Overpromise and Underdeliver
If there’s one thing the Destiny series is plagued with right now, it’s overpromising and underdelivering. That’s not to say Destiny is a bad game, but failing to live up to users’ expectations, specifically with regards to the amount of new content available, has poisoned its reputation.
Destiny shipped and was almost immediately criticized for how little content it had relative to what it was hyped up to be. It’s rumored that Destiny’s story was changed significantly in the last year before its release and that major pieces of content had to be cut or retooled to fit this new story. The storytelling in the game apparently also took a big hit compared to what testers had been playing prior to the big cataclysm on the dev team. I say all of this in hand-wavy hypotheticals, because undoubtedly one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Destiny so much is that I knew nothing about it before picking it up. While many were very let down by vanilla Destiny, it fit exactly into what I was looking for, a first-person shooter version of Phantasy Star Online, and I found myself pleasantly surprised.
There was also a clear roadmap for Year One. The first year of Destiny would see the release of vanilla Destiny in September, the availability of the Vault of Glass raid in October, The Dark Below expansion in January, and the House of Wolves expansion during the summer. While House of Wolves did come a tiny bit later than some expected, for the most part, they stuck to it, and shipped everything they had planned to. The wait between TDB and HoW was pretty long and painful, and the same can be said for the wait between HoW and Year Two opening with the launch of The Taken King, but at least we knew ahead of time what the plan was, and could take it into account when deciding what game to put our time towards.
Year Two is a mystery in comparison. Bungie had decided that Year One’s pacing was unsustainable, and while I’m certainly sympathetic to that as a developer myself, it’s not what you want to hear as a player. Year One had meaty content drops throughout the year, but the gap between the latter content drops felt long at times, and those getting drawn out even more because Bungie can’t release as much content sounded horrible in theory.
I can now confirm that it’s horrible in practice too.
The Taken King birthed a new team inside of Bungie, the Live team, which handles keeping the game world busy with new microtransactions and limited time events while the individual product teams work on the next expansion. This team, for all we know, is only a few people with very little resources, so what they can deliver is very limited in scope. The Live team’s work has manifested itself in a handful of events so far:
- October’s Festival of the Lost allowed users to wear Halloween masks of their favorite Destiny characters, and collect candy by playing Destiny while wearing a mask, which could be redeemed for more masks. This also brought a new PvP map.
- December’s Sparrow Racing League, which brought a three-week event in which Guardians could race their Sparrows around specially crafted race tracks on Mars and Venus and unlock race suit armor.
- February’s Crimson Days, which featured a new PvP mode called Crimson Doubles in which you and a partner face off against another couple. The death of your partner would give you a Broken Heart buff which would max out all of your stats until your partner was revived. This was actually a ton of fun to play, and I wish it would become a permanent game mode.
- These three events were also accompanied with new emotes which can be purchased for real money at the Eververse Trading Company, and these are purely aesthetic items. How are you supposed to resist emotes like these though?
What do all of these have in common? They’re PvP content. The last time PvE content was added to Destiny was the launch of the King’s Fall raid hard mode in October. PvE players are unsurprisingly pissed, and many of them are getting their not-quite-MMO fix from The Division right now as they wait for something to come along.
As a player who primarily plays PvP, these events are certainly appreciated, but at the same time, I recognize that I played way more PvE content in Year One than I have in Year Two. In Year Two, I breezed through the story PvE content on all three characters in a day, and then never touched PvE content ever again, aside from the occasional raid with my clan. There simply isn’t a reason to play PvE anymore: adjustments were made to PvP drops and bounties to make PvP players capable of getting the same calibre of gear drops as PvE players do in PvE content, and PvP has way more replayability than stale PvE content.
There is content in the horizon for Destiny. A big update is supposed to drop in the spring which will include more content and increase the light level cap. Another meaty expansion was announced for later in the year, and Destiny 2 is coming in 2017. But the roadmap is still really vague, and we don’t really know anything about what to expect this year. Is there another raid coming? What enemy race is the next content going to focus on? Are vendor weapons or gunsmith weapons getting a refresh anytime soon?
Who knows? While the community has been begging for any kind of information on upcoming content since December, we still haven’t gotten anything substantial back from Bungie. They are supposed to reveal some details on the upcoming update in a Twitch stream in the coming weeks, but I fear that it’ll be too little too late.