Game is cool as hell so far in act I, but I think maybe I missed something but what is the difference between exploit and destruction?
The only difference is that Destruction abilities tend to be more powerful—or more specialized —than Exploit!
idk I think Bleed is probably the best exploit skill, and drastically overshadows any Destruction skills—especially since Destruction gets linked to elements, which perform very poorly; having bosses with multiple elements or the ability to change elements, without the player being able to change, makes them useless since they are effective for basically one phase and a liability for the others. Smite ends up being *okay* but you're actively incentivized to use it as little as possible, even with high stagger/re-stagger strats. Meanwhile, Bleed hits like a truck, is untyped, and the self-damage won't put you in danger if you are playing around it.
Taunt is also underwhelming, as long as I'm complaining, especially in fights with multiple strong enemies; getting the AI to spread out attacks is much safer than everyone hammering Valentin all at once; they don't benefit enough from the defense buff, in my opinion. going from 70% of their life per hit to 60% of their life per hit does not change the reality that they'll be two-shot.
the game was a ton of fun, but as far as the battle system goes I found much more success in playing against a lot of what is "expected" in the strategy, as far as what specific abilities to equip. the element system just isn't flexible enough to do anything helpful, again especially since the bosses are multi-element. there's no way to really know ahead of time what element is good against road enemies because you can't see what you're going to fight; it's really Nuclear or Bust, and with Control Rod you even lose that option too.
EDIT: I feel like this maybe sounds like I'm being really harsh on the battle system, but I have to reiterate that I really really enjoyed it and I loved the system that was presented. I think one small change—being able to hotswap element—would fix all of my concerns with the strategy. I think ravage stuff and the stagger meter was dope and I liked figuring out the re-stagger strategy, I am very satisfied with that; but changing the element issue would have made the "element trinket" quest rewards feel good instead of feeling like I got rewarded with 3 stickers.