image captured by Hatm0nster
The biggest news to come out about Destiny is that it has now added micro-transactions for the purpose of providing more cosmetic options for players willing to spend. As significant a change as this is, there’s another recently-discovered issue with the game that I’d like to talk discuss for a bit; that being timed-unlocked content. When Destiny first launched, players soon discovered that the world they’d been tasked with exploring was mostly empty. There were no secrets to be found, and indeed no incentive to investigate the environments any deeper than the surface level. The Taken King promised to change this, and while it did indeed do so, it wasn’t in the way that most of us were expecting.
When the Taken King launched in September, it did so with many of its exotic weapons and armor pieces conspicuously missing. Players were given evidence that there was more to be found out there than what had been revealed initially, but were provided with very few clues in regard to how to acquire that hidden loot. Most of us initially assumed it was just a matter of time until someone got a lucky drop, but that assumption was short-lived. The lack of new discoveries within the community, combined with several new quests that yielded exotic loot, led to suspicions that more had to be done to find the rest of the new gear. One that was later confirmed with the discovery of the “Black Spindle”.
For those who are unaware, the “Black Spindle” is an exotic-level sniper rifle the no one had known about until it was found by pure chance by a group doing the daily heroic version of the “Lost to Light” story mission. In this version of the mission, a new area opens up and the gun is awarded to those who are able to clear it. What’s more, it turns out that it wasn’t inserted without clues to its existence. Other players discovered that a map to the weapon could be obtained by dismantling a “Black Hammer” sniper rifle. After these discoveries the conclusion most reached was that there must be other hidden exotics just waiting for someone to either find them or figure out how to trigger their unique questline. It was this assumption that led to the ill-fated “Search for the Sleeper”.
“Search for the Sleeper” was a sub-reddit frequented by many Destiny players committed to figuring out how to unlock the quest-line for the “Sleeper Simulant” exotic fusion rifle. This was a weapon that was given a very high-profile before the launch of the Taken King, so its absence at launch was quite suspicious. What’s more, many players were receiving what seemed to be quest items related to the “Sleeper Simulant”: four unusable fusion rifles that could be turned-in to the Gunsmith in the “Tower” hub area for reputation gains and cryptic hints about finding other fusion rifles. They came across as the first step in a quest-line to obtain the “Sleeper Simulant”, but a step that only offered possible clues to the next step rather than automatically advancing to it. With the precedent set by the “Black Spindle” in mind, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that the key to advancing the quest was out there still, just waiting to be found. Thus the search began.
Those participating in “Search for the Sleeper” pulled out all the stops. Hours were spent scouring the patrol areas, strikes, and story missions for clues. Lore was poured over with a fine-toothed comb, codes were found and broken, many a Pocket Infinity was dismantled, and theory after theory was posed and discussed at length in the hopes of finding the key to the quest, and it all amounted to nothing. In the end, all that was needed to unlock the quest-line was to turn in four of the fusion rifle quest items and wait for the quest to be unlocked by Bungie on October 7th. That’s it; no pomp or circumstance required. Flip a switch and there it is. As someone who was following the efforts of “Search for the Sleeper”, I found this switch-flipping approach to be more than a bit of a let-down, and I can’t help but wonder how those who put so much effort into finding the weapon feel about it. It was a disappointment to be sure, and it’s one that I think could have been easily avoided.
All it would have taken would have been to either not hype up the “Sleeper Simulant” so much before launch, or to have that particular quest-line available from the start. Doing so would have avoided the wild goose chase that developed and would have likely enabled us to better enjoy the new weapon rather than feeling disappointed that it wasn’t everything that we were told it would be. As for us players, now that we know that there’s much more timed content in the game, we would be wise to remember that fact and be prepared to wait for the eventual releases.
As disappointing (and potentially maddening) as the circumstances around the “Sleeper Simulant” were, I actually don’t disagree with the quest being a time-released piece content. Destiny is the sort of game that can quickly get old without new loot to go after and activities to complete. If everything were simply hidden from the beginning, I suspect it would all be found quickly and get old just as fast. Anything that keeps the game feeling fresh is a good thing, so I’d say time-release content in general is not something we need to be wary of. We just have to remember what kind of game Destiny is, be patient, and keep ourselves from letting expectations run wild (regardless of whether or not we’re being baited to do so). If we do that, I’m confident we can all continue to enjoy everything Destiny has to offer.