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It's really not an ARG (Destiny)

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 14:38 (282 days ago) @ FyreWulff

I was disappointed in it, though not because I expect a secret unannounced reward, but because the puzzle was designed to require such a massive scale of data correlation that you could never feel like you were making much of an impact. (I'm a fan all they way up to the emblem). People are mentioning ILB and this isn't different just because of the attitude of the players* but because of the size of the player base. There were about 30? of us at Unfiction that I really remember being there consistently playing the ARG, and there were hundreds more that would pop in and out as stores would run about it and an untold number who would just listen to the audio. But, for destiny to put in a distributed puzzle that can scale up enough to need a meaningful percentage of the D2 players means that it needs to be an enormous puzzle, and with something of that scale of players it is VERY hard not to just see it devolve into brute force solves or the slightly better darwinistic solves. There's just so many people. I don't blame Bungie for that, or even the players. Scale dilutes most everything.

There is one way that this is like an ARG, in that if you missed out on the window of time when it was happening all you can do is read recaps of the solve, and that's not nearly as fun as following along live or participating. I struggle with the idea of a great game that has no ability to be shared with others but it can create some great bonds through a shared and unique experience. I have been to weddings of people I met through ILB, and I know people from across the country (and parts of Europe) that I feel as drawn to visit with when travel brings us near as family. I hope that others are finding that despite the massive scale of these Destiny Puzzles.

As for non-players being disappointed with the reward, well, that's the other way this is like an ARG. Toward the end there are always people who take the solution handed to them and then feel like they wasted their time. I remember going to get the DVD reward from ILB and not a single person I talked to in the line had any idea why they were there, really. They read on a gaming news website that if they showed up at some place at some time and said some phrase they would get some thing related to Halo 2. Most thought it was a copy of the beta. (Actually every week I would meet some guy who thought he was going to get an early beta) For me it cuts the other way. I'm annoyed when I think about all the DVDs that got thrown away by people who had no context for what they were given and all the players who lived too far away to get a copy for themselves it's sad. Be careful critiquing the food at a party you crashed, is my point.

People who didn't play should have no expectation of feeling fulfilled by something like this and the work that went into is seems non-fungible to the work of making a multiplayer map. And even if it were, not everything needs to be for everyone. I'd love to know how the people playing felt about it. I do worry that it was so big nobody felt like they were really getting their hands around it.

* for one thing, ILB was trying to be an ARG and this is just trying to be a puzzle. There was no alternate reality the players were existing in. Nothing wrong with that, but it will make any comparison fail.


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