Image Captured by Hatm0nster
Last week I wrote a piece talking about how much of an accomplishment it would be if Bungie/Activision were to show us that it’s possible to actually improve a console game with dlc rather than just expand it. I still think it would be a landmark achievement if they were to pull it off, but this hinges on the idea that Destiny actually needs improvement. Over the past week I realized that I didn’t really make it clear what my gripe with the game actually was, so I’d like to take the opportunity to do that now. I agree with most of the major complaints: the story is non-existent, the missions are repetitive, and the loot system has…issues, though not exactly the ones we’ve all been hearing about.
Looting in Destiny is a frustrating and rage-face inducing experience. Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’ve been playing for a while, either lighting guardians up in the crucible or just relaxing and pursuing some bounties, and you see it. That bright purple hue that indicates that you, my friend, have just picked up a legendary engram! “It’s finally happened,” you think. “Let’s get this bad boy back to the Cryptarch and see what kind of wonderful prize it’ll yield!” You hightail it to the Tower, hand it over, and get back…a plain ol’ uncommon gun. Ouch, better luck next time dude…
Going to the Cryptarch with your loot as a level 20 Guardian or higher is almost always going to play just like this; always beginning in high hopes and almost always ending in disappointment. We all think this is a mistake, that it’s too cruel and manipulative a system to have been implemented by Bungie. We’re right it is a mistake, but not the one we think it is. The disappointing Cryptarch is a design decision, not a mistake. Getting rare loot has to be difficult in order to keep it rare and valuable; otherwise the whole system would break. So the mistake is not in the system itself, nor is it in the developer’s intentions. No, instead the critical error that’s causing all this mess is in how the system is being presented to us.
Surely you’ve noticed the various shops found around the Tower hub zone? Noticed that all of the gear available is just as good as that found out in the wild? Of course you have! You probably also noticed that they all require either Vanguard marks/rep or Crucible marks/rep in order to acquire right? Of course to that as well! You know what you’re doing! Well here’s the thing about that: that’s the gear we’re all supposed to be striving to get, not the random rewards from the Crucible, Strikes, or even the Raid! If this is even at all surprising to you then don’t worry, you’re not the one that made the mistake. No, that was someone else.
Bungie made an error with the looting in that it wound up distracting from the main goal of working toward the ability to buy the better gear, rather than it’s intended purpose of simply being a bonus for putting in that effort. It feels weird saying this, but it’s too easy to get rare loot drops. Seriously, if the loot was harder to get, and the money less time-consuming to gather, I believe we wouldn’t be getting nearly as frustrated with the looting. This even goes for the exotic gear, which can be gained by either buying it from its vendor or by completing exotic bounties, which are unlocked by simply completing a lot of bounties. It’s all there; we just don’t pay attention to it. How could we when every end mission screen holds the reasonable promise of rare loot, and finding it out in the wild is just a matter of hours or even minutes?
The systems for getting everything we could want are there, it’s just that they aren’t emphasized by the game. Instead it’s the shortcut that’s been sitting under the spotlight the entire time. Destiny still has many problems besides this, but I think some rebalancing between currency and item drop rarity will go a long way towards providing us players with a much more fun and fulfilling time!
Forget the Cryptarch, you don’t need him! All you need to succeed in Destiny is a gun and money to earn!
What has your experience with the loot system been like? How would you like to see the game change to address it? Would you like to see it become less random-drop-based like I do or are you of the opposite opinion?