Hating Destiny 2, Learning to Love it, Then Hating it All Over Again

Considering how many times I’ve brought up Destiny over the past 7 years, it may just be that I’m somewhat obsessed with it. Despite dropping the game for months at a time and still lamenting the passing of Destiny 1, I still cannot just quit Destiny as a whole. I have too many good memories wrapped up in the original, and I’m still hoping that somehow I’ll be able to raid with the old gang again in Destiny 2. The thing is, it’s really hard to be a Destiny fan sometimes, and the game’s most recent happenings are a perfect example of why that is.

First of all, let me just admit right now that I’ve never been a huge fan of Destiny 2. Even at its best (Forsaken), the game felt simultaneously too shallow and too complex. All of the legacy problems from Destiny 1 were still present (ie “be meta or don’t play”), but they were joined by new problems like grind-heavy seasons and bare-bones pvp. I’m not a huge fan of having to grind just to play new content either.

All that said though, it’s not too far away from what Destiny 1 did, in fact it may very well be that Destiny 1 was just as grindy; it was just better at making that grind feel worthwhile. So, when the content in Destiny 2 is fresh and new, it’s actually pretty fun to play. If this was the only major issue with the game, then maybe I’d still be playing it. However, there are other problems plaguing Bungie’s sci-fi shooter.

The things that’ve annoyed about Destiny 2 since its inception are the very things that Bungie itself seems to be most heavily interested in continuing. The worst of these is the Eververse cash shop. What was once a minor annoyance in Destiny 1 more or less became the prime focus of Destiny 2. The game routes everything through that cursed cash shop, and there’s no stopping it. Bungie has spent the past 4 years or so testing and prodding to see just how much they can get away with when it comes to Eververse, and it only gets worse the longer the game goes on.

At the outset, all the best stuff was in Eververse, but player backlash forced Bungie to make it possible to earn cool stuff through raids and the like again. It was annoying, extremely so, but still tolerable. Then, well more and more features eventually got tied into it. The most recent examples include the absolutely awful “transmog” system. Not only it the process for obtaining the necessary items incredibly convoluted and grindy, but the amount you can earn was capped per season. If you wanted more items (or just didn’t want to deal with the purposefully designed grind), you had to fork-over real cash. It’s not a small amount either: 10 “transmog” items costs 10 real dollars. What a rip-off!

Then there’s the Vault of Glass, which somehow shipped worse than it did in Destiny 1. Not only is there missing loot (seriously?!) but even some of the rewards for completing it are tied to Eververse! If you complete the Vault of Glass in Destiny 2, you don’t unlock any cool shaders to show your achievement. No, you only unlock the right to buy them from stinking Eververse. Wow! Just…wow. Way to push the envelope even worse than Activision, Bungie. This isn’t even counting the crazy price points they expect for their seasons and expansions now.

The most recent season, Beyond Light, costs $40 on its own, and it didn’t even include the newest season at the time like the previous two expansions did. For their $40, players got a new raid, a new exploration zone on Europa, new subclasses, and one new strike. Oh, and they also got most of the old content (Mars, Mercury, the Leviathan, Io, Titan and all their associated content) pulled from the game. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider that worth $40. Oh and the newest season was $10 on top of that. I mean, holy cow! I believe developers should make money for their effort, but wow this is egregious!

This latest season/expansion also fed into the legacy problems facing PvP. It’s bad enough that the game is still peer-to-peer considering how much money it rakes in, but then they go an introduce new subclasses that were either A: purposely overpowered to “encourage” fans to buy Beyond Light, or B: shipped with barely any playtesting. If “balance” is truly the goal as Bungie has so often claimes, then how exactly did the Stasis classes ship in such a broken state.

Then there’s the rampant cheating on PC and a whole cottage industry of account recoveries for high-end loot in modes like Trials of Osiris. The former situation made PvP a major headache for those who don’t want Beyond Light, and the latter basically locks out everyone but the sweatiest players (or those willing to cheat). This has been a problem for years, yet no tangible effort has been made to deal with it.

I suppose all this is to say that I’m back into the “hate” phase of Destiny. Still, with all the blatant money-grabbing and lack of curation going on, I wonder if I’ll ever make it back to loving Destiny again. Perhaps the time has come to finally let it go, perhaps it’s time to take what I can get and stop complaining.

Do you have a game series that vexes you like Destiny does me? Were you finally able to quit it?

Image from Destiny 2 – Festival of the Lost (2018) Trailer