Does Destiny need a "campaign"? (Destiny)

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Friday, October 20, 2017, 09:45 (2405 days ago)

I was listening to this episode of Waypoint Radio a few days ago, and Patrick Klepeck brings up an interesting thought. He starts by saying that Destiny 2's campaign is far better than Destiny 1's campaign, but with the admission that that really isn't saying much (personally, I agree on both accounts). The general thought expressed over the conversation is more or less that Destiny 2 has a fun campaign with some great, memorable set pieces, and a functional plot, but that the story really doesn't deliver on any of the points that it hints towards (issues surrounding the nature of "the light", Guardians faced with actual mortality and the nature of sacrifice, etc). They then go on to discuss how, in their opinion, the best storytelling in Destiny 2 happens in some of the adventures and side quests, and also in the voice-over dialog during strike missions. They point specifically to the way Bungie has built a certain amount of character development into the strikes, by way of having different dialog play during repeat playthroughs.

Patrick suggests a thought at one point that perhaps the reason Bungie's campaign stories have been less than stellar as of late is that perhaps their (Bungie's) heart isn't in it the way it was during the Halo days? That Destiny is so much more than its campaign, and so much time and energy needs to go into the "end-game", and that is where the most exciting content tends to be... could it be that including a traditional, linear campaign is perhaps not necessary in future installments?

I'm not sure where I land on this thought, but they do make some fantastic points in the podcast. One thing that they mention is how powerful the experience becomes in those brief moments during the campaign where you find yourself matched in with other players, and how it seems like a shame that this only happens twice during the campaign. But as Patrick says, the nature of a linear campaign makes it difficult for Bungie to lean on that kind of experience, because the vast majority of players will go through the campaign over the first couple weeks, and then never touch it again. So for the few players who do play the campaign later, they won't be able to find anyone to get matched with when they reach those sections. This is contrasted against the moments where Strikes overlap with public Patrol encounters, and how that is a more consistently reliable occurrence over time because that content is more repeated by players.

It's an interesting topic, and I do think there is something to the idea. I absolutely love a traditional single-player campaign. But across all of D1 and these early days of D2, the campaign has never been Destiny's strong suit (I know that is a matter of personal opinion, but I feel it's a fairly solid claim to make). I find it fascinating to imagine a Destiny game without a traditional campaign. What would that look like? I do think it is possible. I could see a version of Destiny where the Strikes become the major, tent-pole story events (where you'd experience all the unique locations and bombastic set-piece moments), while the rest of the storytelling is handled through a mix of patrol/adventure/side-quest activities that take place across the various open worlds. This would keep the patrol areas more highly populated and bustling with activity, while providing more opportunities for players who are on their own "paths" to intersect and work together, or not.

Side tangent: I've noticed over the past week or two that it has already become shockingly rare to see other players while out on patrol. I complete almost all of my Flashpoint Milestones solo, without seeing another player at all. And now that we can fast travel, I hardly ever get to see a fireteam of Guardians drive by on their sparrows. Anyone else having this experience?

Anyway, thoughts?

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