Exactly what is wrong with Destiny in its current state, and how can this be fixed? We have our own views, having enjoyed Destiny since 2014, and the answers seem to be simple.
Yes, since the launch of Destiny 2 in September 2017, response to the game has staggered toward some kind of meltdown, with developer Bungie quite frantically, and with increasing degrees of transparency, responding to feedback, for better or worse or simply indifferent.
Destiny, as an experience, is many things and has much to celebrate. One thing it has never been, however, is perfect. While this discussion extends to both Player versus Player (PvP) and Player versus Enemy (PvE), it’s the latter that we believe is the leakiest boat. So much of the downturn in popularity is linked to feeling disengaged with the original power fantasy.
Done with Destiny
Simply stated, Destiny has swung from being too demanding for some players in its original format to becoming dissatisfying for almost everyone with the arrival of Destiny 2. This was acknowledged by game director Luke Smith back in November 2017, pointing to there being not enough content for the “hobbyist”. It took until January 12 this year for a roadmap to appear that will address the majority of concerns such as paywalls and loot that makes you give a damn.
The Destiny community has expressed great dissatisfaction for a once-beloved pastime, but it’s the high-profile players lately abandoning ship that has become a much larger concern. Without the cheerleaders across social media helping Bungie to sell the great adventure, it is in danger of becoming niche to the point of unsustainable. Even those sticking around seem defeated, with community legend Datto sighing, “I don’t know how to feel anymore.” YouTuber iAM – tripleWRECK has said that, “Community moral has never been lower.” Gigz stated on Twitter, “My motivation to play Destiny is at an all-time low...and that sucks.”
Bringing back the value
Among the many, multifaceted issues raised and responded to from Development Update 1-11-18, a couple of them really stood out to us: Eververse, and Raid-gear perks. Between these two issues, much of Destiny’s woes look like they’re being adequately addressed.
For the record, we’d prefer to say this is better late than never.
Eververse, summarised by Datto as “go do anything and get some stuff”, has undermined the fundamental association that players had with early Destiny; that it is a loot-based shooter – the deeper your adventure, the greater your rewards. The first time you saw somebody rocking the Chatterwhite shader, you wanted it so bad, but you had to earn it. Chatterwhite barely scratched the surface of what the Vault of Glass Raid had to offer.
While it’s fine for people to customize their Guardians with purely cosmetic gear, the sheer amount of Eververse “stuff”, including exotic ships and sparrows alongside armor sets and arguably the most attractive shaders, has diminished the worth of any other exotic gear and enhancements unlocked elsewhere in Destiny. Bright Dust, an in-game currency that can be amassed by dismantling Eververse items, only adds to this easy come, easy go reputation.
Eververse is damaging to Destiny because it brings nothing of value to the gameplay, while simultaneously highlighting the lackluster loot and other issues such as lack of Vault space, annoying shader management and general items storage disarray, useless mods and more.
Bringing back the respect
As for Raid-gear perks, this is much closer to the nitty gritty. First of all, since players can reach the maximum Power Level cap by completing comparatively low-skill Public Events and Heroic Strikes, there is little incentive to coordinate a Raid team or similarly attempt tougher PvP challenges such as Trials of the Nine. Secondly, more significant, the prospect of acquiring Raid gear in Destiny 2 has been so underwhelming, owing to the armor and weapons having no bearing on your Raid performance, unlike previous Raids in Destiny 1.
Guardians would descend upon the Vault of Glass, Crota’s End, King’s Fall and Wrath of the Machine with the specific aim of acquiring a game-changing weapon or armor piece. To have just one member of the fireteam fortunate to have received Fatebringer or Vision of Confluence, boosted the chances of a smoother run through VoG, and later Crota’s End. Fang of ir Yut was a go-to Scout Rifle in PvP and PvE, while Oversoul Edict, only available in Crota’s End Hard Mode, was much sought after as a reward for running the Abyss. The reason we all went back was for personal reasons and to aid our buddies in their quest.
The high-impact Legendary sniper rifle Black Spindle is a related case in point, where Bungie devised a new mission to claim one of the most treasured weapons in Destiny history. If you owned Black Spindle, everyone knew that a) you were dedicated, b) you had helpful friends, therefore gaining a reputation as a team player worth inviting to any endgame activity.
That Raid-gear perks are returning is a good thing, and to see them as early as the January 30 update is a huge win for Destiny. However, allowing the Raid vendor to sell Leviathan and Eater of Worlds armor and weapons is a letdown. No need to Raid, just shop!
Burning out on hot air
Destiny 2 was the one of the biggest-selling games of 2017, which in previous eras would’ve been enough to secure a bright future. That is, a time when games were not endlessly cross-examined with every update. That Destiny is pioneering these new concepts doesn’t help.
Time is of the essence now for Bungie. Seeing Exotic Weapon and Armor Balance reserved for a vague Spring 2018 is worrying, even if the Raid Reward Rework is promised for January 30. A sizable list of improvements is also squeezed into the Fall 2018 (or sooner) category, and these include further gear improvements plus Guided Games and Better Clan Rewards.
The sentiment most felt from browsing the community feedback at all levels is that many players have simply reached the end of their tether when it boils down to trusting Bungie.
Moreover, these are not feelings expressed for Destiny 2 in isolation, but hundreds of hours, literally years, of personal investment that in many ways lead to a sense of entitlement.
Perhaps we deserve a break. Bungie has said that the ravenous response to Destiny 1 was unexpected. Possibly all that’s necessary to defuse this situation is to finally believe them.