Bungie’s Destiny has been a curious beast over the years. It’s received acclaim for its gameplay and FPS mechanics. The progression systems and mission design has improved significantly since launch. However, it still lacks the magic that really defined a shooter series like Halo or an MMO like World of Warcraft. Granted, it’s occupying a very uncomfortable space between MMO and FPS, suffered from its fair share of design problems and delays and wrestled with less than ideal development tools. There is still hope from Destiny 2 though, especially with a recent set of rumours that pegged it as taking place on Saturn, featuring a better architecture to facilitate quicker and more substantial updates, busier towns and more activities and so on.
Again, these are all just rumours and should be taken with a grain of salt. But it gets us thinking about the things we’d like to see in Destiny 2 and more importantly, the things Bungie should avoid throwing in.
Enough is enough and it’s time for a chance. Skill-based matchmaking has been a thorn in many a Destiny player’s side (more than the actual Thorn, to be honest). It’s not that it matches you with players who are the same level or better than you, thus pushing you to try your hardest. No, it’s that the search parameters search worldwide to make this happen. In Destiny 2, there should be unranked and ranked playlists with the latter emphasizing ranks – but not completely sacrificing connections. Meanwhile, unranked playlists could work on finding similar skill levels but emphasizing connection quality above all. Unless Destiny 2 removes P2P matchmaking altogether and goes with dedicated servers, we don’t see such extreme SBMM being the best route for the Crucible.
Horde Mode End-game
More people enjoyed re-running the older raids rather than enduring Prison of Elders in Year One. With the April Update, more players enjoyed running King’s Fall at Heroic than running Challenge of the Elders. We don’t mind Horde activities per say but it should be an optional choice for players, especially when Bungie isn’t going to bring back true-blue Firefight anytime soon (though Archon’s Forge could be close). One of the best choices made with the April Update was allowing Faction Packages and Strike Loot to drop at max Light level, thus allowing players to progress without relying on Prison of Elders. Thus far, in terms of mission design, the developer is on the right path – we just hope there’s no sudden urge to make a Horde activity the end-game focus at any point in Destiny 2.
Horde-Style Mission Objectives
The base game was infamous for every single mission type being the same thing: Scan an object or door, fight off three waves of enemies, progress forward, repeat. Subsequent expansions like House of Wolves and The Taken King were better with this but Bungie’s obsession with Prison of Elders didn’t exactly what our appetite for more Horde-style nonsense. The point we’re making with this is that story missions should tell a story. Remember ascending to the highest point in the Cosmodrome in Cayde’s Stash? Or revisiting the Vault of Glass in House of Wolves and the Paradox mission? Bungie is clearly capable of telling great stories and weaving missions around the same.
PvP Weapon Balance Affecting PvE
It started with Vex Mythoclast being nerfed because, well, there isn’t much point to PvPing against a gun that melts you in three to four shots. Then the auto rifle nerfs came, followed swiftly by hand cannons. Shotguns received PvE buffs and nerfs, range nerfs, you name it. Fusion rifles fell quickly from the beginning and while it may have all created some sort of “balance” in PvP, it hasn’t helped PvE one bit. Ask players who suffer from too much flinch while sniping enemies or limited special ammo overall. If Destiny 2 needs to achieve anything with its weapon balance, then it’s to keep PvP and PvE separate. Also, the excuse that Guardians won’t understand the differences between weapon damage and performance in PvP vs. PvE? That this was a legitimate excuse Bungie offered is still mind-boggling.
Story-Telling Through Only Lore
Bungie is somewhat known for wanting to tell the best stories through in-game lore. However, the Halo series still told a fairly competent story with the in-game missions. Destiny‘s best stories seem trapped in the Grimoire. Maybe the Books of Sorrow wouldn’t have worked out from a gameplay perspective but surely there should be some way to offer missions on the scale of The Last Word, Thorn, The Battle of Twilight Gap and various other tales? The current problem right now is to offer typical missions with fairly standard objectives and let the Grimoire tell the tale behind it. Want to learn more about SIVA from Rise of Iron? Not happening unless you read the Grimoire. Hopefully Destiny 2 features a strong story and memorable side-plots to go with its lore. Lore is supposed to add to the main story, not substitute for it because the central story is so barren and unmemorable.
Terrible Raid Weapons
Rise of Iron actually features some strong raid weapons this time around…which is amazing when you consider that the last few PvE end-game activities haven’t offered many good weapons. King’s Fall had some boring weapons and the Hallowed versions didn’t offer much more than a paint change. House of Wolves‘ weapons in Year One didn’t live up to Crota’s End or Vault of Glass, not that Bungie made much effort to try. Thus far, we’re enjoying what Rise of Iron has to offer. Will this trend continue? One can certainly hope.
Lack of Elemental Primaries
A very interesting question was posed by a fan recently – “Why do the enemies have elemental primaries but the Guardians don’t?” We’re motivated to say the Vex traveled back in time and removed them from existence to make things more difficult but it is an excellent point. Elemental primaries are no longer a thing because…maybe they made content too easy, especially when it came to Nightfalls? Then again, the solution was to seemingly increase enemy burn damage, nerf Guardian burn damage and introduce gear that reduces burn damage (but only by a bit). Again, what’s the problem with having these during raids, especially when the mechanics are the most difficult aspect? Destiny 2‘s re-introduction of elemental primaries could be limited to Exotics, much like Zhalo Supercell, or introduced as consumables for current weapons. Either way, put them back for the sequel.
Designing quests is hard. Even with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you’ll come across the same mechanics for the smaller quests and Monster hunts every now and then (though CD Projekt RED found other ways to distinguish one quest from another). It’s just a limiting factor of game design. However, in a shared world shooter like Destiny, why is our all-powerful Guardian relegated to gathering resources for missions? There’s even a Postmaster whose job it is to recover Engrams dropped on the ground. How difficult in the lore would it be for the Postmaster to, you know, gather up those resources instead? Granted, this does limit the typical kinds of quests you could do in MMOs but there’s plenty to replace them with. Kill missions, assassinations, stealth missions, tower defense-like scenarios, dialogue-driven missions and interactions, testing new field weapons…and if Bungie actually does incorporate space combat, there’s a whole new range of missions that could open up for Destiny 2. Our point is that when even World of Warcraft has cut down on fetch quests, you know they’ve outlived their use in a triple-A MMO shooter.
Gated Off Content
Destiny could take a few lessons from The Division‘s upcoming update 1.4 or even Diablo 3 which both feature different difficulties for obtaining solid gear. The current problem with Destiny is that in order to gain the highest Light level gear, you need to do the end-game activities. This is a problem because many of the activities like raids, Challenge of the Elders and Trials of Osiris don’t have matchmaking. We’re not saying matchmaking is required but what about in-game LFG options at least? The point is that solo players should be able to gain some form of linear progression that’s quick enough without having to play with other people. And no, we’re not talking about Strikes which cap out at 365 Light and then force you to grind mercilessly with Three of Coins, Exotic Engrams and factions packages for slight increases. The really challenging content which requires more than one person could mitigate this with more loot drops all around.
Barren Social Spaces
If rumours are to be believed, Destiny 2 will have more livelier areas where you can queue for activities and still continue to explore. These social spaces will apparently have more things to do and people to talk to, which is a great new addition considering how barren the current game is. Case in point, the Tower is the only place with a sizable amount of NPCs and some of those lose their usefulness over the time (remember the Speaker, one of the central characters)? The Reef and Iron Temple aren’t much better, especially since there are no vendors in the latter and no faction vendors in the former. We’re not saying faction vendors have to be present in every social space for Destiny 2 (it wouldn’t hurt though since it means you don’t have to backtrack to the Tower every time for something) but there should be more than just one or two story NPCs or bounty vendors.
What features do you hope Bungie avoids implementing in Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.