Sometime in the distant past of Destiny, the arrival of the Traveler marked a rapid rise of technological expansion, and thus a new Golden Age began for the human race. Within decades, humans were able to colonize and populate many of the planets within the Solar System, and even go beyond. However, this would not last, for some unknown force managed to transform much of what was gained into ruin, and the human race had to return to a single city on Earth or face extinction.Hundreds of years after the cataclysm, the human race is equipped once more with the technological arsenal that the Traveler provides. A chosen few among the many left on the planet have been deemed Guardians (Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans), which are bestowed with magic-like powers to strengthen their forces. On Earth or across the galaxy, the human race is once more ready to take back what is rightfully theirs.
Back from the Dead: This is the primary method by which you get recruited as a Guardian - a Ghost identifies a Light-compatible corpse somewhere in the human-held solar system, and then revives it as a new servant for the Traveler. Some Guardians appear to have got their Ghosts differently (Ikora Rey, for example, was apparently alive during the Golden Age, when no Ghosts existed, and yet shows none of the signs of the usual memory loss brought about by reanimation), but that's how things normally go.
Came Back Strong: Whatever they were, it's unlikely they were as powerful as they are now.
Badass: They're FPS protagonists with extra space-magic. This is a given.
Double Jump: All three classes are able to perform this with the actual mechanism of doing so depending on the class.
Fallen Hero: It's rare, but sometimes this happens to unfortunate Guardians. One such example would be Dredgen Yor, who fell to the Darkness and was also the bearer of Thorn, a cursed and Obviously Evil revolver. The other would be Kabr, the Legionless, who became obsessed with the Vex and was 'consumed' by the Vault of Glass.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: Downplayed by the amount of gunplay on all sides, but this is essentially the main classes, in order of Titan, Warlock, Hunter.
Functional Magic: Thanks to the influence of the Traveler, the Guardians are able to harness ethereal powers.
Limit Break: All Guardians unlock their Super Abilities once their Subclass has reached level 4. What they do, vary on both your main class and subclass chosen.
Mage Marksman: All Guardians qualify, to varying degrees courtesy of the Traveller's influence. Warlocks are just more up front about it.
Magitek: Most Guardian equipment is fairly conventional, if advanced, technology. However, many of the more precious and rare examples are those which have built-in channels for the Guardian's own Light. As it is worn and fought in, the adaptive nature of the Light gradually improves it, building its legend and becoming powerful in ways that transcend the mundane.
One-Man Army: Oftentimes Guardians will find themselves battling hordes of enemies alone. Even if you play alone without ever joining up with other Guardians, your character will singlehandedly kill thousands of enemies over the course of the story campaign. To hammer it home, one late-game mission has you assaulting the Cabal at the heart of their military strength in the Exclusion Zone, complete with multiple ambushes by hordes of Cabal soldiers, and you can singlehandedly shoot your way through all of them.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: The gender, and even the race, of the Guardian has no effect on gameplay. All it does is change your appearance, voice, and dance animation.
The Quiet One: The main character is barely a step up from a Heroic Mime, having a mere handful of spoken lines throughout the story.
Resurrective Immortality: Guardians seem to constantly come back from the dead, provided that their Ghost is still functioning. This point is driven home on the very first Moon Story Mission, where a Guardian is completely dead with his Ghost missing.
Screw Destiny: Explicit in the final stage of the Vault of Glass raid, where you're fighting a Vex war machine that comes from multiple timelines where the Vex have achieved total victory. Once you gain the massive buff that lets you do tremendous damage and gain near-instant cooldowns, you get a new message: "Guardians make their own fate."
Action Fashionista: According to the description for the Dynamo Cloak, Hunters have 3 missions, protect the City, look better than Warlocks, but don't look like they are trying.
Crutch Character: An odd example; The Hunter's "Golden Gun" Super is pretty decent in PvE, but is incredibly overpowered in PvP. Compared to most other Supers, the Golden Gun at minimum gets 3 shots that can instant kill, whereas a Warlock and Titan gets an AoE. Because of this, Hunters are this for PvP oriented Hunter: They'll be good at hunting down Guardians, but they'll lack a powerful punch during missions.
Hunters are so favoured in PvP because of that, that you'll probably clear most Crucible bounties that require Hunter kills, than any other class.
Knife Nut: Their melee weapon and they can even throw it.
The Gunslinger: One of the possible focuses. An ability named the Golden Gunnote And yes, it is named the "Golden Gun", not Ghost Gun, lets the user wield a powerful Hand Cannon that kill enemies in a single shot or two.
Badass Bookworm: The Flavor Text of their items and Grimoire entries on Bungie.Net show the Warlocks are as interested in learning humanity's past as they are defending the present, and they are just as devoted to protecting humanity as Titans and Hunters.
Badass Longcoat: Warlocks can be recognized by their long coats and rounded helmets. The coat gets longer as you get better and higher leveled gear.
Critical Status Buff: The Sunsinger's signature Super. Your grenade and melee ability recharges way faster, you have additional buffs to your guns, and to top it all, you can have varying special effects to your Super, which are either actions or passives:
Song Of Flame: Gives your teammates a slight buff when using your Super.
Radiant Will: Reduces damage when using your Super, making you able to survive things that could otherwise kill you.
Fireborn: Be reborn after dying, without having to respawn.
Energy Ball: Both the Warlock's grenades and the Voidwalker special ability lets them throw a much more powerful void orb that consumes enemies. Their skill tree can vary the effect of it.
Grenade Spam: Depending on how you manage your equipments stats and your skills, the Sunsinger can become this during their Super. The last skill for the Sunsinger lets you carry an additional grenade.
Master of None: Weapon-wise, they don't get any skill-bonuses to gunsnote Except for their Grenade, and their equipment adding ammo-cap bonuses, so if you favour weapons over your own skills, you probably shouldn't be a Warlock. On the other hand, Sunsinger averts this, by having a Super that causes buffs to you and all of your weapons.
Space Marine: Bungie based the designs of this class on the modern Space Marine.
Humanity and Allied Forces
Humans In General
Advanced Ancient Humans: Sort of. The ancient extinct civilization the game begins after is implied to be our future, but their past. Subverted in that "modern" humans have weaponry augmented by the Traveler. Which makes sense, since earlier humans were wiped off the face of the Solar System with their own weaponry.
Space Elves: Extended lifespans, far more advanced tech than their rivals, while being hampered by low population.
Vestigial Empire: Originally, they were one of the most influential species within the galaxy. Hundreds of years after the fall, they're just now attempting to take back the vast amount of land that they lost, and are barely holding back the Darkness from their last outpost, the City.
A mysterious object that appeared over the Earth in the distant past. Its appearance gave rise to hundreds of new technologies, and allowed the human race to expand their influence over the galaxy in a short period of time. However, some cataclysm caused most of what was gained to be lost, and the Traveler had to sacrifice some of its power in order to stop the threat from destroying all of humanity. However, the Traveler has not been destroyed; it stil remains as a protecting force over the last city on Earth, and grants power to those who will fight for it.
Comes Great Responsibility: The real reason why it's helping the galaxy. When you're big round space-Jesus, using all that power for good becomes something of a moral obligation.
Cosmic Entity: It's a big, round alien god which pays absolutely zero regard to the laws of physics. Fortunately, it's on our side. Unfortunately, its Evil Counterpart, the Darkness, isn't, and may be even more powerful.
Covered In Scars: The Collapse was not kind to it - its once-immaculate surface is appallingly pitted and cracked.
Eldritch Abomination: Nobody is able to comprehend what this thing is. It appears to be a good one, given its actions in the past. This is further rubbed in by the fact that H.P. Lovecraft's favourite couplet when describing his own abominations also happens to perfectly summarise the Traveler's current state:
That is not dead which can eternal lie,/And with strange aeons even death may die.
Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the Golden Age, the Traveler apparently made some sort of sacrifice in order to stop the Darkness from completely wiping out humanity.
Humble Hero: Civilisations across the galaxy have worshipped it as a god, but it's never tried to encourage them. It just wants to help. Since the Collapse, its disastrous attempt to take down the Darkness once and for all, humility appears to have morphed into active self-loathing.
Samus Is a Girl: Rasputin refers to the Traveler as 'she'. It's anyone's guess what his evidence is, but we can probably trust the superhumanly intelligent AI on this one.
Starfish Aliens: It's a glowy white sphere the size of a small moon with the powers of a Physical God. It's hard to think of many ways an alien could be more alien.
Unwitting Pawn: Terrifyingly, the 'Dreams of Alpha Lupi' Grimoire card ('Ghost Fragment: The Traveler 2') implies that the Darkness is driving the Traveler along a particular route in its eternal hunt, dictating which systems it visits and which civilisations it helps. It's not clear what it stands to gain from this, but the possibilities aren't encouraging in the slightest.
The ethereal and aloof Awoken were once human, but were transformed by some unknown force back as they fled the Collapse.
Blue Skinned Space Babe: Female Awoken can qualify as this. They have bluish-gray skin, and are exotically beautiful.
Transhuman: According to lore, they were originally humans that tried to flee Earth in the wake of the Collapse. During their exodus, something happened to them out in deep space that led to their being changed into the Awoken race.
He Who Fights Monsters: A heroic version. They were reborn by the Darkness, but somehow managed to retain their Humanity and remain allied to Humans themselves.
Robots built by humanity during the Golden Age. Much about them has been forgotten, even by themselves.
Creepy Good: As far as the allied races go, this is certainly the most ominous-looking one.
Mechanical Lifeforms: The Exos are a race of sentient machines designed for war in a long-forgotten conflict.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: One of the options players have when creating their Exo Guardian, although Bungie appears to have decided to go with blue eyes for canonical Exo characters.
Ridiculously Human Robots: That they have human proportions makes sense given that they were built by humans to interact with a human-centric civilization, but that they are divided into male and female designs or that their personalities are practically indistinguishable from humans puts them right into this trope. There are many theories as to why, from excessively anthropocentric programming, to possible Brain Uploading, to being purely due to the Traveler's influence, but nothing is known for certain and even the Exos themselves do not remember.
Throat Light: Like their eyes, their mouths show a light when open.
Robots, non-sentient and more primitive than the Exo, built to serve the City.
Tin-Can Robot: Decidedly more mechanical-looking than Exo, though they keep the humanoid shape.
Flying robotic drone companions that accompany Guardians and serve multiple functions such as navigation, hacking computers, opening doors, and other useful tasks.
Deadpan Snarker: More common in earlier trailers, the characterization has become less snarky in the final release, though he still has his moments.
Do Any Thing Robot: They're able to resurrect people from the dead to have them serve as Guardians, interface with technology, fly starships, summon vehicles, be a deadpan snarker, become a flashlight, you name it...
Embarrassing Nickname: The particular Ghost you're traveling with is not very fond of being called "Little Light".
Ghost: "Can't we stay here with all of the murderous robots?"
Final Death: While Ghosts can self-repair and have no such thing as a natural lifespan, they can be "killed" if their Light is drained away. Each one that dies in this way is an irreplaceable loss.
Our Angels Are Different: Functionally, they're little robot space angels created to help humanity and carry out the divine will of big robot space God.
Pieces of God: Each Ghost is a fragment of the Traveler, formed and detached with the last of its strength, and each one carries a fragment of the Traveler's intelligence and power. However, because it is only a fragment, it lacks the Traveler's full strength and memory. Much of that strength gets passed in turn to a Guardian, who can grow it further, becoming a vessel for the Traveler's Light.
Meaningful Name: It's almost certainly not a coincidence that the name used by many American Christian denominations for the part of the Holy Trinity that directly carries out the will of heaven on Earth is the 'Holy Ghost'. See Our Angels Are Different above.
Robot Buddy: Their role is to find a Guardian to pair with and invest them with the Traveler's Light.
Mechanical Lifeforms: While they are built from machinery and Light, the unusual properties of Light give them characteristics that are more closely associated with a living being. They are fully intelligent and self-aware agents, and like living beings they can die.
A combination scholar, oracle, and high-priest, the Speaker is a position held by one who conceals their face behind a mask and keeps constant watch on the Traveler to interpret its will and speak for it.
Big Good: If the Traveler can be considered a Bigger Good, then the Speaker can be considered this.
Commanding Coolness: A Titan with a the bearing of a professional military officer and campaign ribbons on his armor who is in overall command of the City's standing forces.
Declining Promotion: Of a hypothetical rank; Executor Hideo's dialogue says that he'd make Zavala New Monarchy's candidate for king, but Zavala is uninterested, saying Earth had enough kings during the Dark Age after the Collapse.
An Exo who loves the open frontier, the loss of a bet has resulted in him being stuck behind the Vanguard table in the Tower, where he coordinates the intelligence efforts of City agents in the field and outfits Hunters who visit him.
Deadpan Snarker: He teases Warlock players about getting lost in the library of (their) minds on occasion and some of his patrol dialogue is a lighter version of this.
Desk Jockey: Much to his displeasure, but he fulfills it out of a strong sense of duty.
Friendly Sniper: Implied to be this before he had to leave the front line. Hunters are the sniper class, and Cayde is still very friendly despite going embittered and stir-crazy about his (self-imposed) confinement.
Lovable Rogue: As befitting the mentor of the 'Han Solo' class, he's the Tower's resident troublemaker and class clown, with an irreverent attitude and a smartmouthed quip for every situation and a rather... direct approach to problem-solving.
Sad Clown: He's most at home on the open frontier, and he keeps acting out because he's going stir-crazy staying cooped up in the tower.
A one-time lone wandering Guardian, Ikora returned from the wild with her knowledge heavily tempered by practical experience and her temperament extremely even. Her esteem among several different Warlock schools made her the logical choice to represent them among the Vanguard.
The Archmage: The highest representative of all the Warlock schools and serving as their mouthpiece and will on the Vanguard, the upper command of the City's defensive forces.
Bald Women: Technically, it's just a very close-cropped haircut, but the visual effect is the same, making her look appropriately alien and mystical for her job.
Older Than They Look: She had a shotgun during the Golden Age, so she must be much older than she looks, probably in her hundreds.
A veteran of the battle of the Twilight Gap, Shaxx's experiences there convinced him that the City was too unprepared to repel a direct attack should the Traveler's protection falter. Thus, he created the Crucible, a series of tournaments and battles that pit Guardians against one another in combat that they may be sharpened by the experience.
Combat Commentator: Comments on the Guardians' matches as the continue. Doing good? He'll commend your bravery. Failing miserably? He'll demand that you fight back at once. Winning? He'll indulge in the carnage...
Hero of Another Story: During the Battle of the Twilight Gap, Shaxx led a counterattack against the fallen that drove them back from the Wall of the City.
An enigmatic Exo, Lakshmi is full of secrets that she only divulges to those who ascend into the mysteries of the Future War Cult. Those who can get past her rather brutal philosophy of endless struggle have found her to be otherwise excellent company.
Church Militant: The Cult take this to a logical extreme - they preach a future of eternal warfare, and want to get in on the ground floor ASAP.
The Extremist Was Right: Critics dismiss Future War Cult as being too bloodthirsty in its claims that the Darkness is coming back and humanity has to fight it. The only problem is that FWC is actually right: the Darkness is returning, and it's gunning for humanity.
War Is Glorious: It's the Cult's founding principle, and Lakshmi has no end of tales of past battles to stir the blood of prospective recruits.
An Awoken with dreams of the stars, Jalaal is an Arach of the Dead Orbit, and fears that if humanity does not make a voyage from the solar system of its birth than it will surely be destroyed if the Darkness returns.
Badass Normal: His objective is to turn humanity into this, prospering through their own strength rather than through divine assistance. Slightly ironic, seeing as he's an Awoken.
The Fundamentalist: Funnily enough for the representative of the closest thing the Tower's got to a militant atheist Faction. Jalaal is uncompromising in his beliefs, and evangelises about humanity's future among the stars with the fervour of the most frothy-mouthed of street preachers.
Screw You, Elves!: Dead Orbit's philosophy. Humanity should learn to stand on its own, without the meddling of alien gods, because the Collapse showed the limits of the Traveler's ability to protect mankind and they suspect that it might have even led the Darkness to them.
Unwitting Pawn: Factions are selected to have a presence in the Tower according to how useful the Vanguard's leadership believes they'll be for assisting with the Guardians' mission. In other words, the servants of the Traveler are of the opinion that a fanatical anti-Traveler political party is exactly what they need to lend them a hand. Jalaal is, of course, blissfully unaware of this.
An industrial magnate of the City's foundries and well-known philanthropist, Hideo has become convinced that the City needs stronger leadership and less factionalism if it is to survive the trials everyone can feel coming. Thus, he has turned his resources to forwarding the cause of the New Monarchy, and seeks out Guardians to champion it.
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The Seven Tenets of the New Monarchy are mostly feelgood platitudes about defending the City from aliens, fostering technological development, defending human rights, and so on... and then you get to number seven, where they promise to have the Consensus, the City's parliament, vote to disband itself and transfer its powers to a single dictator-for-life.
Democracy Is Bad: A big drive for the New Monarchy is a sense that the democratic process has failed the City too many times, and when the Darkness returns it may be too indecisive to properly protect it.
The Good King: Believes humanity is in desperate need of this to unite it. New Monarchy propaganda does stress that the 'monarchy' they want is more a collective unity of purpose, but its critics do question whether Hideo might have someone very specific in mind for the embodiment of this collective will. He does, but surprisingly, it's not himself - it's Commander Zavala of the Vanguard.
Order Versus Chaos: The New Monarchy set themselves up as the defenders of order, rising above the infighting and factionalism of the City to present a unified front against the Darkness. Others wonder whose order it might be, and what they might have to sacrifice for it. There's a reason they're only one Faction of many.
Uncle Pennybags: He used to be a famous and beloved philanthropist, and still characterizes himself as such, only with more of an eye on the big picture. Others, however, have noted that the origins and direction of his cashflow have become increasingly hard-to-determine in recent years, leading to wonder where, exactly, it's coming from and going.
We Are Struggling Together: He created the New Monarchy to stand against this tendency within humanity, unifying the warring Factions into a single unified purpose. Ironically, his party has only contributed further to the problem, becoming yet another player in the City's great game.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: A charitable interpretation of his Faction, with their romantic idealization of The Good King as a concept and their unique optimism about humanity's odds on restoring its Golden Age.
The Cynic: Interestingly New Monarchy Zig Zags between both positions, depending on which side of the coin they are looking at. While their goals of uniting the city under The Good King are idealistic in the extreme, their belief that Democracy Is Bad and methods for ending it are extremely cynical.
A Frame that acts as the postmaster for the Tower, Kadi has a somewhat worried personality matrix.
Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Always trying faithfully to tend the mail, but had to deal with joke packages, packages for people who are not officially recognized by the Tower, and packages for warlocks that have a habit of floating away from their shelves.
One of the City's Crypto-Archaeologists, Rahool's insatiable hunger to study history has brought him to the Tower where he can be the first to see, study, and catalog new items that Guardians bring in from the frontier.
Absent-Minded Professor: He's not completely tethered to reality, giong off on odd little tangents at the slightest provocation. It was the in-game explanation for his once-notorious habit of short-changing Guardians on Engrams.
Adventure Archaeologist: Downplayed. While he does not go out adventuring, he prefers to be at the Tower where the Guardians can be found instead of at the Cryptarch's Archives, since that is where he is best positioned to get the first look at artifacts coming back from the wild and talk to the Guardians who found them about the adventures they had getting them.
A "fixer" of a sort, Tess is known for her wide web of connections and abilities to procure unusual goods. She has a kiosk in the Tower from which she can get Guardians special orders not found anywhere else.
The Fixer: She can get almost anything for the right price.
An artist and meta-material hacker who looks to both past and present for inspiration, Eva has a long career of outfitting Guardians with custom heraldic signs and recoloring armor and equipment.
The daughter of traveling pilgrims, Holliday learned mechanical maintenance from a young age as a necessity, and when she settled in the City her expertise won her a senior position repairing and refurbishing jumpships and other vehicles.
Southern-Fried Genius: Presumably her family of pilgrims was from the southern parts of North America, if her accent is anything to go by.
An Exo soldier who saw too much during his long existence and has the damage-repair seams to prove it. His numerous resets have kept him functional after all this time, but his vast memory is fragmented and even he has trouble sifting it. Never the less, his experience with guns is second to none, and he spends his days building and repairing weapons used by Guardians.
Old Soldier: Exos may not age, but that does not mean they are immune to the wear-and-tear that comes with hard combat and time, and Banshee has been through plenty of both. The numeric suffix for his name is the amount of times he has had to be rebooted since activation, often after extensive repairs, and he bears the scars both physical and cognitive of this.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: His long experiences in combat spanning centuries and repeated repairs and reboots have left his memory fragmented and partial. Things he senses sometimes bring those memory fragments to the fore, sometimes people he sees remind him of people he has lost, etc. However, his expertise with weapons and their maintenance has stayed, even if he sometimes cannot remember where he saw a particular example.
Banshee-44: They say Exos don't dream... but are they dreams, or memories... ?
A mysterious, enigmatic, apparently faceless humanoid of slumped posture and drawn hood, XŻr comes and goes from the Tower as he pleases and trades strangely exotic coins for equally exotic equipment. He serves the enigmatic Nine, rulers of the Jovians, the four gas giants beyond the asteroid belt. He may be a Jovian (referring to a race, not a planet) himself, but nobody's entirely sure yet.
Ambiguously Human: He doesn't seem to have a face-only a space that has glowing eyes and something resembling Darkness radiating off it.
Inexplicably Awesome: At the moment. He visits the Tower at times dictated by the movement of celestial bodies, sells weaponry and equipment better than anything in the Tower for a bizarre and hard-to-find eldritch currency, then leaves. And nobody's sure just what he is.
A well composed Frame, Roni functions as the quartermaster for the Vanguard. He remains unflappable, despite Cayde's attempts to produce a reaction.
A former combat frame under the control of Lord Shaxx, Arcite has long since been repurposed into assisting Shaxx's with some of the more clerical parts of managing the Crucible. While he has been demilitarized, he retains his memories and some of his programming as a combat frame, and carries the personality that comes with it.
What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Arcite is disdainful of Guardians who have yet to prove themselves in combat. This is partly due to Shaxx's influence, partly due to his own experiences during the battle of the Twilight Gap.
One of the newest model of Frames to come out of the City's foundries, Xander is responsible for tracking bounties posted for Guardians in the Tower and is authorized to distribute compensation when brought proof of completion.
Outside the City
Though the City is the best-known and best-protected of the human race's last bastions, pockets of humanity - or its descendants - still survive beyond the Traveler's light.
The Reef is a debris field located in the Asteroid Belt. It is home to both the Awoken and the Fallen House of Wolves, both of whom are ruled by the Queen of the Reef. Straddling the border between Light and Darkness, the Reef is disinterested in the City at best and outright hostile at worst.
Heroic Neutral: The Reef is not aligned with the City, and there are some evidence of past hostilities between the two societies. While the Awoken of the Reef distrust the Traveler and its Light, the Queen is willing to work with the City, provided it benefits the Reef. She is even willing to do the City a few favors, but she always collects on her debts...
Klingon Promotion: Played with. She became the ruler of the Fallen House of Wolves after deposing their Kell, but couldn't manage to kill him, so she needs you to finish the job before he can muster a rebellion.
The Stoic: In contrast to her brother, the Queen shows little emotion.
The Queen's Brother/Master of Crows
Jerkass: Is extremely rude to the player character.
Knife Nut: Always carries one and is very quick with it.
No Name Given: His actual name is not specified. His own Grimoire card identifies him as simple the "Queen's Brother" while a Ghost fragment indicates that one of his titles is "Master of Crows" - the crows in this case being some kind of advanced bird-like recon drones.
A Warmind from the Golden Age, an immensely powerful AI built for strategic warfare. Once thought destroyed, he is revived by the player in Old Russia and discovered to be protecting something valuable within the Cosmodrome.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In grand old Bungie tradition. He seems to be completely uninterested in his creators once reawakened and appears to be taking over defense systems across the solar system for some reason. Also, 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries' reveals that the Collapse drove him insane, not least because he had to sacrifice the billions of humans he was assigned to protect to survive it, and now he's starting to think that the Darkness might have had some pretty good ideas. This isn't going to end well.
Black Speech: He speaks in Russian, but it's so deep and distorted that it sounds more like a list of death threats from a Mordor tourist phrasebook.
Creepy Monotone: Whenever he shows up in the story, we hear him muttering in heavily-distorted Russian in a decidedly unsettling manner.
Cultured Badass: In addition to being a ludicrously powerful combat AI, he appears to have a decent understanding of ancient mythology, referring to the battle between the Traveler and the Darkness in the Collapse as the 'Titanomachy'.
Gibbering Genius: We get a look into his thought-processes in 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries'. They're not particularly well-organised.
He Who Fights Monsters: He was built to win. The Darkness, in his opinion, always wins. Therefore, the best way to fulfil his function is to imitate the Darkness.
Last Of Its Kind: According to 'Ghost Fragment: Mysteries', he's the last of his kind, the only one to survive the Collapse. An important part of this is that he apparently integrated many other Warminds into himself when things started going south.
Super Intelligence: Warminds are supposedly able to contend with Vex cognitive architecture - which is, incidentally, capable of essentially running a predictive model of the universe with 100% accuracy. At the very least, Rasputin can lock your Ghost out of systems he controls.
Virtue Is Weakness: In his opinion, there's only one reason why he survived the Collapse intact and the Traveler didn't - she tried to protect humanity, whilst he concentrated only on his own survival.
The rulers of the Jovian gas giants, which are inhabited by the Jovians, which are... something. Nobody's sure just what they are. At the moment, there are nine possibilities as to just what they are:
The Nine are survivors of the cis-Jovian colonies who made a compact with an alien force to ensure their own survival.
The Nine are deep-orbit warminds who weathered the Collapse in hardened stealth platforms.
The Nine are ancient leviathan intelligences from the seas of Europa or the hydrocarbon pits of Titan.
The Nine arrived in a mysterious transmission from the direction of the Corona-Borealis supercluster.
The Nine are the firstborn Awoken and their minds now race down the field lines of the Jupiter-Io flux tube.
The Nine are Ghosts who pierced the Deep Black without a ship and meditated on the hissing silence of the heliopause.
The Nine are the aspects of the Darkness, broken by the Travelerís rebuke, working to destroy us from within.
The Nine is a viral language of pure meaning.
The Nine are the shadows left by the annihilation of a transcendent shape, burned into the weft of what is.
Xur claims that they are 'very, very large' but is unable to communicate more. They're also interested in you.
A mysterious female Exo who takes an interest in the player character. She isn't a Guardian, as she claims she wasn't forged in the Light. There are implications that she was once an agent of the Darkness, but rejected it somehow.
The many races that have taken over the lost colonies, or have appeared to be hostile to humans and those allied with them. It is unknown if they are the cause of the cataclysm that ended the Golden Age.
"We have butchers at our gates, four-armed and eager for slaughter."
A nomadic race of four armed humanoids, the Fallen were once a noble hierarchical society. In the aftermath of the Collapse, they have become bandits and pirates, raiding settlements on Earth and the moon.
Alien Blood: Some kind of white vapor, possibly the "ether" it's said they depend on to survive.
Badass Cape: Capes are how the Fallen signify rank, and Fallen society is structured on Asskicking Equals Authority, meaning that a bigger, more impressive cape literally means that you're more badass.
Color-Coded Armies: Type I. Each color represents a House of the Fallen, and their color depends on what planet you're on. Devils are on Earth (red and bone-white), Exiles are on the Moon (green and black), Winter is on Venus (blue and silver). There's also the mysterious House of Kings (navy blue and gold), who work to coordinate the lesser Houses on behalf of the Fallen's shadowy leadership.
Fallen Hero: It's stated that they earned their name due to not only the fall of their civilization, but to their decaying morality. See "Meaningful Name" for more details.
House of Hats: Each Fallen house exists as an autonomous society, led by a Kell, and each with its own set of traditions and priorities:
The House of Devils is mostly found around the Cosmodrome on Earth. They are one of the most ruthless and desperate houses, focused on looting what salvage they can by force, but are more numerous and dangerous than this description makes them sound - they almost destroyed the City in the notorious Battle of the Twilight Gap.
The House of Exile is mostly found on Earth's Moon. They consist of Fallen driven off from other houses who band together to form their own society.
The House of Winter is mostly found on Venus. They are some of the proudest Fallen, carefully maintaining the strict traditions of their old empire, even though that empire has long since fell to ruin.
The House of Wolves is mostly found in the Reef. They have become vassals to the Awoken after the Queen humbled their Kell.
The House of Kings are at the top of the hierarchy of an already extremely hierarchical society, and do not appear to be bound to any one location. They expect other Fallen to live up to their strict standards and are brutal to those found wanting.
Grenade Spam: Grenades are standard equipment for Dregs. Dregs are the Fallen's most common soldiers. You can see where this is going.
Knife Nut: Most Fallen carry electrified knives as melee weapons (unless they're fortunate enough to get big, fancy swords instead), but it's the desperate, fanatical Dregs who provide the 'nut' part. A small horde of Slave Mooks charging towards you trying to redeem their honour by stabbing your eyeballs out is not an uncommon thing to encounter when fighting Fallen.
Space Pirates: Their own fall has reduced many of their kin to this.
Slave Mooks: Dregs, the disgraced Fallen undercaste, who have a pair of arms removed as a Mark of Shame and are allowed the chance to restore their honour on the battlefield by participating in suicidal human wave attacks.
Sniper Rifle: Wire Rifles, the second-most-popular weapons for Vandals. As the name suggests, they fire electrified wire filaments at incredibly high velocities.
Meaningful Name: At some point before the events of the game, the Fallen were once a race comprised of multiple noble houses before descending into their current state as nomads and pirates.
Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Most have an extra pair of arms. The Dregs, the lowest levels of their society, have the lower set of arms cut off until they can prove they're worthy of having them regrown.
Our Souls Are Different: When a member of the Fallen dies, their soul appears to be ripped from their bodies. Getting headshots on them reveals an odd light whisping away from where their head was.
The Usual Adversaries: Fallen are encountered on every planet, often fighting the dominant faction controlling it. Humanity just happens to be the one they're fighting on Earth.
Vestigial Empire: The Fallen went from being a powerful race of nobility to one shrouded in poverty and crime.
A six legged tank, with three cannons of varying degrees of death. It's the Fallen's heaviest combat vehicle, and shows up as a miniboss in the Sepiks Prime Strike and as a target in Public Events in Fallen territory.
Bonus Boss: Elder Walkers are amongst the toughest enemies you can face in Public Events on Earth, Venus, and the Moon.
Degraded Boss: Compared to its regular encounter, the Public Event is weaker than the boss itself. Justified, both due to the timer it has and to be on a regulated level so even low-level players won't be killed.
Early-Bird Cameo: A destroyed Devil Walker can be seen during the Tutorial Mission, on your way to your first jumpship.
Flunky Boss: As with any enemy that powerful. The Devil Walker fought during the Cosmodrome Strike is particularly nasty since its flunkies like to spawn on what would otherwise be the best sniping positions in the boss arena.
One-Hit Kill: A direct hit from its main gun is a guarantee that you will not be going home in one piece. Fortunately, it telegraphs the attack heavily, complete with a laser sight showing the impact point, and it has pretty much zero tracking. Unfortunately, the blast radius is very large indeed.
The boss of the Devil's Lair Strike, the exalted Servitor of the Fallen House of Devils, a crucial strategic target to break the will of the Fallen who most directly threaten the City.
Flunky Boss: Not as bad as the other bosses in the game, as it only summons them in a small wave, being usually 5-7 enemies at once, with the waves having long pauses in between.
Keystone Army: The keystone for the House of Devils, as it manages their entire supply of life-giving Ether.
King Mook: A gigantic and extremely durable version of the normal Sevitors. Compared to other Servitors, it can do a powerful drain that can quickly kill a Guardian, and shoots bigger and more damaging versions of a regular Servitor's Void Cannon.
Sinister Geometry: Like all Servitors, Sepiks Prime is an enormous black sphere covered in purple lightning. Unlike most Servitors, it is extremely powerful. And spiky.
The Archon Priest, Aksor
The boss of the Winter's Run Strike, an Archon Priest that the Fallen on Venus helped escape from the Prison Of Elders. He's bigger and badder than the Archon Priest on Earth, and has a fan following. A large fan following.
Evil Laugh: From the moment he climbs out of his chamber, he spends the entire fight alternating between Fallen Black Speech and bellowing laughter. Often right after smashing your face in.
Flunky Boss: Oh boy... The one major thing that most Guardians can agree on, is that this guy summons way too many minions. The boss himself won't kill you, unless you're caught off guard, but the amount of enemies summoned is so great, that you'll either die due them attacking you at once or the Priest himself attacking you while you take out his minions.
Shockwave Stomp: Getting to close or letting him teleport to you, will have him do this and most likely killing you.
Teleport Spam: If you aren't careful, this guy will happily teleport as close to you as possible. And then proceed to show you why it's a Priest.
"Living metal, incomprehensible force."
A race of mechanical creatures which lurk in the Jungles of Venus.
Attack Its Weak Point: Unlike most of the humanoid creatures in the game, the basic Vex's weak spot is the glowing light in its abdomen. Blowing its head off just makes them more aggressive.
Cannon Fodder: Goblins serve this role, although they become much more deadly during the Vault Of Glass, and on Heroic difficulties.
Clockwork Creature: The only alien race that is entirely mechanical. Except for some biological components your Ghost discovers while analyzing a dead Vex's head.
Cold Sniper: Hobgoblins, their dedicated sniper platforms. When you're an inscrutable alien cyborg, 'cold' comes with the territory.
Cyborg: Like the Daleks of Doctor Who, their bodies are mechanical shells around a heavily-integrated organic core. It's anyone's guess what their species originally looked like.
The Dragon: Are this to the Darkness, serving as its most powerful and important agents in the solar system whilst the Hive provide the expendable and fanatically loyal muscle.
Eviler than Thou: According to the Exo Stranger, they are an "evil so dark they despise other evil."
Expy: They're really similar to the geth in many ways. They're an elusive race of monocular robots who share a Hive Mind, bleed white fluid, make strange warbling noises upon death and worship an Eldritch Abomination from deep space as a god. Unlike the geth however, they are unambiguously malevolent and evil.
Grenade Launcher: Torch Hammers, the iconic weapons of the Minotaurs, which fire explosive bolts of Void energy. They're the Vex's most dangerous hand-held weapons, and are used in a (massively) upscaled version by the Gate Lords as well.
The Heavy: The Darkness may be the Bigger Bad, but these guys are the primary villains of the release-day PvE content - the main storyline is built towards shutting down the source of their power, the Black Garden's Heart, and the end-game raid that provides the toughest, highest-level challenge in the game, the Vault of Glass, is a dive into their 'underworld', the heart of their stronghold on Venus.
Hive Mind: After analyzing Vex remains and their minds, Ghost concludes that every units is a part of a singular mind. The Grimoire indicates the whole race is one gigantic cross-temporal computer system.
Mighty Glacier: Vex troops tend to be amongst the slowest enemies in the game, with none of the flashy manoeuvres or sophisticated battlefield tactics of the other factions (although some of their more advanced units do make up for it with a bit of Teleport Spam). They compensate with impressive firepower, thick armour and shields, and hard-to-hit weak points.
Mundane Utility: Vex technology is built for versatility, and anything that can hurt you (i.e., most of their stuff you encounter) likely has a non-military purpose as well. Often, in fact, the civilian use is the more important one. Minotaurs, their hulking shock-troopers, are also their architects and construction workers, and are bigger than the average model so that they can contain the processing power necessary to conceptualise the insanely complicated Vex architecture. Cyclopes, massive, immobile gun-turrets, are navigation beacons that coordinate the Vex's omnipresent space/time teleportation. With the exception of artillery pieces like the Minotaur's Torch Hammer, all of their weapons are terminals designed for receiving energy transmissions from elsewhere in space and time and projecting them a short distance, making them powerful communication and construction tools when they're not turned to the lethal setting and spewing plasma bolts all over the place.
Sinister Geometry: Their architecture is eerily, elegantly simple, comprised of massive and sometimes gravity-defying arrangements of stone cuboids with the odd circle thrown in for good measure. It manages to look ancient, inhuman, and incredibly advanced all at once.
Starfish Aliens: A robotic variant, but they're ability to warp through space and time and have a completely incomprehensible Hive Mind psychology.
Super Intelligence: To the point where they almost qualify as The Omniscient, and the ways in which they fail to do so are very plot-important. Their Ghost Fragment cards show a research team realising that the Vex platform they've captured is perfectly simulating their actions within a virtual-reality environment, leading them to freak out over the possibility that they themselves might be in a similarly perfect Vex simulation without realising it.
Reality Warper: Within the Vault of Glass, and presumably other centers of Vex power. Certain Vex constructs in those areas are capable of defining reality, and if they observe something they don't like they can simply erase it from existence.
Teleporters and Transporters: This is how they travel over long distances, rather than using anything as primitive as spacecraft. More alarmingly, they can also use them to travel through time.
Teleport Spam: Minotaurs have rapid-fire versions of the standard Vex teleporters that let them jump around like they're on a bad Internet connection. If you actually are on a bad Internet connection, this can get very unpleasant and confusing.
Theme Naming: Mythological creatures are the basis for the names of their units.
Time Travel: Vex sneer at things like "linear progression of time". Their units are drawn alternately from the distant past or eons into the future through their Gates.
The Nexus Mind, Sekrion
One of the Vex's most powerful platforms on Venus and the boss of the Nexus Strike, Sekrion oversees the slow Hostile Terraforming of the planet. It resides deep inside an Ishtar Academy dig site, far below the earth.
Flunky Boss: By far, one of the easiest to deal with, when it comes to it summoing help. When you first get to it, it's guarded by five Minotaurs, and after you've pissed it off well enough, it'll summon Goblins and Hobgoblins to rat you out from any hiding spot.
King Mook: An oversized, overpowered Hydra, identical in almost every way to its smaller brethren.
Mighty Glacier: Hydras can't teleport like other Vex units can, and Sekrion is no exception. It makes up for it with a steady hail of antimatter doom at anyone who looks at it funny.
Shielded Core Boss: A well-done example of this trope. The shield doesn't get smaller the more you hit it, but the shield only covers 50% of the boss, and moves around in a circular movement. To defeat it, you just have to get it to aim at you, when its shield is behind it, and shoot its face. A lot.
One of the bosses of the Vault Of Glass raid. It summons Fanatic Vexes to kamikaze, Harpies to gun you down, and Oracles to Mark you for Negation. One of the toughest bosses in the game. It's a much tougher and larger Hydra, but compared to even Sekrion, it remembered to get a shield that covers it completely.
Black Magic: Of the Curse kind. Caused by its Oracles. Can be "Cleansed" with the Relic.
"To speak of Atheon is to accept certain limitations."
The final boss of the Vault Of Glass and the closest we have to an actual Final Boss of Destiny, as of release.
Alternate Timeline: Most of Atheon's Grimoire card describes multiple realities and timelines. Which, if you believe the card's speculation, means that Atheon isn't bound by time and can freely move between timelines, fighting Guardians who dare themselves into the Vault.
Disney Villain Death: It's possible to inflict one on him if your team takes advantage of the fact that the A.I. is programmed to walk away from any Area of Effect attacks, like Titan Shock Grenade with Aftershocks, by surronding him with them so the only way to retreat is off the platform he stands on.
Flunky Boss: Oh so much. And to add onto that, there's a boss who always appears when you first enter a portal. Yes, they put a boss within a boss.
Marathon Boss: Can take about 8 to 10 minutes to beat, varying on how well you and your team does. And that is if you manage to not die.
Nintendo Hard: Due to the precise need for coordination, flunkiness of his many minions, and limit on how many times you can gather the Relic before he is enraged, he is much harder than the previous boss, The Templar.
Turns Red: When you've gathered the Relic for the 5th time, you'll be warned that he is about to be enraged. Continue with the fight without managing to kill him and he'll summon enough minions to overwhelm you and your fireteam.
"I think you could follow a trail of shattered worlds all the way to their home."
A massive race of rhinoceros-like humanoids who are found on Mars. They are at war with Humanity and the Vex.
Alien Blood: Subverted. The blue stuff that sometimes comes out when you shoot a Cabal soldier is atmospheric residue from their pressure suits, not blood.
Badass Army: The only enemy race that fields a properly organized military, and they're giving just as good as they get from the Vex.
Base on Wheels: They employ several giant land tanks which crawl across the Martian desert and house entire companies.
The Brute: Not only are they immensely powerful, but they have a personal vendetta against humanity.
The Empire: Mars is only a small part of their territory. It's said that they've conquered more worlds than humanity has ever known— and yet, one Ghost speculates that they're running from something...
The Engineer: Like the Roman legions from which humanity gives them their designations, their forces seem to be simultaneously frontline infantry and engineering corps. When they take territory, the first thing they begin doing is constructing fortifications, using tunneling machines and pre-fabricated materials. This seems to continue indefinitely, and any time they are not spent fighting is spent landscaping the surrounding terrain into massive fortresses.
Evil Is Bigger: They're much larger than humans (except for their Slave Mooks, the Psions), and their technology is built to scale.
Expy: They share more than a few similarities with Warhammer 40,000's Space Marines, being a race of vaguely Roman-themed giant warriors in heavy, brightly-coloured armor serving a militaristic Empire. Their Slug Rifles also function very similarly to bolters, firing armor-piercing "microrockets".
Gatling Good: The Heavy Slug Thrower, a rotary microrocket launcher that resembles an assault cannon from Warhammer 40,000, is the standard armament for Colossi, the Cabal's biggest, meanest soldiers, and may well be the deadliest hand-held weapon in the game, ripping through even the toughest Guardian's shields in seconds.
Genius Bruiser: They're heavily armed, heavily armoured eight-hundred-pound 'space turtles'... but they're also gifted soldiers with a very techologically advanced civilisation, and all signs indicate that they earned their military smarts and their tech honestly.
Giant Mook: Colossi, as the name implies, are huge even by Cabal standards, and carry the alien empire's biggest and most devastating man-portable weaponry.
Grenade Launcher: The Projection Rifle, a high-calibre indirect-fire version of the standard Slug Rifle that's the primary weapon for Centurions.
Heavyworlder: It's why they're so huge, and why their atmosphere is weird enough that they have to wear special pressure suits to survive in the solar system.
It's Raining Men: Jump jets are standard Cabal equipment, and they like to pop them off like fireworks on New Year's Eve. There are few sights in the game more unnerving than an eight-metre-tall Primus and his retinue dropping towards you feet-first, thrusters (and guns) blazing.
Large and in Charge: The Cabal get bigger and tougher as they get older. Age = experience = promotion. Do the maths. Senior officers like Valus Ta'aurc and Primus Sha'aull are roughly the size of tanks. Cabal tanks.
Light Is Not Good: They favour lots of white highlights in the heraldry of their various regiments, underlining their cold, clinical aesthetic and letting the grime show up better to signify how the grinding Forever War on Mars has worn them down.
Macross Missile Massacre: Colossi have multi-launch missile backpacks in addition to their massive gatling guns, meaning that even hard cover isn't a sure defence against them.
The Juggernaut: It doesn't matter what gets in their way. Humans, Vex, mountains, moons, entire planets. If it gets in the Cabal's path, they destroy it rather than go around it.
Mighty Glacier: Their Grimoire entry notes that they only have one tactic: slow advance. The problem being that they are really good at it. In practice, though, it's mitigated by their ubiquitous jump jets, which can let even these lumbering behemoths reposition with frightening speed.
Police Code for Everything: The military code 'Problem 78, Subsection F' may count, but to be honest, 'death by multiple gunshots' is a pretty regular occupational hazard for Cabal soldiers.
Punch Clock Villain: Compared with the other factions. They don't really have any connection to the Dark, they're only on Mars to plunder the human/Vex technology, and they don't particularly care about humans - though they shoot humans on sight because they're intruding on Cabal territory. The majority of the Cabal troops are just soldiers on a lengthy deployment.
They aren't even a unified force: not all of them are totally loyal to their empire, and arguments are frequent.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Of the "Aliens as Conquistadores" type. If they want territory, they come in and take it, then fortify it with massive defensive landscaping and construction projects, and then they hold it and shoot any unauthorized thing that gets close. In extreme circumstances, 'unauthorised things' can include planets.
Slave Mooks: Not them, but the spindly Psions who operate their machinery and pilot their ships are said to be another race they conquered. It's evidenced by the fact that they don't suffer a catastrophic atmosphere loss when you headshot them, implying that they're from a world with a more Earth-like environment.
Space Romans: Explicitly so. Their unit names (Legionary, Gladiator, Centurion) are a dead giveaway, their armour designs borrow from the Roman legions (particularly with the crests on their helmets), and so do their tactics, advancing infantry behind a wall of shield-carrying soldiers.
Tank Goodness: They're fans. Vehicles range from the hulking Goliath hover-MBT, with a gun powerful enough to shoot down spacecraft, to the skyscraper-sized land-tanks their regiments use as their bases during an invasion.
Your Head Asplode: Subverted. Scoring a headshot kill on a Cabal soldier knocks their helmet off, causing an enormous spray of navy-blue... something that strongly suggests this trope. In fact, what's happening is that the dense artificial atmosphere they require to breathe is being vented from inside their suits, and their heads remain completely intact - it's actually the only way to see what their faces look like.
One of the Cabal's most senior commanders on Mars, and the boss of the Cerberus Vae III Strike, Ta'aurc oversees the occupation of the buried city of Freehold from his gigantic Land Tank, deploying his troops to secure the Iron Line against humans and Vex alike.
Flunky Boss: As per normal. Unfortunately, many of his flunkies are the irritatingly difficult-to-kill Phalanxes, making them less useful than most as a source of ammunition and Orbs of Light.
Armchair Military: Subverted. He's been involved in much less direct combat than most Cabal commanders despite his impressive record, preferring to use his horde of soldiers and enormous Land Tank to crush his enemies. Then you actually fight him, and lo and behold, he's one of the toughest bosses in the game.
Gatling Good: As a King Mook version of a Colossus, his Heavy Slug Thrower would look more comfortable mounted on a tank, and is one of the most devastating boss weapons in the game, alongside Phogoth's Eye Beams.
King Mook: An even bigger, meaner Colossus, with the standard loadout of a Gatling gun and missile backpack.
Macross Missile Massacre: His low-slung Heavy Slug Thrower leaves a lot of (theoretically) exploitable weak spots where you can shoot him and he can't shoot you. That's where the missile tubes on his back come in, launching enormous salvoes of homing death at anything he can't reach with his gun.
Mighty Glacier: Colossi are amongst the slowest still-mobile enemies in the game, and this guy is no exception, but he's got enough firepower to more than make up for it.
"They are nightmares rising from the shadows, and they hunger for our dying hope."
A mysterious race of techno-zombies whose primary base is on the Moon.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Hive Thralls, the most newborn of the Hive, known few other tactics, being too bestial and zealous to do very much other than Zerg Rush their opponents.
BFS: Cleavers, giant swords of bone and metal used by Knights to carve through enemy lines.
Beef Gate: In the Beta, a few Hallow Knights are presented as this in areas that contain goodies, or near places you can't explore.
Bee People: Despite their relatively humanoid shape and some identifiable human-like mannerisms, they have an extremely eusocial structure with Wizards breeding thousands of other Hive creatures each.
Elite Mooks: Hive Knights, the Hive's most zealous servants, their armor grown and shaped and hardened over centuries while their minds are honed to a tactical keenness and given some of the Hive's most powerful weapons.
Evil Is Visceral: In contrast to the coldly mechanical Vex, the Darkness's other principal agents in the solar system, the Hive dive straight into this trope. They're big fans of Organic Technology, and even their (mostly) inorganic architecture has an uncomfortable biomechanical-gothic H. R. Giger vibe to it.
Expy: A lot of Hive units seem to draw inspiration from the enemies from Marathon. This is especially apparent with Acolytes and Wizards, who are dead ringers for Pfhor Fighters and S'pht Compilers, respectively.
Giant Mook: Knights are easily brought down by a few headshots, but Ogres are another matter — very large, very durable, normally in the company of smaller mooks, and they constantly shoot lasers from their face.
Grenade Launcher: Boomers, the standard weapons for Knights, are energy weapons that function very similarly to conventional grenade launchers. The similarity in design to Vex Torch Hammers may not be a coincidence.
Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Male and female Hivebeasts are mutated from the basic Thralls and Acolytes in different ways after proving their worth. Males become Knights and Ogres, who smash stuff with swords, short-ranged grenade launchers, and their own bare hands. Females become Wizards, who hang back from the main battle line and disrupt the enemy with long-ranged energy blasts and poisoned clouds.
It Can Think: The Thralls are amongst the most animalistic and (apparently) mindless foes in the game, which makes it even more surprising when they sneak up behind you or lure you into an ambush. They do that a lot.
Knight of Cerebus: Destiny may be Lovecraft Lite, but that requires that it have some Cosmic Horror elements to start with, and that's what the Hive first introduce to the storyline. Every time they play a greater role in events, things get that much darker and scarier - your first meeting with them on Earth features a Genre Shift from Planetary Romance to horror as a tide of screeching Thralls ambush you in a pitch-black room, and the first mission on the Moon shows you your first permanently dead Guardian, and then reveals that he's permanently dead because the Hive have kidnapped his Ghost and slowly tortured the poor little robot to death. Yeesh.
Magitek: The most prevalent users in the game, blending mechanical devices and Organic Technology with the power of the Darkness to create their tools of war. It's noted in the Grimoire that many Hive guns actually lack a mechanism that would allow them to shoot anything, but can spew baleful energy when held by one of their soldiers anyway.
Mook Promotion: Hivebeasts begin as Thralls and work their way up. Having proven themselves, they are mutated by a Wizard into the next higher form in the Hive caste system.
Organic Technology: They make heavy, though not exclusive, use of it. Their soldiers are created through genetic manipulation, their body armour is actually grown from their hides, and several of their most powerful weapons, like the Ogre's Eye Beams, are part of their bodies rather than tools that they carry.
OOC Is Serious Business: When the player encounters the Hive in Old Russia, their Ghost notes that the Hive hasn't even set foot on Earth in centuries, and becomes scared that the Darkness is coming back.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Their dogma is as scary as it gets - they worship an elemental force of destruction, and obliterate planet after planet to show their devotion to it. Their Bible, the Worlds' Grave, is a massive archive of every planet they have destroyed in service of the Darkness.
Religion of Evil: While the Cabal and Fallen see humanity is a pest that needs to be destroyed for them to be able to take their possessions, the Hive worship the Darkness and see their war with humanity as a Crusade.
Turns Red: A literal example. If a Knight or Ogre takes too much damage in too sort a space of time, they'll start glowing red, regenerate a little health, and charge towards you in a frenzied rage.
Wizards from Outer Space: Their leadership caste (explicitly called Wizards, no less), who can directly employ the power of the Darkness to obliterate their foes and mutate their minions towards whatever purpose is necessary.
Women Are Delicate: Wizards, the advanced female Hive morphs, are much more physically fragile than male morphs like Ogres and Knights, though their dark magic makes up for it somewhat.
Women Are Wiser: Whilst older Knights can have impressive tactical smarts, it's the all-female Wizards who serve as the Hive's scientists and leadership caste.
Phogoth, The Untamed
The boss of the Summoning Pits Strike, a Hivebeast currently in the process of being mutated to enormous size in order to serve as a living siege-weapon for his dark masters. It's your responsibility to ensure they don't finish the job.
Boss Dissonance: The whole level leading up to this guy is pretty trivial by itself. The guy himself? Let's just say that people have resorted to finding safe spots everywhere to beat him and camp it out, as much as possible.
Damage-Sponge Boss: An even more severe example than most Strike bosses. That hard-to-hit weakspot doesn't help, either.
Flunky Boss: Not only is he personally formidable, but his mook summons are particularly dangerous, including powerful 'officer' enemies like Knights and Wizards in rather greater numbers than most players will be comfortable with.
King Mook: An even more gigantic Ogre, with a much harder-to-hit weakspot.
Make My Monster Grow: According to the pre-mission dialogue, Phogoth used to be an average Ogre. The Hive than proceeded to "tame" the ever living hell out of him, until he earned his title.
Wake-Up Call Boss: By far, doing this boss even slightly below its recommended level, will kick your ass back to Orbit. His signature eye-laser will crush our health, and the enemies that spawn around him, right from Knights to Wizards, both enemies who are hard to fight on their own, and you got a recipe for a Difficulty Spike.
The ancient enemy of the Traveler, and supposedly what drove Humanity to near extinction.
Big Bad: Pretty much the reason why humanity fell during the Golden Age, and the backing power behind all of the hostile alien factions.
Bigger Bad: You never actually fight it, you just encounter its proxies and those taking advantage of humanity's fall. The Hive worship it, the Vex are controlled by it and the Cabal are implied to be running from it.
The Chessmaster: Certain Grimoire entries imply that the Darkness has actually spent eons manipulating the Traveler from afar; chasing it along a path of its choosing and determining which young civilizations the Traveler would lend its aid to. It is not known why the Darkness would do this, but the reason is probably not good for the Traveler and Humanity.
Cosmic Entity: This is the being/elemental force/stellar phenomenon/whatever that mortally wounded the Traveller. Anything meaty enough to deliver the smackdown to God and then come back for Round Two definitely qualifies.
Eldritch Abomination: It is the Traveler's equal, and thus counts as this. Precisely what the Darkness actually is tends to be up to debate. Some philosophies argue that it is an Eldritch Abomination, others that it is a technological weapon, others that it is simply the leadership of the various alien factions that have despoiled human civilization, and others that it is the Traveler's Evil Counterpart. What is known about it is that it's got a complex enough structure that even the near-omniscient Vex couldn't figure it out, which is why they worship it as a god, it's intelligent, and it's angry. It's also described as "acausal", i.e. it's acting on future events. Something that might have been a part of the Darkness is encountered at the heart of the Black Garden.
God of Evil: Is worshipped by Vex like a god, because they could not apparently comprehend it. The Grimoire entry on the Sol Progeny it creates indicates that this was but a small component of the overall Darkness.
Religion of Evil: The Darkness is worshipped by the Hive and the Vex in various ways.
Vagueness Is Coming: If there are questions regarding what exactly the Traveler is, the questions regarding the Darkness exceed it. The game never reveals exactly what the Darkness is, to the point of not even seeing it. Something that might be part of the Darkness, known as the Black Heart, is shown in the Black Garden being worshiped by the Vex, but even then there are no answers as to specifics.