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Unlike the studio's famed Halo series, in Destiny you won't be able to hop in and face off against your friends right at the outset. Instead, you'll have to plunk a couple of hours into the main game first.
Bungie's Tyson Green explained the reason behind walling off competitive multiplayer at the outset, telling Eurogamer:
We found early on that people here in the studio, when they jumped on the game – these were people who were already really familiar with the game mechanics – they would roll a new character, play through the first mission then go right into PvP, and they would just get really beaten up by the other players because they didn’t have a super ability yet and they’d only got an auto rifle from the first mission.
And they said, ‘this is really awful, this is a terrible experience!’ And we said, ‘you’re right, we have to make sure that doesn’t really happen.’
So when your first character unlocks PvP, you’re a little bit further into the game. You’ve probably done one or two of the campaign missions, probably unlocked a special weapon and your super ability. And then once that’s happened we unlock it for all the characters on your account. Once you know how the game works, if you want to take a Hunter into PvP at level three, yeah, we’re okay with that. You know what the game is at that point, so that’s your decision to make.
It's clear Destiny is going to be a very different beast than any Halo game the studio developed before it. If you haven't already checked out the latest gameplay trailer for the upcoming shared-world shooter, I suggest you do so right here.