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Power Level, The Grind, Loot, Player Choice (Criticism)

by cheapLEY @, Friday, May 11, 2018, 18:50 (580 days ago)
edited by cheapLEY, Friday, May 11, 2018, 19:01

The Grind™ has been a topic of discussion lately.

It's permeated almost every discussion surrounding Destiny since 2014. The Grind™ has inhabited nearly the entire spectrum from bad to good at one point or another, and it varies wildly depending on what aspect of The Grind™ you're even talking about.

And that's where I'd like to start.

What is The Grind™?

There are two major aspects to this, in my mind.

Let's start with what I would consider the "good" grind. In Destiny 2, this is the collection of tokens to turn in for vendor gear. It's completing raids for raid gear. It's completing the set challenges for ornaments for certain gear sets. It's a reward for simply playing the game for more than week. It's something to look forward to, not necessarily something to grind with a laser focus (or, at least, I do believe that's Bungie's design intention for those things).

The bad form is Power Level. It's a soft cap, gating your progress behind Powerful Engrams that can only be obtained in a limited number from specific activities. It's playing the game for no other reason than to raise an arbitrary number so you can even begin the activity you want to do.

Warmind has both forms. While Cody clearly hates collecting and building Override Frequencies, I'd argue it's a good addition to Destiny. It's a long term goal to work for while you simply play the game. Does it suck that you can't get those weapons without putting in the time? I dunno, maybe. Maybe Destiny would be better if it was Halo with set weapons. But that's fundamentally not what Destiny is, and I don't think it's a conversation worth having anymore. At a certain point, long term grinding like the Override Frequencies is a decent way to keep worlds populated.

(A quick aside: I think the problem comes by limiting such things to specific worlds. It keeps that one destination populated, especially now with new content, and it's a surefire way to make patrolling that one specific destination feel more like a chore. Why not let Override Frequencies drop from Public Events on any Destination. Maybe even make the chances for a drop lower on other Destinations. I dunno, just throwing ideas out there).

Things like the Override Frequencies, Destination or activity specific gear, vendor specific gear, etc, are good forms of grind. Things to work towards long term, something to keep players playing the game. I like those things. Loot is a fundamental aspect of Destiny, and I think it's a fun part of Destiny, as well. Getting cool drops is fun and exciting! Working towards a specific ornament over the course of a Faction Rally (or even two or three of them) can be rewarding. That's all great, and I really hope we see a lot more of that in Season 3 and beyond.

Warmind, unfortunately, brought back the bad form of grind, too. With the soft cap. The raid lair is 370. I'm at 341, and my progress has halted. I've got two Powerful Engrams left to earn this week (Nightfall and Crucible, anyone want to help in a few minutes?), but after that my progress stops. Sure, I can do the old raids for better drops, but what if I don't want to do those activities (I really don't, right now, but it seems I'm going to be forced to). I refuse to believe that locking out the end game raid content behind a Power Level (which is a essentially a "play more Destiny" level) is a good solution. It's locking the raid behind more playtime for no discernible good reason.

So, my question is this:

Why does Destiny still have a Power Level? What does it add to the game?

My solution is to get rid of Power Levels completely, and instead just define the difficulty levels of every activity. I'll use some Halo terminology here, just for ease of understanding.

The story missions would all be Normal (ideally with harder difficulties that are selectable, but that's not necessary). Patrolling the worlds would also be Normal. I think Lost Sectors and Adventures would be Normal, too, although it'd be neat to have those vary some. Public Events would start Normal and retain the optional Heroic versions. Strikes would have the three versions they have now, Normal, Heroic, and Nightfall (Legendary). The normal mode raid would be at Heroic difficulty, with Prestige jumping up to Legendary. These would all be constant. Every raid would remain at those exact same difficulties for the life time of Destiny.

This fixes so many issues in Destiny.

Look at where we are right now. Heroic strikes are at 350 Power Level. If you're at the soft cap, the rewards are only at 340. You're gaining no progression by completing Heroic Strikes. You can do the currently easier Nightfall for a Powerful Engram, though!

With no Power Level, this wouldn't happen. You'd play the Nightfall not for a Powerful Engram to boost your Power Level, but because the Nightfall is the only activity that drops that Hunter cloak you want. They key is that every activity would have some gear that is specific to it. The Nightfall pool isn't just the regular strike pool with one or two unique things. There could be some overlap, but every difficulty would have its own unique loot, too, just so we don't end up in a situation where the Nightfall is the only strike folks want to do. Chase as little or as much of it as you want. Sure, some folks would have to accept that some gear might just be beyond them, or that they won't collect every piece of gear in the game. But that's already true of Destiny 2, so that's not really an issue.

It would also fix content being "left behind." We'd never see a D1 situation where no one wants to do Vault of Glass because King's Fall is the only raid that gives appropriately leveled rewards. We'd never see players without the new expansion getting locked out of a weekly activity (Nightfall) because they can't actually get to a high enough Power Level.

We'd never have a situation where Cody wants to play the raid, but he can't because he hasn't put in his fifteen hours grinding out Power Level in activities he doesn't want to play.

It would allow players to play the activities they want to play for the gear they desire, without forcing to them to play anything they don't want to play just to make a number bigger.

P.S. Just for fun, I'm going to post this at /r/Destinythegame. Let's watch it get downvoted into oblivion.

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Power Level, The Grind, Loot, Player Choice

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Friday, May 11, 2018, 19:31 (580 days ago) @ cheapLEY

It sure was “fun” watching Bungie celebrate themselves for making the new raid so difficult (aka, making the Power level so high?) and congratulating the world’s first team of people who apparently didn’t have to work this week. It’s actually making me furious. I took a day off just to play Destiny and I’m 15 Power below the recommended level. Meaning I’m roughly two weeks away from being able to raid without a major disadvantage.

Right now I’m REALLY feeling like Bungie is prioritizing a very different type of player than I am, which seems insane! I’m only someone who made a significant amount of time to play their game, am heavily invested in their story and lore, and have spent a large amount of time explaining things to others. But since I don’t stream all day long I feel like I’m not valued. More than that, I feel like, as per your soft cap discussion, that they have gone back and put significantly more barriers in my way to enjoying the game.

This sucks.

And I am angry.

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Power Level, The Grind, Loot, Player Choice

by cheapLEY @, Friday, May 11, 2018, 19:45 (580 days ago) @ Ragashingo

Yeah, it sucks.

I can't believe folks are celebrating this change. I've been browsing the subreddit since I posted, and lots of folks are loving it. I don't get it.

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Power Level, The Grind, Loot, Player Choice

by slycrel ⌂, Friday, May 11, 2018, 21:30 (580 days ago) @ Ragashingo

I've not been following the news as much... I was shocked that the raid lair is already released. It seems very early. I think I said this last expansion... by pacing content releases out a little they would keep more people more interested over a longer period of time.

Which they want to do anyway by how the power engrams are spaced, seems odd to not lean into that more.

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