I was pretty impressed by the original Destiny. It was the first real mainstream example of an MMOFPS that I was drawn to, despite previous attempts by smaller companies to be first in the space. It helped that many of my friends were already on board, in fact if anything I was late to the party, having just jumped on shortly after The Taken King expansion was released.
Although I was never all that great at the game (being a parent AND a game enthusiast limits the time one can spend on a single game) it was still always exciting to run around in crucible matches with friends, or even tackling strikes with strangers. I never did get into raids all that much, but I hear they are a good time. Even single-player missions were fun.
Once Rise of Iron came and went, and the hype for Destiny 2 started happening, I had convinced myself that I would pick the game up, even going so far as to pre-order it from Gamestop, and telling my friends who also played the first game that I would be there on Day One to join the fracas. But launch day came and I didn't pick it up. I still haven't, and I'm kind of glad that's the case.
A Juggernaut Dethroned
Destiny 2 has been an appalling act of hubris since its release. From embracing a loot box format for events, to platform-gating new content, to practically ignoring the community response up until it started hurting the bottom line, developer Bungie and publisher Activision seem to think they've created an IP that puts them above the law, or at least above the court of public opinion. Almost every move they've made in the past six months has been met with scowls and growls from even their most ardent supporters. Even some prominent streamers have abandoned the game entirely for other games. So what went wrong?
Well, quite a few things, here's just a handful of them.
- Locking normal activities behind DLC
- Letting Xur sell broken, overpowered weapons
- Gaming drop rates
- Adding an advertisement to your PS4 library
- Throttling rally tokens
- Monetizing shaders
There's really no excuse for most of it. Generally, players will understand when bugs are introduced, or balancing is a little off, but the arrogant dismissal of your entire base through the blatant use of microtransactions and exclusivity is way too much for your average gamer to stomach. Consider that Destiny is already notorious for its wallet-devouring expansions, and it's no surprise really that people are abandoning it in droves.
Can Destiny Be Saved?
It's looking more and more unlikely every day that there is any plan in place to save the franchise. Just recently the base game was added as the early unlock to Humble Monthly, a sure sign of desperation for a fairly new, triple-A game. Now we've recently learned that Bungie received a $100 million investment to make "non-Destiny" games and, without actually coming out and just saying it, they're basically telling us that the writing is on the wall.
It's crazy to think that just 5 years ago we were talking about the "10 year roadmap" that Activision had for Destiny. From where I'm sitting, I think it's time might already be up.