10 Changes We Want From Destiny 2
Ben Sheene / May 18th, 2017 No Comments
I have never been more fully engrossed in a game than I am with Destiny. According to wastedondestiny.com, I’ve clocked 771 hours on the game since its release in September 2014. That’s 32 days — a month of my life — inside of a game. Admitting my love for Destiny is an easy task, but when you love something, it often makes it that much easier to criticize it.
Across a full game and four expansions, Destiny has been both a social lubricant and a point of contention for me. The shortcomings have annoyed and disappointed me to the point where I’ve stopped playing the game for weeks or months at a time. Yet, I recognize Bungie’s strong foundations and where it can improve this “10-year” passion project. With the gameplay reveal on the horizon, here are 10 changes we want from Destiny 2 before its release on Sept. 8, 2017.
10. Better Social Spaces
Bungie seems to be itching for an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, so what more jarring way to do this is there than destroying the sacred space where most Guardians spent their first year? If we are to believe teasers for Destiny 2, our beloved Tower has been hit hard.
The Tower, in many ways, is representative of Destiny itself: a clean, polished space where things are always happening, even if little of it felt very new after exploring every inch.
Since 2014, the Tower has barely changed. Amanda Holliday sells old ships and sparrows despite no longer being cross-eyed and getting a mechanical leg. The Speaker stands at his cluttered desk next to that ominous rotating mechanism. That robot sweeps the same exact spot while players wander around aimlessly, jumping off the Tower to their deaths or kicking gravity-defying balls around.
Destiny 2 needs vibrant, changing social spaces that serve as more than giant rooms to hear celebrity voices, dump your equipment in, and collect quests at kiosks. Though the few people you can converse with at the Tower always offer nice tidbits of lore, they rarely feel like true characters in this world who are more than window dressing and merchants. The addition of the Vestian Outpost and Felwinter Peak did little to solve these issues.
Most importantly, these new social spaces need to feel like locations where you can actually interact with other players. In addition to NPCs wandering around making the space feel alive, we need to see more actual Guardians populating the area. With Bungie dropping the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, there’s no excuse not to allow more people in a location (which could also apply to planets being explored). Players should be able to chat with each other or shout out stupid messages instead of being restricted to emotes and forming crouch circles around people lost in the menus.
9. Personal Quarters/Guilds
Personal housing is one of my favorite aspects of any game because it gives players a place to have their own home away from home. Destiny 2 needs a bastion where players can leave their Guardian’s imprint.
Later expansions and updates brought the Triumph books, which dole out rewards for completing tasks in the game. Why not allow players to have a small tent or room where they can physically display these achievements? Killed Oryx a hundred times? Here’s a scaled-down version of his skull. Finally got The Last Word after all this time despite it being nerfed in a patch? Put it on a gun rack for everyone to see.
If the Tower is no more, it would be cool for Destiny 2 to throw Guardians into the streets of The Last City camped up right next to each other. Friends could come visit each other’s spaces, leave notes, or even drop off items (please give us some form of trading in the sequel, Bungie).
Having personal quarters would be a way to further customize the Destiny experience in a way that armor sets and shaders can’t. Better yet, the idea could be further expanded by introducing guilds where multiple Guardians can pool their resources and buy a larger space — but that’s closer to MMO territory, and Bungie always wanted to shy away from that.
8. In-Game Grimoire
I will never understand Bungie’s choice to stuff Destiny’s best stories and lore-building into grimoire cards that can only be seen online. Sure, it’s satisfying collecting a new weapon or killing a thousand Vex Hydras and seeing a black bar pop up at the bottom of the screen saying you unlocked a new card. However, it’s less satisfying seeing you have to go to Bungie.net to look at them.
Bungie likely juggled the idea that some players don’t want to be force-fed narrative with the drastic changes the story went through months before release. That doesn’t change the fact that some of the material in the grimoire cards is just as deep and fascinating as the books players pick up in Elder Scrolls or audio logs in Bioshock.
Put a section for the grimoire in Destiny 2. Let players read it on their big screens or add some audio logs. Of course, if the story is up to snuff this time around, maybe we won’t miss the grimoire as much.
7. Stat Trackers
Not only is the grimoire useful for learning more about the world of Destiny, it’s one of the few ways for players to keep track of personal stats. To see how many times you killed or were killed by a specific enemy, you have to go to that enemy’s grimoire card and look at the stats. “Cumbersome” is putting it lightly.
The Destiny community frequently took it upon themselves to implement things Bungie would not. I’ve used countless third-party websites to figure out what dead ghosts I’ve collected, what calcified fragments I was missing, and how many hours I’ve put into the game. This should not be such a complicated process.
Let’s be honest, players love keeping track of everything they do. From K/D ratios to number of shots fired with a weapon, these are all figures a good chunk of the Destiny player base wants to know. Why not include this information in the game itself rather than making players seek help from other sources? Another reason to put the grimoire in game.
6. Higher Stakes
One of Destiny’s deeper issues is that it lacks a lot of emotional resonance. Players are always told that their Guardian holds the power of the Light to fight back the forces of the Darkness. We’ve killed thousands of aliens and robots for what purpose exactly? To save humanity?
Sitting at the top of the Tower, players can always see The Last City stretching into the horizon with the Traveler hovering overhead. Never once did we roam the streets of this city to meet the people we were saving. Very few times are we thanked for saving the day.
Destiny’s story has the problem that many MMOs and similar games have. The story can’t just “end” because you killed the Big Bad. Going back into the Vault of Glass three times a week every week for new loot lessens the impact of the story, but you do so because you need to level up and get stronger, not for the satisfaction of being the hero.
There are plenty of breathtaking moments during raids, strikes and story missions. The problem is that many of these triumphs don’t carry weight. You’re not doing it because you want to save the day, you’re killing that boss because they will hopefully have a better roll of a weapon.
If Destiny 2 starts players out with all their guns gone and The Last City on the brink of destruction, it will instantly raise the stakes. This time Guardians have to fight to save humanity, and it won’t be against faceless, muddled threats.
5. Better Seasonal and Limited-Time Events
By the time The Taken King expansion rolled out and Destiny saw its most sweeping changes, I was on the path to getting burned out — although, I was funneling at least five hours a day into the game.
When the first Festival of the Lost event kicked off for Halloween a few weeks later, I stopped playing cold turkey. Then Sparrow Racing happened in the winter and I was tempted to go back in until I found out it was a limited-time event. The same happened for Valentine’s Day and other holidays.
Despite many players starving for content, Bungie decided it would be best that any semblance of newness come and go as quickly as possible. While I can understand the thought process behind the Iron Banner and Xur, Destiny 2’s limited-time events need a shot in the arm. These events needs to be more substantial, longer and more frequent, especially in the case of gameplay-changing stuff like Sparrow Racing.
4. Robust Weapon Mechanics
Destiny has some of the best shooting mechanics in any FPS. It also has some of the coolest guns in gaming. Gjallarhorn is a name that anyone will recognize. Weapons in Destiny reach legendary heights for reasons both good and bad.
After three years, however, Bungie never managed to strike a happy medium in terms of weapon balancing. Players justifiably complain about nerfs that make beloved exotics fodder for the vault. Crucible matches are dominated by a handful of players who are lucky enough to get the perfect roll on a weapon.
Part of the problem is that Bungie is always trying to balance guns for both PvE and PvP content. Fixing one breaks the other and no one is happy. Destiny 2 needs to alleviate this problem by separating how guns function between modes.
As much as I appreciate and enjoy the different upgrade nodes for weapons and how far the gunsmith has come since 2014, Guardians need to be able to get weapon attachments for their guns. Keep exotics the unique beasts that they are, but for legendaries and below, give us attachments. Bungie doesn’t need to go as deep as Call of Duty, but imagine how nice it would be to have useful scopes and barrels or cosmetic adjustments to each weapon.
3. A New Name
For a series with such an epic scope, “Destiny 2” doesn’t feel like a fitting name for what should be a massive step up. When compared to a series that has given us titles like “The Dark Below,” “House of Wolves” and “Rise of Iron,” I know that the team at Bungie has something better up its sleeves.
“Destiny 2” is too easy and too simple to market. Though I can appreciate Kratos’ Norse journey being called God of War or The Last of Us sequel being “Chapter 2,” Destiny has enough exposure to get by with more than just a number. It’s probably too late to change the name, but it would be a nice surprise if between now and E3 we’re given the true name of Destiny 2: Cabal Me Maybe.
2. Raid Matchmaking
Really Bungie? After all this time people still need to rely on LFG sites? Just implement raid matchmaking into Destiny 2. Make a social space just for people who want to be tossed into a random group for a raid. At this point, there’s no excuse, especially with the game coming to PC.
1. More Meaningful Content
Out of anything a player could want out of a sequel, this is likely at the top of the list. The fact that Destiny has created such a passionate fanbase is a testament to the game’s quality and fun factor.
That being said, I doubt there is a Destiny fan that has stuck around since year one that hasn’t felt starved for content at some point. In its first year, only two raids were available. In three years, the same four alien factions have been fought with slight remixes between expansions.
Destiny 2 needs to be MMO-sized when it releases this September. We need at least a few new alien races, new classes and subclasses, new planets, new places on old planets and so much more. This game needs to be so dense players will still be scouring its depths until the next expansion. Because ultimately, the one thing that held vanilla Destiny back from greatness was the slow content drips.
Segue to a Sequel
Bungie has come a long way since Guardians first set foot on the Cosmodrome. It’s hard not to be excited for what’s next, but what better way to celebrate the phenomenon that is Destiny by giving the original experience one last send off?
Before Final Fantasy XIV became A Realm Reborn, Square Enix literally destroyed the world of Eorzea in both the game and the narrative. When players logged back in, they were treated to an entirely new game. It would be awesome if Bungie added one last quest line this summer to tease players for what’s next. Reward fans and owners of the original by shepherding them into the next big thing. End Destiny with a bang.
tags: activision , bungie , destiny , Destiny 2 , opinion