Bungie released Destiny just over a year ago. They have released two expansions to the original game and made dozens of tweaks and adjustments to weapon balancing, inventory systems, missions, and raids, upgraded weapons, armor, materials…you name it. So by now you’d think they have this pretty well nailed down and are ready to move forward focusing strictly on content, right? Nope. They are completely revamping the entire leveling system, the inventory system, the monetary and reputation systems, the vault, vendors, weapons, armor, quests, bounties...even the voice of the Ghost. (Buh bye, Dinklage.) Nearly every aspect of the game is changing.
The good news is these changes are going to help the ‘grinding’ aspect of Destiny, add some much-needed features, and make it more approachable for newcomers to the game. There are many new aspects to the game, and below you’ll find what has stood out the most to me.
Player levels might actually mean something now. Your XP level and your light level are now completely separate. This is something that has needed to happen for some time. Before, getting to the level cap of 20 only meant you got to grind to obtain (if you’re lucky) armor and materials to get you to the next level. It didn’t matter if you liked the look or perks, you had to equip it if you wanted to get to the next level and be able to compete. Thankfully they’ve made it so if you’re a max level (which is now 40), you can access the max level missions, etc. Light will still play a role in the strength of your weapons and armor, but not your level. We’ll see if this translates over or if they’re just titillating us and you still need light to do anything.
Bounties can be turned in from your menu! THANK GOD (or whatever deity you prefer)! With the tower load times and the “return to orbit” load times, this is going to save hours in the long run. In addition, you have more bounty slots and more inventory space as well.
Vendors and factions will have a larger role in your progression and what you can do at the tower. You’ll actually get to do things for the Gunsmith. You can pledge your allegiance to a faction without having to put on their faction piece. Plus, the Cryptarch supposedly won’t be such a dick. We all know that’s highly unlikely, though.
RNG-esus (Random Number Generator): They’ve reworked the random system of giving out rewards to pay better attention to what’s in your inventory and what you need for progression. The goal of this is to avoid giving players the same reward multiple times and targets you for loot valuable to your progression.
Now for the bad news…
We’re all no strangers to lack of extensive content in the main game and the expansions. Bungie has stated that there is more content in The Taken King than in the previous two expansions combined. However, that’s not really saying much. With each of the first two expansions, I was really excited for a couple days. Then it was the same repetition, just adding in the extra strike or couple of missions to the rotation. On top of that, the new enemy type is called “The Taken,” and they’re not really all that new. They’re just reworked versions of the enemies that you’ve killed thousands of times. New attack and defense strategies, yes. But essentially they’re just re-skinned versions of what you’re used to.
Perhaps the biggest negative on all this comes down to money. Most of us have spent $100 from day one on Destiny. We trusted Bungie to give us the best damn game money could buy. Yes, it was — and still is — an extremely polished game that looked and felt great...until you realized you were doing the same missions and bounties day after day after day. For me, that was almost 200 hours later. For you, it may have been more, or, hopefully, less. Now you can purchase Destiny along with both expansions AND The Taken King for $80. If you’ve been on the bandwagon since Sept. 9th, 2014, it’ll cost you an additional $40 to continue on the ride. Now if you’re in the same boat as me and you trusted Bungie from day one with $100 USD of your hard earned money, you tell me how that feels. The only way we as consumers can get our point across to developers and producers is with our wallet, money clip, purse or other money holding device. Maybe you feel that the first year of ups and downs, changes, and fine-tuning was worth your $100 and you’re happy with the investment of time and money.
To me, it feels like an ever so gentle slap in the face. Like Bungie is saying, “Hey, I know you trusted us and you have paid us almost double what newcomers are going to pay. Thank you for your money, we just need to take more. But don’t worry, we took care of you with an exclusive shader, emblem and sparrow. And by 'exclusive,' we mean 20+ million players will have it. That makes up for it, right?” My worry is that we played a very long paid Beta and now they’ve completely reworked the game for another year of trial and error. The changes sound appealing and great in theory. However, there is a lot of gray area between what they are saying it will be and what it might actually be.
I personally am going to keep my small piece of negotiating power tucked in my back pocket until the dust has settled and they’ve proven to me that they deserve it, because right now the excitement doesn’t overpower my feeling of distrust for Bungie. I will keep an eye on it and time will tell.