Even a Guardian needs a break? This is more of a change in direction; many changes in direction coming to you at the speed of a sparrow! Bungie?s newest update is ?Sparrow Racing?. For just 18 more days you can hone your riding skills on two tracks?deadly tracks. You may have Vex or Fallen shooting at you, giant Cabal troops blocking you, even The Taken impeding your efforts. There?s more than just a track to maneuver, and there are rewards if you make it through.

To start racing and receive a Class S license you need to see Amanda Holiday in the tower. The link will then show up on the map screen under weekly events.

Like Strike missions and Crucible matches there are bounties for rewards in winning, or taking out the enemies during a race. They even have new gear so a racer can look the part; sleek aerodynamic helmets and sporty armor that makes everyone look like a light weight Titan; great stuff for the track. New emblems can be earned along with new shaders that also give you a sporting look.

Eververse Trading Company ? Tess Everis ? has some racing inventory that can bump up your game: A sparrow toolkit to acquire a new legendary sparrow, mystery bags, horns, and lots of cool emotes like a victory wave. You can even purchase a record book to know who?s who and where are you in the SRL ? Sparrow Racing League?

In race stats there are licenses which entitle you to getting more race gear, or the highest reward ? an EV40 Snowscream Sparrow with 160 speed! Licensing ascends from Class S, Class A, Class B to the highest ? a Class C license. PlayStation 3 or 4 users have an exclusive quest available from Amanda Holiday – if you complete ?With Finesse and Speed? you’ll win an?EV42 Nightsteed Sparrow.

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For most of us our sparrow was just a great tool to quickly navigate to destinations. When we can swipe a Pike from the fallen ? weaponized to the hilt ? we are hovering and armed ? though they aren?t nearly as agile as our own speeders. I always enjoyed the rides through the canyons, and leaps over water, and running down enemies.

Now we can test our agility against 5 other players on two hazardous tracks ? one on Venus, and one on Mars. If you?re learning the track on Mars ? watch out for the corkscrew turns, they are any easy way to get left behind. Speed gates will boost your sparrow, and everyone else?s ? so don?t miss any!

If you are one of those guys that frequently misjudges your path during missions and roles your sparrow, you will want to get as much race-time in as you can before December 29th. Bungie says however that whether or not racing becomes a permanent addition, is up to the response. I think we are all digging it; if it is any indication, the search for Guardians before a race has completed for me, much faster than most Crucible matches.

This was a brilliant move on Bungie?s part. The whole attraction to this game is in part the multiplayer competition, but more so the identity of your avatar and upgrades! Just beginning with the creation of our avatar there is a plethora of options to uniquely distinguish us according to who we really are, or whatever stretch of imaginative character building we can come up with.

Options in part included sex (male, female), race (human, awoken, exo), fighting style (warlock, titan, hunter) and within each race appearance can be greatly manipulated using skin color, eyes, hair, jawline, markings, etc. After we have defined our characters, during game-play we have many customizations like emblems, Guilds that we can join, armor styles with classifications like Legendary and Exotic; all to further distinguish ourselves beyond our start character?s creation.

We are able as well, to control our avatar?s intentions; maybe he or she is just going to battle in some Crucible matches today; maybe they are going to complete a singular quest; maybe they are going to continue the campaign all the way to the Black Garden and make a name for themselves; maybe just do some scouting. Here again we have another option in our virtual world within a world ? we can take a day off and do some racing.

The more we can connect to the avatar as being us, or an ideally imagined ?super? us, the more psyched we?re going to be. We don?t need virtual reality gear to get pulled in, as long as it is a genuinely enthralling gaming experience. The Emotes that Bungie keeps adding are helping too. The bonus of being able to dance, signal, or express yourself are even more effective because of the natural physical movements of the characters; for creating real human motion there is no one better.

Psychologists sometimes use avatars like dolls, or puppets, to help see something inside. I loved this description by Dr. Leon James ? professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, as he explained the cognitive advantages in a mental space over the physical:

?We can all elevate our consciousness to the rational plane of thinking which is independent of physical limits. Rational thinking and ideas allow us to become conscious of how the world as a unit whole is organized into parts and layers that correspond and interact. These concepts are not available to our consciousness when we restrict our thinking to the material organization of the physical world.?

He goes on to separate the difference between ?physical? space and ?mental? space; the cool part is kind of objects in a mental space ? things we love, meanings, and sensations. Maybe when we?re zoning out the physical world we?re just listening to ourselves; and maybe when we win a sparrow race we are increasing self-efficacy ? what we thing our limits are. See you at the races!

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