Tuesday, April 28, 2020

How To Fix ‘Destiny 2’

The way we see it, Bungie doesn’t understand what its players want: players want things to chase but describe the problem as “stuff to do.” While Bungie is giving players a lot of activities through bounties and more than a dozen horde modes, it’s not giving players any reasons to actually do those activities. Why run a strike like Savathun’s Song 50 times to get a single, static-rolled assault rifle that can’t be used in endgame? Adding more strikes won’t make strikes more desirable because loot is either useless or so rare that a player can go hundreds of hours chasing a specific item and never get the one they want. Destiny 2, quite simply, is not rewarding. With the proposed changes to the legendary system, Destiny 2 will never be rewarding. With a lifespan “between 9 and 15 months,” we could never have had that Nation of Beasts moment. The gun would be trash the second it dropped. It’s not great now, because Dragonfly has been unreliable for over a year, but it’s a really fun gun we can take into any raid we want.

Why play a game where the loot doesn’t matter? This is a shooter. Let us fall in love with the guns we want, rather than stress out about their expiration date. Luke, we’ll pay you $20 just to get Venus, with its strikes and raid back so we can earn Stolen Will, Imago Loop, or Vision of Confluence. We are still in love with them, and we’d love to have them on PC.

If the loot goes away, there’s no point to earning it. It’s just another kind of fear of missing out, manifested across a different timeline. For Destiny 2 to thrive, it needs to kill that negative approach entirely. Give us things to earn and ways to progress, rather than punishing us for the times when we’re attending funerals or trying to ship our games for work.

The great big secret of Season of Dawn is that it wasn’t bad at all. If anything, it was great. Sundial was fun, the new guns were mostly capable of good rolls, the Saint XIV missions were exciting, being able to pick up bounties for a shot at the gun you actually want ruled… but the key here is that this is all past tense. None of that is available anymore. Now, we’re entering Season of the Worthy, with a new activity that’s pretty fun, but with less new content than ever before. As long as Bungie’s philosophy is about being overly clingy and pressuring you to play and isn’t a about healthy mix of desirable rewards, great variety, and minimal pressure, Destiny will be a game that looks and plays great but isn’t worth sticking around for.

There are so many ways a game can thrive or fail. Some are avoidable, some aren’t. Bungie’s problem isn’t really talent or tech, it’s philosophical. Bungie’s trying to keep up with the demand for more and more activities, rather than giving players loot at a pace that feels fun. Bungie wants to create a living, breathing world with Scarab Lord moments, but they forget how many millions of people weren’t lucky enough to be Scarab Lords. Destiny 2 could be the best live game out there, but it only works if it provides a compelling reason to play. “Play now or miss out” isn’t an exciting message, and if Bungie wants to grow Destiny, they have to make a game worth investing your time in.

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