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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15 (Criticism)

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Monday, February 26, 2018, 19:24 (386 days ago)

In researching the soon to be posted article on the Warminds of Io, I found I needed to go back and play through the opening Io missions in the correct order. The only way to do that was to delete a character and start over. I happily deleted my Warlock (after Vaulting almost all of her important gear) and spent the weekend playing back through Destiny 2.

I had a lot of fun. As we all prettty much agree, the story is a bit lacking in deeper character moments, but the flow was nice and the missions were excellent. I wasn’t exactly doing a speed run because I knew there was that little hump at Level 15 right before the tank mission. So this time I played the missions but stuck around on each planet to also do the available adventures. And it worked... terribly.

Clyde-6, Zavala, Ikora Rey, and Suraya Hawthorne all have their little ban meeting with Zavala concluding that Cayde-6 taught him about the importance of a grand entrance... and then I go to the next mission marker and get told that no, I can’t follow up that bold statement with an awesome mission. Instead, I needed to grind out three more levels before continuing with the story.

I wouldn’t mind it if the flow of the story included breaks for extended Patrol segments. If anything, Destiny is almost made for a story structure of exciting, impactful story missions followed by time in the open world tying up loose ends or securing secondary objectives. Breaks from the main story could feel so natural with just a little bit of effort.

Instead, we begin with this strong story beat of Zavala, having seen the error of his ways is now relying on Clyde-6’s strategies to show the Cabal who is boss. This is gonna be awesome. What wackiness are these two going to help me cause. Oh... nothing. No action. No wackiness. Not for a good hour or more. I felt this pause in the story each of the 4-ish times I’ve completed Destiny 2’s campaign, but it was especially noticeable this time.

I’m all for forcing the player to experience the open worlds Destiny 2 has to offer. I think each of them is actually pretty great in its own way. Even Mercury. But Bungie needs to work just a bit harder to avoid leaving player hanging. Especially during what should be the last bit of rising action!

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 26, 2018, 23:07 (386 days ago) @ Ragashingo

In researching the soon to be posted article on the Warminds of Io

Plural? You mean Ikora is lying when she says there's only one Warmind?

Also, if you play on an account that hasn't played Destiny 1, your ghost asks "What's a Warmind?" and you get a silly explanation from Ikora.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by stabbim @, Des Moines, IA, USA, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 07:06 (385 days ago) @ Ragashingo

I'm feeling a weird disconnect here. I'm not saying any of this is wrong, but for some reason, I don't remember having this level 15 issue. I'm not sure whether it didn't happen to me, or I just can't recall it?

I did typically do all the adventures as soon as they became available, but you indicate that you were doing so as well, so that's probably not the difference.

Perhaps I was picking up more patrol beacons while doing the other things? Maybe, but I'd be surprised if I did enough to account for 3 levels.

Does the well rested bonus apply to all leveling, or just the levels after maximum (aka Tess visits)? I honestly can't remember. If it's all levels, maybe I just got lucky and split my campaign leveling advantageously between 2 weeks/resets?

Or, again, perhaps I just forgot that particular grind. I guess it has been a while.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by MacAddictXIV, Seattle WA, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 07:20 (385 days ago) @ stabbim

I'm feeling a weird disconnect here. I'm not saying any of this is wrong, but for some reason, I don't remember having this level 15 issue. I'm not sure whether it didn't happen to me, or I just can't recall it?

I did typically do all the adventures as soon as they became available, but you indicate that you were doing so as well, so that's probably not the difference.

Perhaps I was picking up more patrol beacons while doing the other things? Maybe, but I'd be surprised if I did enough to account for 3 levels.

Does the well rested bonus apply to all leveling, or just the levels after maximum (aka Tess visits)? I honestly can't remember. If it's all levels, maybe I just got lucky and split my campaign leveling advantageously between 2 weeks/resets?

Or, again, perhaps I just forgot that particular grind. I guess it has been a while.

I don't remember it being that stark of a difference, but I definitely remember on my alt characters a definite emphasis on grinding levels to finish the campaign.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 08:49 (385 days ago) @ stabbim

It’s a problem as old as video games. The bad guy is at large, the world is in peril, but the hero is off doing all the side quests eliminating the urgency. The solution is of course a more linear main game, which if it has choices continues the urgency, with a post game opening up to all the side quests and exploration.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 08:49 (385 days ago) @ stabbim

Yeah, it could be any one of several things:

- For most, this level 15 cliff was something they overcame half a year ago. In the grand scheme of things it is easily forgotten.

- For some, if not many of us, we weren't doing nearly so direct a play through as I was. Sure, I did the adventures, but back in September, we were all probably playing together, helping each other in the Crucible or in Strikes, and just wandering around the new worlds, completing challenges and public events. Just an hour or two of that would be enough to suppress or eliminate the cliff.

- XP payout has changed at least a couple of times since then. Some of those changes removed XP throttles, but some also removed XP bonuses.

Overall, I did feel as if I was further behind than I had been before, but I don't have any real data to back that up. To me its less about how far behind in XP / Level I was, and more about how the story even can grind to a halt in its final act.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by stabbim @, Des Moines, IA, USA, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 09:27 (385 days ago) @ Ragashingo

- XP payout has changed at least a couple of times since then. Some of those changes removed XP throttles, but some also removed XP bonuses.

Ah, yes. I had that thought in the back of my mind when I started typing, and then lost it. I haven't paid enough attention to know whether it would be an overall increase or reduction, but there definitely have been changes.

To me its less about how far behind in XP / Level I was, and more about how the story even can grind to a halt in its final act.

Fair point.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Saturday, March 03, 2018, 19:01 (381 days ago) @ Ragashingo

Yeah, it could be any one of several things:

- For most, this level 15 cliff was something they overcame half a year ago. In the grand scheme of things it is easily forgotten.

- For some, if not many of us, we weren't doing nearly so direct a play through as I was. Sure, I did the adventures, but back in September, we were all probably playing together, helping each other in the Crucible or in Strikes, and just wandering around the new worlds, completing challenges and public events. Just an hour or two of that would be enough to suppress or eliminate the cliff.

- XP payout has changed at least a couple of times since then. Some of those changes removed XP throttles, but some also removed XP bonuses.

Overall, I did feel as if I was further behind than I had been before, but I don't have any real data to back that up. To me its less about how far behind in XP / Level I was, and more about how the story even can grind to a halt in its final act.

Yeah the level gating through the campaign can be a bit odd and uneven at times. I didn’t run into it much during my first playthrough because I was doing every adventure and sidequest available to me before moving on to the next mission. But I was acutely aware of it during my 2nd and 3rd playthroughs. I didn’t do those playthroughs out of any desire to see the campaign again; I was merely trying to get new characters up and running for end-game activities, so I raced through the campaign as fast as possible both times. As a result, I ran into several level-gates, which was rather annoying at the time.

When I did my 4th playthrough on Xbox, I ended up spending a couple hours in the Crucible with Claude and Speedracer one night (which was hilarious, because I had only just barely unlocked the crucible, I had almost no weapons, and barely any of my skill tree unlocked). To my surprise, that 1 night of crucible have me enough of an XP bump that I didn’t hit a single roadblock through the rest of the campaign.

I think what they were aiming for with that level 15 gap was to recreate the end-game of TTK, but earlier (possibly so that more players would experience it?). BecUse that’s about the point where strikes and patrols open up, if I remember correctly. Ultimately, I don’t think it worked as well. In TTK, there was this great, focused, linear campaign that you drove straight through, and then after completing the main story, the game spider-webs outwards in all directions with all these side quests and patrols and exploration and strikes, all culminating with the raid. But in D2 you get to this point where you’re all pumped up and ready to drive into the final act, but you’re kinda forced to just grind out activities that feel strangely out of place given the story at that moment. Strikes are cool, but I felt sidetracked playing them at that point in the campaign. And the adventures all felt like going backwards, if I hadn’t already completed them. I kinda think it might have worked better if they’d just held that branching point back and opened that stuff up after beating the campaign.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Saturday, March 03, 2018, 19:35 (381 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

Yeah. Agreed.

There are a couple of Adventures that made sense. Specifically there’s an early EDZ one that relates directly to further setting up the emergency beacon directing survivors to The Farm. But yes, either they should have specifically given you a reason to stay on one planet for a while, or made early batch of adventures a mandatory, ordered part fo the story, or only opened them up at the end.

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Something’s Missing: The XP To Get To Level 15

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 09:13 (385 days ago) @ Ragashingo

In researching the soon to be posted article on the Warminds of Io, I found I needed to go back and play through the opening Io missions in the correct order. The only way to do that was to delete a character and start over. I happily deleted my Warlock (after Vaulting almost all of her important gear) and spent the weekend playing back through Destiny 2.

I had a lot of fun. As we all prettty much agree, the story is a bit lacking in deeper character moments, but the flow was nice and the missions were excellent. I wasn’t exactly doing a speed run because I knew there was that little hump at Level 15 right before the tank mission. So this time I played the missions but stuck around on each planet to also do the available adventures. And it worked... terribly.

Clyde-6, Zavala, Ikora Rey, and Suraya Hawthorne all have their little ban meeting with Zavala concluding that Cayde-6 taught him about the importance of a grand entrance... and then I go to the next mission marker and get told that no, I can’t follow up that bold statement with an awesome mission. Instead, I needed to grind out three more levels before continuing with the story.

I wouldn’t mind it if the flow of the story included breaks for extended Patrol segments. If anything, Destiny is almost made for a story structure of exciting, impactful story missions followed by time in the open world tying up loose ends or securing secondary objectives. Breaks from the main story could feel so natural with just a little bit of effort.

Instead, we begin with this strong story beat of Zavala, having seen the error of his ways is now relying on Clyde-6’s strategies to show the Cabal who is boss. This is gonna be awesome. What wackiness are these two going to help me cause. Oh... nothing. No action. No wackiness. Not for a good hour or more. I felt this pause in the story each of the 4-ish times I’ve completed Destiny 2’s campaign, but it was especially noticeable this time.

I’m all for forcing the player to experience the open worlds Destiny 2 has to offer. I think each of them is actually pretty great in its own way. Even Mercury. But Bungie needs to work just a bit harder to avoid leaving player hanging. Especially during what should be the last bit of rising action!

I'll try to remember to pay attention to this when the next DLC drops. I'll be starting a new character then.

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