Destiny Gameplay: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide!

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Let’s dive into your…Destiny!

Wait, don’t go! I’ll stop with the puns, I swear.

The Story

The game is set in a period after a “Golden Age” where humans had once lived all over the galaxy. Something happened though and now the only survivors left live on Earth, protected by a great celestial orb called the “The Traveler.” Humans are at the edge of extinction. The Traveler created the Guardian race to explore out into space and to fight against mankind’s fearsome enemies.

Destiny gameplay

“In our darkest days, Humans, Exos, and Awoken found the Traveler where it made its last stand, low above Earth, silent and immobile. We built the City – our last – within its protective veil, fighting countless wars to keep its peace. From that dark age, Guardians were born.” – Destiny official webpage

You, dear reader, are a Guardian.

Basic Controls

  • DPAD
  • Up = wave
  • Down = dance
  • Left = salute
  • Right = point


  • Toggle Triangle/Y = switch between primary and secondary weapons
  • Hold Triangle/Y = switch to heavy weapon
  • Circle/B = crouch
  • X/A = jump (pressing jump while in the air activates your character’s special movement ability)
  • Square/X = reload
  • Start/Options/Start/Menu = inventory
  • Right thumbstick = look around
  • Left thumb = move (press to sprint)
  • R2/Right trigger = shoot
  • R1/ Right bumper = melee
  • L2/L2 = zoom/scope
  • L1/Left bumper = grenade
  • R1 + L1/Right bumper + left bumper = activate super
  • Select/Touchpad/Back/View = summon ghost


There are three classes to choose from in Destiny. They are all unique with different abilities and sub-classes. It’s best to choose one that matches your playing style.


Destiny gameplay: hunter

This class is lightly armored and uses ranged weapons to achieve precision headshots. Choosing this character starts you off with an auto-rifle and sniper rifle. Obviously, as a character with moderate health and little armor, your best starting strategy is to pick off enemies from afar. Your sniper rifle will be very good at this since it has a lot of power, range, and speed.

The Hunter’s first two sub-classes are: Gunslinger (ranged attack) or Bladedancer (get up close and personal with your blades, as well as a ranged throwing knife attack).


Destiny gameplay: titan

This is the game’s armored unit. This character specializes in melee attacks and utilizes heavy armor. You’ll start off with an auto-rifle and shotgun. Although this character can become a very formidable juggernaut, you’ll have to be patient. At the beginning, it might be more prudent to cull down any groups of enemies until there are only a few left before diving in for the melee attacks. This character’s first sub-groups are: Striker (heavily offensive) and Defender (for drawing fire while your teammates attack).



Destiny gameplay: warlock

This character is mainly a supportive one. It has weak health and armor so it doesn’t go well to go full frontal assault when playing as this class. It’s best to treat it like a Hunter and pick off your enemies from afar. One benefit is this class’s Fast Recovery ability so, should you take any damage, you can flee and recovery before attempting the battle again. You start off with an auto-rifle with this character and should switch as soon as you can to a sniper rifle, to make the best of your situation.


These choices are purely aesthetic so go nuts. No matter what you choose, you’ll end up with the same balance of abilities.

Basic Facts

  • You get 3 characters per account
  • The second set of sub-class unlocks at level 15
  • Once unlocked, you can switch between sub-classes
  • Don’t sell your items! It’s better to disassemble them to get crafting material and Glimmer (Destiny’s form of currency)
  • Treasure chests have an audio cue that activate when you’re close, listen for it and never miss a chest again!
  • Items stored in your Vault can be shared among all your characters
  • Make sure to look out for Spin Metal Planets. Trade them in for Reputation points and equipment at the Tower
  • Access your upgrade submenu with triangle or Y
  • Killing enemies with your super charged abilities causes them to drop orbs of light. Collecting these helps your recharge your abilities faster


Destiny gameplay: this is a "spin metal planet"
This is a “Spin Metal Planet”

Combat Basics

  • Hitting circle or B while running allows you to slide, which can help you get under cover faster
  • Press L1 or left trigger while under cover to peek over the edge or around a corner
  • Crouching in PVP causes you to pulse less on enemy radar


  • Hold down R2 or right bumper to compare items in your inventory with what you have equipped
  • Exploration missions get you Vanguard marks, which can be used to buy Vanguard gear
  • Public events get you awesome rewards and Vanguard reputation
  • Take encrypted Engrams to the Tower to decode them into useable gear
  • Your gear can level up! Make sure to wear your best pieces so you can unlock their special abilities.


Destiny gameplay: factions

You can join a faction. Each faction also has a store set up in the Tower selling rare and expensive goods. These can only be bought with Vanguard marks earned by performing specific tasks set by the Bounty Hunt Board

Enemy Races

There are four races out there that are all trying to kill off the rest of mankind and claim the rest of the galaxy as their own. Each has its own type of abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.


These guys are insectoid nomadic pirates

Destiny gameplay: fallen

“Fallen are hardy creatures who can survive in a wide range of environments without heavy armor or complex modifications to their physiology. They travel light, hit hard, and are gone before you know it. Fallen may look like mere scavengers, but on closer inspection you will see hints of a splendid, sophisticated past, and the proud markings of their ancestral “Houses.”” – Destiny official website


A race of ancient aliens.

Destiny gameplay: hive

“Hive manipulate the physical world in ways that we can only begin to imagine. The Hive have carved a kingdom deep into the lifeless core of the Moon, and it is there they remain, silent and buried among many dark and terrible secrets, a reminder of the tremendous power that brought forth the Collapse.” – Destiny official website


Semi-organic androids

Destiny gameplay: vex

“Scattered reports indicate that the Vex appear to be mass-produced machine units, constructed of an unknown metal alloy resembling hammered brass. All attempts to communicate with them have failed. They are hostile. They are unrelenting. They are deadly.” – Destiny official website


Amphibians with a taste for industrialized military armor.

Destiny gameplay

“Few Guardians have faced Cabal and lived to tell the tale. They are a professional military operation. On every front we have found them on the march, they have already dug in and ringed their installations with razor wire. Now, it seems they’ve turned their eyes towards us.” – Destiny official website


These guys are powerful enemies with intense armor. They act as a target to draw your fire while their minions tear you to pieces. There are two ways of dealing with them:

  1. Kill all the minions before attacking the captain
  2. Some captains can spawn unlimited minions, if so; use your environment to your advantage. Get on high ground and under cover to stay safe from the minions so you can concentrate solely on the captain.

Enemy Support

Just like you and your friends, enemies will have support members in their team. These can be pretty annoying if you’re not prepared so watch out!

Into Battle!


To flank or not to flank? Flanking is definitely a key part of this game when you play with your friends. If you or someone on the team is a Titan, or better yet, a Defender, they can draw fire away from the rest while everyone else attacks the enemy’s flanks and back.

Blind Spots

Some enemies will have blind spots. If you see one hunker down under cover, chances are they can’t see you. This is your chance to sneak behind them and hit them with a surprise melee attack.

Solo Players

Playing alone? Don’t worry, just leave a lot of ground between you and your enemies so you can damage them as they struggle to get to you.


Pro Tip: Stay aware of your surrounding environment! Don’t let yourself get trapped in a blind alley or on low ground or you might find yourself rapidly losing health!



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One Comment

  1. Bernard Clyde says:

    I appreciate you explaining the different classes and their strengths and weaknesses in Destiny since I don’t know much about them. I think it’s important to research what you can online and from other players to get an idea of how to be an effective player. There is a lot to learn from observing those with more skill than you on raids and I think it’s worth playing with them to learn new tactics.