We called it the Traveler. And its arrival changed us forever. Great cities were built on Mars and Venus, Mercury became a garden world. Human lifespan tripled. It was a time of miracles. We stared out into the galaxy and knew that it was our destiny to walk in the light of other stars...but the Traveler had an enemy. A Darkness which had hunted it for eons across the black gulfs of space. Centuries after our Golden Age began, this Darkness found us, and that was the end of everything... But it was also a beginning.
Both intentional as Humans and Awoken have names such as Ikora Rey or Master Raoul, but Exos have a Name and Product number such as Banshee-44. Unintentionally also due to the fact that player names are gamer tags which run a full range of name types.
After the End: The game begins years after the destruction of the once space-faring human civilization. Ruins of it can be found on Earth and other Sol system's worlds.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted with the Warminds, the AIs that run automated defenses on Earth and beyond. The ones we encounter are still functioning after several hundred years, even resisting attempts by the Fallen to hack in. One Warmind, Rasputin, seems to be behaving strangely by branching out and connecting to a large number of existing defense systems, but his actions aren't treated as malicious.
The Exo provide a subversion. A race of MechanicalLifeforms created during the Golden Age, the Exo achieved sentience via an unforeseen subroutine but remained loyal to humanity and fought alongside their creators as equals during the Collapse. Hundreds of years later, many Exo are also resurrected as Guardians.
All There in the Manual: Almost nothing is explained in-game, instead you unlock "grimoire pages" on the phone app or Bungie's website that give setting information. You also gain passive bonuses for unlocking Grimoire entries, though the game doesn't tell you this directly; like the Grimoire itself, those are also listed online.
And the Adventure Continues: The Guardian destroys the Black Garden, allowing the Traveler to begin to heal itself. Whilst the Speaker gives a Rousing Speech in the Tower Walk, the Guardian meets the Exo Stranger in the hangar, who speaks of further dangers still out in the galaxy that continue to make their way to Earth, and ends by telling the Guardian that the fight isn't over yet.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: More often than not, your loot drops will consist of new armor items. These are quite often obselete compared to what you are already wearing, especially by the time you reach high level, although they do serve as upgrade material drops.
Anti-Frustration Features: Getting your fireteam wiped out more than once per checkpoint, and the game will refill some of your ammo.
If your Sparrow gets too damaged, you don't go flying off into an explosive death, you fall off it.
Chests during Patrols will sometimes reward you 9 or 12 materials, instead of one or two. Makes farming for materials much easier.
If you don't like the Crucible, you can always trade in materials for marks and reputation. Same applies for Vanguard.
By the same token, simply contributing to Crucible events in any shape or form (scoring points) will get you at least 2 Crucible marks per match.
When an Random Event happens, almost all players within that area will be notified about it.
Even if you die during Darkness Zones, you still have the option to respawn, albeit with a longer timer. This is to make sure you aren't killed so close to something that it'll be a suicide mission to revive you.
The timer is removed in Darkness Zones during certain activities, such as daily/weekly Heroic missions. The only way to respawn is if a fireteam member revives you.
Due to the new game engine, you won't get stuck in the level design. You'll just levitate there until you get out.
Enemies spawn depending on your Fireteam's current ammo. Still, if you do manage to run comletely dry, the game will give you Primary and Special ammo after some time has passed, to make sure the mission isn't unwinnable.
The game will always attempt to fill your Fireteam during Strikes, matching up players if the missing player hasn't returned. And compared to other games, you can rejoin if you disconnect.
If you miss Rare or Legendary Engrams, they'll be in the post office in the Tower as a lost item.
Error codes are actual words, not a string of numbers or letters. 'Cattle' and 'Beaver' for example.
If go to Orbit once a mission has ended, you won't be treated to a cutscene, unless it is the Restoration Mission.
Enemies become noticeably less aggressive if you have to go into the pause menu. They'll still attack you if you're hanging around a combat zone, but if you back off a bit and go into the inventory or character screens, the AI will be less likely to pursue and attack.
Anti-Grinding: When you make a choice between two story missions of the same challenge level, the next time you look at the map, the one you did not choose is now a higher challenge level than before; befitting the fact that you have probably leveled up in the meantime.
Anti-Light Faction: While not overtly hostile to the Traveler, the Reef's official position is that they shun its Light, and any Awoken shown to be capable of channeling it are exiled from the Reef. Presumably because they believe being too close with the Traveler will attract the attention of the Darkness.
Area of Effect: Almost all of the grenade abilities and many super abilities are this. Rocket launchers are this in regular weapon form.
Fallen enemies use squad tactics. And higher-level ones know when to retreat.
Hive troops will fall back behind their Knights if they're getting overwhelmed. Thralls will not blindly charge and instead will try to flank you if possible. Individual Thralls will also fall back behind cover to lure you into ambushes and will only charge your position when they have overwhelming numbers.
The Cabal focuses on strength in numbers, but also try to lessen their losses when they fight you. Shield Troopers will try to lock you down and cover their members, while Jump Jets will get into a spot to get a clear shot.
If you have a sniper rifle and place yourself beyond the visual range of a group of enemies, the first one you shoot will get the others looking for you. After a couple of seconds spent identifying where the shot came from, they will hide from your particular axis of attack, preventing you from sniping any more.
It is sometimes possible to approach very close to enemies, who will be blissfully unaware of you even though they look right at you until you open fire.
Most enemies will not pursue you outside their spawning areas, thus letting you catch your breath if you're damaged.
For all the tactical intelligence mentioned in Artificial Brilliance above, enemies can also be breathtakingly dumb, provided the player is able to stay at moderate range and be patient. A target that gets shot will duck behind cover, but then will often pop back out into your sights in exactly the same spot.
Most bosses and high health enemies will back away from grenades if they are long lasting AoEs. During the final Story mission, you can make one or two of the bosses fall to their death by throwing a grenade at a specific spot. This also counts for a few other bosses, where it's possible to guide them to any desired location, if you have enough grenades.
Enemies have a tendency to attack a player's last known position. If the player moves at the right time (when the enemy is ducking behind their own cover, for example), it's easy to flank the enemy and see them still shooting at the player's last bit of cover. This does become harder when there are more enemies, as any of them seeing the player will alert all the others as well.
Attack Its Weak Point: Named "Precision Hits", the weak point mechanic in Destiny is essentially identical to the one in Borderlands, wherein hitting an enemy's weak point (which for humanoid enemies is the head) will deal bonus damage. This can be anywhere from 1.5x normal damage (hitting a boss or Mini-Boss with a regular weapon), all the way up to 5x (hitting a normal enemy's weak point with a sniper rifle), with the usual situation being 3x (normal enemies or players in PvP being hit by normal weapons). Deflector Shields, seen on various Elite Mook and Mini-Boss type enemies prevent precision hits, but have their own weakness - the correct type of elemental damage, whether delivered by a weapon or ability, will destroy them faster.
Background Magic Field: The Traveler's "Light" is supernatural force used to create and resurrect the Guardians and power their abilities. It's implied that there are also some ways to weaken or drain the Light, mostly used by the Hive and Vex.
Bag of Spilling: Ammo for your Special and Heavy Weapons is evidently kept in one of these, since every time you equip a different weapon in these slots it reduces the ammunition for it. Switch weapons too many times, and your weapons will be empty. This is extremely frustrating when going from situations where a shotgun is appropriate, to needing a sniper rifle- which, due to this effect, may have only four or five rounds. Booting up the game will start you off with no Heavy ammo, and a clip or two worth of Special ammo. (Certain weapons when levelled up have a chance to grant bonus ammo when you spawn, somewhat mitigating this effect.)
Barrier Warrior: The Defender Titan subclass, whose Super ability is not directly offensive, but instead, is an indestructible bubble shield that protects the Titan and nearby allies as well as giving them various buffs when moving through the shield.
Beating A Dead Player: It is notable (especially during Strikes and Raids) that when your Guardian has been reduced to a cloud of particles surrounding your Ghost, enemies will often stand and keep shooting or bashing at your remains. It's hard to tell if this is Artificial Brilliance (because a friend who tries to revive you will instantly come under attack), or Artificial Stupidity (because the monsters attacking your Ghost effectively reduce the odds against your allies).
Beef Gate: Going too far off the beaten path in some areas will turn you right into high-level enemies that are likely to be immune to all of your attacks early in the game.
BFG: The Heavy Weapons category, consisting of rocket launchers and heavy machine guns. Although the Hand Cannon (a pistol that outclasses assault rifles) also qualifies.
Big Dumb Object: The Traveler is a mysterious sphere that kickstarted humanity's Golden Age and created the Ghosts and Guardians as a last line of defense against the Darkness.
Black Mage: The Voidwalker Warlock subclass, with a heavily offense-based skill tree and numerous area-effect abilities.
Bloodless Carnage: With a T-rating, the game is a bit hemophobic compared to its contemporaries. Many enemies experience a Technicolor Death of exploding into sparks, with the most gruesome violence consisting of the occasional jet of smoke or light when a fleshy enemy dies to a headshot.
Brutal Bonus Level: The Vault Of Glass is considered this, due to it's difficulty, need for coordination and cooperation. The Vault isn't needed to reach level 28, either, but is needed to reach level 30. Although at level 28, you're practically done for now.
Call Back: If your entire team manages to score ten kills with no one dying in a PVP match, you will unlock the "Strength of the Wolf" medal - making a reference to the "Law of the Jungle" trailer.
Bungie has a few to their older franchises. The gratuitous use of the terms "Legendary" or "Mythic" is a reference to the Myth series. The fusion rifles are very similar to the fusion pistol from Marathon.
Heroic Modifiers act like more advanced skulls from the Halo series. They also look like skulls too.
Most rifles have a digital ammo counter on the back, just like the Assault Rifle in Halo.
Your inventory can hold a certain amount of items (9 items per equipment slot), although you probably won't clog it up with a lot. The same applies to the bank, which is universal with all your characters.
You can only equip one Exotic Weapon and one Exotic Armor piece. This is likely to prevent players from leveling up to easily from Exotics.
Vanguard and Crucible Marks are limited to 100 Marks per week. This is likely to prevent people from buying all kinds of Legendary items within a single week. The total amount of marks your inventory will allow you to have is 200, preventing you from buying several Legendary weapons at once. (It also prevents you buying an entire suit of Legendary armor at the same time. The loophole is that you can buy from the Vanguard vendors with your Vanguard marks, then turn to Crucible vendors and buy the rest.)
Glimmer caps at 25000, which is probably more than you'll ever need.
Your level caps out at 20, but to increase it you need Light from armor. Your Light Level caps out at 30. Once the December DLC is released, the Light cap is raised to 32.
At max, you can only have 3 players in your fireteam for Story and Strike, 3-6 in Crucible, and 6 in Raids.
Sometimes your Ghost can fall into this category. For example;
Ghost: Feels like a trap. (This line comes as you are walking into a massive, yet empty-seeming enemy lair, and the front door just opened for you. Thanks, little robot buddy.)
The game's Interface Spoiler can accentuate this tendency, with the Ghost telling you about the arrival of certain enemies whose names are already on-screen as you shoot at them.
Charged Attack: Fusion Rifles, a category of specialized weapons which charge up for a time and then release a powerful blast of seven or so energy projectiles, capable of killing a player instantly if all seven shots land, and excellent for blasting through Elite Mooks' shields when utilizing the correct type of elemental damage.
The Chosen Many: The Guardians, each individually chosen by a Ghost from among the ancient dead, and resurrected to work together as an army of magic-enhanced undead super-soldiers, protecting the Last City and reclaiming humanity's lost worlds.
Citadel City: The Last City underneath the Traveler, which has walls and plenty of defenses against encroaching invaders who seek to break in.
Close Range Combatant: Any Guardian can use any kind of weapon and engage at any range, but the Striker Titan and Bladedancer Hunter have their special abilities largely geared around enhancing close-quarters tactics.
Comeback Mechanic: If you and your fireteam perished to a boss in a Darkness Zone, you can get a clip of extra ammo in all your weapons, to avert Continuing Is Painful. Doesn't work every time...
Continuing Is Painful: As mentioned above, there's a chance to get a clip of ammo in all your weapons upon a Total Party Kill, but a regular death after exhausting your ammo won't give it back. This can also include failing a Boss battle, so... hope you won't mind doing the boss again without powerful Heavy weapons or Special weapons.
Cool Bike: Guardians have Speeder Bikes to get from point A to B more quickly. The Fallen have Pikes with heavy weapons, which you can hijack and use against them.
Cooldown: The player's three main abilities - their grenade, their charged melee, and their powerful "Super" ability - are limited on the basis of independent cooldowns. Various class perks, feedback mechanisms, and armor bonuses can reduce the cooldowns of all of these abilities. The Super has by far the longest cooldown, but this can be reduced through precision kills, kill streaks, and "Orbs of Light" - energy balls generated by your teammates when they score kills using their Super, that you can see and pick up, but they can't. The Orbs thus act as a mechanic to enhance team play, and reward the effective and coordinated utilization of Super abilities.
There's also Armor traits that can decrease your Super ability cooldown by getting kills on non-Guardian targets.
Cool Starship: The Tower Shipwright will sell you your choice of ships from her rotating stock of design blueprints. In the story game you eventually get a custom ship for free, as the reward for completing a particular mission (although your selection is limited, and you may not like the ones you get to choose from). All ships come equipped with an inter-planetary Warp Drive and a matter transporter. Your first ship is an outdated model salvaged from the planet surface in-story. The differences between all of them are purely cosmetic.
Critical Hit Class: The Gunslinger subclass for Hunters is designed around scoring precision kills, gaining bonuses for doing so, such as increased reload speed on weapons, and instant cooldowns on throwing knives when scoring a precision hit with a throwing knife (quite a feat, since they can't really be aimed).
Crystal Spires and Togas: Golden Age architecture gives the impression that humanity tried very hard for this trope, and sometimes came very close to succeeding (as with the Guardians' Tower and some of the fancier ruins on Mars), but never quite managed it, thanks to a combination of inadequate technology, practical concerns, and plain old lack of imagination. These days, the exotic future clothing everyone wears helps with this aesthetic, but the Used Future patina everything's acquired over the centuries rather spoils it.
Damage-Sponge Boss: Any boss at the end of a Strike will take thousands upon thousands of points of damage.
Dark Is Evil: The Darkness is what attacked the Traveler and ended humanity's Golden Age.
Dark Is Not Evil: Implied by the Awoken living in the Reef of the Asteroid Belt. They appear to be rather ambiguous, however.
Deadpan Snarker: During the gameplay trailer, the Ghost drone, when activated in an abandoned run-down complex it remarks: "We always visit such cheerful places". Bonus points for being voiced by Peter Dinklage. He's almost always pretty snarky in-game during missions or when jumping into events.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying means either waiting for a nearby player to come and revive you (there is even a trophy for reviving downed Guardians enough times), or respawning yourself if you get tired of waiting. Only in Darkness Zones do you reset to a checkpoint and start over. Even then, you still keep the loot and experience points you scored before your death. Sweet!
Averted on higher difficulties, Nightfall missions and Raids: You won't be able to respawn on your own and will need someone to revive you. Especially doing Nightfall, where deaths aren't affordable, in case your Fireteam gets wiped.
Death Is Cheap: The ease of resurrection is acknowledged in-story as well. If you're killed whilst in range of the Traveler's Light and have an active Ghost, your Robot Buddy can and will resurrect you in seconds. This has resulted in the creation of a new school of Guardian scientists called 'thanatonauts', who study what death actually looks like from a first-person perspective by repeatedly committing suicide and having their Ghosts bring them back. Everyone else looks at them a bit funny, for obvious reasons.
Death or Glory Attack: Depending on the circumstances (The Crucible's PvP, Missions or Strikes), Super attacks may exemplify this trope. The Gunslinger Hunter's Golden Gun, for example, has a short vulnerable activation time, and if an enemy player is able to react to this, the Hunter may be killed before being able to utilize their ability. The Striker Titan's Fist of Havoc and Bladedancer Hunter's Arc Blade require the player to close distance with the target, so if a boss can survive their attack, or if an enemy player successfully evades it, the user is left in a vulnerable position. The Voidwalker Warlock's Nova Bomb can inflict splash damage to the user, so a "panic button" utilization of this ability at close range may destroy several foes, but may also kill the user.
Averted with the Sunsinger Subclass. You buff your Fireteam and teammates nearby, and your grenade and melee cooldown is reduced, letting you be able to throw 3-4 grenades within a single Super Charge.
Death Seeker: Guardian thanatonauts are a particularly bizarre example. They want to die... so they can be brought back by their Resurrective Immortality and record the experience For Science!. A day at the lab for them involves sitting in a corner with a notepad and a loaded gun, repeatedly shooting themselves in the head.
Deflector Shields: Averted for the Guardians - players have regenerating health, but it's justified as rapidly self-repairing armor as opposed to energy shielding. Only Titans can generate some forms of specialized shielding, such as the frontal Juggernaut shield of the Striker Titan, or the Ward of Dawn bubble shield used by the Defender Titan. Many Elite Mook enemies however, have regenerating full-body energy shields that serve as an extra layer of toughness over their normal non-regenerating hitpoints.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you get a reward, such as a Primary weapon from the Weekly Nightfall, but have an inventory slot that's maxed, the item will be stored at the postmaster, for you to retrieve.
Difficulty Spike: Although Strikes are intentionally hard, the game's second Strike Mission "The Summoning Pits", is damn difficult. Not only do you have to fight a Flunky Boss, but it includes a lot of Knights and a lot of Wizards. Doesn't help that the only cover you can use are for the boss itself, not all the mooks that spawn. Hope you can outrun more than just the boss's main attack.
It doesn't help that the boss of this particular strike is one of the few that can easily kill a player on his own if said player isn't careful.
Eldritch Abomination: In the Black Garden, the Player Character finds the Heart, a pulsating ball of dark energy which is draining the Traveler of its light. It is vague as to what it is, but it certainly is beyond the comprehension of even the Vex.
The Traveler is somehow a benevolent example of this trope. No one knows what it is, where it came from, or if its even a living being. All anyone knows is that it uplifted humanity into our Golden Age and was badly damaged in the Collapse by the Darkness, another equally eldritchy power/being/whatever.
Eldritch Location: The Black Garden, home of the Heart, the source of the Darkness, and the Vex. According to your Ghost, it's locked outside of both space and time.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Averted. There are three types of elemental damage (Void, Solar and Arc), but they're not strong against each other. They're, instead, strong against Deflector Shields of the same type. So an enemy with blue shields will be exceptionally weak to Arc, an enemy with red shields to Solar, and an enemy with purple shields, Void. On the other hand, other Elements are immune to elements that aren't its own. So good luck using a Rifle with Solar on a Arc shielded enemy.
Elite Mook: Every type of Mook also appears in a superior variety with tougher armor and/or bullet resistance.
End of an Age: The Golden Age has long since passed, and humanity must continue to fight for survival.
Enemy Civil War: The various alien races don't really get along, and at certain points you can actually see them fighting each other. During The Devil's Lair on Earth, there's a subterranean room where some Fallen and Hive are fighting; if the Guardians don't attract any attention, they'll fight until only one side is left standing.
Energy Ball: The Voidwalker Warlock's Nova Bomb, and most grenade abilities, manifest as explosive energy balls. A lesser example is your Ghost, which can disintegrate into sparkles while retaining its computer powers.
Every Car Is a Pinto: Even though vehicles can take some damage (but can instantly explode to Super Abilities), they still explode like they were made of explodium. Bonus to Shrikes, as they lose almost all control and speed off into the nearest wall when they're about to explode. At least you get the chance to jump out of it, if you can.
Evil Versus Evil: None of the various alien races besieging humanity are friends, and all of them will fight the others with as much enthusiasm as they do Guardians.
Your Ghost is very reminiscent of 343 Guilty Spark from Bungie's classic Halo, with the huge difference that he's on your side this time.
The Fallen Vandals, who have four arms, have a stooped-over walk, and dual-wield swords in melee, are a team of non-cybernetic General Grieviouses. They even wear similar capes.
The alien races in Destiny almost follow the Halo series enemy recipe to a T. The Fallen are varied, humanoid, and invading Earth like the Covenant, the Hive are incredibly similar to the Flood with their infestation and Horde of Alien Locusts mindset, the Vex are numerous mechanical warriors like the Sentinels, and the Cabal are big lumbering giants much like the Brutes. On that note, Guardians and Spartans also share similarities.
Festering Fungus: The Achlyophage Symbiote exotic Hunter helmet is infested with a pulsating seemingly volcanic spore of some kind. Flavor text:
"They told me it would eat my thoughts and leave me full of Light."
First Episode Resurrection: The player character. The opening of the game has you being resurrected by your Ghost, who explains that you've been dead a long time and might not understand the world as it is now.
Future Imperfect: Centuries have passed since the Collapse and much information has been lost. For example, it is revealed over the course of the campaign that humans used to know a lot about the Vex, including their intergalactic and time travel capabilities, but have since completely forgotten they exist. Even the actual events of the Collapse itself are totally forgotten except for vague ideas that the Traveler sacrificed itself to save the remnants of humanity.
The Thunderlord is also very, very flawed, apparently. According to the website, "“The ammunition is some kind of monster that they wouldn't normally use... The use of electro-static rounds over this amplitude has been prohibited due to their volatility.”" Not only that, but the quote from the drawing board about how to design it is “At any moment, this gun should feel like it might blow up in your hands.” In other words, handle with care.
Flunky Boss: Almost every boss in the game. Compared to other games, they spawn as ammo dispensers and spawn when players are low on ammo, which justify their spawns. Still, the game doesn't want your ammo dispensers to come in and leave with ease, so some of them will create trouble for your Fireteam.
Fragile Speedster: The Hunter begins with a bias towards this trope, with high Agility but low Armor and Recovery. Later on, players can distribute their stats using their subclass skill trees as per their preference, potentially negating initial shortcomings. In theory, every class could become this with a certain set of skills and armor.
Gameplay and Story Integration: The Traveler's Light is weakened in areas where the Darkness is strong. This also applies to technology born of the Light, like Ghosts. This is why dying in a Darkness Zone permakills you and requires you to start from a previous checkpoint (because your Ghost doesn't have enough juice to resurrect you like it usually does), and how the Hive managed to torture a Ghost to death.
Your characters can store spare items, including spaceships, in the Tower Vault. You can start a new character, play the first mission which ends with you arriving at the Tower, then retrieve and equip a different character's custom ship from the Vault. Even so (and even though the cutscene shows your brand-new ship leaving the Tower), your next mission will still be to find a warp drive for your starship...
At one point you can drive an armed Fallen speeder bike right up to your destination, but after a cutscene which shows you on foot, the bike has disappeared without explanation.
Gang Up on the Human: (Or the Awoken, or the Exo...) It's surprising how quickly two enemy factions who are actively shooting at each other, will settle their differences in favor of attacking your Guardian once they know you're in the neighborhood.
Garden of Evil: The Black Garden, a labyrinth of mechanical geometry and strange plant growth that exists outside of space and time where the Vex are born, growing a seed of The Darkness in its heart.
Gatling Good: Cabal Colossus units wield Heavy Slug Throwers, a rotary-barrel weapon firing rounds longer than your hand at a ridiculous rate. The barrel even heats up to bright red as they keep firing. They have a bullet with your name on it, and they are going to keep firing until they find it.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: A rare example in this game; The second time you visit the Awoken Queen, after your mission to Venus, you and your Ghost are greeted with a line male Guardians will love;
It is alive. And still has its ball.
Gray and Gray Morality: At least where Guardian Factions are concerned. Not counting cut factions (such as Seven Seraphs) and Osiris (which had something really terrible happen to them). All have positives, and rather disturbing flaws that would give any player a second thought about their ideology:
Dead Orbit: They understand the darkness is coming, and plan on exploring the frontier with a might fleet of ships... but they want to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! and abandon earth and the Traveler, which protects the city. according to the grimoire entry, they have something of an 'ends-justify-the-means' point of view, resorting to shady business and theft to create a new fleet.
Future War CultBlood Knights of the highest order, who believe that peace is an illusion, and war is the only constant. Of course, given that they live in a world where the Big Good is near-mortally wounded, and there are at least five alien races trying to kill them, their desire to kill every alien in sight comes across as rather reasonable.They're also secretive, are hinted to have an ulterior motive of some kind, and have subjected people to an alternate-timeline viewer that has driven them mad.
Guide Dang It: Several things due to the game being recently launched and with Bungie keeping their mouth shut about future content, aside from their "Upcoming Events"-updates.
Strange Coins: These rare currency items are tradable with a vendor that only appears during weekends, named Xûr.
Getting specific item drops. Some missions have fixed drops, while others... don't have a fixed one at all.
Random Events themselves, since they're relatively rare and easy to miss. An early patch doubled the rate at which they occur, but you can still go quite a while without seeing one.
Golden Chests. On Earth, they have the same placements as the Public Beta, so a savvy player can find them with ease. On other planets though? Good luck finding more than one.
The Vault Of Glass, making it a Marathon Level of Guide Dang It. Using the Relic to remove the deadly Oracle Status Effect isn't something that you'd know without finding out by accident...
Hard Mode Perks: Doing Strikes from the Strike Playlist, you get much more frequent rare drops, and you get much better rewards for completing them, and higher chances of Legendary stuff dropping. You get some extra experience as well, but it's usually small amount roughly equivalent to a few Patrol missions or a dozen random enemies.
Harder Than Hard: Oh boy. Once you get to Level 20, the game is reborn and will kick your ass in new ways:
Strike Playlists: 4 different playlists of randomly picked Strike missions, set to the difficulty of the playlist. Each of the 4 are harder than the other, so going in un-prepared (or underleveled) is going to be... not awesome.
Additional Difficulties for Story missions: From 18 up to 28.
Heroic Missions: Right from Strikes to Story, these missions add several modifiers, which can help you, kill you, or make the playing field equal between you and your enemy, such as the Arc modifiernote The Arc Modifier add 300% damage bonus to Arc weapons. This means you can one-shot almost any enemy with a single Arc-based weapon. On the other hand, fighting enemies with Arc weapons, like the Fallen, is going to be tough as they get your bonus too..
The King of them all... the Nintendo Hard mission: The Venus Raid, Vault Of Glass. It's a marathon level where you need a full Fireteam, proper levels and gear, and some trial and error with the objectives. You get no hints at to what you're supposed to do, so good luck. The first group to make it through spent almost 11 hours doing it(since they of course had no idea what to do) and had over 1,000 deaths between the team of six players.
The Speaker: There are many tales told throughout the city to frighten children. Lately those tales have stopped. Now... the children are frightened anyway.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted. All of the Guardian characters wear helmets that conceal their entire face. (They do take them off while wandering around the Tower, so the time you spent creating your individualized character appearance is not wasted.)
Heroic Sacrifice: It is said that the Traveler sacrificed itself to save humanity. However, it's not clear if it's currently dead or alive.
Kabr The Legionless went into the Vault Of Glass by themselves. By using their own Light and parts of the Vex, they created a shield called "the Relic", which is the only way to defeat the Vex Bosses within the Vault.
Hollywood Tactics: The "Law of the Jungle" trailer shows Guardians engaging in firefights while standing out in the open, surrounded by enemies and with no cover of any kind. It's not clear whether the events depicted are "real", a story the Dad told to his son, a distorted memory, entirely unrelated to the Dad but true, or something else. But it sure looks cool.
Holy Hand Grenade: Almost literally. All of the Guardians' special powers are derived from the Traveler, which includes - yes... - all of their grenades.
Hover Tank: The Interceptor, developed by the Cabal but usable by players, though it is more of an armored speeder than a tank. The Goliath tank (also Cabal), is a more concrete example.
Humans Are Survivors: Humanity has been reduced to a single large city, but the fight is far from over.
I Shall Taunt You: Guardians are capable of four gestures: waving, pointing, dancing, and sitting down. Naturally enough these can function as taunts in the crucible, dancing on an opponent's corpse, showing just how much concern you have by taking a seat on their control point, etc. There's also subtle tactical applications for the gestures as well; dancing and sitting lets you activate a third-person camera to look around corners, and sitting can actually conceal a player behind boxes or inside foliage.
Idiot Ball: Several enemies and bosses would be harder to kill if they didn't stop, strike a pose, and roar with hatred when first encountered, or from time to time during longer encounters, thus letting the player get in a few well-aimed shots without risking return fire.
Immune to Flinching: A modifier can apply this to enemies. It makes Cabal Phalanxes, with their indestructible shields where the tactic typically is to shoot their exposed hand making them flinch and opening them up for fire, especially irritating.
In-Universe Game Clock / Real Time: Time of day in-game changes as you play, with day and night cycles. This both affects the Tower, other planets, Crucible maps, and so on. This is mostly noticable on Earth. The game does count real time hours for bounties to reset, items to restock, when Xûr comes around, and when your Mark limit resets.
Inexplicable Treasure Chests: The beta presented players with loot chests that would appear in quite a few odd places. Some guarded by Beef Gates, others were placed in odd places or required some tricky jumping to get to. The full game keeps the same chests in the same location so Genre Savvy players can get straight to them — as long as it doesn't get them killed.
The developers call the game a "shared world shooter", rather than a full MMO. The game seems to function more like Guild Wars or Borderlands series in that some areas are instanced to the player and their party while others are always shared.
In-universe, the Ghost really doesn't like being called "Little Light".
Interface Screw: A few. They barely happen during normal gameplay, but a few things can cause slight distortion and a colored screen:
The Defender Titan Suppresion Grenade. It removes your ability to use abilities until the suppresion is gone, but also distorts your screen and covers parts of your screen with purple Void.
Marked for Negation, by Oracles and Marked By The Void. The former covers part of your screen and will act like you are about to enter a tunnel of Light (simulating your incoming death), once the Ritual of Negation happens. The latter will be pure Darkness covering your screen, blinding you, until only a tiny spot in the middle is left. The cure for both of these are the Relic's Cleansing Shield.
Get close to the Vex as they warp in and your screen will darken, and fill with static grain.
Interface Spoiler: The iOS app allows you to peruse the Grimoire, which has, among other things location categories for Jupiter and Saturn, as well as space for about 9 different primary weapon categories, far more than the 4 available in-game.
Jerkass Has a Point: None of the Crucible Factions are particularly nice, but all of them have reasonable, valid points to make about humanity's situation, which is why the Vanguard let them onto the Tower in the first place:
The Blood Knights of the Future War Cult hold that war is the only constant, and that humanity should buckle down and arm up for the struggle to come because it won't be ending any time soon. Given that you're playing a massively-multiplayer shooter with a planned lifespan of ten years where your primary means of interacting with the world is by blowing bits of it up, this is a stance with some merit. Also, their many-worlds theory is bang on the money.
The pessimistic xenophobes of Dead Orbit hold that humanity is over-dependent on the Traveler for its place on the galactic table, and that huddling in one solar system when you've got a hostile Eldritch Abomination bearing down on you is putting too many of your eggs in one basket. Seeing as the Collapse pushed the Traveler itself into a crisis of confidence (and conscience), and humanity shows all the signs of an Insufficiently Advanced Alien civilisation, awkwardly integrating Twenty Minutes into the Future designs with nigh-magical techno-miracles, a bit of self-sufficiency might come in handy very soon.
The authoritarian quasi-fascists of the New Monarchy want humanity to ease off on its squabbling and dissent and unite under a single purpose. When you're up against an imminent existential threat, an excess of internal division can indeed be lethal.
Kamehame Hadoken: The Voidwalker Warlock's Nova Bomb super ability, a large energy ball attack capable of vaporizing rooms full of enemies and wrecking armored vehicles in a single blast.
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: While the alien races often use energy weapons, almost all Guardian weapons (with the exception of Fusion Rifles and some exotics) are kinetic. Seeing as Guardians can take down other Guardians in the Crucible much faster than most energy weapon wielding aliens can during missions, kinetics are certainly not short of power. A few energy weapons do approach or exceed kinetic armament terms of burst lethality, but have the drawback of needing to charge up before firing - such as the Fallen wire rifles used by Vandal snipers, or the Fusion Rifles, which are the result of the Last City's efforts to reverse engineer alien tech.
King Mook: With the exception of the two tanks (the Fallen Walker and Cabal Goliath), every true boss in the game (as opposed to the Boss in Mook Clothing Majors and Ultras) is a bigger, meaner-looking version of a standard enemy type, though often with more (or less) tricks up their sleeves. Phogoth the Untamed, for example, is a Hive Ogre with his weak spot moved from his head to his chest, whilst the Vex Gate Lords are supersized Minotaurs that trade a Shockwave Stomp melee attack and modified Torch Hammers that either fire faster or launch much larger, more powerful shots for the loss of their Teleport Spam and regenerating shields and the addition of an extra weak spot.
The Hunter's signature weapon is a knife, used both in melee and (for the Gunslinger) as a thrown weapon. This can be emphasized even more depending on your choices in the skill tree, allowing your throwing knife to set targets on fire, extend the duration of your Golden Gun, or recharge instantly if it kills with a headshot.
This is a Dreg thing as well; they often carry pistol in one hand and knife in the other. It is common to see them act as if they forget they have guns and come at you in a screaming, knife-wielding wave attack. Vandals could be included too, if you count their big swords as knives.
Laser-Guided Karma:The Hive gets slaughtered during the "Sword Of Crota" Mission by the very sword they had Crota use to slaughter thousands of Guardians. Bonus points for that a Guardian used said sword to slaughter enough Hive Princes to destroy it.
Last Bastion: The Last City, obviously. Destiny is a little more optimistic than the usual examples, though.
When a Titan wants to, he or she can get up a very good turn of speed; at higher levels there are special moves dedicated to sprinting straight into an enemy, either crushing them or sending them flying.
Hive Knights look like lumbering tanks, but have a nasty habit of springing at you and cleaving you with their BFS.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Two tiers of this. The Limited Edition comes with a steelbook case, Field Guide, postcards, antique star chart, some in-game goodies, and an expansion pass. The Ghost Edition comes with all that, a replica Ghost, and even more physical goodies like stickers and photos.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Any time you travel in space, whether in single player or to a PVP match, you will be treated to multiple load screens featuring your ship getting you there. To make up for the wait, the visuals are gorgeous (especially the warp travel sequences) and vary by destination.
Long-Range Fighter: Any Guardian can use any kind of weapon and engage at any range, but the Gunslinger Hunter has its special abilities largely geared around enhancing ranged precision tactics.
Lovecraft Lite: Arguably, Destiny is Lovecraft Lite - The Game. The universe is replete with Eldritch Abominations, including the Traveler, which is possibly the only benevolent example of this trope. The Vex are a species of evil robot Starfish Aliens who can warp through space and travel through time, built three billion year old ruins on Venus, and come from an Eldritch Location called the Black Garden. According to Ghost, the Darkness has consumed thousands of worlds for countless eons. And at the center of this Darkness is the Heart of the Black Garden, a being so far beyond comprehension that the Vex themselves saw no other option than to worship it. You whoop its ass in the final level and subsequently resume your airy, idealistic Space Opera romp through the game's hopeful vision of the future. To quote Peptuck on the subject:
Lost Technology: Comes with the territory of a spacefaring civilization being reduced to a single city on their homeworld. The overall approach is fairly pragmatic and similar to BattleTech, where old tech is actively rediscovered, refurbished, and reverse engineered.
The Cryptarchs are a faction entirely devoted to this, studying old-world artifacts and using them to make equipment for Guardians.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Phalanx troopers rely on this trope for protection against your gunfire. If you can stun them, they will lower the shield and give you a clear shot for a moment before going back to their stance.
Inverted with the Defender Titan in PVP where any other class's super pretty much destroys your shield and everyone in it.
Magic by Any Other Name: The magic used by the Guardians is referred to as "Light" in-verse, although Bungie have also just gone ahead and called it "space magic" externally.
Though there are some instances where it's called "Magic" in-universe as well.
Magic Knight: All of the Guardians. Warlocks have a bit more focus on the 'magic', and Titans on the 'knight' aspect of the trope. The Hive also deploy their own Knights with Magitech blaster cannon arms and big honking swords.
Mighty Glacier: The Titan begins with a slight bias towards this trope, with high Armor but low Agility and Recovery. Later on, players can distribute their stats using their subclass skill trees as per their preference, potentially negating initial shortcomings. On the other hand, Cabal Phalanx troopers are made of this trope.
Mini-Boss: Various enemies with unique names and yellow health bars appear occasionally in missions, in general exploration, and in public events. They tend to be rather beefy targets, frequently endowed with Deflector Shields, and with a 50% resistance to precision hits compared to normal enemies.
Mr. Exposition: The Ghost's primary role in both cutscenes and gameplay seems to be mostly telling you what your current mission or sidequest is, which direction to go next, and providing you with goal markers on your HUD.
Multiplayer Difficulty Spike: Played straight with PvP, but averted with PvE. The former is to make it fair for players of any level and to make it competitive, so you don't feel too overpowered or too underpowered. It does make you feel like a Glass Cannon, though. The latter averts this to encourage playing with friends and other players. It's averted in that if you do Strike missions, the game will match you up with more players if you don't have a Fireteam of 3. But if it can't find any players, the game can't help you there.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Rixis, the Archon Slayer, a Fallen Mini-Boss. The Devil Walker might also count, while The Hive has an Ogre. We can probably also include anyone with "Devil Lord Of 'X'" tacked onto their name in this category.
Never Trust a Trailer: The "Become Legend" ad spot implied a campaign game revolving around some True Companions, with plenty of Deadpan Snarking and lots of humor. Unless you have a party of your own with headsets to supply this, you will find that it is... not so much.
Next Sunday A.D.: The intro, where humanity sends a mission to Mars, initiating first contact with the Traveler.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During "The Archive" story mission on Venus, you enter the archive after your Ghost breaks a centuries-old security program, but neglects to close the door behind you. On a planet swarming with Vex and Fallen. Dinklebot actually sounds surprised when the Fallen follow you into the place.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: You play as an undead human/elf/android theurge super-soldier who can choose to be either a heavily-armored knight-errant, a grenadier wizard/pyromancer, or a rogueish space-ranger, and you fight enemy alien zombie wizards from the Moon, heavily-armed Roman alien turtles on Mars, and time-travelling robot hordes on Venus.
Noob: Lampshaded with one of the Titan Crucible vanity items, the "Noyb Mark".
Not Quite Flight: All classes have enhanced aerial mobility skills - Hunters get a Double Jump, Titans get a Jet Pack, and Warlocks get jetpack/floaty like jump named "Glide". Voidwalker Warlocks and Bladedancer Hunters can also trade in their super jump abilities for Teleport Spam once they've leveled their subclass trees far enough.
Oh, Crap: Multiple instances each mission during the story game. For instance:
Ghost: Fallen. We're being hunted.
And, later the same mission:
Ghost:We've woken The Hive!!
When a Random Public Event spawns near you, your Ghost will often announce it this way, then give a further Oh, Crap about three-quarters of the way through it, just in case you were getting bored.
Offstage Villainy: The Fallen House of Devils is described as besieging the city, but the player only fights them in the Cosmodrome, where they're mostly busy just looting important technology the City needs. On the other hand, many of the missions against other factions involve the Guardians storming their bases to disrupt major threats, i.e. assaulting a Hive temple where they're actively weakening the Traveler with a ritual that drains its power, assassinating a Fallen Kell who is looting the technology from the Ishtar Academy, or destroying a Vex Mind that is a major part of their plot to convert Venus into another Vex world-machine.
Ontological Mystery: The origins of the Exo and Awoken and the nature of the Darkness are completely forgotten, a good chunk of the backstory in the Grimoire is in-universe debate on these topics. Even the nature of the Collapse is uncertain; the current alien invaders may or may not have been involved, or may have come later. This isn't restricted to humans either; the Cabal are cut off from their empire and have no idea what their mission was supposed to be or how to get home.
The Paladin: The Titans, being heavily armored futuristic knights wielding the Light of the Traveler against the massed forces of Darkness. In lore, they built the wall around the Last City, and gave their lives to defend it. As is typical of paladins, many of their abilities are focused around close-quarters combat and enhanced resilience.
New bounties, new weapons, new set of encryptions, are available, whenever they restock every such hours. The same applies to the Starship seller, although the hours til restock can range from just a few hours, to a whole day, to sometimes a whole week, depending on the vendor. Xûr restocks every Friday/Saturday, but only appears during weekends.
After your level is high enough, you get the opportunity to play harder variations of the story missions, with the mission available changing daily, named Daily Story Missions.
The Vanguard and The Crucible has Marks, which can reach a weekly 100 Mark limit for that character. The limit resets every Tuesday.
The raids have a set reward system that resets after a week. This is to both encourage Anti-Poop Socking and taking your time with the game.
Events pop up here and there, with the Crucible having a unique game mode available to play each weekend.
Public Events reward you with rare materials when you've beaten your first Public Event for the day. You also have a chance to get rare materials as drops from completing them, but that is much rarer.
Precursors: Humanity's former empire is long gone, analogous to Atlanis on the scale of the entire Solar system. Whether humanity was benevolent, neglectful, or abusive reamins to be seen.
Practical Currency: "Glimmer", a kind of programmable matter many believe was strewn in the Traveler's wake. It is found in caches of old Golden Age technology and reclaimed by the city. The fact that it can be programmed to take on the characteristics of virtual any other matter makes it incredibly useful and its rarity makes it valuable. Since more of it comes into circulation when loads of it are reclaimed but is taken out of circulation when it gets used up, it forms a sometimes fluctuating but relatively stable currency. Guardians are expected to reclaim it in the wilderness to bring it back to the city for use, and are rewarded for doing so.
Punched Across the Room: Due to the new physics engine, Shield Cabal soldiers can bash you, but instead of just damaging you, you'll be sent flying into the furthest wall. This can occasionally happen during the Crucible as well, with certain attacks or players running into you from different directions.
Purple Is Powerful: Legendary items are denoted with a purple background, being rare, expensive and requiring max level. Void is also purple and seen as one of the more powerful elements in the game. The Warlock's Void Walker class also focuses on the purple Void element.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Quite a common occurrence before the player is able to access shaders at level 20, especially considering that vendors often don't sell full armor sets at the same time.
Random Event: Public Events which can take place, any time, anywhere on the overworld areas of planets.
Random Number God: The game relies on this, heavily, as noted by players and reviewers. Drops from enemies can be anything, from Uncommon to Legendary (provided that your level is high enough), and Engrams themselves, such as Legendaries, have some skewed chances of becoming something useful. Same applies to Mission rewards, so the odds of getting an Exotic from a Nightfall Mission is as equal as getting 10 Ascendant Shards.
The RNG comes back during the Queen's Wrath, now with mission modifiers. When launching a mission when you have a ticket for a Queen's Wrath mission (earned by doing Queen's Bounties), you'll be given a random mission, with two randomly selected modifiers.
Randomly Generated Loot: Present to some extent, though some weapons can also be customized to a player's liking by leveling them up. So can equipment and armor.
The Red Mage: The Sunsinger Warlock subclass, with an ability set mixed between team support and direct offense.
Regenerating Health: Standard Guardian regeneration takes place after a few seconds of not being under fire. In a bit of a Zig Zagged Trope, health regenerates in segments, pausing for a few seconds before starting to regenerate the next segment. The initial delay before regeneration begins, the pause length between segments, and overall regeneration speed depends on the Guardian's recovery stat.
Regenerating Shields, Static Health: Elite enemies (and Hive Wizards) have shields, represented by a small white bar on their health meter. These shields recharge over time as long as the enemy is not actively under fire for a few seconds.
The Gunslinger Hunter's Super Ability is the "Golden Gun", a flaming magical Hand Cannon with extremely lethal rounds.
Resurrected for a Job: The Guardians were chosen from among the "ancient dead" to protect The Traveler because of their ability to channel its power directly.
Rule of Three: Done quite a lot: There's three different classes, a total of 3 subclasses will be available, three kinds of Assault Rifles, three different classifications for weapons (Primary, Special, Heavy), minibosses often come in trios; the list goes on and on.
Scenery Porn: Oh, yes. For example, a cosmodrone on Europa, Venus and it's jungle like scenery and the yellow sky giving it an almost yellow filter. Some mini-missions in free exploration even lampshade the Scenery Porn by having you travel to high places and just observe the world around you for a few moments, until the objective meter fills up.
Scenery Gorn: Any formerly human-occupied areas you can explore are in ruins, often containing conveniently-placed blast holes for travel.
Sentient Cosmic Force: The Darkness is an evil example. We never see any direct physical manifestations of it, but it seems to act behind the scenes in an attempt to kill the Traveler.
Sequel Hook: Of a sort. The Exo Stranger's parting words at the end of the single-player story in the initial version of the game are "All ends are beginnings... Our fight is far from over." Of course, since the game's a MMO with a planned ten-year lifespan, it's less of a sequel hook and more of an expansion hook.
Sinister Geometry: The Anomaly, a large polyhedron with incomprehensible characteristics.
Skill Scores and Perks: Advanced weapons and armor have their own talent tree with perks that enhance their function and appearance. So in addition to getting better loot, players can make the loot they do get even better.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Bungie purposefully designed Destiny to be much further toward the idealistic side than most modern shooters. In fact, the main theme of Destiny is hope. The end credits song performed by Paul Mc!Cartney is incessant in driving this home.
Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: To avert this, weapons are set into certain categories and encourage use of all of your weaponry. Primary weapons are all around good, with Special weapons being used for either close-up or far-away combat. Heavy weapons serve as powerweapons, useful to mow down mooks or chow through boss health, be it being a high DPS machine gun or a one giant explosive rocket. All of the guns you can get and equip in each slot are useful and can fit your playstyle.
Space Elves: Bungie describe the Awoken as "exotic, beautiful, and mysterious".
Squishy Wizard: The Warlock begins with a bias towards this trope, with a high health Recovery stat, but low Armor and Agility. Later on, players can distribute their stats using their subclass skill trees as per their preference, potentially negating initial shortcomings. Averted with the Hive Wizards.
Stone Wall: The Defender Titan subclass, with a skill tree focused on defensive or counter-offensive abilities. The Defender's super ability, called Ward of Dawn, which has no direct offensive utility, but instead generates an unbreakable bubble shield around the user, protecting the Titan and his/her allies while granting them passive buffs.
Super Mode: Several of the Guardians' Super abilities manifest as this, including the Hunter's Golden Gun and Arc Blade abilities, and the Sunsinger Warlock's Radiance.
Take Your Time: When you are first awakened by your Ghost, he rushes you to get under cover from the roaming Fallen in the area. There's really no urgency getting to your first checkpoint of the game; you can just stand, wander around, enjoy the scenery, and no enemies appear. You can even dance if you want to.
Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Averted: The only time this happens is in the first mission, before you get a weapon; otherwise, as mentioned elsewhere, you are free to ignore the goals of the missions and explore as long as you like.
Take Up My Sword: Kabr The Legionless, left the Relic for anyone who dared to enter the Vault Of Glass after them. The Relic, which serves as a shield to the Guardians who enter, was created with "the thinking flesh of Vex" and Kabr's own Light.
Teleport Spam: Viable option for Hunters and Warlocks, while certain enemies do it too. Most notable are Fallen Captains and Vex Minotaurs.
The Undead: While they are not technically this trope the Hive have this as their theme. They live in a Necropolis, their ships are called "tomb ships" and have a sarcophagus look to them. Some of their troops also resemble classic undead, most prominently Thralls and Wizards with the former looking like a zombie and the latter resembling a Lich.
Each and every player's Guardian was revived from the dead by their ghost and is functionally immortal as long as their ghost survives.
Technobabble: Some items, and your Ghost while spouting exposition.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: A few. First time it can happen for a new player, is during the Sword Of Crota which makes the game a hack'n'slash. Another can be whenever a Guardian uses their Subclass Super, such as the Bladedancer, making the game a timed Hack'n'Slash.
Used Future: Played with, in that most of the major industry that produced new things has long since shutdown and been abandoned. However, among the survivors in The City, maintaining, reverse-engineering, and upgrading old technology has become something of an art form. As a result, many of even the standard-issue weapons are old models, lovingly refurbished and keep operational with delicate care. Some of the more exceptional or unique weapons are in turn hand-assembled devices, kitbashed from older things but well-finished and sometimes given elaborate plating and engravings as individual as the artisan gunsmith that built it.
Vagueness Is Coming: The is no real explanation as to whatthe Darkness exactly is. You encounter what might be part of it in the Black Garden, but even then it's still vague as to what it is.
Humanity itself, which previously controlled huge amounts of space during the Golden Age of Humanity. However, some sort of calamity has reduced them to a single city besieged by hostile aliens, with much of their Golden Age technology lost.
The Fallen are also an example, though it isn't yet clear just how they fell.
Wide Open Sandbox: There is four planets (thus far) to explore, each with their own main locations, each of those selected locations being pretty big and containing most of the areas you go to during missions.
Including riding around on the Destiny equivalent of the Speeder Bike from Star Wars, or just poundin' some ground through Elder Scrolls scale locales.
In the two hours that the moon was open on the last day of the Beta, it was discovered that, just like Russia, you don't _have_ to go where the plot tells you. There were quite a few unique mini-bosses and chambers in the other caverns.
As mentioned above, even though your mission points you in one direction, it's possible to go almost everywhere on the map that the mission is on. In the release version after a few missions in each zone you can land in the area with no mission for this express purpose, to either look for loot, which spawns at a higher rate, do Guardian missions to gain reputation, or particepate in Public Events without worry.
Your Head Asplode: What happens when you headshot-kill a Fallen. There isn't even any blood, just a wisp of energy from the resulting neck-hole. Head shots on the Cabal appear to cause this, but it's really just the artificial atmosphere venting from their armour as their helmets come off. In fact, this is the only way to see what the Cabal's faces look like. Hive take this to an even more ridiculous extreme - a headshot-kill causes their entire body to spontaneously combust. Vex just get pissed.
Zerg Rush: M.O. of Hive enemies. The Vex also like to appear in large numbers. On Heroic missions with specific modifiers, enemies will attempt this, just for melee.
Vex will do this when they've lost their head, while Fallen enemies, will storm at the player for a melee hit, especially with the Melee Modifier on.