Destiny: One Month In
I will be the first to admit that I am pretty fed up with FPS's. I really haven't been excited for an FPS since Modern Warfare. The ones that I did get excited over, left me disappointed. However, when I saw Bungie talking about Destiny at E3 2013, I had hope that it would be more than just a Borderlands in a Halo world. Turns out it is. Destiny takes what I like about World of Warcraft and puts this in a game that feels like Halo and looks like Mass Effect and GETS IT RIGHT. I have read plenty of reviews and comments about the game and some people just don't get it. It's mostly the COD crowd that thinks this game is just a rip off of Halo and that is where they are very wrong. Yes, you can play this game alone. I played 80% of the story by myself, and if you only play it alone, you miss the whole point. This is a game that is all about a team more so than the one. The most fun I have had is raiding with five other guys or doing strikes with some of my friends. It takes what is fun about online games, and meshes it with a FPS and in my opinion, did it well. Bungie, in my eyes, has raised the bar when it comes not only to FPS's, but online gaming. Since launch, I have spent over 76 hours playing this game, something I have not done in any game since The Wrath of the Lich King expansion in Warcraft. If you picked this game up and played it five or six hours and said this is just a Halo rip off, then you're not playing it right! Destiny is a complex and deep game that requires thinking and working as a team with two to five other people to reach a goal. This is a breath of fresh air for the FPS genre that the other guys will most likely never achieve, but I bet they will try and imitate.
One month into Destiny and, for me at least, it can be best described as one giant loot cave. No, I'm not referring to the cave of wonders that Bungie officially closed down, but the entire game as a whole. At this moment, I have about 97 hours logged into Destiny. I agree with the majority of what critics have said in the last month: the story for this game was terrible, the loot drops are infuriating, I'm underwhelmed with what Bungie gave us, and now I'm wondering what the point is in still playing. And yet....I can't stop playing. It feels like every time I'm ready to put the game down, Bungie randomly produces a new legendary weapon or exotic bounty to go after. Daily bounties for both Crucible and Vanguard playlists mean there's always something new to come back to. Yes, it's true that the core gameplay is the same and repetitive, but I (and many of my friends) keep coming back, hoping for that next purple or yellow box to pop up on the side of the screen. This is why the game as a whole is alot like the loot cave; players spend hours upon hours, doing mindless activities in hope of finding something awesome, or being able to level up their light armor. Anyone that spent time in front of the loot cave, knew how boring and repetitive the process was, however those same players (myself included) would likely still spend time there today if it was still active. Bungie has created a flawed, but addictive, loot drop system for Destiny, and this is one of the main reasons why I feel so compelled to come back to the Tower each day when I get home from work.
On top of finding new loot, another thing that brings me back to Destiny each day is the option to set up fireteam squads for pretty much any activity. This is, of course, nothing innovative or new to videogames, however being able to do an activity as boring as farming spinmetal and still find ways to socialize with friends, makes the experience more enjoyable. Each night there are about 6-10 of us that are online playing Destiny. We usually all join the same party chat in PSN then figure out what everyone wants to do. We'll usually play a few matches of crucible with a full fireteam of six, and at some point, either when we're tired of shotguns killing us or when we're through all the daily bounties, we split up into smaller fireteams based on individual needs. Some guys will go farming with each other, some might stay in Crucible, and some might run some strikes. The whole time this is happening, we stay in the same party chat and it becomes a nightly hangout session for us. As exciting as it is to get a new exotic weapon, I probably wouldn't have logged 97 hours of gameplay if I could only join up with friends for PvP.
In the coming months, I am excited to see what Destiny delivers with it's first add-on pack. There has been recent speculation regarding what will be offered, and for me the first add-on pack will heavily influence my decision as to whether or not I think this game will make it in the long run as a blockbuster franchise or if future sales will be limited to a smaller niche of players.
Before Destiny came out, if you would have asked me what I expected of it one month in my answer would have been completely different. As it is now, I'm starting to lose steam. While the gameplay is superb and addictive, there isn't enough of a payoff for all the hard work you have to put in to get anywhere. With that being said, it is a true testament to just how fun the core gameplay is, that I have come back week after week to run the same bounties and strikes over again. I've been told that getting to the first raid is worth all the hassle, but I'm a busy man. I don't have time to play as much as my colleagues. When I do have time to play, chances are that I won't have enough real world friends online to participate in the raid as the game requires 6 people in a fire team before queuing up. There is no matchmaking at this time.
Loot addiction is real, I'm always "just one piece away" from that next level or some awesome weapon ability. I do wish there were more variety in the types of weapons and gear styles. Color variants help, but they are so random to find. I find myself wishing there were an auction house or a way to trade with other guardians.
I plan to keep playing in hopes that the first expansion [set to arrive in December] brings new life into the game. I'd really like to see some great story elements and a way for people like myself, with less time to put in to the end game, to still feel like I can accomplish something each time I play.
My first thoughts were the single player was way too short. I was hoping for a longer single player experience, something close to 10 hours. I enjoy the multiplayer and overall the game reminds me of World of Warcraft meets Borderlands. Everyone wants to get that loot, to get better weapons and better gear. The game doesn't seem to have the co-op appeal of Borderlands. This can take a lot of time and I wish there was a way to spend my glimmer for the resource to upgrade.
What are my thoughts on Destiny? I think it is a good game. Maybe great, but definitely good. I think it is important to remain critical, because otherwise Bungie won't know what to fix.
So, why do I think it isn't God's gift to gaming? For starters, I think that Bungie, on their way to forging their own game that breaks all the molds, forgot to meet some of the golden standards already set. For that, I'll talk about resources and social interaction.
I think the resources in Destiny are fairly broken right now. First, resource acquisition is pretty bad. Have you ever played World of Warcraft? That's how you find resources. You give me a small icon on the map, and I have to navigate to it. However, I actually have to be close enough to it for the game to inform me about it. Why couldn't Destiny do that? They already have a sensor. Just change the color from red to yellow, and boom! Resource tracker. They could even make it so you had to choose between enemy tracker or resource tracker. That way, if you are running around trying to find those nearly invisible veins of Relic Iron, you might still get jumped by a gang of roving Phalanxes. Second, the number of resources needed for things could use some tweaking. By the time you get a decent number of ascendent materials to do anything, you have a large stockpile of weapon parts. Not a huge complaint, but still something that needs to be addressed. Maybe use the common materials more, or get them less for destroying things. This is probably my biggest gripe with the game, but hey, I love crafting. Being able to trade would help resolve that issue. Maybe the ability to trade things that aren't light-level granting? Having a good bartering session without text or talk could be really fun and memorable.
Which brings me to social interaction. Let's face it, there is one thing that's going to keep people in this game, and that is the social aspect. When the Master Chief Collection comes out, people will flock to that game for the combat. The hook for Destiny needs to be the social interaction, and it isn't. You have to go online to manage your clan. Why? Give me a tab that is only available in the Tower. I want to see online clan mates. I want to have a Message of the Day. Give me some in-game tools to coordinate raids, etc. If Bungie wants longevity from gamers, then give them a reason to stay. Otherwise, they will move on to the next big FPS when it comes out, and Halo is knocking on the door. Also, they could possibly work in more interest. They need something in the game like random pike encounters. They need cool little things that rarely happen to make players go "I can't believe that just happened"! What if the Hive made a giant push out of the area just past the docks in the Cosmodrome? Low level players, like those that frequent the area, would have to run for their lives. If there was a way to disseminate info at the Tower, like event loudspeakers (hint-hint), higher level players would flock to the area to purge the Hive. And you know what? Players would love it. People would say things like "I remember when I was on a 9000 exp. bounty when dozens of yellow Hive started pouring out of the woodwork"!
Overall, Destiny is a great game. I may have harped on it, but I still love it. I have logged many hours playing this game. I just think that people need to keep in mind that it needs some polish. It is a departure from Bungie's normal strengths, so the best thing we can do is remind them of what does and doesn't work.
The multiplayer met my expectations and is enjoyable. My biggest concern is how long will the appeal last? Is there enough to make those who love Halo or Call of Duty keep playing Destiny? The raids feel like World of Warcraft and I don’t know if I am able to make a time commitment like that. What about the causal players, is there enough to keep them entertained? Does this game appeal to them? Is it a perfect game? No. Is there room to improve? Of course. At it's core, Destiny is a fun game and is enjoyable with the right group of people.
What are your thoughts on Destiny? Is it everything you hoped it would be or is it all hype? Leave a comment below and let us know or join our Steam Group and share your thoughts about Destiny and more!