Screenshot by Destructoid

I’ve been playing Destiny 2 wrong for nearly a decade

It's been right under my nose this entire time.

The year was 2015 and I was sitting on an uncomfortable futon in my living room at 3 am when I saw an advertisement for a free weekend of Destiny. With my curiosity piqued, I made a Titan, woke up in the Cosmodrome, and followed Dinkle-bot to the Last City. I unknowingly had found my favorite game and would spend nearly a decade playing it wrong.

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The Cosmodrome

Screenshot by Destructoid

By the time I got into Destiny, both The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions had been released, and Bungie was prepping for the release of The Taken King. It was the prime time for someone to be introduced, gorge themselves on the story, and then seamlessly dive into one of the greatest expansions in the franchise.

This is where I got the notion that Destiny was a story-driven game with an incredibly strong core gameplay loop. Everything I did was guided by the narrative, from escaping the Fallen in the Cosmodrome to stealing Eris Morn’s ship and infiltrating Oryx’s Dreadnaught.

Sure, there were Strikes, but those were story snippets for me. Since weapons were leveled up to unlock additional perks from columns, there wasn’t much, if any, of a loot chase in my mind. It wasn’t even until the Rise of Iron expansion that I even got into raiding.

This trend continued with the release of Destiny 2 in 2017 up until the release of The Witch Queen in 2022. No matter what you thought of their quality, Bungie regularly released expansions and Seasons. However, after two years of the drip-fed seasonal model, I was becoming starved.


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The Seasons leading up to Lightfall were turbulent as I began recognizing that activities and their mechanics were essentially being reused. With the story being reduced to meager weekly updates, I was only logging in at reset to experience a 30-minute or less story beat.

Despite this, Bungie had the hype machine working at full steam, and I was optimistic. The Witch Queen was an amazing expansion, and I was fully expecting Bungie to deliver with Lightfall. After all, the studio was surely skimping with seasonal content in favor of more resources for the expansion.

This wasn’t the case. I wasn’t kind in my own review of Lightfall and my overall interest sharply declined. As the Seasons came and went, my play time came to a standstill as it felt like Bungie was just phoning it in at this point. Additionally, rumors had begun swirling that the developer had been poaching the Destiny 2 staff for Marathon.

Then came the October 2023 layoffs. Without warning, Bungie laid off roughly 8% of its staff. While that is the worst part of that story, additional information surfaced suggesting those aforementioned rumors were accurate. Bungie leadership was bleeding Destiny 2 dry and doing the bare minimum to keep it generating revenue so that money could be redirected to the development of Marathon. All of my worst fears had been proven true.

It was a betrayal on every level, and while I had suspicions that Bungie was cheating on me as a player, it hurt all the more to get that confirmation. I had my doubts before, but now I was confident that my beloved decade-long saga was going to crash and burn.

The Tower

Screenshot by Destructoid

Outside of work obligations, I was done with Destiny 2. I had no faith the story would be brought to any meaningful conclusion. It was depressing and this continued for months until I hit a breaking point. Remembering the days when I would come home exhausted from work and finding solace in exploring Mars and Venus, I set aside my feelings regarding Bungie leadership and booted up Destiny 2.

I like having a checklist of things to do in a game. Completing a Triumph releases the good chemicals in my brain, and chasing something like a Title is an easy recipe for that tasty dopamine. So, that’s what I did. I started with the most recent Season and began knocking out the Triumphs for the Titles.

This led me down a rabbit hole of content whose surface I had barely scratched. I began paying attention to rolls with the hopes of either bolstering a loadout or finding something to build a new one around. I was now toying with Exotics that had never left my Vault prior. Old content became fresh as I was tackling it not only with new loadouts, but different builds on classes I hadn’t touched in ages.

A whole new side of Destiny 2 opened up as I was no longer shying away from higher-difficulty content. Instead, I was using it as a proving ground for my builds and refining them. This led to me connecting with different parts of the community and becoming more active overall. By no longer letting the story lead me, I saw the broader appeal of a robust gameplay loop full of options.

At the time of this writing, everything is looking bright for the future of Destiny 2. Into the Light is going strong and what’s been shown of The Final Shape looks promising. Sure, this is all the result of Bungie breaking the “in case of emergency” glass, but I’ll take it. I have zero faith that the story will be brought to anything resembling a satisfying conclusion, but I’m not going to let that detract from things like an Onslaught Rat King run.

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Image of Christian Dawson
Christian Dawson
Christian has been playing games since he could hold a controller in the late 80s. He's been writing about them for nearly 15 years for both personal and professional outlets. Now he calls Destructoid home where he covers all manner of nonsense.