Sigh. I’m about to say a bunch of bad things about <em>Destiny,</em> a game that attempts to mix <em>World of Warcraft </em>MMO-style loot and multiplayer with <em>Halo</em>’s shooting and online matches. Let it be known that despite these flaws, there is still a fun core of a game underneath.
The game is beautiful and it would score big if I concentrated on its glorious skies and impressive user interface. The shooting is spot on, as expected of developer Bungie. And the player-vs-player (PVP) content, in my opinion, holds together the game.
When asked, “How is <em>Destiny</em>?” I usually respond: “It’s a great shooter, a terrible MMO.”
Bungie has its shooting down. But they seem to have ignored 10+ years of MMO development when incorporating these elements into their shooter. An MMO is supposed to be social. I have great memories of fun chats on <em>WOW</em> or <em>Guild Wars 2</em>.
You <em>cannot </em>chat with people in <em>Destiny</em>, unless they are a part of your party. That big Tower, full of people? All you can to is butt up against each other. It’s a lonely multiplayer experience, which doesn’t help with Bungie’s stingy handling of its cooperative missions.
Want to participate in the tougher weekly strikes, or the much flaunted raid? Well, unless you happen to know a group of people playing that game at the same time on the same system, you’ll never get to. Bungie switched off its matchmaking system for these tougher events, citing a need for more cooperation.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the aforementioned lack of social features. People have resorted to creating their own websites around making groups.
People are creating websites to add features to the game that should have been in it to begin with. It’s embarrassing. But still, the soul of a MMO is the loot, that tantalizing gear you gain from your enemies. And this is one of the worst loot systems ever.
Gaining loot is entirely random, with only a few variations. Participating in a high-level strike , chipping down a boss’s HP (which is often so high that it makes the mission far longer than it needs to be) will net you entirely random loot.
Best player in the group? Doesn’t matter. Your friends can get the best exotic loot, and you’re netted with trash.
People have taken to a “treasure cave” to circumvent the game’s random nature, an exploit where people shoot into a cave en masse, killing constantly respawning enemies that drop their random loot occasionally. This is easily more effective at gaining loot than the toughest strike missions in the game. I’m playing an online match, and with a flourish, a purple legendary engram drops. I fly my ship to the tower, and see what kind of legendary item this actually is. Turns out it was an uncommon rifle. A piece of trash I can get anywhere. Even if it turned out to be legendary, it’s actually possible that it could be unusable by my character. Yes, in a game where loot is generated for specific players, you can still get something you just cannot use. Oh, and there is no way to trade items or sell them to others.
This is becoming infamous. If I pick up a rare item, I should be excited. In <em>Destiny,</em> I’m usually just cynical. It’s an unabashed grind of a game.
I picked up an “exotic bounty,” a difficult mission with the promise of an Exotic weapon. I was forced to kill hundreds of enemies, and then attempt to kill an absurd amount of enemies in online PvP matches using a specific type of weapon. But hey, a new exotic weapon.
After all that, I handed in the quest. And then it told me I needed to do an absurdly hard multiplayer mission. No matchmaking. Hope you find two level 26 people without any in-game way to interact with people.Turns out that weapon isn’t even that good either.
Some defenders of the game point to these flaws as just part of the MMO experience. LISTEN. Maybe 10 years ago this would have been acceptable. These days even <em>World of Warcraft </em>does things to combat the grind and potential problems with loot. If I judged this game as an MMO, it would lose horribly.
Whether by being rushed by Activision or Bungie not doing their research, <em>Destiny </em>fails as a multiplayer loot experience. If the core shooting experience wasn’t so solid, this game would be utter trash.
It’s a shame. <em>Destiny </em>has potential. And with a contract for at least three more entries in the series, and more DLC and patches for the current version coming through, it may reach it eventually. For now, <em>Destiny </em>is just a disappointment. A fun and addictive one that I’m going to begrudgingly keep playing, but a disappointment nonetheless.