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How to fix Destiny

Let's take a look at Destiny and how we could fix it

Note: this blog post is based on my personal, subjective experience when playing Destiny. I may have experienced it differently than others, which doesn't mean I did it *wrong*, it's just different. However judging by the reviews of the game, and the overall reception from users, it feels like there is something wrong with it. I also started Destiny without knowing anything about it. After Activision announced the $500m initiative, I exposed myself only to consumer-facing marketing - banners, short trailers. Didn't realize it was aiming to be an MMO. 

The problem:

Destiny gets boring very fast. I've spent 6 hours with it, and can't force myself to pick up the controller again. It starts off with a great promise of a shooter MMO, and disappoints 6 hours in a row. 

Why is that?

Simply put, the mission design is non-iconic. There were no thrill moments outside of the opening sequence. And even that focused on the visuals. Seeing the same environment over and over again, the lack of positive, reinforcing feedback on your progress, lack of varied objectives -- all of that adds up to stale mission design. 

The only iconic part I've seen so far is the sword fight, which was brief, and judging from other players' write-ups, is the only iconic part of the game in the first 10 hours. 

How to fix Destiny

1. Add more random iconic events in respawn-enabled areas

Some of the best experiences I've had in Destiny was in open areas, when a couple of snipers were helping me grind through mobs. I would be luring the mobs out, and we'd share the XP. 

Why not add iconic events here? Have a random boss appear, or trigger some sort of semi-scripted mission right there? For example, all of a sudden Fallen ships warp in, and are trying to take an NPC hostage. Everyone's job in the area is to rescue said NPC, and people involved get substantial XP bonuses. 

In Fallout 3, the first time you enter the city and organically join a group of marines -- that moment was magic. 

The reason Destiny's "open world" areas are so dull is because they're always the same, and you need to grind through them many times. As a player you expect constant action, constant suspense, to be constantly entertained in one way or another - and not do the same thing over and over. This is again what Bethesda's games do very well - you are on your way to the main mission, and get side-tracked for 7 hours in a bunch of random, creative, and entertaining quests. 

2. Variety & modifiers to non-respawn missions

I do like the core gameplay of Destiny. The weapons feel solid. But at one point it starts to feel dull. Let's take the sword as an example - why not have it available on any mission? You'd have to do a serious kill-streak combo to activate it, but then you'd have a fun game of whack-a-mole to spice up the regular action. 

I'm also missing Halo-style battles, where action is happening on a big-ass walking robot, under it, around it, everywhere. Players are on different vehicles, flying around in complete chaos. Do later PVP stages of Destiny have that? I sure hope so, especially after the "It gets different after 20 hours" claim. 

3. General questions that feel like could add a lot to the game, if they were in. 

  • Why can't I pick up an enemy weapon? 
  • Why can't I pick up a hover ability from the Wizard? 
  • Why don't enemires drop loot themselves? 
  • Why is it just a dull countdown timer at the end of the mission?
  • Why don't I have a huge debrief screen, with the summary of my progress? Yes, there is a table of sorts out there, but it has been done so many times -- just look at COD or Battlefield, they give you a very nice overview of everything that went on during a match. 
  • What are these cards supposed to do? Why can't I find them in the game?

There was obviously pressure on getting Destiny out there, and as with many game development projects, you have to scrap features to meet deadlines. But I don't think that's an excuse to have the same "let ghost hack this thing while you fight off waves of enemies" mission over and over again. That's no excuse to not realize how fast people get bored with grinding. 

I really hope some sort of rebalancing patch comes out soon, and makes the first few hours of the game much more interesting. Or instead of doing DLC, Bungie just fills in the gaps I describe above - making the game what it was marketed as. 

 

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