It was barely three months ago when Destiny 2 first launched. Since that time I’ve had the chance to explore the story, the highly mechanical but rewarding raid, max out 3 separate characters, and get mostly destroyed in the Crucible on my way to collect the last few remaining exotics. It’s been a blast playing these 40+ hours of game and it seems like a tremendous step up from the original Destiny.
Which makes it all the more bizarre to go to Bungie’s home page to see apologetic press releases from the dev team committing to doing “a better job going forward” providing clear updates and tangible improvements to their gaming community. Seriously we’re spending dozens of hours playing a quality product and our expectation is for the developer to apologize to us? We’ve had a chance to catch up with these arguments and couldn’t disagree more. Here are 5 reasons people need to stop whining about Destiny 2.
5. There’s actually a story this time
Destiny 1 was perhaps unfairly maligned with too much criticism because of the sheer size of the gaming community and the clicks articles about Destiny would get (and streamers aren’t complaining about the high view counts Destiny brings to them). Critics and gamers were quick to point out the nonsensical and mostly absent plot of the original that began with the promise of a resurrected super soldier sent to save humanity, but ended in some weird, Vex-enabled statue garden that seemed totally disconnected to the plot (I didn’t really ask questions, I just shot at anything with a health bar until I saw credits). Subsequent DLCs were noticeably better injecting a sense of purpose and motivation to the unfoldings and, mostly giving more airtime to Nathan Fillion’s Cayde who provided much need levity. Destiny 2 goes even farther giving you a clear antagonist out of the gate and, yes, keeping Cayde close by your side throughout. There are a handful of levels that drag, especially that second one that strips you of your abilities, but overall the campaign was interesting, visually stunning, and significantly more memorable than that their first attempt.
4. Crucible is tuned for stability
Let’s state first that we’re not huge PvP players. We understand the appeal for some but we mostly play Destiny for the promises of the cooperative multiplayer world. With that said, we’ve spent a few evenings chasing more loot drops in Crucible matches and have to say the tweaks here make sense. Bungie reduced player counts from 6 on 6 to 4 on 4 and disables playlist types forcing players to cycle through the competitive game types at random so matches are smaller and you get very little say in what you’re about to play. But this also means the quality of service is better. You’re not waiting to find 11 other free players also seeking a game who may or may not have quality online connections. You’re dealing with fewer dropped connections. And by putting everyone in one playlist type, you expand the potential volume of players at any given time. This all means matches launch significantly faster and are much more reliable than anything we saw in Destiny 1. Again, we complained, Bungie listened.
3. Exotics are much easier to find
Man, I cannot tell you the hours I lost in Destiny 1 trying to find certain exotic guns. I spent so much time working up to a good Black Spindle run (and ended up barely using the gun). Tracking down the Sleeper Simulant took days. I tried in vain for weeks to win the Gjallehorn before just buying it from Xur that one weekend he decided to get generous. Ironically even after unlocking these guns I really didn’t use them that much and instead opted for my usuals of The Fatebringer, Icebreaker, or Bad Juju. Sometimes, like with the Gjally, I was completely dependent on a favorable RNG roll to win that top prize and my luck was never that great. In Destiny 2 though the odds are a bit more balanced as finding exotics is fairly easy. You’ll win many through public events, strikes, and are given a few just by completing the campaign. Additionally, Xur has been incredibly generous by offering so many options each weekend and finally transacts in a currency that isn’t impossible to find. Again, while I have unlocked just about every exotic in Destiny 2 so far, my loadout really remains unchanged (Sunshot, Sins of the Past, and Nameless Midnight FTW) and, thankfully, I didn’t sink dozens of hours praying to the RNG gods to bless me with a lucky drop. Not having to spend so much time to see another cool weapon should be considered a good thing.
2. The sum of its parts is outstanding
Remember when you had to warp to space to warp to another planet? Remember when you had to use a gun to unlock it’s perks? Remember when you had to use a 3rd party site to track public events? Remember when planets didn’t have fast travel? Remember when you’d have to chose your best loadout prior to decrypting engram? Remember when you couldn’t grapple? Remember when your only option was LFG sites instead of guided games? Destiny 2 is more the sum of its parts, but the parts are quite good.
1. Fundamentally we just want more
And that brings me to what I think is the primary complaint for gamers, we want more. Dozens of hours isn’t good enough for Destiny. In the latest Bungie post, the developers comment that they want to “support players who want Destiny to be their hobby.” This is both true and somewhat scary to consider. For many, included yours truly, Destiny doesn’t really seem like just another game. Thanks to weekly rewards, a rabid online community, and top notch production values, the game is a hobby that demands your attention every few days and will takeover your precious few hours you have to play games. I’ll freely admit that I’ve missed out on some longer AAA games in recent years because Destiny’s siren song has called me back through new DLC or the hint of a secret exit in a strike or a new chest in the raid to find. There are so many addictive elements to Destiny keeping gamers locked in for hundreds of hours, the game has been elevated to a level of scrutiny and demand most other games never see (e.g. The Division has so many more problems and an even more insane storyline than Destiny but we don’t really care anymore about that game).
Because Destiny and Destiny 2 do seem to be (addictive) hobbies rather than traditional games due to the number of hours many gamers commit to it, we have insanely high and potentially unrealistic expectations for them. Bungie listened to every complaint of the first game and seemingly addressed every one of those nagging items before this one. We spend dozens of hours unlocking everything this game has to see. Then after weeks of sleepless nights and memorable moments, we hit the end and complain it’s not enough. We may need to adjust our expectations a bit. As a game, Destiny 2 is vastly better than it’s predecessor in almost every way which makes this echo chamber of complaints depressing and even more disheartening to see the devs issue apologies for delivering a truly impressive sequel.