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One Other Thing... (Destiny)

by Kahzgul, Saturday, January 07, 2017, 05:53 (1047 days ago) @ Ragashingo

First, thanks to CRUELegacy for understanding where I'm coming from and chiming in. You're the best, dude.

Second, thanks to you, Raga, for always keeping me honest. You, too, are the best.

Here's the distinction I want to draw. Let's throw out Halo 2 or Halo 3 or ODST. Look back at Halo 1. That's a game that is completely NOT the game that was originally promised. Do you guys remember this game?

Halo was originally going to be a 3rd person shooter in a Tribes-esque style where you spawned in as a generic dude and - through the gear or vehicles you took and your own personal skill, became a class. I'm a warthog driver. I'm a sniper. I'm a front line assault trooper. There's a video showing one halo spartan running up to a covenant elite, and that elite drops his gun and raises his hands in surrender.

Early rumors about the server structure were that the game was going to be a "ringworld" of servers, where each server was a different map to fight on, and the two factions would wage war back and forth on two fronts. Win one map, and you could press though the far side of it to fight on the next map. Lose that one and you've been pushed back to the first. Meanwhile, since it's a ringworld, you would be fighting a simultaneous war fifty maps over, doing the same thing.

And Bungie came out and said that those things had changed. It was an FPS now. The server structure was all rumor. The focus was on single player and story now. They walked back the early design, disavowed the false rumors, and steered our expectations toward the path of truth.

Then Microsoft bought them and turned the PC game Halo into a console exclusive. It was a disaster, we all shouted! A travesty! A betrayal! And Bungie came back and said that yes, MS had bought them. Yes, the game would be a console shooter now. That it might be smaller than they had planned. But that it was still *their* game. They had creative control and they were still going to be telling the story they wanted to. In fact, they said, it's coming along great and looks really good. It's really fun. Their mantra was now "30 seconds of fun." Every 30 seconds, by itself, had to be fun. And they were doing just that.

Again, they responded to the playerbase with honesty and realistic expectations.

And when the game came out no one was disappointed. In fact, we were amazed. That game was incredible and far, far better than we'd imagined! It was every bit as fun as we'd been promised. And then warthog launching became a thing. The game was MORE fun than we'd thought, even after playing it. Red vs Blue came out - holy crap, you could make machinima with it! The game was not just good, it was groundbreaking on all fronts.

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Now look at Destiny, where rumors were never dispelled. Early builds that obviously changed later were never disavowed. Honesty, in short, was never the priority. That's where I stand.

Yes, Raga, you're right. My guns do tell a tale. I use the Lord High Fixer whose tale is "I turned in 50 faction packages to Shaxx and eventually he gave me a great gun." Compelling. I use the Matador 64 of "I got lucky as fuck after a PvP match." And I use the Tormod's Bellows of "I spent a long time dismantling gear to get enough marks to buy this from a vendor." Epic stories, if I'm being sarcastic, which I am.

Saturn; the mountain - these were early reveal things that Bungie never walked back or even hinted at having been changed until well after they had our money. It shouldn't matter that they were mentioned only once. What about the TV spot of "out here in the wild, this is how we talk."? That thing ran like gangbusters and isn't in the game at all. It all comes down to how trustworthy the company is. In the Halo times, Bungie was the pinnacle of under-promise and over-deliver. They *earned* my loyalty and fandom. Now, though, they reek of money-grabs. At the time of launch, they favored hype over honesty, superficial over substance, and temporary over permanent. You can cherry pick your examples all you want, but Bungie never walked back any of their under-delivered pre-launch hype.

I also realize that the game and PR messaging of launch has substantially changed to that of today.

But the damage was done, man. The promises broken, the trust betrayed. I no longer believe what they tell me, and when it comes true in the game, I suspect ulterior motives. "How is Destiny using this to trick me into microtransactions?" I wonder. How long with this fun thing last before they take it away? How will they take my time and effort invested into this game, these guns, that gear, and turn it all into ash in my mouth?

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The sour taste in my mouth is almost entirely the fault of their shitty "pre-order now" messaging. The game is pretty good, truth be told. It's gorgeous to look at, sounds amazing, and is fun to play. It's just not the same game they sold me. I was promised one thing, and got another, and it does not matter how amazing the thing is that I really ended up with, because that is not what I agreed to buy. If you said you'd sell me The Last of Us and I gave you $60 and then opened to box to find out it was Tomb Raider, I'd be fucking pissed. And it really doesn't matter that Tomb Raider is an awesome game. It's not what I was sold.

Bungie's Destiny is really well encapsulated in the pre-order Vanguard Weapons Pack. Remember that thing? "Pre-Order now and you'll get exclusive access to the Vanguard Weapons Pack!" No one knew what that was, but it had to be cool, right? Because it's the pre-order bonus! Well, it was actually a bunch of shitty level 5 green guns you had to buy from a vendor. Now, every time you visit the vanguard vendor, you can see how Bungie delivered the letter of their promise in the most underwhelming way imaginable. here are some "exclusive" level 5 guns you will never buy, or use, or even want to look at, but you're a sucker who gave us money based on our vague statements which were bioengineered to generate hype while still leaving us legally safe from false advertising lawsuits.

So here's a game that is, technically, legally probably, what they promised, because they dealt in subjectives, or omitted important information, or decided to put promised features in later, for-pay expansions, or decided to take away features you thought you had bought unless you also bought the next xpac. It's a pretty good game. It's a pretty fun game. It's a VERY pretty game. But it's a game I have been conditioned to be disappointed by.

At least in that regard, Bungie always delivers.


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