Microsoft bungie fans need to calm down

Is it Time to Dive Back into Destiny?

Destiny has come a long way since release and opinions are still largely mixed. I played it pretty consistently for about 3 months, up until the release of Dragon Age, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I never reached the level cap of 30, I do have a character of each class in the 26-28 range. I killed a ton of Guardians in the Crucible, completed the Vault of Glass, and largely enjoyed myself throughout the entire process. My original plan when leaving Destiny for Dragon Age was to return for the first DLC – The Dark Below, however due to the fact that raising the level cap in Destiny, from 30 to 32, created a ton of new problems; I sat out and waited.

And I waited…and I waited…

The problem with Destiny has everything to do with the level system

I wondered if I’d ever enter the world of Destiny again. The problem with Destiny has everything to do with the level system. A quick crash course in Destiny leveling is that there’s a soft cap of 20. After level 20, in order to raise in level you need to equip gear which has a “light” rating, finding this gear isn’t necessarily difficult. Vendors and loot drops can raise your level to 26 pretty quickly. In order to hit the cap of 30 however some serious luck, and lots of grinding, is required. It’s not unheard of to play for more then four weeks and not obtain the gear required to be capable of hitting level 30. Then, if you’re lucky enough to get the right gear (obtainable only through the Vault of Glass raid) you need to level up said gear – see lots of grinding from above. Not just having the gear is enough – each piece of gear, or weapon, needs to also be levelled up by using it -a lot. Then, after you’ve finished grinding, special resources are required to complete the levelling process. If it sounds like a lot of work it’s because it is a lot of work. In Destiny’s world, it takes a lot of time and effort to have the most powerful gear. This is how almost every game works, not a big deal right? Well, it wasn’t until the first DLC was release – “The Dark Below” that the problems presented itself.

If [levelling up gear] sounds like a lot of work it’s because it is a lot of work.

In the Dark Below, Destiny raised the level cap from 30 to 32. The new raid included in the DLC, “Crota’s End”, required a minimum level of 30 to enter. Now, Bungie must’ve thought that it didn’t seem very feasible to have more than half of it’s community locked out of the DLC raid due to how long it takes to reach level 30, so they made it easier. Gear from the Vault of Glass raid was no longer the only way to reach level 30, some of the gear could now be purchased from vendors. Kinda sucks for the people who spent weeks grinding right? Many hardcore Destiny players were left pretty wounded by this. Then, Bungie threw salt in the wound by the addition of more powerful exotic weapons and armor, effectively rendering all of the previous weapons and armor, grinded to max level, obsolete. Giving other players a shortcut to level 30 is one thing, rendering hours and hours of progress effectively meaningless is another.

Giving other players a shortcut to level 30 is one thing, rendering hours and hours of progress effectively meaningless is another.

People go into a game like Destiny understanding a certain level of work is going to be needed to obtain the best stuff. Part of the fun of the whole random loot drop genre is the hope of getting the one awesome piece of gear you’ve been waiting for – making all of the grinding worth it. There is a certain level of trust that exists between the gamer and developer. The gamer learns the rules and operates by them – usually resulting in a ton of grinding, and the developer will – at the very least – value that progress by not, ya know, erasing it. The first DLC erased it so to speak.

Bungie did try to rectify this and allowed gamers the opportunity to level up their special gear, making it as powerful as the new stuff. Everyone assumed, that if you had a weapon maxed out – upgrading it would keep the weapon maxed out and raise all the stats. They were wrong. Upgrading the weapons resets all of the grinding, meaning that sure, the weapon is more powerful, but if you want to max it out you need to grind it ALL OVER AGAIN.

This was taking it a bit too far, some of the people I played with quit the game outright. Others are still playing and are incredibly skeptical of the next piece of DLC. What’s the point of putting the work in if the new DLC will render it all useless again? Well, some good news dropped today on NeoGAF in the form of some general updates on the next DLC from Bungie Developer Luke Smith. While nothing specific was mentioned in regards to the new DLC, Luke Smith said that they are listening and watching how people play. He also said that the mistakes of the first DLC would not be repeated (in regards to gear)

What’s the point of putting the work in if the new DLC will render it all useless again?

I’ve commented a few times on how the best time to play Destiny probably isn’t until most of the DLC has been released. The game is consistently being updated and the best way to avoid the situation presented with the first DLC is to simply wait it out. Luke Smith’s comments however give me some hope that I can jump back into a game I love sooner rather then later. I think I might wait just a little longer to make sure…

Still playing Destiny or did you give it up? Leave some thoughts below.