To say the Destiny community is a little salty right now is a bit of an understatement, so as a result I am using a screenshot of the emote for today’s post. We are in this weird situation where anyone claiming to enjoy themselves right now is being angrily labelled a Bungie shill. The truth is my play time has decreased greatly over the last few weeks but this isn’t necessarily because I am not enjoying myself still playing the game, but instead because I have reached a point where I feel comfortable not grinding all the time towards my goal. I am a very loot centric player when it comes to MMOs or loot driven games, and now that I have reached the top of the hill… a lot of my drive to keep grinding disappears. Sure there are things out there that I want to do and want to obtain… but I have been grinding Destiny 2 since September 6th when it launched on the PS4. I leveled a set of characters on console and then hit the PC launch with the same gusto with it happened on October 24th grinding up a brand new set of characters there. Next Tuesday the latest batch of content will release and I am preparing myself to start the grind all over again as I attempt to top the hill and get to the next loot and level cap. In truth I am likely just backing off a bit to give myself some breathing room right before the next rush starts.
That said there are a lot of players who have eased up on the play time and this taken with the wave of frustration circulating add up to a fairly disgruntled player base that Bungie is going to have to appease. The core issue for me at least is that Destiny 2 has seemed to be a sequel to Destiny 1 at launch… not Destiny 1 in the state at which it arrived during year three after the significant improvements that came with Taken King and Rise of Iron. My working theory has always been that they started work on Destiny 2 at some point during the release cycle of Destiny 1 and never really took into account everything that happened to massively shift the game during Year 2 and Year 3. As a result when Destiny 2 launched it felt like it was feature limited and missing a lot of the quality of life improvements that we had come to expect. Additionally some poor decisions like shaders being consumables kept piling the frustrations and we made our way through the content. So I am going to talk about a few points this morning that either bother me or bother a lot of players.
One of the biggest personal frustrations for me is the lack of ways that I can see improvement in my character. Like I said above I am very loot centric and my core drive in this game as with most loot driven games… is to improve my gear score. There has always been a final slog to the goal in Destiny but in this incarnation it came way the hell too soon. Light gain felt really good up until about 265/270 and then the bottom completely dropped out leaving you with a handful of “Powerful Gear” milestones to do each week. I am absolutely certain that this is a mechanic that they put in place to make it so casual players could hang with the players willing to grind endlessly for gear. The problem is for those of us who would be playing the game nonstop… it gives us no real reason to keep doing so. It takes me about an hour per character to grind out the three easy powerful gear milestones each week (crucible call to arms, planetary flashpoint, and clan xp). So after those three hours of gameplay… there is really nothing else left for me to do that is going to move the needle forward. Even now sitting at 305 light… I would still be grinding and spending my time catching up all of my favorite weapons to the level cap. The problem is that everything drops 5 levels below your current light level, feeling like a slap in the face each time you see another useless bauble that will never be of use to help you climb the ladder.
Skill Based Match Making
This is a topic of great contention among the PVP haves and have nots. In Destiny 1 there used to be an algorithm that attempted to match you up with players in your same skill range, and it favored this pairing over connection quality. With Destiny 2 they reversed this decision and seem to be basing pairings entirely on connection quality and as a result I see a lot of people with Oklahoma and Texas themed names from my digital neighborhood… but also wind up getting thrown into some pretty horrible match ups. The number of times I have gotten thrown into a match with a full team of ringers that then proceeds to shred my team of randoms… honestly represents the majority of my times playing crucible. It feels horrible to keep being ground up and spit out by a bunch of folks that are queuing together. While tweaking the calculations for team making they really need to favor throwing randoms with other randoms and teams with other teams, because the current state of the only thing mattering is your connection really sucks. The only positive is that I have had to get better much faster by being thrown against a wall over and over. I am still not what you would call good, but I am passable and can usually do my Call to Arms in 4 to 5 matches and that is really all that matters to me.
In Destiny 1 weapons had a randomized set of stats and perks that could come from a list of possible perks on that weapon. This lead to the process of grinding an activity on the hopes of getting a “god roll” weapon to drop, with whatever the community had deemed was the ideal set of stats for that weapon. A prime example of this was my “God Roll” Haakon’s Hatchet from Year 2 Iron Banner that came with Perfect Balance, Counterbalance and Range Finder giving it an insane stability of 80 and an aim assist of 79 making it a laser beam that just melted opponents. Similarly I had another one sitting in my vault that I never got around to dismantling that only had a stability of 58… which makes the weapon perform drastically differently. There are huge swaths of the Destiny community that are salty about the absence of random weapon rolls, and in truth this is one of the areas where I am extremely happy with Destiny 2. I love knowing that when I finally get Jiangshi AR4 to drop from gunsmith… that it will be the best possible roll of that weapon without having to try for it multiple times. I love knowing that if I suggest Better Devils to a friend, that I don’t have to specific that you need it with this perk or that perk or it is completely useless. I have a vault full of sub par Imago Loop hand cannons in Destiny 1 because I never actually got the perfect roll, and the same goes for Eyasluna another weapon I chased hard to always came up empty. I think primarily the salt is coming from the fact that static weapon rolls removes one more thing that people did in Destiny 1 and was not replaced with a similar grind to serve as a time sink.
While I have done them several times… I just do not like the new Nightfall system with its weird timed mechanic. The truth is there are a lot of people who just want back the way Nightfalls used to feel as being a harder version of the normal strike. This is compounded by the fact that there are no heroic strikes to serve as a bit of a middle ground. Personally I am just not a fan of anything on a timer because it stresses me the fuck out. In elementary school I slipped two groups in mathematics thanks to these stupid quizzes called mad minutes… where you had to get a bunch of problems done in a minute. I do not perform well when on a timer and as a result I either rushed through and made a lot of errors or had zero errors but took my time. When you put me on a timer and I know I am on a timer… I am going to perform like shit. This is in part why I rarely willfully did mythic+ dungeons in World of Warcraft because they stressed me out more than they were worth. I will do a Nightfall, but they are mostly like swallowing a pill… and now that I have hit 305 light… I have no real desire to keep doing them.
Strikes are Meaningless
In Destiny 1 I used to spend hours grinding the heroic strike playlist because it was a possible source of gear upgrades but also a way that I could get special unique strike specific drops. Later on they put in the strike scoring system and it ramped the reasons to keep running the strikes as they were a great source of faction and also rewarded loot from completing the bounties. The current state of Destiny strikes is that they are largely fun but also completely pointless after you get to 265 light. There is nothing that you can get from them apart from Vanguard tokens that make them worth repeated running. Similarly with Nightfall strikes, they are only worth doing once per week per character, and again this adds to the feeling that there is “nothing to do” that players are having. Its not that there are not things to do… its that there is a general sense of feeling like there is nothing “worth” doing. I miss hoard chests at the end of strikes that had the possibility of dropping really interesting things. There are still weapons in Destiny 1 that came from these chests that I never managed to get, and if I went back to the game it is the sort of thing I would work on trying for when nothing else was going on. Basically the game as a whole feels like it is lacking stretch goals that players can accomplish reasonably while doing solo play.
Still a Great Game
As you might be able to tell from this post… I have my own issues with Destiny 2, but all of this said it is still a game that I enjoy each time I log into it. I’ve been on a recent binge of leveling my Orc Warrior in World of Warcraft and very similarly that is a game that I have lots of problems with… but still enjoy. Mostly I think for me it is a sense of disappointment because after playing through Destiny 1 I have seen them do certain things better. Similarly I know that Destiny 1 Year 1 was an awful place and to see where they went over the three years of that game, have taught me that they can in fact improve and pivot while the game is still running. Today Bungie was supposed to do the final live stream reveal for the Curse of Osiris expansion, and they have cancelled it largely to go back to the drawing board a bit. It seems like they are instead planning on giving us more information about the future of the game and some of the ways they plan on changing it. My only fear is that they might over correct and do away with some of the things that I think are working well. Static rolls are great as far as I am concerned, and I would hate to see them go. The problem is which players should Bungie listen to and which ones should they not? All I know is that I feel like I lack goals that are in the distance that I can keep shooting for that also support solo play time when I just can’t handle being around other players. I’m curious to see where the game goes from here.