A personal reflection upon my relationship with Destiny 2.
Destiny 2 released at the perfect time. Well, actually, it was a terrible time for me and my personal life, but, the game dropped just in time for me to use it as the mental distraction, and escape from daily life, that I so desperately needed. I had graduated from college with no clear plan and felt stuck in a hopeless loop. I would play D2 for hours on end each day, barely eating, barely sleeping, barely talking to my friends or family, because during this tough time, the game offered me a sense of purpose that I needed in my life. Granted, I knew this was unhealthy. Destiny 2 helped me over the hump, for a while, but inevitably proved to be a huge counterweight upon my ability to grow as a person. I didn’t realize this until well after I stopped playing.
However, that’s not what this article is about. This is my entire relationship with Destiny 2, and the gradual disappointment and falling off from the game, that I wish to discuss. I have legitimate gripes and I wish for them to be heard. (Yes, some are more personal than others, I know this.) I truthfully don’t have much hope in Destiny anymore, and care very little in what happens with it from here on out. I can hope that things get better, but continued hope has been the exact thing that has led me to this moment. I don’t know. Here’s 6 reasons why I stopped playing Destiny 2.
1. Pete didn’t get the DLC.
That’s right, Pete didn’t get the DLC. That’s what ruined Destiny. Joking, of course. What really happened was the introduction of DLC locking content for many players. But, laugh through the pain, right?
We, our fireteam, were a small group. Just the six of us, but it was a solid bunch of lads. When one of us needed help, another was already by his side, lending a hand. We prepared for our missions, we worked well together, we laughed together, we had fun together, we failed together, we got the job done together, but when the Curse of Osiris DLC released for the public, and one of our fireteam members was unable to purchase it, it affected the rest of the team in unexpected ways. I said “Pete didn’t get the DLC,” which is my way of making light of the terrible truth of the situation.
Content lock. Initially (this has now been adjusted), if an individual had not purchased the Curse of Osiris DLC, they would not have access to certain activities: Strikes, Heroic and Prestige Strikes, Prestige Raids, etc. This was based on the idea that these playlists were now “updated” for the DLC, locking non-DLC-purchasing players completely out of the activities. This is problematic because, for example, there were four Strikes in the vanilla game that have absolutely no interaction with the DLC, but were clumped into the same playlist as the DLC content, and, therefore, players weren’t able to access the activities that they should have had access to from the vanilla game. Pete couldn’t play Strikes, or, really, anything else for that matter, and after this happened, playing Destiny wasn’t necessarily a “priority” for us anymore. If one of us couldn’t play, screw it.
2. I became employed.
I was in a rough patch, but thanks to the support of my friends and family, I was able to turn things around. I had less interest in and less time to play Destiny because I got a job. (Thanks, GameLuster.) Two jobs, actually. (Level up!) I found new purpose as I was able to think, write, and engage with a community that loves games, like I do, and this change happened for me around the same time that D2 started with its shenanigans. The game had begun to take its toll on me, during a time where I wanted to distance myself from it anyway. It was perfect.
3. Effortless Guardians.
When I would play, I liked to raid. However, raiding is the most intensive, communication-reliant, mechanically-driven activity in the game, and it requires a full team of six to play. One has to know what to do, why they are doing it, and how their actions will affect their teammates. It’s a mind game, as much as it is a game-game, which is satisfying for me in so many ways from strategy building to successful execution, to the heartbreak of failure, and much, much more than words can even scratch the surface of. Raiding is an experience to be had, one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that gaming has to offer. However, it requires people who care. Which I found that a lot of the Destiny community failed to do.
There are guides online (some even as short as 8 minutes) that break down the entire raid and its mechanics into simple steps, with a smooth-talking British man explaining it to you every step of the way. I watched it, asked my friends to watch it, and, as a result, we had success during our raids. However, not everyone is like us. Not everyone cared to research, and instead relied on the “kindness of strangers” to explain the raid to them as we played. (Wildly inefficient.) This is just an uncaring attitude that I dislike, and encountered far too often in my (non-clan) raid teams.
4. Eververse, things getting worse before they get better.
I took a moment to scan the Bungie.net forums and r/Destiny2 before writing this section, and things look bleak. At the time of writing, the first Faction Rally of the year started in Destiny 2, an event which is expected to bring new gear and rewards for players. But it has brought absolutely nothing. (Aside from repeat items from previous seasons.) Complaints come from all across the board about this: “Boycott,” one user said, “It’s over Boyos,” said another.
A recent Development Update post admitted to Bungie’s own recent failures, but they seem to actually be doing very little about it. Adding new ways to earn Bright Engrams (the type of reward one can earn via microtransactions or heavy-amounts of gameplay), seems to be their only address to the state of microtransactions at all - something the community has been uproarious about since its first appearance in D1. Their current plan is to offer a new branch of missions for guardians to earn bright engrams weekly… Big whoop. Thanks.
It just seems that things are getting worse before they’re getting any better. Adding flashy new rims to a rusted-out car doesn’t make it run better, and it doesn’t make you look any better as the driver, either. DLC isn’t my issue, but crappy DLC and greedy business strategies are. Disappointing DLC and forcing paid-content onto players is no fun for anyone, except those profiting off of it, and this is just another injury to my already fragile relationship with the Destiny series.
5. Prestige Raids, an excuse for "additional end-game content."
“Prestige raids,” or “hard mode raids,” are another major issue for me. When they first released on console I was eager for new content, and especially anxious for a new challenge for the Leviathan Raid. The prestige raid was supposed to be my answer, but, instead, led me down yet another path of unnecessary frustration that inevitably pushed me further away from the game. It wasn’t only a lack of change from Bungie’s side of things, it was also the players’ reactions to the raid that bothered me so much.
The biggest issue was that Bungie seemed to believe that adding more minion-type enemies to each encounter would be a substitute for a difficulty improvement. There were nearly double the amount of “adds” that there usually are, with bigger health bars and harder-hitting guns. Bungie plopped in more enemies, pushed their power level up a few points, and called it. Doing this was successful, if they wanted to make the encounters unnecessarily difficult without making major mechanical changes (which were the changes everyone had hoped for).
But, there were some mechanical tweaks. Each encounter was amped up a bit, but the core concept always remained the same. With the prestige raid, it was now vital for all players to know each and every role that the raid required, and be able to “switch out” at a moment’s notice. This is where most players ran into an issue. Some guardians just can’t shoot arrows in the gauntlet. Some guardians just can’t get to the flower in time. Some guardians just can’t shoot their psions in the void room. All of these roads lead to broken dreams - and my record of, to this day, not being able to complete the Leviathan on prestige. The Prestige Raid required guardians to give all of their all, and most guardians weren’t even willing to show up, laughing off the whole thing, just because the adds in the Castellum were “too hard.”
6. Bungie's laziness, inattention, and overall disappointment.
I told my friends it would be different this time around. Turns out, I’m a liar. Bungie, you’ve made me a big, fat liar.
Jokes aside, I was blown away by the changes that Bungie made to the series with the release of D2. (At first.) Everything felt smoother, cleaner, more logical, and it just felt like Bungie had finally gotten it right this time around. I was playing on PS4, and anxiously anticipating the PC release scheduled for three months later, looking forward to 60fps and playing with my PC friends. The early days were a blast, filled with mystery and confusion - Popping powerful engrams at the wrong time, wondering how to initiate heroic public events, where’s Xur, what are these?, How do I this, How do I that?, and all of that fun stuff. It was better, it was new. I was curious again, and truly wanted to save the galaxy.
But, as time went on, Bungie earned “strike” after “strike” from me. The first was the Prestige Raid. Then Faction Rallies, Iron Banner, The Dawning, Curse of Osiris… Each one looked, on the surface, to be a new event that would be both fun to play and appropriately rewarding. Not so. Prestige raids were next-to-impossible for a variety of reasons, and the rewards for the activity are (still) merely re-skinned weapons and armor from the original, non-hard-mode raid. Strike one. Faction Rallies came, many were excited, but the stripping of reputation levels from the first game, and the replacement of them with arbitrary “faction tokens,” (handed out at the end of nearly every activity, which cashed in for bogus, terrible weapons) made the whole Faction Rally experience bunk, for me. Strike two.
Iron Banner was what really struck me out. I’ll keep it simple: You had to win ten competitive matches to earn a reward, and this reward was a non-armor, non-weapon “emblem” that merely displays your player name. That was the big “season 1 reward” for Iron Banner. So, the big reward was atrocious, and when you did have a chance to score some armor or weapons, they were useless - underpowered in terms of level, and the weaponry was extremely inaccurate and didn’t fit into the crucible meta in any way, shape, or form. Folks were still using their MIDA and Uriel combos, completely ignoring the new IB weaponry, because none of it was any good.
If things couldn’t get worse with IB, the weapon and armor drops were completely RNG - so you play until you win ten awful multiplayer matches (where no one communicates or even bothers to play with a microphone) and when you finally see your reward, it’s a random drop that you’ve gotten already. Okay. Strike Three. I’m out.
The Curse of Osiris and The Dawning were money hungry events, focusing mostly on cosmetic, purchasable items from Tess. Osiris content locked some players, which infuriated me because this happened in D1, too. It’s the same greedy trap, the same money-hungry scheme: advertise our game as free to play, unlike other MMORPGs, but, force paid content every three months, and funnel out those players who don’t wish to donate to the cause.
Bungie, I’m mad.
Your game is fall... OUR game is falling apart, and you don't seem to care.