In the beginning.
When Bungie announced Destiny in a reveal trailer back in E3 2013, I like so many others were eager with anticipation to see what the game had to offer. After all it was the first non-halo IP that Bungie had worked on and because of the brilliance that they had done with the Halo franchise, my confidence and enthusiasm for this new game had sky rocketed, it was my most anticipated game and thus when they announced the Alpha & Beta testing dates as well as the final release dates this news only added to the excitement currently growing in my much younger enthusiastic self. Fast forward however to the present 2016, and those thoughts and beliefs in this game couldn't be anymore far apart. But before i talk about how i think Destiny has disappointed, let's start at the beginning at Destiny year 1 or 'vanilla' as some people refer to it which in my opinion was still the best time and talk the positives. In my opinion the single best reason that year 1 Destiny was so good was the fact that the game celebrated being a game about being 'social'. It was a time in which every guardian no matter what level, age or gender was playing and helping other guardians out as well as making friends in the process and sharing experiences. Some of the greatest experiences I've had, was for e.g being quiet in tension whilst in the party chat whilst trying to get past the 'all seeing' Gorgon's and succeeding to also running the relic in VoG for the first time and succeeding to which you would all reap the rewards that the raid offered. In this time there was no pressure most of us enjoyed running raids there was no preference for weapons or having a certain weapon it was just about having fun and getting loot and defeating foes, the same was said for the second raid which was released 'Crota's end', which despite it not receiving the same positive vibes as Vault of glass did was still a solid, raid which encouraged team play and coordination, and a lot of rockets!.With vanilla Destiny came an ensemble of different weapons with differing ability's or perks all with strengths and weaknesses and which all resulted in players having to constantly adjust their play style in the moment whether that be in PvP or PvE. Speaking of PvP in vanilla Destiny crucible was in my opinion a lot of fun and overall (apart from the dreaded Thorn hand cannon) quite balanced. Each weapon had its quirks and each weapon could be countered by another ensuring even head to head encounters with other Guardians. Also with what at times felt like endless amounts of weapons came endless load out possibilities which for me kept the games interesting and most importantly fun! Yes certain weapons were over powered or favoured such as Thorn, Praedyth's revenge, or The Vex Mythoclast, but these were few and far between there were still enough weapons to customize and play to each play style at the time. Also super's felt overall balanced and in a way complemented each class when used now that's not to say that the new supers added haven't been a great addition, i find them very fun and add more to each class and play-style but mention the 'Storm-caller' warlock or 'shade-step shotguns' and you'll no doubt get a sign of frustration as the result. These imbalances are now a common occurrence and just one of many problems facing the game not just in PvP but also PvE.
Destiny in 2016 is a totally different 'beast' to its 2014 counterpart some parts have defiantly improved the franchise but mostly Destiny is heading backwards and falling deeper and deeper into the money-making trap of other popular FPS shooters starting with the introduction of micro-transactions and thus removing what made the game great in the first place 'playing to win, not pay to win'. However i will talk about the improvements to Destiny in Year 2. For me 'Taken King' despite being a short campaign was one of the strongest in story-telling and noticeable characters from climatic battle with Oryx at the end to the fun, and intelligent fight with Alak-Hul the story as well as raid was the best in the series (including Wrath of the Machine). Bungie had listened to the community enough to finally add cut-scenes and memorable characters such as Cayde-6 to add more lore and story as well as create a raid (King's Fall) with some great mechanics some of which we haven't enjoyed since those VoG days long ago. Despite these welcome additions cracks were beginning to appear....firstly the introduction of light level and it's importance in the whole game from doing the Raid to PvP games such as Trails of Osiris light level is now king, and if you're not max light level then bye-bye raids, bye- bye crucible and strikes, and ultimately your gaming enjoyment. This was never the case in original Destiny in which everyone eventually got to level 30 so everyone had the equal chance/ability to do everything the game had to offer, but also it was 'achievable' to get to max level by most players meaning that the content was more accessible to a wider player base now you have to put in some serious hours to get to max light to which some of us simply do not have to spare, and even when you have done and feel ready to do the end game content you find everyone has either done it or found someone else to help! And here is where my hate relationship for Destiny has sprung from. Destiny in my view has gone from a game about socializing, to creating friendships and fire-teams to defeat foe's and share experiences, to one of elitists to which results in experiences of frustration as you're told you're too low in light level, or you don't have a certain weapon to participate with your 'friends'. To which inevitably leads to you just not wanting to play anymore. And i wouldn't mind if it was easy to match-make with others to do the end game content but the game doesn't have a system to even do that! in fact you have to use an outside service called 'LFG' in the hope that you get people to help which from someone who has used it, is a waste of time and effort, which baffles the hell out of me considering other less 'expensive' titles such as Warframe, or The Division use an in-game version/software with more success. Why does a game of Destiny's resources and money not cater for gamers who maybe don't like speaking through a party for fear of prejudice or insults, or indeed caters for players who are playing at certain times because that's all they can afford? This baffles me beyond belief! Also the add on's of periodic updates such as 'festive of the lost' and the current SLR racing have been received as mixed at best, simply put these add-ones don't really justify adequate updates or content releases which were promised by Bungie, to me they smell of re-skinned content added with aesthetic add-ons to wet the lips of die-hard players as they just haven't provided the fan-base with enough core content. Gone are the large variety of weapons or load out options that served well in both PvP & PvE content to now only a select load out or certain play-styles e.g snipers, shotguns. Certain weapons such as 'Grasp of Malok' , 'Clever Dragon', 'The Matador' these are ever-present and although fun to use for a while inevitably run out of steam with nerfs and patches in the many updates, which leads me to my final point of how much crucible has risen in the Destiny directory and ultimately another reason why it's failing. I'm pretty sure that when the first idea's of Destiny were created i reckon Bungie wanted to create something unique, something not quite seen in FPS games at the time, something PvE heavy, with added PvP on the side and in vanilla Destiny it certainly felt that way in which although satisfying, crucible felt very chilled not as intense as other PvP games out at the time which ultimately in my opinion made it a fun experience when you had enough of PvE. However now it's totally flipped upside down with the introduction of Trials of Osiris as well as skill based matchmaking being implemented a while back Destiny's crucible had potentially become the 'sweaty-est' shooter out there and one which i can say from experience wasn't fun especially from a solo playing perspective. Add on top of that the constant buffs, nerfs or patches on weapons inevitably what has resulted is a situation of staleness in play-styles ultimately impacting the customization and individuality of what made year 1 crucible fun and different, has now turned the game into what Bungie probably feared which is to be like every other shooter and be with the current trends or mindsets of K/D ratio's and accuracy percentages. It truly saddens me to see this game's decline after being so anticipated back in 2014, to finally have another Halo-Esque shooter to look forward to playing and enjoying only to see it's vision and potential slowly disappear. And i don't think I'm the only person to share this concern with whispers in the gaming world as recent as October talking about Bungie creating an open world similar to other popular MMO's, to scraping the FPS element, to restarting character progression from fresh. Many rumours have surfaced and will no doubt continue to do so until official news from Bungie has been released. But the continuing director changes on the game certaintly don't ease fears amongst supporters on Destiny's future. I really hope Bungie figures out Destiny's path & figure out the direction of where they want to take the franchise, but most importantly find their passion again in storytelling, in sci-fi like in the Halo days, otherwise they will lose more than this disappointed sci-fi fan.
What are you're thoughts on the path that Destiny has taken? Do you still enjoy the game? Post your comments below i'll be sure to read them!