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Discuss all things Destiny.
Edited by Hylebos: 3/18/2014 11:24:43 PM

Destiny's Design: Exotic Restrictions

[quote][b]WARNING:[/b] Game Design can be very situational. Proceed with Caution! [b]WARNING:[/b] I'm not a very succinct writer. Good luck making it to the end![/quote] [quote][b]Introduction:[/b][/quote]Since Destiny's official reveal in February, Bungie has been steadily drawing back the curtain on their brave new world. So far we've heard plenty about the big picture, but many of the critical details that flesh out the experience and demonstrate what sort of game Destiny is trying to become are still unknown. The tides are beginning to turn though thanks to information drops like the 14 page Destiny article in January's Issue of Game Informer. Not only was it chock full of new information and pictures, Game Informer also supplemented the article with [url=]additional interviews[/url] throughout the month of December. Thanks to their spectacular job, we've come one step closer to understanding what sort of game Bungie is planning to create. I personally have been very excited about a lot the new information, and from what I've seen most people have reacted very positively to Game Informer's coverage. However, a few concerns were raised by the community over different pieces of information such as this excerpt from the Game Informer Article:[quote]"Gear is loosely gathered into four tiers: basic (white), common (green), superior (purple), and the coveted exotic items (gold). Characters can only wield one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece, but you can carry as many as you like, and switch between them at your leisure."[/quote]Miller, Matt. "Destiny." Game Informer Jan. 2014: 59. Print. It's not wrong for people to be concerned or unexcited when new information is revealed, but in this particular instance I feel that Bungie's restrictions on Exotics is a very strong design choice that will ultimately make Destiny a more healthy and interesting game. Today I would like to justify and explain my perspective with the hopes that people can see where I'm coming from, and hopefully I might alleviate a few concerns. In my mind, there are three major benefits that result from Bungie's exotic restrictions: [quote][b]1) Exotic restrictions help to limit the power level of players.[/b][/quote]I should probably start off this section by saying that the Exotic class of equipment should represent the most powerful, interesting, and unusual gear that a Guardian can find while exploring the solar system. The abillities found on these pieces of equipment are the paint that will bring their epic story to life and inspire player to come back again and again in search of more. If the Exotics are not exciting, then I feel that Destiny will have failed to deliver on the experience that Bungie set out to create. However, Bungie needs to be able to control just how powerful an individual player can become or else Destiny will become very difficult to balance. This is important not only for the competitive modes, but the cooperative modes as well. What is the best way to limit the power of exotics while still allowing them to be unique and interesting? My biggest concern here is homogenization. The easiest way to balance the exotics would simply be to nerf each one of them to the point where no one exotic is too powerful when combined with the other possible exotics in the build. Such a solution would allow for players to wield a loadout made entirely out of exotics without breaking the game, but at that point a lot of what makes exotics so appealing will have been lost. Is that really worth the abillity to wield both Gjallarhorn and Red Death at the same time? Bungie's decision to limit players to one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece seems like a better way of solving the problem. There is not as much need to homogenize the exotics to prevent imbalance when you only have to worry about any one armor piece being too strong with any one weapon. Sure, players won't be able to wield both Closing Time and Arcus Regime in the same loadout, but if each weapon is allowed to be stronger and more unique as a result of that sacrifice, won't that ultimately result in a more interesting game? [quote][b]2) Exotic restrictions increase the number and availability of builds.[/b][/quote]That statement might sound a little odd at first. How do you increase the number of builds by taking away options from players? It is certainly true that the total number of possible builds will mathematically decrease as a result of Bungie's restrictions on exotics, however, the number that we really care about as players is the total number of competitive builds. To demonstrate this with an example, there are currently 718 different kinds of Pokemon in the world. Some simple math shows us that there are just under a million trillion different possible pokemon parties, however, considering that players are going to use only the strongest and most-evolved pokemon in their parties, that number shrinks dramatically at the highest levels of competition. This phenomena is the result of strategic dominance: there's no reason to use a Charmander when you could use a Charizard. As it turns out, Pokemon aren't so different from the guns and armor that we'll find while playing Destiny. Since Exotics are supposed to represent the most powerful and interesting gear in Destiny's sandbox, strategic dominance tells us that players will want to equip as many exotics as they are allowed to. Therefore, Bungie's restrictions on exotics actually increases the number of competitive builds by forcing players to use superior tier equipment to supplement the two exotics they have chosen. Players on a budget also serve to benefit from Bungie's exotic restrictions. Exotics are likely to be one of the rarest drops in Destiny, and as a result they are also likely to be among the most expensive items traded between players. It would certainly suck if players had to acquire a full set of exotics to have a competitive build, which would require either a ton of Glimmer or a ton of grinding to get all the pieces you'd need. In comparison, Bungie's restrictions mean that the cost of acquiring a competitive build is much cheaper as any top build needs only two exotics instead of eight. In addition, the overall cost of the exotics should decrease as the demand for any particular exotic should be dispersed due to the increased variety of builds available. This isn't to say that exotics should be easy to acquire, they just shouldn't be asinine.

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