I'm going to take a walk down memory lane here and address issues I've seen come up since Destiny 2 released in as calm and measured a manner as I can. Suffice to say, I'm extremely displeased with the state of the game, and feel that Bungie has betrayed the trust of their players on more than one occasion. This most recent debacle is just another in a long chain of poor decisions aimed around monetizing their game at the expense of player enjoyment. It's disturbing and unpleasant to see this trend of microtransactions engraining themselves further and further into core gameplay concepts; particularly when these monetization efforts impact the game in such a profound way as Destiny, where locking loot behind a paywall and encouraging purchases through gimped progression systems encroaches on the reason why people play in the first place: cool gear. Let's get this right out as well and start by saying Destiny was no gem when it was released. People tend to look fondly on it now (especially in comparison to the mess that is Destiny 2) mostly because it developed into something fun. When Destiny originally released, it was a pile of garbage locked up in several different cages of confusing progression systems, economy systems, and other generally poor design choices. Unfortunately, it seems, Bungie did not communicate or chose to specifically ignore all the QoL (Quality of Life) enhancements, feedback, and general changes Destiny undertook when developing Destiny 2. Furthermore, they completely disconnected players from their character, something Bungie specifically promised it wouldn't do. The original tenet of Destiny was to create a game your character followed you through, your gear followed you through, your -accomplishment- followed you through. With the introduction of Destiny 2 we were told that was no longer the case. No apology, no acknowledgment the efforts of players outside a couple additional screens when starting Destiny 2. In fact, they made fun of the fact that they destroyed Guardian's hard-earned loot in the trailers. ** Bungie, this is where player expectations are stemming from. Players have already had to wade through a garbage release riddled with bugs, lackluster gameplay, and sprinkled overall with disappointment. Players have witnessed the game go from a heap into something genuinely fun to play and engage in. So when you release a game that eschews all these advancements in favor of being another heap, well, you get the salt mines that are the forum and the subreddit. These people aren't unreasonably angry. When you say you're going to erase someone's progress who's put potentially thousands of hours into a game you need to make sure you release a game that is going to win back that player. A game worth sacrificing all that effort for, and you did not do this. Let's look at the core of what Bungie's Destiny game is: a "looter shooter". That is to say, a mixup between a traditional first person shooter and a loot-based RPG system. The game centers around providing engagements whereby the conquering Guardians can receive loot - in game rewards - in the form of new weapons or armor which help the player to progress, or cosmetic items such as sparrows, ships, ghosts and shaders which help the Guardian to differentiate themselves from others. In Destiny, these items were unique, highly prized, highly sought after, and very difficult to get. Many required the completion of specific strikes or raids (making doing the raids or strikes a very desirable activity), or even unique and difficult puzzles hidden within the worlds, and they served to distinguish those who had conquered the game's content. Destiny 2 has removed this motivation entirely. Instead, the large majority of desirable cosmetic items are locked behind the Eververse - an in game store - where real money can be traded for "silver" which is then used to purchase loot boxes ("bright engrams") which randomly give players items. These loot boxes are randomized and can/will give duplicates, so repeat purchases do not lower the loot pool and enhance your chances of succeeding in getting the item you actually want. Further, traditional loot has been reworked to favor a token system (which no one asked for). Instead of the shower of loot you might expect to get at the end of a fight in Destiny you will instead receive one or two tokens in Destiny 2. These tokens have diminishing returns, and are used to 'level up' with various vendors in the tower or the various worlds. They do not allow you to buy specific gear you desire, nor do they have a 1:1 equation to a piece of gear. Instead, numerous tokens are required to level up once, at which point you receive a randomized loot drop that is frequently a duplicate of something you already have, at a lower power level than you are, and given the state of game balancing probably won't be something you want anyways. This becomes a more significant issue when you consider the state of Bungie's loot pool for Destiny 2, which is to say: miserable. Static weapon rolls have eliminated those one-in-a-million drops that people love to get and are happy to grind hours upon hours for. Combine these static rolls with an extremely limited pool of legendaries and we land where we are now; where one or two weapons are deemed the best, and there's literally no way to get a better alternative. Destiny staples, "Iron Banner" and "Trials of the Nine", as well as the new "Faction Rallies" haven't done anything to alleviate the weapon drought either - the weapons released with those events have all been reskins of existing weapon models, and feature similarly dull, boring, and 'safe' static perks. The exotics don't fair any better, and in fact let's have a look at that: Bungie's official stance on exotics from the start of Destiny 2 was that they would -not- be introducing any original Destiny exotics back into the ecosystem. The following is a list of the current exotics they have brought forward despite this stance: [b]*Weapons (6/24)[/b] -Hard Light -Mida Multi-Tool -Skyburner's Oath -Crimson (Red Death rehash) -Telesto -Jade Rabbit [b]*Armor (6/15 total)[/b] [u] ~Hunter[/u] -Celestial Nighthawk -Knucklehead RADAR -Young Ahamkara's Spine -Lucky Raspberry -Graviton Forfeit -Shinobu's Vow [u] ~Titan (6/15 total)[/u] -Insurmountable Skullfort -ACD/0 Feedback Fence -Crest of Alpha Lupi -Helm of Saint-14 -Mk. 44 Stand Asides -Dunemarchers [u]~Warlock (6/15 total)[/u] -Skull of Dire Ahamkara -Sunbracers -Transversive Steps -The Stag -Ophidian Aspect -Starfire Protocol As you can see, fully one fourth of the weapons are rehashes of already existing weapons in Destiny that were supposedly destroyed (as per the reason why we don't have any of our loot in Destiny 2) when the Cabal attacked. Furthermore, just short of half of all armors for all classes are rehashes of gear we had in Destiny. More often than not these rehashed versions are more poorly constructed perk wise than their original predecessors. Bungie has moved away from the power fantasy that Destiny represented in favor of a more vanilla experience that takes strict balance over exciting engagement opportunities. None of the exotics in particular stand out or are uniquely game-altering, despite that being their sole purpose. I can count on one hand the exotics I consider fun, even when that hand has two fingers chopped off. ** Bungie, this was your end game. You've taken away the excitement of doing the activities you've created by ensuring they don't have rewards commensurate with player effort or time. A token is not a reward, it's a slap in the face colored with an "At least you didn't get nothing." Static rolls on weapons and gear are safe, and sure they enable better 'balance' in PvP, but they also kill off the thrill of the chase; the rush from getting that one-in-a-million. People are unhappy because you've eliminated their choices and offered no viable alternatives; masterworks don't seem like a good fix. Speaking of PvP as it relates to PvE... It doesn't. So it's a curious wonder as to why Bungie still chooses to balance their game around PvP and PvE. This restrictive practice (which is, ostensibly, the reason for static rolls) eliminates any possibility of an engaging experience. Bungie simple can't risk allowing some of their more wild ideas through otherwise it may unbalance their PvP. The problem is, Bungie has no idea what it wants to do with this franchise, or at least it feels like it. They claim to want to bring professional level PvP to their game, but leave out key features such as map voting, gametype selection, private games, and modifier options straight out of the gate; and they refuse to balance their PvP separate from the PvE, a decision that is widely recognized as poor (despite having a good root cause) and contributing overall to the dull, uninspired feeling in both PvP and PvE. They claim to want to bring AAA storytelling and world development to their game, but hash together a single-player storyline filled with plot holes, non-sensical design choices, cutscenes that pad the time out rather than contribute to the game, and a 'final boss' that isn't a threat in the slightest. Destiny 2 starts off with a big reveal - taking away your power. This puts a real sense of danger on the player that could have been an incredibly stressful (in a good way) factor throughout the story. Instead, players get their powers back virtually immediately and all the 'threat' about permanently dying, or having to engage enemies without powers is gone just as quick. The drive to succeed in the face of adversity, which is what the game starts off on, is [i]immediately[/i] crushed by the recovery of your powers in the very next mission after they're lost. So much for consequences.
Edited by SupaShaD: 12/8/2017 7:43:24 AMIt's easy to view the story in a negative light here, it really wasn't great. But it's also unfair to say that it wasn't at least partially enjoyable. It's certainly a far cry better than what we were given in Destiny. More specifically, the sound design and visual design teams really hit a mark - the sound effects and musical score are top notch, as are the visuals. The AI could use some work (nobody likes chasing Captains around), and whomever wrote the story needs to take a step back and really analyze what message they were trying to get across because it fell flat. Recently, as in a couple days ago, Bungie released the Curse of Osiris. The first of the two DLCs included in the "season". I already hated the idea of a DLC season, the use of the word "season" in the context of DLC suggests all DLCs should be included. DLC season for a game is whenever that game is released; it's all the time after the release of the game. It isn't broken up into chunks by any natural or intuitive function and has no definite time-period. So when a company says season pass but really only means two DLCs that were already in the works, well, I'd much rather Bungie have just said "Two DLC Pass". But that's neither here nor there, the focus is on the content (or lack thereof, especially if you didn't buy the DLC). Bungie has once more stepped on their consumers, by locking content previously available in the vanilla Destiny 2 experience behind the new DLC. Players who don't purchase it won't be able to engage in several key activities, because they're now behind the new level cap which can't be attained without the DLC. Congratulations Bungie on alienating a large chunk of your playerbase. Let's move on to what those players didn't miss: a lot. Curse of Osiris lasts all of a couple hours and is mostly cutscenes. They've introduced a new (read: old) area, the Lighthouse on Mercury, which won't be familiar to anyone who's been there in Destiny because it's smaller and missing several areas of the original. The patrol area of Mercury is so miniscule that you actually aren't allowed to summon a sparrow. This area brings along with it a new public event which Bungie claims is their largest yet. I don't doubt that, but I do doubt their claims that it's unique or compelling. The movement across the map during the public event is fun, genuinely, but the event itself consists of killing the same critter three times in a row and slam dunking a ball of energy each time. It's only large in the sense that it's a drawn out engagement that is otherwise uninspired. Further, their much (self)applauded area the "Infinite Forest" is actually nothing like their descriptions suggest. In fact, it's only accessible during lackluster adventures. Speaking of adventures, several adventures have been made available on Mercury via the Infinite Forest. The heroic versions boil down to rushing through areas as they fade in, hoping that you don't get stuck having to fight overpowered, overequipped, overmatched enemies while under the effects of crappy modifiers - only to find out that you have to fight overpowered, overequipped, overmatched enemies while under the effects of crappy modifiers in the end anyways. The normal versions are exactly the same, but without the crappy modifiers and even less worthwhile rewards. Rewards for all these new activities are commensurate with Bungie's standard: a token (two if you did a heroic), and a blue armor or weapon. It may seem like I'm being defeatist here, but there's really no reason at all to run the adventures again outside a false sense of obligation. You don't get rewards. It's not fun. There's no purpose behind it, much like the majority of Destiny 2's activities. The introduction of the heroic strikes playlist with the DLC gives a false sense of improvement. You get more tokens, sure, and loot actually drops as well, sure. But token costs have gone up considerably, because Bungie was discovered to be artificially limiting the capability of players to actually get them and when they were found out to be doing so dropped this farming limit and instead increased costs across the board. Smooth. Much like how they treated XP gains, which they were also found to be falsifying to the player (though the API was reporting the correct amounts). Now XP gains are supposedly no longer capped, but as a response XP gains across a variety of activities has gone down and required XP for level ups (the only way to get an eververse engram without paying for it) has gone up considerably. ** Bungie, you straight up failed to disclose your systems to the community here - systems which they should have been aware of from the start because they impact gameplay choices. Are you really unsure as to why people might be unhappy about it? Further, these knee-jerk reactions to nerfing these systems feel like your penalizing the players for calling you out on your deceptive practices. Look, let's be honest here, I could probably rail on about how weapons in Curse of Osiris are uninspired fetch quest nightmares. I could go on about how Bungie shipped a weapon with a bug that completely breaks PvP, and their official response when it was brought to their attention in regards to the upcoming Trials of the Nine event was "Until then, please go easy on the players who have yet to get their hands on one (we know you won’t, but it’s been said)." Or in other words: "Sucks to be you if you don't have it, lol!" I could discuss the fact that Bungie is looking to hire someone to further monetize Destiny and work on putting progression behind bright engrams (those pay for loot boxes we were discussing earlier) - a la EA's recent fiasco "Star Wars Battlefront II". But, frankly, I've already got a headache and don't need to add to it. We're only three months in to the release of Destiny 2, and Bungie has already walked back on promised features/gameplay or otherwise lied to its playerbase on several occasions. They're consistently working to take the core aspects of their game and monetize them, and that won't be stopping. Their loot and progression issues are systemic in nature, and Bungie is ardently opposed to changing directions on them despite overwhelming player support for change. The state of the game, as far as Destiny 2 goes, is poor and the outlook is not looking good either. I, for one, will be letting this game gather dust on my shelf; perhaps when they hit the third or fourth DLC it will be worth picking back up again, but as it stands now I feel like Bungie has betrayed me as a player, has betrayed my 1000+ hrs over both these games, has betrayed my trust in their company to do well by their consumers, and they're working to further maximize their profits at the cost of their gameplay experiences because they've seen that other large publishers/developers are doing it.