Why Destiny Is Done
Every month in Play Magazine, we take a hot topic and look at the arguments for and against. Destiny is the hot topic this time around with X-ONE’s Josh West arguing that Destiny was designed to be a time sink, rather than a great game. Come back next week for the counter argument from Play Editor Luke Albigés.
Destiny is to first-person shooters what Watch Dogs was to third-person action games. Great mechanics and good intentions which are ruined by idiotic ideas and rushed execution.
Do you remember when we used to sink hours, evenings and weekends into videogames because they were fun? Destiny has ensured that we forget those days and instead sacrifice all of our time to the Altar Of Unsatisfactory Grinding. All hail the almighty Cryptarch and his masochistic love of rendering our time wasted, bow down before Xur and his unearthly love of Strange Coins. Bungie is incapable of changing or fixing Destiny for the better, because it itself sacrificed its soul to Activision in an effort to go rogue from Microsoft.
Destiny still has a severe lack of content – that is just a straight-up fact. Even now, more than six months after launch, it’s abundantly clear that the game wasn’t finished – not by full retail release standards, at least. Bungie conjured and unleashed a bleak illusion with Destiny that other publishers will now try to replicate for years, and why wouldn’t they? Bungie has cleverly taken a handful of woefully pedestrian story and Strike missions, and successfully dragged them out over hundreds of hours of gameplay. All because you are locked into a slow-burn, badly designed leveling system and the promise that it’ll be worth it eventually.
But can you honestly say that you’re still enjoying the ceaseless repetition, the maddening upgrade system, the disastrously shallow set of missions and the horribly exclusive expansion? If you are, then you’re either a liar or a lunatic, because I’d wager my bank of Radiant Shards that you are just enjoying something you can play with your buddies. Here’s the kicker: even Fuse was fun with friends. All you’re doing now is contributing to prolonging the lifeline of a game that should have died a month after launch. But Destiny wasn’t designed to be a great game; it has been designed to force you into a cycle of sinking time into something that offers nothing in return. And to get you to willingly sink more cash into, under-developed DLC drops – sorry, expansion packs – releasing at an alarming rate, of course.
Bungie knows this. Hell, the studio – so confused by its own loot system and end game – had you re-level all of your Exotic items barely three months in: that isn’t iterative, it is exploitative. If World Of Warcraft had pulled that shit on its players, it wouldn’t have just celebrated its tenth anniversary. The Dark Below is so underdeveloped and rushed that players were able to decimate Crota, the game’s toughest enemy, by pulling out a bloody LAN cable. That isn’t a clever hack you’ve discovered, that’s some serious SOCOM II, 2003-era of online gaming oversight right there.
If you’re playing Destiny for the sake of it, stop. Want a great shared-world shooter? Play Defiance. Want an awesome MMO on your PS4? Play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Want a killer FPS? Dig out Killzone Shadow Fall. If you’re looking for a game that blends all of those together appropriately, give Destiny three or four years. Because right now, the game is offering some seriously negative vibes, and that isn’t likely to change. It’s a game without a soul, devoid of interesting hooks or fun past the first run through its content. There used to be a time when we’d bemoan games that launched so broken and unfulfilling that players were forced to find ways to destroy the loot system and glitch the handful of bosses to death within seconds to keep them fun. Now, we celebrate them. I worry about what that says about the quality of games the industry as a whole is producing.