Sunday, December 17, 2017
Features and More

Bungie's 'Destiny' a win for gamers, developers

There's been no question that Bungie's upcoming Destiny is, ahem, destined to be the marquee title of the new console generation. But the beta has turned out to be a goldmine even bigger than publisher Activision could have dreamed.

The two-week online test run, which ended July 27, brought in more than 4.6 million gamers. If that number sounds high, that's because they don't really go much higher.

"This is the biggest beta of this console generation by a wide margin and the largest console beta ever for a new video game IP to date," Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said in a press release. "Hosting a beta at this scale is an incredible feat, so we're thrilled to see the phenomenal response. But the beta is just a taste of what's to come."

But we don't have to wait for the Sept. 9 release date to find out what wonders await in Bungie's followup to their legendary Halo franchise. TechTimes.com pointed out that hackers on Reddit are nerding out over all the code they cracked during the two-week stress test. And even though the beta code is likely woefully out of date, there are lots of goodies worth waiting for.

Like what? Their list of 148 "activities" includes 11 Crucible maps, 32 or so story missions, five playable game zones (Earth, the moon, the Reef, Venus and Mars) and a whole lot more. That goes a long way toward expanding on the missions included in the beta, which largely took place on Earth.

There so much information, really, that it makes me wonder how much of it is vestigial and how much is simply hacker bait left in the code to get people to talk about the game. It certainly seems to be working.

Not everything is peachy, of course; There are complaints about the mission structure and weapons interface out there. The absence of things like proximity chat and a game map have also gotten a lot of online attention. But hey, that's what a beta is for nowadays, right?

For me, the biggest takeaway is that the new console generation may finally be advanced enough to do what gamers (and even developers) have wanted to do for years — try out a game in development and exchange feedback about what works and what doesn't.

It's not likely that only a month out Bungie will be overhauling some of the things being discussed in forums, but thanks to DLC, there's a good chance they can get a jumpstart on patching some things. You don't put something into beta without knowing you've got the bones laid out pretty firmly, but altering a heads-up display wouldn't break the bank for what is expected to be this year's tentpole release on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Surely Microsoft and Sony would allow Activision to cram in some last-minute changes after this beta's headcount.

That's not to say hackers on Reddit or Kotaku commenters have the final say on any of these elements, but thanks to the power of the online gaming community, they have a much louder voice than ever before. In the end, that's of way more value to studios and publishers than a simple server test, no matter how you play it.

— Joshua Gillin writes about video games for tbt*. Challenge his opinions at [email protected]

Comments
She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Published: 12/16/17
Festivus 2017: Send us your grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Published: 12/15/17
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Published: 12/15/17
Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A half hour to curtain, Al Pitrelli unwinds on a couch in his spartan dressing quarters, fresh off a loading-dock Marlboro. He’s deep inside an arena, about to play the 29th show in the 18th city of the Trans-Siberian ...
Published: 12/15/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 18-24.

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 18-24.

Gasparilla Bowl: The postseason college football game at Tropicana Field on Thursday brings Florida International University from Conference USA to play the Temple Owls from the American Athletic Conference. ($40-$80). gasparillabowl.com. The 8 p.m....
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The theatrical tour about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that Tavis Smiley was slated to bring to Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has been canceled in the wake sexual misconduct allegations against the broadcaster.Death...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

PARADES Homosassa Christmas Boat Parade Parade begins at Marker 75 by Bird Island. Free. Homosassa Springs Marina, 10806 W Halls River Road, Homosassa. 6 p.m. Dec. 16.   Indian Rocks Beach Boat Parade It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and...
Published: 12/14/17
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Published: 12/14/17