Everyone and their dog has an opinion on the Destiny franchise. For every person who loves the grind for loot, there are those who find the games both shallow and uninteresting. The first game was released to a torrential downpour of hype – and why wouldn’t it be – this was a game from the revered ex-developer of the Halo franchise – Bungie. But upon release, although the hype train was in full effect, the game left many players asking themselves the question – “where is the rest of the game?”. A question that now is once again being asked of its sequel Destiny 2. A sequel that is making some of the same mistakes and introducing new features and issues that nobody asked for.
So let us load up our Guardian and delve into the topic that many people (and a plethora of YouTube channels) are talking about – what is the state of Destiny 2.
This article will not be discussing the patch which will be released in December. Instead it will focus on how it launched and how it is at present.
It would almost be impossible for Bungie to release a sequel that ticked all the boxes that each gamer wanted for Destiny 2. What was not expected is how they would absolutely go backwards in several areas, repeating the same mistakes and leaving gamers shaking their head asking themselves why Bungie would make some of these design decisions. For this writer, the sequel needs to be judged harsher than the first. This is not a game where Bungie (and Activision) are having the same growing pains as they had with the first. There is now three years of experience and knowledge plus an entire first game with several expansions for them to look at and learn from.
As of right now, here are the problems and issues in Destiny 2:
No End Game
With these psuedo-MMO and MMO type games it is expected that once players hit maximum level, there should be a huge amount of things to do in the game. High level quests to go on, dungeons to explore, gear to grind for etc. In Destiny 2, there is none of this. Yes, there is the Raid and Trials of the Nine but without specific, interesting gear to acquire by playing these then whats the point? How many times can a player do the Raid to receive nothing of interest? It is similar with Trials of the Nine. If people still regard Iron Banner as ‘end game’ then what does that give us? It has specific armour sets to earn but, by all accounts, the grind to earn them is too steep and the gear to uninteresting. The hardcore fans enjoy the grind when it leads to quality rewards but many are finding themselves unable to earn a full armour set regardless of time invested. Destiny 1 allowed gamers to rank up and buy what they wanted from vendors for Iron Banner. It was still a grind but it was manageable. We knew if the time was invested, you would get the rewards. Raids had a hard mode and other secrets associated with them to.
No Weapon Rolls
This is perhaps the greatest disappointment to long time Destiny fans as it has stripped away why so many gamers put in hundreds if not thousands of hours into the game – the grind for the god roll weapons. Weapons with perks deemed to be the greatest for that particular weapon. With Destiny 2, each weapon has the same perks for it. I have earned all the weapons I want so I don’t feel the need to grind events to earn them again. For this reason as well, it has made the weapons less “special” in Destiny 2 compared to Destiny 1. They feel different. In Destiny 1 when you got killed by a god roll Eyasluna you damn well knew it. The god roll far outmatched other rolls of the weapon that’s how different they were. Weapon rolls kept players teaming out and made doing the same content worthwhile as there was always a chance of getting that one thing you wanted (I will touch on this briefly again below).
Stripped Out PvP
I actually enjoy the PvP in Destiny 2. Many will say it’s complete trash compared to Destiny 1 and, whilst I understand some of that point of view, Destiny 1 had numerous problems as well. Simply porting over the same PvP experience was not needed or wanted from me. As I’ve written in another article, it seems as though Bungie is trying to make Destiny 2 multiplayer closer to Halo than the all out chaos of the first Destiny game. There is alot of team shooting in the game but I would expect that in a team based game with less of an emphasis on grenade and ability kills.
The removal of modes such as Rumble and limiting PvP to only two playlists seems a step backwards and is main problem I have with it. Making each game mode 4v4 can make the PvP become stale but the lack of playlists and choice is bazaar. I feel Bungie implemented this to keep the player base high and not as to spread out between too many game modes. The flip side of this is that Bungie’s changes could very well have lead the player base to become thin anyway as players turn away from the game. The focus on only two playlists is an answer to the constant connection and lag issues that plagued the first game to.
The lack of weapon rolls is also a result of trying to balance the Crucible but in balancing one side of the game, it has hollowed out the PvE side of things.
Ask any Destiny 2 player and they will probably all be playing the same events in PvE when looking to earn the better rewards – simple Public Events. They are quick, easy with a group and you will gain more rewards (including Exotic’s) from doing them compared to other activities. Why do a Strike whereas in the same time frame I could do multiple Public Events thus increasing my chances at rewards? The Strike is not offering me Strike specific loot (or Hard mode) so why bother? The answer many players have given is…we won’t bother.
The introduction of Clans has given many players access to loot and rewards they never would have received otherwise but this also hollows out the game further. In Bungie’s attempt to “casualify” the game (feel free to use that word) and make each player earn all rewards, it leaves the more hardcore players feeling uneasy. Why should a player receive a Raid weapon when they’ve never set foot into let alone completed the Raid? There needs to be rewards for those who invest the time and effort into the game.
The Token system is another aspect introduced for no reason. Why not just introduce a currency that we can use to spend on anything we like from the vendors? Shards have been introduced but as of now they are virtually meaningless. Gunsmith Parts? Who cares! When we are simply receiving the same weapons over and over again – and below our Power Level?
Many of these problems, simply, should not exist in this sequel. It’s a good move from Bungie to implement the upcoming changes in December to the game but shouldn’t many of these already be in the game? Should gamers cheer for features being added back into the game? Should they be excited to know that activities will now (hopefully) give them meaningful rewards? Bungie should already know much of what worked and didn’t work in the first game and bring that across to the sequel. I for one still enjoy this game as the gameplay mechanics still feel great and the world is beautiful and interesting, but in Bungie’s attempt to satisfy the casual gamer, they have inadvertently alienated the hardcore Destiny fan.
Destiny:The Taken King was a fantastic package that really was the turning point for the series. It was full of content and a joy to play most of the time. Bungie left the first game in a very good place on the PvE side, which leads to so much annoyance in the Destiny community now as they find their beloved sequel has had features stripped out and is hanging on life support. Destiny is a series I care about which is why I take the time to write articles such as this. I want to see it be great. I want it to be treated with the respect it deserves.
But I, along with many others, are still asking ourselves the same question – when will we get the game that was promised before the first game came out? I don’t think many will wait another three years…