Wish upon a star: Destiny 2
Tomorrow is the gameplay reveal of Destiny 2 and I have some thoughts on what I want to see.
*BLAM*, one last shot echoes solemnly in the dreary emerald lit cavern. The final surviving knight in the squad of enemies falls to a clean headshot. It was another failed ambush in a series of half-hearted attempts to kill the glowing Hunter. Sigh. Reload the rifle, reload the handgun… no drops to pick up. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
This was my time with Destiny 1. It was amazing, but it left a lot to be desired.
When Destiny was announced I felt the growing excitement in friends around me for another epic saga of triumph and characters to become attached to. This was a new game, a new IP, coming from the house that Halo built. Over the months of teaser videos and concept art leaking, the hype grew and grew, until the first gameplay was revealed. Once the gameplay reveal dropped, all of the hype was solidified. This was no vaporware game that could disappear, this was a real game that would be coming out soon.
Little did anyone know, the game was going to be 2/3 of what it could be. We’d have a game with 1 major city at launch, and a small group of areas to roam around in with areas. The loot drops would be in satiating and grinding to the then level cap of 30 would also require sitting at level 29 until you got the gear requirement that would push you over the edge to 30.
There were a few decision that were made that ought have caused the team to slow down and reconsider if they were the right decisions to make. Destiny was following in the footsteps of Borderlands, melding the addictive loot farm nature of the Diablo series, with the run and gun action of the FPS genre.
One such decision that harmed Destiny at launch was the aforementioned connection between gear and leveling.
See, the soft-cap on leveling was 20, but in order to gain power and increase your level to the hard-cap of 30, you had to find gear that had a certain attribute named, ‘light’, that would increase your level on up to 30. But the requirements on gear to get to 30 was incredibly difficult, people would grind for hours and hours to get the right gear.
Which brings me to my next point, Drops. Items in destiny came in shiny geometric boxes called engrams. These engrams could drop from anything you could kill, some bosses would have higher chances to drop them but it was still purely on chance. The engrams however wouldn’t grant an item to the player until they traveled back to the main city hub, the tower, and had it ‘decoded’ by an NPC. Seems nice and easy right? Well, these engrams would be color coded to signify rarity, the rarer the color the higher chance for a rare piece of gear.
So let’s say you find a nice purple, legendary, engram and excitement wells up within you. You rush over to the city and sit through 5 minutes of loading screens and finally hand over the engram for what you expect to be a badass piece of gear. Too bad! Here’s your green low level piece of gear. Welcome to Destiny!
Shortly after launch, players were considerably grumpy about the gear and drop systems, so naturally they set out to find the easiest way to game the system and ‘Become Legend’. Enter the loot cave, it was a poorly hidden cove in one of the early areas of the game that if players stood far enough away, would spawn an unlimited number of easy to kill mobs that players would form firing squads and shoot blindly into the small room. This would go for hours until a player had a good haul of engrams. Then they’d run off to the tower to be completely decimated by the Cryptarch, who would hand over a few greens, blues and if you’re incredibly lucky, a grey.
The loot cave was very quickly patched out of the game, but the frustration wasn’t fixed for a few months afterwards. Which brings me to..
The beautiful part of Destiny was that Bungie listened.
On launch, Destiny wasn’t half the game that it is now. Now a person can pick up Destiny and there’s a full game to play, which I feel is reminiscent of what Bungie had wanted from the beginning.
This is why I’m excited for Destiny 2. The knowledge Bungie has gained from putting out a god awful game, and fixing it!! Can be used to make a better game from the start with Destiny 2.
My 5 Wishes
- More character progression. I felt that, before The Take King expansion, I never saw my character’s face. It felt that I was playing the shell of a person who had no personality. This lead to me feeling that the deeds of my character were meaningless in a plastic world of perpetual problems. I believe that was one of the main issues I felt and would love to have some kind of organic experiences that lead to my character actually building their legend.
- FOV Slider. With the PC version dropping alongside the console versions this ought to be a no brainer. But it’s still something I felt like I began grappling with recently when I purchased a large 65 in TV. I won’t be playing on PS4 when D2 hits, but having the option is absolutely needed.
- PS4 — PC Crossplay. At a minimum!
I understand that it’s almost impossible for the grand trifecta of Xbox, PS4 and PC to play in the same ecosystem. But for the love of god please allow for PS4 to play with the PC group. I think this is a Sony problem, but I think Bungie could make it happen.
- Larger play areas w/ more vehicles + small outposts in the play area. The first game allowed for each character to receive a customizable Sparrow vehicle that provided quick traversal of the play areas. However these areas were devoid of life besides other players and enemies. It felt like a large arena area that was bland after spending three hours wandering the same tundra. Providing a larger area with more vehicles, maybe even multiple person vehicles would be really nice. As for outposts, this would solve the bland boring area aspect of the game, and could possibly provide a mini-hub to turn in quests and decode engrams.
- More Class Skills. I felt that each class had a lot of flavor towards the end, but I never felt like a glass cannon with the Hunter class. In WoW I play mostly DPS and I am hoping that Destiny 2 takes the step towards providing more of a platform for the holy trinity.
By that I mean, I envision the Titan to have a taunt and more tank skills besides just their ultimate. I would love for the Hunter to… well the hunter is pretty much where I’d like them.
But the warlock should have a specialization that allows for healing of players/ providing dots and possibly even a pet based gameplay style.
- Gee Whiz I wish: Guilds.
I love WoW, as you can probably tell. I would absolutely LOVE a more persistent Guild experience. I felt that the guild system in the first one was a glorified friends list. Something where a guild could progress would be perfect. I have a feeling some solid progression changes would be incredible.
I’m excited for Destiny 2. The first game held my attention for a long time and I moved on to different things.
With the sequel coming just over the horizon I feel like there are a number of gripes that can and should be fixed to make the it so much better than the first game. Last thing.. if they kill Cayde-6 I’ll be so pissed.
Don’t let us down Bungie!