Destiny The Taken King: A Step in The Right Direction (Sort of)

Bungie is making a lot of the right moves with its expansion but there’s still more to be done.

Posted By | On 28th, Sep. 2015 Under Article, Editorials

Destiny: The Taken King has now been out for two weeks as of this time of writing. Usually, Destiny expansions have had a notorious reputation for being wrapped up in a few short days (unless you discount The Dark Below’s Hard Mode raid releasing a month later) but this one has some staying power. And it should, having cost $40 and touted as changing the base game itself entirely. I’m not here to tell you whether you should blow your hard-earned money on it – that’s what the upcoming review will be for – but to answer whether Destiny is finally worth playing or not.

And the answer is what it always has been: It depends. When Destiny first launched, it was lauded for its gunplay, graphics and awesome soundtrack. However, a lack of content, compelling story and some truly asinine mechanics (limited Vault space and bounty slots, terrible RNG, excessive grinding for shards, etc.) ruined the experience. Though Bungie set about fixing many of the more serious issues, it couldn’t help but create more problems in the process like raid glitches and re-leveling Exotics. Serious progress was still being made though even as one’s favourite guns and armour became obsolete in the process.


"The philosophy behind Destiny’s replay value probably would have been more solid had there been more such missions released in the base game."

The Taken King does exemplify the kind of experience I personally want from Bungie though. One could argue about replay value and value for money in terms of hours played but one needs compelling content to do that. The expansion is full of such, whether it’s in the new raid which relies on teamwork now more than ever or in the litany of side-quests. Even as a huge amount of gear becomes obsolete, the gameplay offers more variety than before. I can be a Stormcaller Warlock with Bad Juju for recharging my Super, which mixes Fist of Panic and Emperor Palpatine’s Force lightning together for true mass murder. Maybe I want to play more defensively? I can pick up Tlaloc, an Exotic scout rifle which increases the weapon’s base stats as the Super meter fills, thus hanging on to it till the time is right and unleashing grenades and melee strikes in the meantime. Let’s not forget swords which offer an entirely different experience unto themselves. One could easily keep a hand cannon for mid-range, a sniper for long range and a sword for close quarters combat.

Regardless, what I wanted most was variety in quests and content. In that regard, Destiny: The Taken King takes many positive steps. There’s a huge chunk of PvP, co-op, single-player and raid content to get into. The cut scenes in the story and Cayde’s dialogue are great and all but it feels like a long time since Bungie created missions which are just outright fun to play. The philosophy behind Destiny’s replay value probably would have been more solid had there been more such missions released in the base game.

Not only that, but Bungie also seems to want to push its players to explore this universe, rewarding them heavily for the same. Did you know that a powerful, Year Two, Exotic version of a much loved sniper rifle was hiding inside of a Daily Heroic mission recently? Though the hidden section itself was incredibly difficult, it was worth it for the absolute lack of RNG involved (despite Bungie accidentally setting the weapon at 310 Attack). It came down to skill and of course, some powerful friends.

Of course, there is still a core problem with Destiny: The Taken King that affects other games, particularly shooters. There’s a strong emphasis on PvP and PvP-related events in the months between DLC and expansions. It could also be argued that there isn’t that much story content to begin with, not to mention plenty of plot points yet to be addressed. And the game still has a huge amount of grinding – if you want your Exotic Sword (and you are going to want it), you have to defeat major enemies and Guardians in the Crucible, farm tons of materials, murder lots of enemies with the corresponding weapon’s element (but only using ability kills), wait for new materials on Armsday and then finish a difficult strike under special conditions.


"The grind may never truly die but Destiny has begun to feel more rewarding with The Taken King."

In another quest, you have to kill Taken Champions across the different planets and require at least one other person to help you, maybe even two in the initial stages. If you want to push your Light level higher, you’ll want to do the Vanguard Strike playlist consisting of the same Strikes over and over again though some effort is made to mix it up with differing combinations of enemies. It also doesn’t help that a lot of Year One material has been made obsolete, thus limiting the overall amount of content worth spending time on. Matchmaking for major end-game activities like raids is still absent but it’s even worse when it comes to finishing high-level Patrol quests or even the Court of Oryx by yourself.

Hitting Light level 300 after obtaining a few pieces of raid gear and weapons now also becomes a case of being able to use the weapons you want. If you want Year Two versions of some Exotics, since not all have been carried over from Year One, you need to either wait for them to drop, Xur to sell them or to purchase their blueprints with Legendary Marks which requires more grinding. And despite “improved” RNG, you’re still looking at crappy Cryptarch packages, duplicate Exotics, suspiciously lacklustre raid drops, iffy Crucible rewards and – my personal favourite – shitty Nightfall rewards.

Bungie is going in the right direction as far as difficult missions with great rewards and compelling single-player content is concerned. It’s pretty much cornered the market in terms of the best FPS raid content – King’s Fall is tons of fun and well worth the investment for hardcore fans, even as Hard Mode is yet to release. The grind may never truly die but Destiny has begun to feel more rewarding with The Taken King. While the MMO/FPS hybrid or whatever one wants to call it still seems a ways off from the perfection we expected at launch, it’s a lot more fun to play and several degrees less frustrating than before.

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.

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  • Scott Zupek

    SKIP THIS GAME, it’s not worth it. Go get GTA5 instead.

    I don’t know how anyone can take a review seriously when the fact that their network code is pure trash… absolute udder garbage….and the review didn’t even mention it. 3v3 = lag. ZERO packet filtering, meaning whatever packet gets there first wins. That may sound like a good design but it’s not…because if your connection has a higher latency, you do better. They don’t have dedicated servers, despite what you are lead to believe by fanboys and again 3v3 = lag. The system rewards lag, not skill. The balance of this game is pure trash that we, as beta testers/paying customers, had to endure for year 1.

    • Magnus Storm

      The game looks worth it to millions of gamers currently playing it. The vitriolic reaction the game gets from people on in the internet never really matches up with the feelings past and present Destiny players have with it.

      It’s a good game. It’s not WoW level where any individual will consistently play it year after year but it’s solid for what it is; a FPS with PVP, story, raids, and loot grind.

      As far as GTA goes. I don’t see why any person would need to skip this game, or any game, just to play another instead. If you’re a gamer then play the games the look interesting to you. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee that you will like every game that you play. You have to try stuff out anyway.

    • theduckofdeath

      Destiny is highly time consuming. With work, commute time, sleep, and other interests, it can be tough to play multiple games.

      GTA does not require the same grind and you truly would be play for fun and for shorter periods. Raids are by far the best part of Destiny, and I assure you, I wasn’t raiding on 3 characters because it was so much fun.

      Tack on Nightfalls, Crucible, IB, and dailies x3. The time spent was to overcome the horrendous loot/reward system.

      He is correct that the netcode or performance thereof, along with the lack of dedicated for an intrinsically online game, is a slap in the face to customers. Crucible, with all it’s balance faults, can generally fun when not mired in lag.

      This type of design is a large part of so many people espousing a “hatred” for multiplayer. They are angry because they “suck” at it, but truthfully, they aren’t as bad as they may think. Play enough matches and it is evident the weapon and the player are not always to blame. The Crucible is rife with impossible goings on and radically inconsistent results.

    • Magnus Storm

      And yet it’s one of the highest played games this generation on PS4 and XBox One.

      Time consuming? It’s a game. People have been capable of playing multiple games over the course of their life.

      The whole “either or” line of thought is beyond silly for this, or any, hobby.

      I have Destiny, GTA, and many other games. I don’t freak out about time. I play what I want when I can.Welcome to life.

    • theduckofdeath

      Yes, time-consuming. And who is freaking out? If you have a job, a career, a family, and/or Interests outside of videogames, Destiny requires way too much time to get anywhere — at least, in year one.

      Millions listened to Britney Spears music. Millions play Call Of Duty. Millions watch reality shows. Subscriber count is not testament to quality. Destiny was hyped for years and comes from the company that developed Halo. HALO. Destiny is no Halo.

      There is a point where playing Destiny is just not worth it. The core gameplay is not great, IMO. It is not simply the fault of the story. The are pluses as some aspects are done well, but too many key aspects fall short.

      The time required is substantial and that is just for the chance to be awarded one of the more rare weapons. There is no other reason to play so many repetitive missions, as I stated to gameplay isn’t top notch or even very fun. It is reel of scratch off tickets disguised as a videogame.

      I never said anyone should stop playing Destiny, entirely. Simply, that if you do play it as intended, it will monopolize your free time. The main point to the game is collecting weapons. Activision and Bungie intentionally strung along players to keep the player count up.

    • Magnus Storm

      Time consumption seems like a matter of fact to me. 10 hours there, 2 hours here, 100 hours over there..gamers have the time and will devote that time to various games. It’s not a negative for Destiny or even worth mentioning.

      Sales and how well received a product is among consumers is popularity contest. If you want to argue quality then you need a podium in a classroom somewhere but even then many instructors will understand the value of making a product that appeals to many people.

      Loot grinding…Good.

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