I'm late on this subject and super procrastinated on posting it. This was written before the Destiny 2 premiere and that I'll have a follow up for later.
I bring up this subject in response to the recent review of Destiny as a whole from a video at Skill Up's YouTube channel. Destiny has always been a polarizing game for me. I see people, a great many at that, enjoy what Destiny has to offer and tell myself that it's an experience that I want to be apart of. But then I also look back and remember what turned me away from the experience. An as the introduction in the aforementioned video brought up a quote from Shigeru Miyamoto, "A delayed game can be good, but a rushed game is bad forever..." it is something that I think a lot of game developers/publishers can really take to heart. I think that we can all agree that first impressions are everlasting, and it is very hard to recover from them. Destiny itself has been one of those games that admittedly had an abyssmal start and continued to make up for it for the last three years. In those three years I've seen friends absolutely get lost within the world Destiny had to offer, I've watched a streamer start from humble beginnings to becoming a strong face and personality within the community. In those three years I've probably spent four months believing in the game, three months at launch, and one month at the launch of The Taken King. This wasn't constant play, but time that I actually wanted to put up with the franchise before I finally decided that 'becoming legend' wasn't for me. But if one thing had been consistent, I still look back at this game with wonder of what could've been and long for the feeling that so many others had shared in their journeys and constantly try to find the reason why I turned my back on the game.
I suppose I'd have to start with my initial experience with Destiny, year one at launch. A game that I had ever been excited for, I'd already spent time with MMO's in the past and had an idea of what I was getting into. I was looking forward to a more skill based adventure, around this time I was playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and wanted a change of pace. The launch of Destiny as we all know had a lack of content, with the main story easily completed roughly within a six hour span of time. Had this been any other shooter this amount of campaign time would be absolutely acceptable, and admittedly it still is. I awaited with baited breath for the next patch as I had assumed it would be filled with additional content for me to explore as my previous MMO experiences would have me believe. Sadly I was mistaken as the patch had only included an additional PvP mode, and then later a Raid of which as a solo player I was practically barred from experiencing without a group of friends. It wasn't necessarily the friends that was the issue, it was the gathering of said friends that made enjoying the end game and what has been called the 'Meat and Potatoes' of the game difficult. The reviewer had brought up an interview he had done with a Bungie developer which went into a bit of detail with the idea of not allowing Pick Up Groups or PUGs within the game to help boost comraderie.
Admittedly this forced players into interactions that they may of not otherwise had but also probably had better lasting ones at that. However, within this same review it was brought up that Destiny is thought of as a Hobby game. Something you come back to because it is your 'Comfort Food', but at the same time it is forcing me to organize a time in which to enjoy what is considered the best content within the game. Instead of being able to enjoy my hobby at a time that best suits me I need to properly set up an appointement to enjoy said hobby. I've brought up the lack of a matchmaking of the raids in Bungie forums previously only to be told that, "This content can only be completed with a well coordinated team and that a PUG would have an extremely difficult time as there wouldn't be proper communication and teamwork." then within the same post (and also right from the reviewer) I am told that, "I can utilize the LFG site to gather people for the raid." It's astounding to me that a function that is available in other parts of content excluding Nightfall Strikes has matchmaking, yet what has been considered the most important part of the game does not. It also didn't allow me to even try with a PUG group. This is in place to avoid being bothered with trolling in Destiny, and while I'm sure this helps to some degree you can't exactly control where griefing can occur. In The Division you're able to matchmake for all the content within the game except for running through The Dark Zone. This argument however has gone on and on, and I definitely can appreciate the idea that when you see a Guardian you know for a fact THAT is a person that can help you. It is a nice sentiment to think that everyone in the world is there as your friend to help you, but I've also made plenty of lasting relationships in other MMO experiences by random encounters. Later on the expansions came out, content that I hadn't purchased as I wanted to wait and see what the new content would truly entail. When I had come to find out there was a very small amount of content added in terms of story in The Dark Below and more of the same in House of Wolves I had given up on the experience.
Story is always integral to a long term experience, and Destiny is all about building your 'Legend'. At launch I couldn't wait to begin exploring the galaxy fight against evil and save the day. However, I came to quickly realize that a corridor is a corridor no matter how tall the skybox. I was disappointed with the lack of things to see throughout the planets I would visit, I had painted a picture of a much larger experience in the build up to launch. In the way of story I was a defender at launch, again thinking that a patch would elaborate on the lack of the story within the game. But also through my MMO experience the way story was presented made sense to me in a way. The game didn't force the lore and had you find it on your own, however the world around you was devoid of story and had to be found with Grimoires on the mobile app. The reviewer and I both agree it was a shame the lack of story available to the game. I did disagree on what he thought was his 'Legend', he brought up his past triumphs, "You'll never know what it was like to finally get year one gjallarhorn..." or what it was like to get over the 'Forever 29' Light level as fond memories. These both sound negative to me, like you'll never know what it was like to perform the most mundane tasks to improve your character. Perhaps that was the point he was trying to make, but then also he later on says that he is a fan of the loot grind. I would say to new players of FFXIV, "You'll never know what it was like to explore Gridania in vanilla (FFXIV 1.0)." As it was once a nightmare to navigate. He used the 'You'll never know...' as though these were things players would want to do, yet also complain about how tedious it was. What I expected out of my 'Legend' was tales of great triumph, things that players will never know like in FFXIV, "You'll never know what it was like to slay Odin alongside the entire server just in time to stop him of his final attack!" Something that new players will truly never know. I'd want 'Legends' like tales that your grandfather would share as bedtime stories of the adventures he had in the Amazon, not tales of how he had to wait in line at the DMV. Destiny's story was something that began to improve with it's narrative at the launch of The Taken King, however by this time I didn't really have attachment nor care for any of the characters they introduced me to. I only knew them as quest givers and nothing more, things to press 'X' at. So when Mara Sov, whom I honestly had to look up as I only truly knew her as the Awoken Queen, died in the opening cinematic of The Taken King, which also during this research I come to find she is considered MIA, I didn't really care. I had no idea who she was, her importance was none other than Reef Queen with a mission.
At about a month of playing The Taken King I once again had come to the end game grind and unfortunately ran into the same issue of having to deal with setting up a raid group. Admittedly though the sheer amount of things to do for me was plenty leading up to that point, again I hadn't purchased the previous expansions but bought them in the complete package. An by this point I was realizing that Destiny just wasn't the game for me, despite it having pieces of an MMO I would certainly argue that it is not an MMO and is a Shoot and Loot along the lines of Borderlands but much closer to that of Diablo. I definitely agree with the reviewer in the fact that Destiny is what it is, it is a shoot an loot fest and something to lightly plug away at and return to daily, it is a lighter version of some of the more demanding games of it's kind. He brought up that you'll call this game one of two things if you like it you'll refer to Destiny as the 'Destiny experience', and if you don't you'll refer to it as a 'Grind'. I certainly refer to Destiny as a grind but would also argue that just because the task is mundane doesn't mean it has to feel mundane. Earlier I brought up The Division, and while both games are equally mundane in tasks I certainly enjoyed The Division far more than Destiny. The setting and the plot of The Division felt more interesting than that of Destiny, each mission in Division built a story whether it be a side quest or a random encounter. Immersing myself in the world of The Division I found much easier, but again a game that is equally mundane, but I kept coming back because I wanted to know a bit more about that world.
I will absolutely say that Destiny felt GREAT to play. The combat felt very satisfying, the driving, everything in terms of control felt great. In fact I'd say that I keep reflecting on Destiny because it is a game I very much want to like. But I keep wondering on so many things that I feel are missed opportunities. I have a ship, why can't I personally fly it and use it in combat, or even just fly to explore the galaxy? Why am I really fighting these aliens, they say they're bad but why are they bad? The speaker? The traveler? So many questions that I have left unanswered and are made vague even by the flavor text of the various items and grimoires found throughout the world. Why is exploring so bland and dull? The world hardly speaks to you as to what happened within the golden age, there isn't really a reason to explore locations throughout the world. Perhaps I'm too much a solo player for this experience, I should have created friendships within the world, should've perhaps made a better effort to randomly friend request people I ran crucible or matchmaking with. I think that perhaps if I had came in to my Destiny experience at the launch of The Taken King I'd probably have a different opinion on the game. What about you? Are you still in the Destiny experience or have you left it behind? What about it kept you going or made you leave?