It has been a long time since I put fingers to touchscreen, about 2 years actually, but I find myself quite “taken” by Bungie’s latest expansion The Taken King, so much so my blogging bowels are a bubblin’ and I need to relieve myself. But first a little background.
It’s not unfair to say that one major factor in my purchase of a PlayStation 4 was Bungie’s newly forged affiliation to Sony’s latest console. As a Halo stalwart who loved what Bungie created there I was giddy to see my beloved Dev putting their content exclusivity chips on blue, which they had up until my that point not brought a game to. Superior doohickeys under the hood and my favourite developers endorsement? I think this best sums it up…
Diving deep into a bucket of water.
Launch day came. Midnight purchase. All night gaming. Great fun. Mechanical silk. Graphical glitter. Epic Story? Two out of three ain’t bad…
Beyond level 20, that’s where it unravels somewhat. Now I’m aiming to collect light stats? A frustrating chase where hours of play often come up fruitless. Perhaps I was unlucky but as a man who has flirted with, nay, heavy petted MMO’s in the past the grind to gear ratio was seriously off kilter. Lacking the time and patience to endure the end game shenanigans myself and some friends took an under geared stab at The Vault of Glass. The last nail in the coffin. Game over.
TLDR: I wanted, I mean really wanted to like Destiny. But it was half baked and I was left “vexed”
It seems I wasn’t alone as I know of more people who quit than stayed but, thanks to the likes of Nevin on the Ready Up Live Podcast, I still had an ear to the ground if not a foot in the door.
The King is Coming.
In the few months running up to TTK I took my usual passing glance at the morsels of information Bungie served up via streams and interviews, however my interest piqued about 3 weeks prior to launch when they mentioned a major overhaul to the levelling system. Light and level are now seperate you say? Light is just and average of the attack and defence of any armour or weapon you equip? What’s that? Oh a stream of the first mission and it looks incredible!… Wait. Stop. Don’t pre-order – let’s await the reviews to see just how good it is.
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” –Michael Corleone
Jumping back into Destiny in Year 2 is honestly what I expected the game to be from launch, and indeed should have been given the info that floated up from Marty’s court case. The mechanics of course are still there, 30 seconds of fun done by the masters of that gameplay loop, but this time there is a story and characters to care about and root for. Echoing reviewers across the industry, Nathan Fillion puts in a stellar performance injecting his trademark wit into his role as Cayde. Other characters make less of an impression but, unlike the vanilla game, still do enough to deliver the much improved and meatier script swings your feelings toward the inhabitants of The Tower more into the well acquainted camp and away from the complete stranger container they huddled into before.
The leveling system is leagues better from that of year 1. More attack and defence stats equals better light level regardless of gear rarity, its honestly a joy to see the light ticket go up as it happens with regularity, rather than the fits and starts of vanilla. No longer do I resent that yellow number under my gamer tag.
The simplification of the currencies and materials required to upgrade gear no longer leave your noggin raw from scratching. The quest system UI makes picking an objective clear as crystal, and for me at least it has helped immensely in indicating my objectives and helping me choose which to go for, like a good website the new layout mean I don’t have to think about how to pick what I want, I just do it. More importantly there is now an abundance of activity to occupy a guardians time with actual useful rewards upon completion of a number of quest lines.
Destiny is no longer we the convulsed barren land whereby only hardcore grinders can earn the best loot. The game’s various systems are still as deep an ocean as before, but instead of expecting players to be record-breaking skin divers desperately holding their breath, Bungie has provided a yellow submarine kitted with all kinds of dials and periscopes to help navigate the swell of enjoyment lurking below.
As a returning player who never really got Destiny despite his best efforts I am glad to say I finally do, and to anyone who finds themselves in a similar boat to me I would say fuck the boat, get in the sub and dive in. There really isn’t better time.