What Des2ny has lost (Criticism)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 10:12 (524 days ago)
edited by Cody Miller, Thursday, December 20, 2018, 10:16

This is obviously my opinion. I can't believe I have to say that, so now it's out of the way.

I continually go back to what numerous people who were invited to the community event were saying about Destiny before Warmind and Forsaken:

"Make my time mean something"

The implication was that Destiny needed more stuff to grind for. More things for which to invest your hours. But this is wrong. Take them at their words. What they are saying is:

"My time spent playing this game doesn't feel meaningful"

This should clue you in. This is what should be fixed. More grind is masking the symptoms. They are saying they don't actually like just playing the game. In this way, I think Destiny has devolved and lost far more than it has gained. So what has Destiny lost?

1. A sense of wonder

There was plenty of wonder to go around early on. The universe was new, and so were the game systems. Figuring out the best way to play the game was an exploration. Discovering the facets of the universe was intriguing. Going into the depths of VoG or King's fall felt like a forbidden transgression, and you weren't supposed to be seeing what you are seeing. Even though it was not handled as well as it could have been, you were left with the idea that there would be more to explore. More to come. More to learn. More to see.

For me that is almost completely gone.

Part of it is that I know the storytelling will not take us there based on the track record. So much of the universe has already been squandered. We are asked to buy into things that are either retconned in an unnecessary way or are concluded in the least satisfying way possible. We are supposed to invest not in characters and emotions and storytelling but lore and grimoire. The raids now feel ready made and laid out for us, inviting our guardians in on a tour rather than being forbidden (and story wise, both the Calus raids and Riven literally ARE that).

The dreaming city has some wonder, some secrets, but those are for the most part too wrapped up in the machinations of the investment system to feel rewarding and organic on their own. It's a world that feels built just for us rather than a once inhabited city of the awoken.

And so even in the new it feels all too familiar.

2. A sense of purpose

Bounties were never fun pursuits in and of themselves. Yet here we are with them laid in front of us as s pivotal part of the system to now progress in power level, which governs so much of the game. Progression in Destiny was problematic for sure, but was at least tied to the most engaging activities of the time. Now, our progression is spread in milestones over busy work. Forsaken diluted this even more. Rather than add choice it simply adds more chore. Each milestone is worth less than before, and is more boring than before. Your time with this game now consists largely of repeating errands. The dreaming city merely embraces and explains the repetitions of the investment system rather than challenging them.

Progression feels like a series of chores. At least a raid drop felt like and accomplishment in Destiny. Des2ny largely kept this up, but removed a lot of the grind. It was great. I don't ever remember grinding for a second in Des2ny before the release of Warmind. My time did mean something. But not to the streamers I guess, and everything since has been a misunderstanding and overreaction to their response to Des2ny.

Infusing is maddeningly frustrating. Why do planetary materials even exist? If you can buy them for shards, bypass them and make infusion cost shards. The renaming of Masterwork cores does nothing to address their stupidity. Using the guns you want to use is an exercise in frustration and errands, in a game which is supposed to be fun. Time barriers which do the opposite of what was intended.

Here I sit without the Annual Pass, and without even having completed the two most recent raids. These are ostensibly fun, but I feel discouraged from even trying since I cannot just enjoy them without bullshit.

3. A sense of music

From Osiris to now I cannot recall any music being anything other than texture. The music used to be a character in and of itself, to be a driving force rather than an invisible support. A large part of the emotional experience simply exists rather than thrives. I can't help but believe the lack of wonder is also because of this. It hurts the game in ways that can't be quantified or easily explained.

4. A sense of story

It's not like Destiny really had a great sense of narrative anyway, but with Gaul I felt at least they were improving. It was still rocky, but now with the Annual pass it feels like they have just given up and expect the grimoire to fill that gap. It won't.

5. A sense of self

I just don't know what Destiny is supposed to be anymore. It keeps changing, but it doesn't feel like a window into this unique universe anymore. It doesn't feel like a call to adventure. It feels like a trick. A trick to suck my time. Probably part of Savathún's plan. The carrot is too far away, the stick too long, and I am too tired to chase it.

I'm not stopping completely. In fact, next year I'd like to finish the raids with the PS4 group.

But the space magic is almost completely gone for me.

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