As I’ve made abundantly clear on this site, I like Destiny. I continue to play it after all this time and have even picked it up on PS4 despite having hundreds of hours already clocked on Xbox One. While the game had a very rocky start, it remade itself and turned into a something I would find myself playing every day. It took a very shallow and repetitive experience, only propped up by impressive graphics and solid gameplay, and supplied content in a style reminiscent of an MMO, dumping new things a couple of times a year.
However, it looks like things are about to change as Bungie confirmed rumours speculated by Kotaku in October that the new micro transaction based Silver and emote store would fund any new content for the game. All of which would take the shape of events and festivals, with the frequent big expansion packs being a thing of the past.
Bungie themselves are framing this as a good thing, saying they are moving away from “giant, monolithic DLC packs” and giving more frequent events such as the Festival of the Lost that took place over Halloween and the newly introduced Sparrow Racing that was released yesterday. The problem is that, while these events are interesting little quirks and distractions, they aren’t actually meaningful additions to the game.
Distractions are an apt description really, they fall in line with the new cosmetic focus of the game, giving cool looking items that contribute nothing to gameplay, and in fact, make you weaker, which is interesting considering the optimisation centric loop the game works in. Something I would rather see is a return of the content in the game that is sat, unused from previous expansions. Since the release of the Taken King, the older showcase content seems to have been forgotten. I’d like to see Vault of Glass, Crota’s End and the Prison of Elders given the chance to be made relevant in the game again and give players yet more things to do. This seems like a much more effective use of time than giving players paper masks to collect.
Bungie have said that the larger expansion pack business model isn’t viable for them anymore, which is hard to understand, especially considering the money they charge for the packs and the continued size of the player base. But it’s just another example of Activision and Bungie pulling back on their initial plans for the game.
Kotaku put out an enlightening article in October, detailing how Bungie’s initial vision for the game was suppressed by Activision for being “campy and liner” forcing the developers to rewrite and recut the the game’s story late in the process. There is little point playing the ‘what-if’ game at this point but it’s just one more nail in the coffin of the supposed 10-year plan for Destiny. It seems more likely than ever now that Destiny 2 is going to be a thing and any major support for the current game is a secondary concern.
The next confirmed major content patch is for the autumn of 2016, which raises concerns from invested players like myself who are struggling to find things to do in the game as it currently exists. Especially compared to how the game looked between House of Wolves and the Taken king where there were a two raids and the Prison of Elders content to bang one’s head against on a weekly basis for the people in the real end game stage.
Bungie claim that this will benefit the game in the long run. Maybe, given the money Destiny has already brought it, Activision have given Bungie leave to make something a little more like their initial vision and get their series back onto its initial track. But that is all assumption, and in the 12 months between now and their new content, I hope that the smaller Silver powered dev team can give me something more substational than mask collecting to sink my teeth into.