or warp through the air into the side of a viable platform or ledge (essentially slapping into the lip of it with your Guardian’s hip rather than their feet) to deftly climb up, rather than missing your footing altogether and falling down. This isn’t necessarily something to aim for, but it can help you just barely make jumps across long gaps or recover from desperate falls.
CUTTING RELOADS SHORT
To make every moment count, be aware that you don’t have to watch the full reload animation play out. As soon as the number displayed for ammo reserves indicates a full magazine, you’re free to fire.
In the case of weapons that reload shell-by-shell, like many Shotguns, you don’t have to wait for the weapon to be fully reloaded before you return to firing. As long as at least one round is chambered, the weapon can be discharged.