I remember when Destiny was launched. I remember my infatuation, I remember the time spent finishing the story, exploring the world and above all my excitement at reaching level 20. Oh but things changed then didn’t they? There were guns, armour, strike playlists, all the more things to do and ways to earn your loot. It served me well for a time, chasing public events, running strike after strike, earning my first legendary pieces of armour. It all felt like something special, an achievement for my dedication. Soon, far too soon really, it started to feel… Stale. The tasks I initially felt proud to know inside out began to feel repetitive, and soon the grind was real. There’s nothing wrong with repetitiveness in games (all are when it comes down to it) but there was just no pleasure in it anymore, and it wasn’t long before I stopped playing altogether.
It had been a while when I eventually picked back up where I left off. It wasn’t anything in particular, the two expansions had been released, I was in the mood for a shooter after playing The Handsome Collection and I had discovered others who had only just started playing Destiny for the very first time. So it crept back in. Slow at first, I missed the insanity of Borderlands, and wasn’t initially keen to go through the same levels all over again. I started by playing through the new content, I was particularly taken by The House of Wolves. It wasn’t even really the story levels, it was the prowling wolves, the Queens bounties and especially the Prison of Elders. Then it was playing it through the original content with people with fresh eyes that got me excited all over again.
Credit where credit is due, Destiny had been improved. The grind was still very real, but they’d made some improvements. The prowling wolves really livened up patrols for those of us who were way over levelled and ensure that there’s always something coming to keep it interesting. There are ways to speed up the upgrading of your weapons and much more funs ways to acquire legendary weapons – yes I mean the Prison of Elders again. Can we talk about that for a moment? Remember the arena in Fable? It was just about my favourite thing in my formative years and I absolutely adore both the challenge and rewards of taking on the fallen, cabal, vex and hive in this new format. It has some of that frenetic pace, the challenge that I’d been missing. The drop to the treasure room is its own kind of infuriating but I can’t really fault them for that.
There are still things that need work, Destiny is without a doubt best enjoyed with people and anyone who has ever tried to take on a high level strike solo can attest to how frustrating it is when you fail to get matched. Sure they might drop someone in later, but that doesn’t make it any easier now and there’s no guarantees. If you’re a low level 20 you’ll find it hard to get enough vanguard marks doing the strikes to get good enough gear to level up, and some of the story missions, like the very first from the Dark Below expansion are basically impossible to finish at that level without a buddy. When you start and subsequently can’t finish something because it’s a two person job, well it’s frustrating and can sour an otherwise good experience.
When I really think about it, maybe it wasn’t just Destiny that won me back after all, but the people I get to play it with. When there’s someone down the headset who has your back, makes the grind feel like a breeze and admires your grenade throws, well it’s hard not to enjoy it. Either way, I’m back and I’ll be waiting for the Taken King expansion with a little bit of that giddy joy I felt when it first launched.
Destiny – The Taken King will release in Australia on the 15th of September 2015. Zahra’s review of this content will be shortly after release date.