For all of its lows, Destiny players aren’t kicking the habit just yet.
There’s a schedule that Destiny players follow and it’s incredible how reinforcing it is even if they’re aware of it. The week doesn’t begin on Monday morning. Rather, it starts on Tuesday afternoon. For some, it’s late night. But regardless, every Destiny player’s week truly begins on a Tuesday with the server reset. A new Nightfall is available. Chances to obtain new Legendaries from the Vanguard Heroic Strikes are available. Legendary Marks. Three run-throughs of King’s Fall. In Year One, it was ritualistic – three run-throughs each of Vault of Glass, Crota’s End and maybe Prison of Elders.
"However, with each new “event” the content seemed to dry up more and more. The waiting period between events was full of periods of nothingness."
Now with The Taken King, Tuesday is reserved for running the Nightfall and King’s Fall. Other raid runs happen throughout the week but Wednesday is now Armsday. Thursday is that weird period of waiting for Bungie’s news update. Friday brings news, Xur and Trials of Osiris. The weekend itself is thus reserved for bullshitting, Trials, etc. With Daily Heroic missions like Lost to Light and Paradox, there could be any day where a player might find a reason to log in.
To its credit, Bungie has found ways to keep players invested throughout a busy quarter. After King’s Fall landed, there were the time-gated missions leading to hidden Exotics. Many players began to really unravel the extent of quests for weapons like Touch of Malice or the Exotic Swords. The Gunsmith’s class-specific weapons were coming to light. Calcified Fragment hunting was a thing. Eventually, the Festival of the Lost arrived, then Challenge Mode, then Sparrow Racing League and most recently Crimson Days.
However, with each new “event” the content seemed to dry up more and more. The waiting period between events is full of periods of nothingness. Sure, Iron Banner retuned every now and then but the past several months have been about controversies regarding skill-based matchmaking, drop rates and glitches more than anything else.
"Many consider this the “Skinner Box” side of Destiny and how it manages to keep players hooked despite its lack of content. It’s often been cited that Destiny‘s fun comes from the pursuit of loot and nothing else."
No, we’re not going to drone on about how some players are oblivious to the state of the game and should just quit already. When looking at a game like Destiny, it’s phenomenal to note a game which does so much with so little. The “group activity” phenomenon only goes so far with multiplayer games though. You and your buddies may enjoy the multiplayer of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Halo 5: Guardians and even Rocket League, but after a point, you’ll want to play something else.
Many consider this the “Skinner Box” side of Destiny and how it manages to keep players hooked despite its lack of content. It’s often been cited that Destiny‘s fun comes from the pursuit of loot and nothing else. Diablo 3 follows the same principle but is more about giving the player options – the end goal itself is becoming an unstoppable beast of power. The same goes for Borderlands – you can demolish bosses with ease but there is an end-game you eventually come to with the top-tier weapons and items that will steamroll anything. Both Blizzard and Gearbox, before the latter began focusing on Battleborn and the next Borderlands, offered higher difficulties and more OP loot to come by as a result. Blizzard continues to create new areas and difficult challenges for high level players but that’s another discussion.
The point is that there is something that continues to bind Destiny players even when there is nothing to do. Some may point to the amazing gunplay. Others may point to just how brilliant the weapon design, world design, range of activities, etc. really is. But even with such limited content compared to Year One, Destiny continues to chug on, perhaps a little less populated than before but still strong. It may be that the game is simply a pretense at this point to hang out with friends and honestly, there are worse pretenses out there.
"While it’s unsure just what kind of shelf-life this game will have in the decade to come, any game with this level of devotion will live on as a franchise for a good long time."
It could be that Destiny is simply a collective dream of sorts for its players. The moment you start waking up and realizing how insignificant it all really is (Light level 320, reaching the Lighthouse, even attempting the raids, etc.), you start to look back at the moments you found memorable. Other games often define these moments for you with their single-player. Games like Fallout 4 are a collective sharing experience where players discuss what they found on their random traipses through the Commonwealth. For the hundreds of hours you gain through the single-player, there may be something you missed along the way. Multiplayer games have it tougher but there is a wider potential for moments. Even those have their limits after a point.
Destiny players have reached their limits but still continue. And from a subjective standpoint, there’s nothing in Destiny‘s single-player (outside of its raids) that really struck me as that moment that will stay with me forever, especially compared to the Tip of the Spear in Halo: Reach, exploring Hyrule for the first time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or even fighting Metal Gear Rex in Metal Gear Solid. Heck, if we’re going to be more recent, nothing in Destiny compares to the awesome moments in The Witcher 3 or even Life is Strange. Nothing compares to the rush I’ve experienced in Titanfall.
Still, Destiny players continue, seemingly unable to kick the habit. Some relapse and return with time. While it’s unsure just what kind of shelf-life this game will have in the decade to come, any game with this level of devotion will live on as a franchise for a good long time.
The question, from one former Destiny player to others is: Where will you be when it’s Tuesday?