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Why Destiny is Killing Me

Destiny gets so much right, I feel bad saying it's killing me. The game controls are solid. The audio is top-notch. The character "feel" is organic, fluid and responsive without feeling blocky. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cinematic cut scenes are framed well. They even make you eager to see how they will build the universe. But the storytelling is lackluster. The missions are repetitive. The loot system is a laugh-out-loud riot. The “end game” requires you to have a clan or other close-nit group (no matchmaking) and most of the time you have to game with a laptop…

Destiny

Mechanics - 9.5
Story - 3.5
Audio - 9.7
Visuals - 9.5
Cost - 2.5

6.9

So Close

Destiny gets so much right, I feel bad saying it's killing me. But the storytelling is lackluster and the missions are repetitive.

Destiny gets so much right, I feel bad saying it’s killing me. The game controls are solid. The audio is top-notch. The character “feel” is organic, fluid and responsive without feeling blocky. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cinematic cut scenes are framed well. They even make you eager to see how they will build the universe.

But the storytelling is lackluster. The missions are repetitive. The loot system is a laugh-out-loud riot. The “end game” requires you to have a clan or other close-nit group (no matchmaking) and most of the time you have to game with a laptop to look up what the game designers are failing to convey. Let me bring the non-Destiny players up to speed a little. This week, Bungie released a “teaser” patch before releasing their latest expansion called the “House of Wolves”. In this patch, they introduce another currency system, “Queen’s Wrath”, making the grand total seven.

I take that back. Depending on what you call “currency”, this could be more. Much more. If you count “Strange Coins” and “Motes of Light”, there’s more. Not to mention the materials you need for weapon/armor upgrades. Oh, and if you have a Legendary or Exotic piece of armor, you’ll need special materials you can only get from specific planets. Unless you’re upgrading the HIGHEST levels. Then you need “super special” materials you get once in a blue moon… This is, of course, without including “reputation”, “marks”, and “commendations”.
Bungie has, in essence, looked at the world’s currency exchange and said “This makes perfect sense. Let’s take away the ability to trade and make it the base of our in-game economy.” You heard me. Player-to-Player trading isn’t allowed. Interplanetary travel is possible, but there is an impenetrable trade embargo on all Guardians of the Universe. Welcome to the Grind City. Population: You.

Destiny“Well, some people enjoy a good grind. It’s… relaxing.” True. If you don’t want to think critically at the end of the day and wind down by matching candy all night, by all means. Typically when gamers refer to “grinding”, it implies a “time spent” equals “rewards gained” process. Again, this is not the case with Destiny. Those two elements do not correlate. It’s a lottery after every strike, raid, mission, and skirmish. Did you play spectacular that round? Great. You may or may not get a cookie. Now let’s stop right here for a second. The highlight of Destiny is the chance to explore alien planets. This means uncovering ancient civilizations. Pioneering strange new worlds. Know what I never leave my house without? A cell phone with Google Maps. Know what my avatar leaves Earth without? A map of any kind. You get to see a crude map of the areas when you set your destination; but as soon as your feet are on alien soil, you get to experience the joy of celestial navigation while fighting your way through droves of enemies.

My aggravation reached a culmination last night. While I was playing with the pre-release patch for House of Wolves, I picked up some “Queen’s Wrath” bounties and headed planetside. I then had to pull up a map on my cell phone to find the area I was supposed to be in. Not finding any waypoints, I had to search the internet for “How to *INSERT MISSION HERE*” and watched a video on someone who had done it before.
So I sat in the spot where the guide told me to wait and took pot-shots at the local cartel. After seeing “A pack of Wolves is prowling” message, I looked around for a dropship. This time, the players in the area banned together and we thwarted the enemy boss. “Alright! Teamwork! Common goal! This is fun! … Wait. Why do I have a counter? WHY DO I HAVE A COUNTER?!?

packcloseHow naïve for me to expect a bounty after felling the monolithic beast of the bounty. I’m in Destiny’s playground. Destiny-land says “You know what would really elevate the gameplay? Give the player a key to a chest that will randomly spawn in the same area they kill the boss… but only give them 90 seconds to do it.” Seriously Bungie?? Seriously? So I hopped in my spaceship, changed planets, and tried a new location. This time, I stumbled upon the prowling horde by accident. We exchange some heated gunfire and I realize I am not going to win this on my own. I need others to win this fight. Quick! Let me select my FLARE gun and alert the guardians around me-…. No? How about an e-mail?… Really? How about a shared voice channel?… Not that either?…. WELL HOW ON EARTH?… LIGHT THE FREAKIN’ BEACONS OF GONDOR!!! What transpires is equivalent to an episode of Lassie. Even if I find someone, there is no universal “Hey! Help me. This-a-way.” You jump, shoot, spin, flail, and other players just think you’re griefing them. So I rationed my ammo, made calculated risks, and got it down to one lone elite. We were swapping blows. I had him right where I wanted him. Then I see “The pack grows weary of the chase” (or something similar) and poof. My adversary vanishes. I’m left fighting the wind…. or whatever the wind is on the moon.

So this is my farewell to Destiny. I will most likely still try House of Wolves when it gets released tonight. If only for the Prison of Elders section. If you see me, I’ll be the Guardian in the distance… swinging at the wind… Hoping for change.

PROS

  • Visually Stunning
  • Excellent Game “Feel”
  • Music

CONS

  • Monotonous Missions
  • Convoluted Currency System
  • No Reward for Time
  • Game Mechanics Designed by a Masochist

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