As I read through my revisited post last week, a thought kept popping into my mind: “Destiny really has changed after all.” Just about everything in my old post is dated now. Vanguard marks, Crucible marks, Cryptarch woes, and even referring to the Vault of Glass as “the Raid” as if it were the only one. The game has changed so much that I don’t think much of anything I talked about even applies anymore; neither nor even in my own perception of the game. Honestly, it seems as though I, as a player, have been growing right alongside Destiny.
I’ve never consistently played a game long enough to notice changes before. Just about all the games I’ve played have featured static experiences. Aside from growing nostalgic for the older ones, there’s never been any cause or reason for a change in perception. Destiny has proved to be different though. It’s grown, expanded, and refined itself multiple times now, and that in turn has demanded growth from its players. Just as Destiny is not the same game it was back in 2014, so am I no longer the same type of player I was in the beginning.
It’s the sort of change that only time and improvement can make. Destiny has made many radical changes to its loot and activity systems in order to make the grind more rewarding. Yep, there’s definitely still grind in Destiny but instead of 90% of activities being active wastes of your time, it’s the opposite. Just about activity can contribute to overall progress now. There are still several currencies in place, but instead of being largely ignored by the game they are placed at the forefront. Buying weapons and armor is now an important part of advancing and staying competitive! Instead of being a potential waste of game time every time one boots it up, Destiny has made even the smallest time investments worthwhile for its players. Fundamentally, we’re still doing the same thing, but beyond that the Destiny of 2016 is quite different from the Destiny of 2014. As I said earlier though, the biggest change for me has been in how I relate to the game as a player.
First and foremost, I’m not a new player anymore. Unlike the me of 2014, I’ve been around the Destiny block. I know how to grow my character, how to optimize it, what activities are good for certain types of loot, and when a given activity is going to be worth the time investment it asks for. In short, I know how to play this game. What’s more, I know what kind of game Destiny is, as well was what kind of game it’s likely to remain; that being a segmented loot-based shooter. The me of 2014 didn’t know any of this.
Hatm0nster ’14 was under the impression that Destiny was going to be somehow different from the game we actually thought. He imagined a sweeping adventure in space with open worlds and planets to explore and discover loot in. He even kind of hoped that future expansions would still bring about this vision in one form or another. He was there to have an experience rather than to simply play a competent sci-fi FPS. It took some time and a couple of expansions, but that notion eventually gave way to the satisfaction of knowing a game and being competent within it. Yup, instead of playing for the hope of a new experience, I now play for Destiny for the things surrounding it. I enjoy it because I’m good at it, because I can share it with my friends, and also because I’ve simply decided to do so.
I’ve never played a game long enough, or consistently enough, to see myself change as a player. Aside from general skill level, I didn’t really think that a player could change all that much in regard to the games they play. I still can’t say whether or not Destiny is legitimately a good game, there’s definitely arguments to be made both for and against it after all. Even if it isn’t and all the time I’ve spent in the game should be considered “wasted”, I don’t think I could ever think that way. It’s not all that often that we get the opportunity to easily observe changes in ourselves (they usually occur much too gradually to be noticeable). So, for that alone I think playing Destiny has been worthwhile. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes in the next two years!
Have you ever played a game long enough to observe a change? Did you find it surprising at all?
Top image captured by Hatm0nster.