In defense of Destiny…

When Destiny came out, like many others, I was underwhelmed. After Bungie’s Halo series, the reportedly insane budget and highly successful Beta, hype was through the roof, and but it didn’t meet many expectations. The story seemed like an afterthought, the PvP was rather limited and it seemed to be lacking overall in the content department. Everyone seemed to agree it had a solid foundation of gameplay and was addicting, but “the worst game I can’t stop playing” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. But nearly half a year later, I’m still coming back to it consistently, and it’s surprised me in a lot of ways.

Some have criticized the lack of content, and called the game very repetitive. They’re right about it being repetitive, but some of the best games of all time take one simple formula and create games with dozens, if not hundreds of potential hours of playtime. With Destiny, Bungie’s been consistent about adding tweaks to strikes. Every tuesday there’s a new Weekly Nightfall Strike to try with different modifiers that keep things challenging and interesting. Bungie also proven themselves dedicated to buffing and nerfing guns to improve balancing (just this week Pulse Rifle’s finally became useful, and Shotgun’s became relevant in PvE).

The divisive The Dark Below expansion was criticized because it didn’t expand the story in a really meaningful way, but for dedicated players, it added a ton of new gear, and an excellent Raid, Crota’s End. Those 2 things alone have made it more than worth the 20 dollar asking price. The Raids are where Destiny really shines. I didn’t attempt my first Raid until the game had been out for a few months. I’d heard the first raid, the Vault of Glass, took several hours to complete and was only for the most dedicated of players. I expected it to be just a really long Strike, a near endless slog of Fallen, Hive and Vex to slaughter. But it wasn’t. It was an intricate, complex, completely “not holding your hand” gameplay experience that required genuine teamwork. I had to put my beer down and actually focus, it caught me off guard.

Luckily I had some experienced Raiders to guide me through it. Crota’s End, while not as intricate or memorable as the Vault of Glass, definitely has its moments too. The group you’re playing with also makes the experience, and the Destiny community is one of the friendliest and relaxed I’ve come across. They can make repeatedly failing an annoying and frustrating experience or an enjoyable learning process, and in my experience, the latter is far more common.

The drops are extremely random in Destiny, which is one of its greatest aspects and biggest pains in the ass, but it’s kept people coming back. The hope that they’ll finally acquire that chest piece to compete their Raid Gear or finally get Gjallarhorn. Sometimes it’s not fair, and that grinding required to get that certain item has turned many off, but a huge community is still there, and has learned to appreciate Destiny for what it is, and if they’re having fun doing it, who can blame them?

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