Bungie and Activision, in collaboration with Blizzard, are offering Destiny 2 on PC for free for a limited time, in celebration of the game’s first anniversary on the platform.
The free copy of Destiny 2 on PC will only be available until November 18, so gamers who want to jump in as new Guardians should act now.
The only requirement is that players should have a Battle.net account, as the free game will be downloaded through Blizzard’s Battle.net client. It is also free to sign up for Battle.net, but accounts that are created after November 2, 11:00 a.m. PDT are required to enable Blizzard’s SMS Protect feature before claiming the Destiny 2 game license, which is redeemable as a free gift from https://account.blizzard.com/gifts/.
Players who already own Destiny 2 on PC will instead receive an exclusive emblem, which becomes available in December. In addition, new players will be able to try Gambit, the new 4v4 hybrid mode that comes with the game’s latest expansion Forsaken, from November 9 to November 11 during the Gambit Free Weekend.
Bungie and Activision are looking to bring in new players after the disastrous Destiny 2 launch in September 2017. The game first went free on the PlayStation 4 as one of the offerings for PlayStation Plus subscribers in September. This was followed by Bungie’s announcement that Curse of Osiris and Warmind, the first two expansions of Destiny 2, would be included with every purchase of Forsaken.
Before downloading Destiny 2, players might want to check if their PC passes the minimum or recommended specifications. Destiny 2 is playable on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.
After installing the game, check out our Destiny 2 on PC performance guide, which helps players figure out which settings offer the best performance without sacrificing visuals on their systems. Using three monitors is the way to play Destiny 2, but only for gamers who have the hardware and horsepower for such a set-up.
Players who want to catch up on the Destiny 2 story should check out our summary of what has happened from the first game until Warmind, which is the eighth chapter in the franchise. Destiny was launched in September 2014, with four major expansions The Dark Below, House of Wolves, The Taken King, and Rise of Iron. Destiny 2 was released three years after the first game as the sixth chapter, followed by Curse of Osiris.
When it comes to Game of Thrones opinions, there’s really only one I trust: WIRED alum Laura Hudson’s. Back when we worked in the same office I used to secretly marvel at her dog-eared and tattered copies of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books like they were the Dead Sea Scrolls. That’s why it was so disheartening when, at the end of the show’s last season, she pointed out something many of us had been avoiding for a while: Game of Thrones was failing its fans. “It’s happened,” she wrote, “and all that hope and emotional investment has been reduced to a series of bullet points and cartoons, an empty dragon breathing blue fire with all the CGI fury of a broken promise with too much momentum behind it to do anything else.” Despite the fact that I screamed “What??!” at my TV no fewer than five times during that finale, it was heartbreaking how true her words felt.
The show’s eighth and final season lands on HBO early next year. It will, as promised from the beginning, feature an epic battle for the soul of Westeros (so to speak). It will, reportedly, cost some $15 million per episode. It will also, naturally, bear the brunt of having to conclude one of the most sprawling and ambitious television shows in history.
Running is the most elemental sport. The equipment is simple: shoes, socks, shorts, shirt. The activity is natural. We once ran after antelopes on the savannah, and we now run around playgrounds as kids. For the most part, we compete against ourselves. And because it’s so personal, and so elemental, the inevitable decline that comes with age can be wrenching.
Aging reduces our performance at everything athletic, but sometimes it’s hard to make out what’s happening. The ball doesn’t seem to go quite as far; the racket or the bat doesn’t swing quite as fast. The back starts to ache a bit. But the more complex a sport is, the more confounding factors—or excuses—there are.
In running, the evidence is right there: We ran the same distance and we went slower. What took 10 minutes now takes 11; what took three hours now takes three and a half. The evidence of the damage that time does to our bodies shows up implacably on our watches. I’ve been running for decades, and after almost every slow race I worry that I’ve stepped onto an escalator headed inexorably downward.
There isn’t, of course, a magic age at which runners start to get worse. Most of the men’s and women’s distance-running records were set by people in their mid-twenties. But those are the elites; they use their bodies hard, and their speed, when it goes, tends to go quickly.
Recreational runners, on the other hand, may slow more slowly. Science suggests that the best age to run may be 27 for men and 29 for women. The men’s world record in the marathon was just set by Eliud Kipchoge, age 33. A study of marathoners in Stockholm pegged the decline to age 34. Whatever the exact age, by the time you’re eligible to run for president, you’ve likely started to fade.
I’m quick but nowhere near elite. I ran well in high school and then badly in college. I bailed at 18 and didn’t really start again for a decade. I ran a 2:43 marathon at age 30, a moment when I was old enough to start declining but inexperienced enough to keep improving. For the next nine years these two forces—experience propelling me forward and age pushing me backward—stayed in balance. I ran marathon after marathon in roughly the same time, sometimes a bit faster, sometimes a bit slower.
But when I turned 39, I finally started to slow: Each marathon got worse. Last year, at age 42, I did a little better than the year before, but the trend line did not look good.
This year, I set a slightly fuzzy goal of two hours plus my age in minutes, a barrier I had never quite broken. I would turn 43 in the summer, which meant I wanted to run a fall marathon in 2:43. As I was beginning to plan, late in the spring, I got an unexpected note from Nike saying that they often connect non-elite runners to elite coaches. Did I want to run the Chicago Marathon under their tutelage in October? Of course I did. And that’s how I set out on a quest to understand the deeper science of running, aging, and performance.
I got on a conference call with three experts—Brett Kirby, a sports scientist with the calm demeanor and seeming wisdom of Obi-Wan; Stephen Finley, a big-hearted coach who nearly made the Olympic trials in the steeplechase; and Joe Holder, a physical trainer and former University of Pennsylvania wide receiver whose other clients include Naomi Campbell.
I told them how I’d worked out in the past and what my goals were. I wanted to get faster, but I didn’t want to spend any more time on the sport. I sent them a link to my old online logs and told them that I now tracked every run in Strava. They assured me that there was a way to beat the ravages of the years with science and a little bit of math.
The physiology of running can be broken down into three parts. There’s the body’s fitness: how fast you can get oxygen to the muscles and how fast you can go before lactate accumulates in the blood. Then there’s running economy: the efficiency with which you move. And then there’s mass: how much you weigh. Multiply fitness by running economy and divide by mass. That’s how fast you’ll go.
As a person ages, those variables don’t have to ineluctably get worse. We often gain weight, but we can lose it again. We pick up bad habits from injuries that change our form—say, a tweaked right ankle that makes us land too hard on our left. But a habit caused by an unconscious choice can usually be reversed by a conscious one.
Most important, as Kirby explained, our muscles change in ways that are both good and bad. As we train, over time, the mitochondria inside our muscle cells become more efficient at converting energy. New blood vessels develop. Tendons strengthen. On the other hand, our lean muscle mass declines with age, which is bad for marathoners and even worse for sprinters. Still, the decline doesn’t have to be steep.
The main reason that runners slow isn’t our bodies. It’s our lives. We get married, we have children, we work longer, our parents get sick. We have more important things to do with our time. Running is a sport that rewards consistent effort, and once you step away it’s hard to come back. Your body frays, which makes running less enjoyable, which accelerates the decline. We go slower as we age, but we also age when we start to go slower.
For about 13 years, my training routine has been roughly the same. I live four miles from work and, on weekdays, I usually run to the office and back home. (Yes, there’s a shower.) When I don’t have a marathon on the horizon, I’ll end up covering 30 to 40 miles a week. In the three months leading up to a marathon, I’ll do 20-mile runs on the weekend and speed up some of my commutes. Those weeks, I run closer to 50 or 60 miles.
According to Michael Joyner, a sports physiologist at the Mayo Clinic and a historian of running, there’s been an evolution in the way elite runners train. A century ago, the world’s fastest distance runner, Alfred Shrubb, just ran at a steady pace for less than an hour a day, three to five times a week. Gradually, people realized they could get faster by running longer and varying the pace. By the 1950s, the world’s best marathoner, Emil Zápotek, was running more than two hours a day and adding in interval training: workouts where you run a set distance (say a mile) at a faster-than-usual pace and then recover for a set amount of time (say, two minutes).
Now, the classical training program followed by elites includes interval runs, fast steady runs, long runs, and recovery runs. They run twice or sometimes three times a day, pushing their bodies right up to the red line where injury occurs. In all, they typically cover around 120 miles a week, which sounds like a lot but doesn’t actually take much time. An elite marathoner might spend 15 hours a week running, while a cyclist, swimmer, or cross-country skier might spend twice as much time training because they can do it without getting hurt. The easier a sport is on your joints, the more time elite training takes.
My new coaches listened to my description of my training regimen and told me it was fine—but far from optimal. The long runs I was doing were good. The total volume of training was OK. Ideally, I’d run many more miles a week, but that’s not a variable you can easily change without risking injury. The one variable I could truly improve was time spent running fast.
I wasn’t doing remotely enough work to improve one of the key metrics of running: VO2 max, a measure of the body’s ability to bring oxygen to the blood cells during intense exercise. Nor was I doing enough to improve my lactate threshold, a measure of the body’s ability to clear lactate from the blood. As Joyner put it, a runner’s VO2 max is equivalent to a car’s engine size, and his or her lactate threshold is the red line on the tachometer. I needed to improve both.
VO2 max improves mostly through speed workouts—running quarter miles, or miles, to the point of near exhaustion, resting briefly, and then running them again. Lactate threshold improves through what are called threshold runs: running hard at a pace that’s tiring but that doesn’t bring you to your knees. So, starting in early July, I began a new routine. I still commuted in by foot, but on Tuesdays I added focused runs to tax my VO2 max, and on Fridays I added threshold runs.
My new coaches wrote out plans for every workout in a Google Doc, and I reported how I did. Soon I was running mile repeats and 9-mile threshold runs before or after work. Within a month, something had started to change. I likely hadn’t run a mile faster than five minutes in a quarter century.
But in a track workout after coming home one day, I somehow churned out a 4:59. I felt bliss, convinced I had stumbled on a code that had magically advanced me to the next athletic level. Four days later, I botched a similar workout and remembered that getting faster is hard.
I wasn’t precisely following the prescribed program because life always intervened. I often had to run with a fanny pack to transport my wallet and keys, or a backpack to carry my clothes. My three sons supervised one track workout, which ended early when the 4-year-old justifiably got bored. Other runs involved stops at the dentist, the dry cleaner, and soccer practice. Red-eyes scuttled planned runs, as did sudden conference calls.
The beauty of running, though, is that it’s the simplest sport to fit into a day. Keep your sneakers nearby, and, when the opportunity arises, just get up and go.
The Chinese government has made manufacturing computer chips that store data—memory—a major priority of its centralized science and technology strategy. According to the US Department of Justice, China plans to do it not just through research and development, but through old-fashioned espionage.
In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the DOJ accused China’s Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corporation, and employees including Jinhua’s president, of economic espionage—of stealing proprietary technology from US-based Micron Technology to make dynamic random access memory chips, which are found in just about every gadget. It’s not clear how the companies will respond, nor whether the individuals accused of espionage could ever be extradited to the US. So think of this as a virtual shot in the cold-but-warming trade war between China and the US. “Chinese espionage against the United States has been increasing—and it has been increasing rapidly,” US attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “I am here to say that enough is enough.”