Destiny: A Retrospective 

I played Destiny at the very beginning. Like any MMO, the first build of Destiny was very different than what it has become today but, unlike most other MMOs what players were promised and what we got were two wildly different things. I followed the hype loosely, paying vague attention to the promises Bungie and Co. made, but I never really subscribed to it. When the beta rolled out I played it, and I enjoyed myself. I hoped there was more to it, but if there wasn’t I had a great time and I knew that I would enjoy the game-play loop, even if it got a tad repetitive.

Then the game released and, low and behold, it was just what was in the demo. It was repetitive. It lacked content. It lacked any kind of cohesive story. It lacked some very basic multiplayer features, like local voice chat or any kind of match making for the raids (this still might be missing, actually). Lots of missing features for people who didn’t already have a group of friends to play with. The RNG and loot drop frequency were straight up broken (anybody remember the Loot Cave?). It was pretty rough, but there was something there, deep within the subconscious of the game, that felt as though it was an amazing framework for what Destiny could be.

destiny-iron-banner-01
It’s a seriously pretty game.

The shooting is buttery smooth. The art direction is beautiful. The sound design is movie quality. The world is cool as hell. There was a lot wrong with the structure of the game, but when it came to the game-play they hit the nail square on the head. I think this is what held my hope: even though the game wasn’t nearly enough, Bungie could fix it in the future. They could add to the framework, fill it out, make it whole. The first raid was evidence that they were still capable of making fun, interesting and unique game-play. Maybe it was a bit delusional, but Destiny is the perfect beginnings of what could be an amazing franchise.

Did they deliver on that hope? Nope, not entirely. There were two initial expansions, The Dark Below and House of Wolves. Neither felt like a true expansion; while they added content, it felt less like they were improving an already robust experience and more like the publisher had torn out parts of a whole game and sold them as DLC. The next expansion, The Taken King, came out much later, and it showed. It had a much better story (in that it actually had one), fleshing out the lore of the universe. It had new game-play areas, unlike the previous two expansions. It should have been called We’ve Taken Steps In The Right Direction. It showed even more the true potential that Destiny had as a franchise. Destiny in the beginning wasn’t something I could recommend buying, but Destiny: The Collection, which includes all of the expansions I’ve listed above for $60, is something I can recommend (only if you have people to play with, though). Mostly because it feels like a complete game.

And now here we are with the final expansion, Rise of Iron, which should be called We’ve Taken Steps Backwards, But Here’s More Content For You To Buy. It’s grindy, it’s glitchy, and it does everything that made Destiny a chore to begin with. I will not be buying it, because I know enough about it to understand that it isn’t worth it. It’s disheartening that what should have been a vital step towards the next iteration of Destiny ended up being one of the biggest disappointments of them all.

The weird thing is, I still have fond feelings towards Destiny. It reminds me of a certain point in my life and because of the amount of time I spent with it, the amount of time I invested in it, I feel a weird personal connection to it, a sort of strange fondness as I’ve watched it grow, watched it make mistakes. I know people who outright despise it for all that it stands for, but I see deeper into its soul. I see the beginnings of something really good. I see a game that had me and many of my friends playing it for hours every day, even if we were mostly playing it because it was fun to play with each other. I see what the future could hold if Bungie doesn’t screw it up, an awesome universe with great game-play and an interesting story that I can experience with my online buddies. There have been whisperings that the people who made The Taken King are at the helm of Destiny 2, and that our characters won’t carry over. This has a lot of people up in arms, but if a complete wipe is what it takes for them to give us something truly good, truly worthy of the Bungie name, then I’m all for it. Until then I’ll keep my hopes at bay. Thanks for reading, and Stay Optimistic.

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