Before its release, Destiny looked like it was going to undoubtedly be one of this years hottest and greatest releases. Since it’s reveal, there was hype unrivaled by any new IP we have ever seen. Now that we have had just over a month with Destiny, things seem to still be strong, with Destiny’s world seeing a staggering 3.2 million players per day. With weekly events, strikes, missions and the such, everything seems to be right for Guardians everywhere, right? Unfortunately I have learned to see things a little bit differently.
When Destiny arrived at my house, I didn’t put down the controller for an embarrassingly long time. Seriously, I played for 10 hours straight, grinding my way through what I thought was some incredibly satisfying content. That routine stayed the same for about three weeks. I would play constantly, sometimes begging my friends to join my fireteam so that I could crash through the weekly strike or grind out a few cruicible bounties. The possibilities seemed endless as I grew closer to that fabled level 30. Then I managed to hit a wall, of which I have not been able to get over.
Once you reach level 26 or 27, the game loses almost all purpose outside of raids. If you don’t have enough people on your friends list to form a raid team, there’s no point in sinking anymore time into Destiny. This is mainly due to the fact that Bungie has done a very piss-poor job of supporting their large player-base with exciting, worthwhile content.
Once I hit level 20, the game completely opened up. Suddenly I was searching for legendary gear, trying to get my hands on exotic armor and weapons, grinding up my cruicible and FWC levels and having a grand ol time doing so. However, what happens when you have all of the exotic items and legendary armor you could ever ask for (outside of raid gear)? What happens when you reach level 3 in either the Vanguard, Cruicible or clan of choice (They realistically have the same gear, just with different focuses in stat boosts)? The answer seems pretty obvious: You go ahead and play exciting new content that the developer should be releasing. Apparently Bungie hasn’t caught up to this point yet.
Right now, the only thing that was “new” was the weekly/bi-weekly events. Yeah, I’m talking about The Queen’s Wrath (Which was a really terrible way of following up The Queen’s existence in Destiny, an existence that could have been really cool) and the Iron Banner. If I can be blunt, these were terribly executed. While it was fun at first to go through harder level versions of missions I already had beaten, I started to feel like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. What was the point in finishing the missions and raising my Queens Favor when the mission gear was no better than what I currently possessed (not even to mention that it couldn’t be broken down into ascendant shards)? Also, after one or two goes at it, beating the previous missions at a higher difficulty lost its flare as well. And just like that, The Queens Wrath had lost all sort of appeal it originally had. The Iron Banner was not much better. The point about the obtainable gear remained the same: There was no point in trying to gain gear that was no better, if not worse than what I (and players of level 26+) already had. The other feature of The Iron Banner was that there was a competitive mode where your armor and level would actually make a difference. However, this was executed terribly as well. It seems that your level and gear only affects gameplay by about 20%, leaving 80% up to skill, just like before. This is topped by the fact that rewards are only givin to victors, leaving no reason to stay in a losing match (considering most players are just grinding anyways). So realistically, you might as well not even bother with The Iron Banner at all.
It’s not only expansion content where Bungie has failed the Guardians of the world. There’s also next to no variety when it comes to content, whether original or expansion.
Everyone had to play through the story mode in order to progress to level 20. We all know that the story mode is terrible, combining both a lackluster tale and little variation when it came to missions. It was almost a copy paste session of “Protect Peter Dinklage as he hacks this” or “Infiltrate this place and kill a bigger boss” each with a different colored sky and different kinds of sand. It wasn’t very much fun the first time, but Bungie seems to think that maybe if they make us play through the missions over and over again we might see the light of day and realize “Hey, maybe this isn’t too bad after all!” Sorry Bungie, but that’s not going to work if you plan on keeping 3.2 million people playing your game.
I really like the idea of weekly strikes, daily missions, nightfall strikes and the Queens missions. They were all a good way of getting people to keep logging on in order to get their daily/weekly rewards. What I didn’t like was that it had me playing the exact same missions over and over again. After killing Draksis, Winter Kell upwards of 15 times in order to gain Queens favor, I started to think “Eh, maybe this isn’t as fun as I thought it was the other 14 times….”. After playing a 20 minute story mission (that wasn’t even fun the first time) in order to gain nothing more than some glimmer (which has almost no purpose) and a blue engram, I started to think “Hey, I could have done something worthwhile in that time…”. While these things are a great way (in concept) to get daily and weekly logins, after a certain point they become more tedious and tiresome than fun. I don’t think that is what Bungie was going for.
I know what you’re all thinking. “Ryan, everything you have said thus far is pretty much discredited by the fact that there are raids, a fun way to continue progressing your character!”. I get it, though. There are raids where you can find means to an end. Lets say you play through The Vault of Glass a few times, get 3 pieces of raid armor to compliment your exotic helmet and write home to mother about how much fun you had. What do you do then? The only thing to do at that point is farm until you can upgrade your armor to level 30. Bam, then you’re level 30. Then there is literally no point in playing the game at this point in time. Congrats, I guess? While the gameplay is satisfying, it’s not satisfying enough to justify playing once you have nothing else to gain.
Destiny’s largest flaw is that the developers took what Destiny did well and continued to do the exact same thing with no variety or expansion, expecting fans to be okay with it. “Wow, killing this large boss was extremely satisfying!” Okay, now you can do it 20 more times. “Dang, I upgraded all my armor to its max light! I feel so powerful!” Oh, you don’t have raid armor? Looks like you’re going to have to do it again! Destiny is the first game in a while where I have sat there thinking “Just…why am I doing this?” Once you realize Destiny’s end game, a dark pit arises that has you asking what the point to anything is. Destiny is such a beautiful game with some of the most satisfying gunplay I have experienced in quite a while, but it all just scratches the surface of what Destiny is capable of. We will just have to wait and see if Bungie sees the errors of their ways and chooses to actually fix it with their DLC. Until then, you’re going to have to excuse me. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is here.