Bungie and Activision describe Destiny as a "shared world shooter," stating that the game really does not fit squarely into other genres such as FPS, RPG, or MMO. "Shared world shooter" means that the game can be played solo or in small groups, and player advancement does not necessarily rely on other players. Destiny features a persistent, dynamic, online world that includes realistic changes of light and weather.
Gameplay in Destiny revolves around its basic genre and thematic elements: an open-world, always-online, first-person shooter with persistent-world and massively multiplayer online elements in a sci-fantasy setting. However, Bungie has explicitly refused to call Destiny an "MMO" game; instead, Bungie and Activision describe the gameplay style as a "shared-world shooter", as it lacks many of the characteristics of a traditional MMO game. For instance, rather than players being able to see and interact with all other players in the game or on a particular server — as is the case in many conventional MMO games — Destiny utilizes on-the-fly matchmaking that enables players to see and interact only with other players with whom they are "matched" by the game and/or with whom they have voluntarily opted to play.