Before you even grab a gun and start blasting away killer robots or aliens in Destiny 2, you need to pick a class. Hunters, Titans and Warlocks can all technically operate (most of) the same weapons, but the way they move and the abilities they can trigger are drastically different. Here's a short guide to help you choose the right class in Destiny 2.
How do classes work in Destiny 2?
Bungie made it clear that there are no strict, MMO-like archetypes (like tanks or healers) that would prevent anyone from performing in any given group. But adapting to how each member of a Destiny 2 trio operates could influence who you choose to main, or play the most of.
The fact is, especially with Destiny 2, that all three classes excel at different things. Knowing how they all work is crucial to understanding the difference between assembling a good group and a great one.
So while you can (mostly) adopt the same loadout and weapons for everyone, using a melee weapon optimally as a swift Hunter who can quickly get in and out of situations is a different matter compared to the bulkier Titan.
If you’re going to play by yourself, it doesn’t really matter what class you take. All three can handle any solo content that Destiny 2 may throw at you. Titan is probably the easiest to play because they can come back from the brink of death more than any other class (thus negating pesky checkpoints), but otherwise you’re good to go with any of them.
Let’s talk about each class and why you might want to choose a Hunter, Titan or Warlock.
As a perfect starter class, Warlocks fulfill a middle-of-the-road role. They're not as slippery as a Hunter or as resistant to damage as a Titan, but they're easy to pick up and have some minor support responsibilities in Destiny 2.
They offer the group stability and utility, and they can sometimes hog the glory with high damage.
Traditionally, Warlocks have excelled at clearing out groups better than any other class because of their versatile kit and their crowd control-geared abilities. That also seems to be the case in Destiny 2, as they have a pair of group-oriented supers.
Voidwalker's Nova Bomb and the Dawnblade's Daybreak are both great at wiping out droves of enemies. Save them for the phases of boss fights where tons of enemies are swarming the group. Since most fights feature this mechanic, Warlocks often have an opportunity to take advantage of the situation and exploit one of their strengths.
There’s just one significant learning curve: Warlocks sport a floaty jump that’s hard to get used to compared to the Hunter’s more direct, traditional triple jump or the Titan’s subdued glide. Try jumping around in third-person a bit to reorient yourself and choose the Dawnblade class, which has several aerial abilities like Winged Sun (attack while gliding) and Icarus Dash (air dash). Get your footing, literally, by practicing jump timing.
In the past, outside of a few optional buffs (that usually weren’t optimal for most fights), Warlocks were self-serving creatures. But in Destiny 2, they’ve been reworked to assist the party, giving them a different feel. Their biggest change is easily their area-of-effect (AOE) rift circle that they can plant on the battlefield.
This either takes the form of Empowering Rift, which increases damage, or Healing Rift, which refills health. For learning content (also known as prog runs), take the latter. For content that you’ve already mastered, take the former. It’s better to be more damage-oriented so you can clear a Strike (dungeon) or raid boss faster. If your group needs more direct healing to learn content, you can easily swap.
You could make a reasonable argument that Hunters have the highest skill ceiling. They get ripped apart like paper (and if the raids in Destiny are any indication, wet paper) and their triple jump antics can be very hard to control. But if you're the type of player who loves to constantly be moving, the Hunter is probably the most rewarding.
Mobility allows you to make some fancy plays. When you’re saving near misses for your party for raid mechanics, those could be immortalized in the YouTube record books. If you’re quick, you can also dodge incoming fire that other classes can’t.
One of the Hunters' main strengths is how slippery they are. You can generally get to locations faster than anyone else. This is helpful in cases where you need to grab an objective like a boss fight that requires one player to grab a special item far away from the group. That’s an occasion that has come up in nearly every raid in the Destiny series so far.
As a tradeoff for their mobility, they also take a ton of damage and sport less health and shields than their counterparts. Because of that, you need to become very intimate with the rate at which your shields recharge, so counting and getting used to that timing can save your life.
Popping a crucial dodge at the right time could also mean the difference between being taken out of commission by a big damage ability or continuing to maximize your damage uptime. In other words, where other classes might have to hide behind a barrier to dodge something, Hunters can move all the way across the map into a safe zone and keep firing. Some instances of damage are unavoidable, but as a Hunter, your aim is to avoid getting hit wherever you can.
So about that Destiny 2 skill ceiling — there’s a few changes that allow for more optimal Hunter play. You’ll want to use Gambler’s Dodge (recharges your melee with a tumble) in tandem with the Arcstrider subclass for melee synergy. Use Marksman’s Dodge (reloads your weapon) with Gunslinger.
What style you choose depends entirely on the fight and whether or not getting in close is a viable option, but as a rule Gunslinger is the easiest to start with while learning content because it’s safer.
Whereas Warlock and Titan class skills help out the entire team, a Hunter’s dodge is entirely self-serving. If you’re going into progression content like a Strike on a higher difficulty or a raid with a set team, you might not be able to directly help out your group outside of raw damage and survivability. Take that into consideration if your allies are dying often.
We recommend giving the Titan a go if you find that soloing content is too tough with the other two classes. It's a little more forgiving, as you can take more damage and keep pushing past checkpoints, even if you have to run through them.
Titans also excel in group play where someone else can dish out more damage or get into situations others can’t, while you reap the benefits of survivability. If you’re a selfless player who wants to make everyone else around them better, choose a Titan.
While the Titan Stroker subclass has the Fists of Havoc super (which slams the ground or shoulder tackles to clear out enemies), the Sentinel subclass is probably going to be used most often in group content. Not only do you get the inherent class ability Barricade (which employs a large or small barrier), but the super Sentinel Shield is crucial for surviving high-end content. It blocks incoming shots for your team. If your enemies group up on you during stickier moments of a fight (which are usually scripted), sentinel shield can help you cut down on life-ending damage for flimsier classes like the Hunter.
You’ll want to play a Titan like a babysitter. You don’t need to move around the field as much as others, and staying near the majority of the team will benefit them when you need to pop any one of your several shields. Putting up a shield to assist in reviving a downed player is a game-changer and can save runs.
Titans are basically the same as they were in the original Destiny (if you take the Ward of Dawn talent and regain the bubble effect on your super). In Destiny 2, they just have an extra miniature shield they can pop more frequently. They are a crucial part of any group, and playing one will likely ensure that you can find a spot on any public Fireteam.
Consider just making all three classes
It’s highly beneficial for hardcore Destiny 2 players to dip into all three roles. Not only do you get three chances to raid every week for gear with three characters, but you’ll also naturally pick up on the nuances of each class and subclass.
Being able to give advice to other players because you play their class (while possibly warranting a “you don’t pay my PlayStation Plus/Xbox Live subscription” retort) can save runs. The same goes for knowing how long a Titan shield or bubble lasts or how much health a Warlock buff can consistently pump out with their rifts because of experience. I can save your life.
So if you're in it for the long haul, consider playing every class even if it’s just to the level cap. As long as the Destiny 2 campaign is comparable to the first Destiny, it should only take 15 hours or so to reach max level (with more time to gear, but at the very least you’ve picked up on ability differences). Just be sure to bank or keep some cross-class gear from your first creation to ease the alternate character leveling process.