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Destiny is one of the biggest games to be released this year. Trailers are everywhere for it. Commercials on TV are plentiful. And news from Activision is sales are high. But review scores are low. So what is wrong with Destiny?
Two weeks after release,I have sunk well over 30 hours or more into Destiny. I feel like I can talk about what is wrong with the game. Destiny has a lot of small issues and weird quirks. But I feel it has five major problems. Some of these I think can be fixed. Others..I’m not so sure.
Playing Destiny means dealing with lots of loading screens. Before a mission, after a mission, going into orbit, heading to the tower and playing PVP. All of it is separated from each other by fairly lengthy loading times. I soon grew to hate my ship, as every time I saw my vessel it was because the game was making me wait for the next thing. It’s quickly become frustrating. On the plus side I get a lot of opportunities to check twitter and my email.
Loading up the tower after fighting on the Moon makes sense. It is a new area and from a story perspective it makes sense we have to travel via ship from location to location. But why the hell do I have to go back to orbit and go through a loading screen to do a mission on the planet I’m already on.
It feels clunky and makes little sense to me. I can literally at anytime jump out of a mission and head to orbit. So why does the game MAKE me do that after every mission? Well one answer is because once you finish a mission there isn’t anything for you do to. I mean you could run around and shoot low level enemies who respawn forever. But that’s it. There are no side activities or missions to do. Actually there are. BUT to load those up you have to go back to orbit and load the same map up, but this time there are little beacons that you can activate. Doing so gives you generic missions like “Shoot 20 enemies.”
What was the decision behind this? It just makes everything feel so…small and disconnected. I would love to see the beacons show up on the planet whenever I was on the planet. It would make it feel more cohesive and would allow me and my friends something to do after completing a mission. Speaking of missions…
Almost every mission in Destiny follows this pattern. Spawn on the planet, travel to a point, hold Square, listen to your ghost say something, go to the next spot. Sometimes you have to travel to two spots sometimes three or four. Eventually you will reach a object, like a computer and your Ghost will scan/hack it. And every time enemies begin to spawn and you fight waves of them off. Once the last one is killed you either finish the mission or sometimes you go to another spot and do it again. Occasionally you will have to fight off a large, bullet sponge enemy or maybe a few of them.
But that’s it. That right there describes all the missions in Destiny. Every single one. Sure, there is that one mission where you use a sword. Outside of that one part of one mission you do the same thing every time. I’ve never said this before but, by the end of my first week with Destiny I WANTED an on rails moment. Anything to shake things up. Just something different.
What makes this worse is you will have to replay these missions a lot. That’s one of the best ways to earn loot and Vanguard marks. So you will end up doing these things over and over. Eventually my friends and me just talked about random things, movies we saw etc. while we shot the giant alien thing for the 20th time. Its mind-numbing.
On top of having to do the same thing over and over and over, the rewards are very rarely worth it and that’s assuming you get any loot at all. Which brings us to one of the biggest issues of Destiny.
I’m not a huge fan of novelty Twitter accounts. But this last week I discovered the legendary engram Twitter account. It is a joke account which constantly reminds me how frustrating and terrible the loot system is in Destiny.
The first major issue is that there just isn’t much loot drops in Destiny. The last few days I’ve been using a farming location on the Moon to try and get some better loot. After nearly two hours of farming loot, while listening to a podcast, I was disappointed with what I got. Five “Blues” or Rares, 30 “Greens” or Uncommons. That’s it. No “Purples” or Legendary as they are actually called. No “Orange” or exotics. And two of the “Blues” were cosmetic capes and one was a Helmet for a warlock.
That is just awful. You know how in Diablo you are constantly finding loot, most of it is junk sure, but you usually are finding something worth while at least every half hour or so. That’s not the case in Destiny. I have gone through missions without getting a single loot drop from enemies. In Borderlands, you know how when you kill a giant boss and it spits out tons of weapons and loot. That also doesn’t happen in Destiny. After spending 20+ minutes fighting a big boss in Destiny my reward was….. a banner. Which I can sell to a vendor for 200 glimmer. Yeah thanks Destiny.
You could play multiplayer and I have found some decent loot playing multiplayer. But after leading my team and doing great I reached the end of the match. This is where Destiny doles out some loot. Except its random. So after having one of my best matches in Destiny I was rewarded with…..nothing. A player who was idle for the first half of the match and barely did anything, they were awarded a Purple Sniper. There are also some loot chests, but I have found nothing in those things that was worth equipping and that makes me end up not caring when I find them.
At a certain point the loot system and way Destiny rewards, or actually I should say doesn’t reward you, became so frustrating to me that I had to just walk away from it for awhile. The worst part is that ALL the endgame content and post 20 leveling up rely entirely on better gear that you get from loot drops.
If you think the story of Destiny is barely there, get ready for how little the game ever explains anything to you. And some of this MIGHT be explained in a Grimoire card, but that’s not very helpful considering I can’t READ any of those in the game. Which makes no sense.
Destiny’s endgame is a mess. A random and sometimes hugely frustrating mess. When you reach level 20 the game informs you that you need “light” to get beyond level 20. But it never really explains what “light” is. As far as I remember, and I don’t remember much from Destiny’s story, I’m from the light. Or made it of it? Something like that. Anyways, the light you need to level up beyond 20 is actually a new attribute you have on some pieces of armor. Once you equip enough armor to raise your light meter high enough you will hit level 21. But how much light do you need? Good question. All you get is a vague meter. The game doesn’t actually tell you how much you need.
One thing I love about Diablo is that even when I am getting terrible loot, I am still earning experience. Just killing hundreds of enemies and completing quests continue to level me up. It makes the loot fun. I’m not in a position where to do new stuff or see new things I NEED a super amazing axe or helmet to drop. If it does great! If not, well I’ll just keep killing stuff and leveling up. Destiny on the other hand makes loot a chore and a resource you are always trying to earn.
This leads to the issue where some players just can’t level up. Luck isn’t in their favor and they can’t get any worthwhile loot to drop. They need armor with more light and they just aren’t getting that. I know of some people who are 40 hours in and are just barely a 21. They are putting more time in and aren’t getting anything in return. Destiny doesn’t care about your time. It just sets up a long path and says climb it. And sometimes it makes you climb it again. And again.
There is a level 26 raid that launched recently. It sounds interesting and I’m honestly interested in playing it simply because it is new content. But I have no idea when I’ll reach level 26. I have to hope that all the grinding and matches I play will eventually pay off in a piece of light filled armor. That’s not fun. That’s annoying.
As I walked around the Tower today, turning in some bounties and decrypting some engrams, I saw a tweet. Xur, a vendor who has special items and only appears on weekends, was at the tower. I went to where he was last time and he wasn’t there. That was odd. So I began looking for him. And as I did this I realized how lonely Destiny is.
If this was WoW or a similar online game I would just ask the chat. But there is no chat in Destiny. There is no voice chat even with other players in the Tower. One thing I enjoyed in Defiance was the text chat that the game had. Yes a console game with text chat is a bit awkward, but it made the world feel more alive. People talking about trades or the latest patch. Sometimes just talking about stuff they did that day or telling jokes. It made it feel more social.
Destiny wants to be a big social game. Bungie claims it is. But its not. Some strikes and raids don’t have matchmaking. The public events are a bit more frequent since an update, but they still seem to happen when no else is around. You can’t even maintain your Bungie group/clan in Destiny. You have to go to the app or the website to do that. I’m not even sure what being in a group does to be honest. So much of Destiny is barely explained or sadly, just not in the game at all. It is on the website or the app.
The lack of global or local chat, either text based or voice based, is bizarre. You can talk in fireteams, but you can only have up to 6 players in a fireteam, and thats only if you’re doing a raid or online match. Missions and strikes are only allowed 3 person fireteams. Maps are big but there never seem to be more than a dozen people running around. Destiny ends up feeling lonely and empty most of the time I play it without friends.
I eventually found Xur and I didn’t have enough strange coins to buy anything he had. So I thought about grinding some more and as I did I looked around. Destiny is a large, beautiful world. Its amazing to look at and feels good to play. But it’s empty. It’s hollow.
There is no soul here. It’s a shell of game. Destiny feels like it is missing so much. It feels so small and feels handicapped by its horrendous loot system. It only has four planets to visit and they all contain the same missions. The same “Kill these dudes, now these dudes, I’m almost done scanning, oh look more dudes, kill them.” The game barely gives out any loot and to reach high level content you NEED that loot. All of this and more add up to a pretty shallow and messy experience. At times it can feel lonely too.
Destiny isn’t a lost cause. Bungie seems committed to updating the game and adding new content. Hopefully Bungie will see what people, myself included, are saying about Destiny. I’m curious where Destiny will be in a year. Will it be a massive success, filled with new worlds and missions. Or will it be forgotten and abandoned, with only a small, dedicated group of players trudging along. All of them hoping for just one piece of Purple loot to drop.
Click here to read our review of Destiny, which covers every aspect of the game good, bad and ugly.