Destiny the concept has been hyped to death. Let’s take a look at Destiny the game.
Bungie’s Destiny has earned more than $500 million at retail and through first party sales within the first 24 hours. The reviews are slowly beginning to trickle in. Players have experienced their first Strike missions, spent a good amount of time in the Crucible fighting other players and the first of Live Events will begin today as teams of 3 compete for reputation rewards, gear and marks. In fact, the system behind marks and reputation is slowly beginning to open up. Players are becoming aware of merchants that only appear at certain points and which bestow more premium weaponry and gear. It’s slowly becoming apparent that the game is more of a Diablo 3-esque loot grinder compared to the Halo/Borderlands/WoW hybrid that many believed it would be.
"While there isn’t a range of tutorials explaining everything in Destiny, the story is focused on familiarizing you with the universe and letting you discover everything on your own."
Now that the initial wave of hype has passed, let’s look at Destiny through anything but rose-tinted glasses. Which would be difficult if you hadn’t played the game (like me) but there has been so much feedback that it’s hard to ignore.
First off, the story – or lack of thereof. When Titanfall first released, Respawn Entertainment attempted some semblance of a story. This essentially acted as a tutorial more than anything else to break new players into the game. It was also essential for unlocking the Ogre and Stryder Titans for classic multiplayer (which was eventually changed) but the basic gist was to expose players to the universe and mechanics that Respawn had created.
From that perspective, Destiny is more or less the same thing. While there isn’t a range of tutorials explaining everything in Destiny, the story is focused on familiarizing you with the universe and letting you discover everything on your own. You gain Grimoire Cards which net you Glimmer and new details about the story. You can also discover various Dead Ghosts for more information. The problem is not being able to see the Grimoire Cards in-game but really, the story is meant to be constructed as much or as little as you want. The same could be said for Titanfall and Dark Souls and many other titles.
A bigger problem is the lack of socialization in Destiny. Sure, you can wave and point at random fools while sending them invites but suppose you want to actually hold conversations. Suppose you want to invite someone and tell them what exactly it is you’re inviting them for. Or you could just dance in front of them, since that’s clearly the message you want to convey. Luckily for Strike missions you can enable match-making to ensure that you don’t enter the Devil’s Lair completely alone. But for Raids? You’ll need to go outside the game to contact people.
"It's simply amazing to take a look at Destiny in its finished form though. Compared to a true MMO like Carbine Studios' WildStar, there is an infinitely lower level of content than what initially seemed possible..."
On the one hand, it’s not the dumbest idea ever. Communities for Destiny have popped up all over the place and we’re not even counting the official forums. You can head right on over to Reddit when the first Raid hits and undoubtedly find people seeking raiding parties. Bungie has also made it clear that Raids are coordinated efforts that can’t just be completed between a few strangers. This kind of recruitment makes team-work all the more important and ensures that only the hardest of the hardcore take part. If it’s anything like the Strike missions though – which can be completed on Legendary with the right gear – there might be some issues.
It’s simply amazing to take a look at Destiny in its finished form though. Compared to a true MMO like Carbine Studios’ WildStar, there is an infinitely lower level of content than what initially seemed possible (especially since Bungie seems to have been working on Destiny for as long). You could argue that it’s the end-game of Destiny that is all the more important but even WildStar has a system for obtaining Eldan Points and ultimately better gear.
What’s more, despite server population problems in the past few months, Carbine Studios has managed to release two heavy content drops, revamped the AMP and Skill Points system, overhauled PvP and added tons of new missions and zones in the process. We’re not even counting the various zones, adventures and Raids you can take part in upon hitting level 50.
Bungie is slowly introducing more and more content to Destiny though – it has three major live events planned for later in September/October and players will be able to war in the Crucible starting today. However, if WildStar had a point where it tapered off in terms of content post-launch, couldn’t the same thing happen to Destiny? Players are already beginning to complain about having to grind missions for experience. It is all in the Vanguard marks and Crucible marks along with their respective gear to be gained but is it enough to keep players interested past the initial commitment?
" There's no doubt Bungie will continue to refine Destiny to fix AI issues, glitches and match-making problems. The real worry is in the content and overall approach of the game."
The multiplayer is especially interesting since Destiny’s Crucible stands out as a highlight for the game. There aren’t a ton of maps to play but there’s more than enough depth due to the various abilities and classes. However, what about the awful match-making that is seeing some players fight off teams six versus one? What about the late-joiners who drop out seeing the hopeless score? Titanfall may have struggled with this a lot in between (and to some extent, it still does today) but this is only one aspect of Destiny.
Again, this is something that can only be pointed out with feedback. There’s no doubt Bungie will continue to refine Destiny to fix AI issues, glitches and match-making problems. The real worry is in the content and overall approach of the game. Will players really get into what’s essentially first person Diablo, especially if they don’t have friends around all the time to play? This over-reliance on friends for much of the game’s deeper content served to trip up WildStar.
We’ll see how Bungie manages the issue – and a whole ton of others – as Destiny progresses. It’s just amazing that the game is less of a “believe the hype” situation and more of a “the hype is a lie” occurrence. Not that this is a bad thing but it’s best that people know what they’re getting into before buying into Destiny.