Destiny is Bungie’s next big IP. A game the was advertised as this mash up of a MMORPG and a first person shooter. This game sold 5 million units in its first week and boasts an active player base of 3.2 million to this day. Its clearly a huge hit, but it comes with mixed reviews. Let’s look at why we hate Destiny.
Or really, lack of story. Bungie set the bar with Halo making an engrossing single player campaign for First Person Shooters. A story that inspired a sense of mystery, and awe. Where you wanted to keep moving forward to find out what was this ring and how does it all fit together? It’s a story that spanned three main games and 2 different systems. Countless books, and a number of spin off games. Bungie’s reputation was set, and there was little in the pre-release media to make anyone think different.
However what we got was a stripped down, nearly non-existent story. Now MMO’s typically have a wandering story that the player can experience at their own pace…so it’s hard to have a solid story with big events happening. I wasn’t expecting the world from the story, but…the story missions were oddly linear. There was a great opportunity to tell a great story. They even had the chance to make huge changes to the world, something MMO’s cant really do. Think about going into a story mission and blowing up a bridge and then in the patrol missions, that bridge is blown up. You can see your own handy work right there, it would ingross the player in the world and would be super simple. Just don’t unlock the patrol mission on that planet until specific story missions have been completed.
That’s a huge opportunity missed. But rather that talk about the missed things they could have done…let’s talk about the things they just didn’t do. They didn’t write strong characters, they didn’t make me care about the world, they didn’t leave things out to create mystery…they left things out because they wanted to sell it in the expansion packs. I whole heatedly think that next year at this time, after 4 expansion packs and a “comet” update we will all be singing a different tune about story, because all of it will actually be in the game by then.
RNG and Trading
Random Number Generation or RNG is at the core of this game. Killing a level 1 random enemy gives you a chance at getting the same high level weapons and armor from the hardest content in the game. It was such a glaring problem that at release people found spots where these low level enemies would spawn quickly and mow them down. People were maxing out their gear and levels without even stepping foot into the raids.
There are reasons developers have boss loot tables, and reasons they hide high level gear behind “gates.” It’s a way to force a player try all of your content…at their own pace…when they feel they are ready. When you ungate everything players will find the past of least resistance to that goal.
So everything is determined by a random “roll of the dice” you could run the raid evey week for 40 weeks and never ever see that one gun you have been looking for since day one. However your buddy who runs them with you every week has seen 12 of them, and even started to throw them away.
This is a huge problem in a game based around loadouts. Having a specific set of gear for a specific boss makes it that much easier, but if you can’t acquire that gear…you fell like yo are missing out or that you are not able to perform your best. This is not dangling a carrot to make me keep playing, this is making me grind till I roll a Yahtzee randomly.
This could all be alleviated with player trading. My friend with 12 of those guns? He could give me 6 and not bat an eye…but he can’t. So all he does is destroy them. Player trading was even hinted at during a dev diary before release and almost a year later its not in the game. These are are bare minimum MMORPG staples that were just left out of the game.
Oh the bugs. There are bugs from release that just got patched with the pre-house of wolves patch. These are game breaking bugs that make fighting bosses just like the loot system of the game…a dice roll. You can do everything right to take down a boss but randomly he does’t do what he was supposed to do. This will typically cause a wipe or make it very hard to recover from, or make the fight last longer than it should have, tripping the bosses enrage timer and making it near impossible to beat. Oh and don’t think that they just weren’t fixing bugs…oh no…they were fixing “bugs” things that people were forced to do to actually beat the boss. Some would consider it “cheesing” but I would consider it getting around the bugs. They fixed those, telling players “that’s not the way it was meant to be played.” Really? was the way it was meant to be played hoping and praying your other bugs don’t happen and just redoing the same boss over and over till they don’t happen?
But Destiny is a great game. The controls are tight. There are a wealth of weapons with different perks, and the boss fights (when they work) are interesting and fun to play. There are four different planets, each with a pretty large “open world” feeling. We don’t hate Destiny because it’s a bad game, we hate Destiny because of what it should have been from the start, not something patched in and part of the paid content.
If Bungie wants this to be a 10 year property with a major content release every year, they have to make us care about the world and its characters first, then start to monetize it. They have done it backwards.