Gogol Bordello at Wooly’s (10/27)

George asked us to go. It’s a band he was excited about, but one we’d never heard of. Gypsy punk.

We went downtown. We thought we were early, and that maybe we’d meet George and Mary for a drink before hand, but by the time we got downtown and found a place to park, we all decided just to meet at Wooly’s. We did get there early enough to scope out a space next to one of the standing tables, which was nice for me, because it meant that I wouldn’t have a stranger next to me on one side, and it would at least give me something to lean against. I got a beer, and Kate got a gin and tonic. George and Mary showed up, and we hung out talking, chatting about kids and George’s trip to India.

Then the opening act started, Lucky Chops. It was basically a brass ensemble with a funky groove, like a younger, hipper Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and they were totally in this 80s groove, with their outfits and the covers they choose to play. I loved it.

Then Gogol Bordello came on. I’m not sure what I expected. It was a loud frenetic show, lots of energy, but I felt like the mix was off. It was hard to make out the lyrics, and the neat instruments, like the accordion and the violin seemed to be buried. But the lead singer is an amazing showman, and the show itself was fun. Kate and I left before it was over. It was late, we were tired, and we both felt we’d gotten our taste of it.


What I Like About Destiny 2

What I like about Destiny 2 is the pick up and play nature of it. A play session can be as long or as short as I need it to be, and I’m still going to have fun. And the heroic public events give you action sequences that belong in a raid, but with no set up. It’s pretty amazing.

What I loved to do in Destiny 1 was patrol. I would stop at the tower and pick up the daily Vanguard bounties. These would usually direct me to a specific planet to run patrols, and then there would be a set of five other challenges to complete, like getting kills with a specific weapon slot, or killing X number of a specific enemy. Completing the bounties gave you experience in the form of Vanguard reputation, and also reputation with your pledged Faction. As you gained reputation, you’d eventually gain a level with that faction or with the Vanguard, and then you could speak to the corresponding rep to get a package, which would give you gear to help you raise your light level.

And all the time, you’d be running patrols on the open world map of a specific planet. Each map is divided up into different regions, and within those regions, you’d find plenty of bad guys to fight, chests to open, and resource nodes to loot. Each region would be multiplayer, too, so there would be other guardians running around, doing similar things. And then there would be open world events, like Taken Incursions, where you could work together with strangers to complete an objective and get a reward.

For me, this was the best part of the game. Sure strikes were fun, and the teamwork of running the raid was a pretty incredible gaming experience, but I loved being able to drop onto a planet and just run around and explore on my own, helping other people out, and getting help. The freedom was amazing, and because I was playing by myself, I could stop and start as needed. I got to set my objectives, I had something to work towards, and it all was working towards a greater goal of improving my character, getting better weapons and gear.

I was worried that somehow, they wouldn’t be able to replicate this in Destiny 2. All the press seemed to be about how they were “changing everything,” and I was worried that somehow they wouldn’t be able to recapture the magic that I’d found in patrolling in Destiny 1. I really wanted Destiny 2 to be everything that loved about Destiny 1 and more.

And it turns out that I shouldn’t have worried, that whoever was in charge of Destiny 2’s PvE knew exactly what I was looking for. Instead of six daily bounties focused on one map, there are now twelve, divided into three for each map. Instead of collecting rep points, you get tokens on each planet, which you can turn in to the planet’s vendor to get some loot. This fixes a problem with Destiny 1’s system, where if you let the rep roll over without speaking to the vendor you lost that package.

The open worlds are more vibrant, too. High value targets spawn through out the maps, rewarding extra loot in you take them out. There are still patrols to do, as well as adventures and quests, but really were the PvE shines is in Public Events.

Destiny 1 had public events as well, but they were pretty random. If you wanted to find a public event in Destiny 1, the best way was to use a third-party website where they had figured out the timers so you could see when PEs would spawn on the different maps. In Destiny 2, the PEs appear on the new PvE maps for each planet, making it easy to move around the map, looking for these events.

And the PEs themselves are so much better in Destiny 2. Intense mini encounters, each PE has a set of conditions that can be triggered to turn them into Heroic Public Events, rewarding more loot and experience. The new public events are thrilling and action-packed, like the boss fights in a raid or a strike, but without the time commitment to get to them. You just stumble across them in the wild, and suddenly you’re caught in an insane firefight.

But what’s best about the new PvE is the pick up and play nature of it. No matter how much time you have to play, you can find something to do in PVE that will get you some loot and experience. You can drop in on a map next to PE, have a blast, and then sign off the game in fifteen minutes, or you could play for hours.

For me, this is the best part of Destiny 2. I was worried that the game wouldn’t have legs, that it wouldn’t be able to replace the day-in, day-out game play of Destiny 2, and I have to say that I’m so happy to report that’s not the case. Destiny 2’s PvE is just what I need, in whatever dose I need it in.