Destiny 2 is almost out, and with each new trailer and info drop the game is looking more and more promising. Many of players’ gripes with the first game and prayers for the sequel seem to have been answered. Substantial changes include a clear, cinematic narrative, the provision of a map providing helpful information, a Crucible (PVP) overhaul and shift to 4v4 game modes across the board, an ever present director thus removing the need to constantly jump to orbit, and static weapon and gear rolls to eliminate tedious grinding and promote a balanced environment, just to name a few. All of that sounds like the makings of a sensational sequel, and everything else will be icing on the cake, secret icing Bungie has yet to reveal so that each new bite into the game is a pleasant surprise. However, if Bungie really want players to have their cake and eat it too, here are some flavors of change they should really consider.
Better, More Rewarding Seasonal Events
Destiny had it’s share of seasonal celebrations; the Festival of the Lost (Halloween), the Dawning (winter holidays), and Crimson Days (Valentine’s Day). While Destiny‘s events improved with time, by and large, they were unremarkable and unrewarding. Initial appearances may have evoked holiday spirit, like visiting the Tower, but the events themselves felt shallow and more like cash grabs than precious content drops for dedicated players. Take the best of them, for instance. At it’s core, the Dawning had a seasonally irrelevant game mode, the Sparrow Racing League, that, while fun, hardly evoked the holiday. While the mode featured some unique rewards, most lacked utility outside of the seasonal mode. Most enticing were the new sets of armor in Dawning specific loot boxes. Unfortunately, there were minimal ways to earn them in game and a hefty price tag on them in the Eververse, Destiny‘s microtransaction market, particularly for something that involved RNG rolls in terms of what piece of armor was received and the armor specific perks. Even if players received the piece of armor they were hoping for, it might not have matched the specific character loadout they preferred, frequently making the armor aesthetically brilliant but absolutely impractical.
Needless to say, seasonal events in Destiny 2 could be a lot better. They’re easy opportunities to celebrate with players and entice them to play the game through the holiday season. A good, golden standard to measure by these days is Overwatch. Overwatch has fairly frequent seasonal events, each featuring a new game mode and seasonal rewards to go along with the theme. These rewards can be earned through participating in the seasonal game type each week or through regular progression. On top of that, specific items can be purchased with the in game currency, allowing players some control over their seasonal rewards. While Destiny 2 doesn’t necessarily need new game modes for each holiday, some holiday spice could go a long way. Imagine a Christmas themed Supremacy mode where players dropped presents and tree ornaments instead of emblems. Imagine a specific Strike playlist that had re-skinned Strikes with spooky atmospheres (atmosfears?) and enemies with jack-o-lanterns for heads. Imagine obtainable rewards just for participating, whether through Destiny‘s favored record books or end of game rewards. Should microtransactions still be an element, why not allow players to purchase what they actually want and not rip them off with an RNG game, leaving them salty and unsatisfied. Seasonal events could be sensational and could go a long way to spice the game up before it gets stale.
Currency Caps and Consumables
Destiny undoubtedly had too many currencies, but more befuddling, all of those currencies had obnoxiously low caps. Most players spent enormous stretches of the game at max capacity for the game’s most basic currency, Glimmer, then, never had enough when they suddenly needed it. A later currency, Legendary Marks, necessary for infusion and certain vendor purchases, might’ve been even worse with it’s cap of 200 units across player’s entire account. This seems particularly outrageous since weapons and gear were often priced at 150 Marks, timed events frequently required them, while infusion simultaneously required them on a regular basis. All of the currency caps were a constant pain in the original Destiny. Limited currencies and sky high caps could go a long way to allowing players the freedom to just focus on playing the game.
The only thing Destiny has more of than currencies was consumables. Experience boosts, glimmer boosts, drop rate boosts, keys, telemetries, ammo syntheses, location specific ones, seasonal effects, the list goes on and on. There were simply too many and not enough space. If consumables are in the sequel, I sincerely hope they have more general effects and that players can hold more. Why not create a consumable that grants more Glimmer when killing all enemy types across the board rather than the faction specific Glimmer boosts? Why not automatically place all keys and event activation items in the key items slots instead of the consumables slots? And, while we’re at it, why put such a strict limit on some of those items (I’m looking at you SIVA offerings and Splicer keys)? If consumables are in Destiny 2, I sincerely hope they’re better managed and more manageable for the player.
Console Exclusive/Timed Exclusive Content
Throughout its lifetime, Destiny had timed exclusive content on the PS3 and PS4 that wasn’t available on other platforms for entire year. That’s an extremely long time to withhold content from players who paid the exact same amount for the game and all of its expansions. Worse yet, some of that content was game changing. Player’s on Sony consoles had additional Strikes and PVP maps providing much needed variety and extra exotic weapons, which in one instance altered the appearance of the Crucible metagame between platforms (the Hawkmoon meta, anyone?). By the time the weapon was released to Xbox players it had gone from irreplaceable to irrelevant with updated game balancing and weapon tuning.
Destiny 2 continues this trend. There will be an exclusive Strike mission, Crucible map, ship, and exotic weapon on PS4 for a minimum of one year. This is a disturbingly long time for timed content and a disgusting practice that hurts no one but the player. I recognize that game production often requires sponsors, but after the hyper-successful original title, one would think Bungie could produce a sequel without the additional support of exclusivity deals. Now that the playerbase is even more fractured with the addition of another platform, PC, it’s more than possible that the majority of players will be missing this content because of their personal platform preferences. At the very least, this practice leaves two significant groups of players feeling slighted by a deal they have no control over happening at the corporate level. Reducing the duration of the timed exclusivity, perhaps just until the launch of the next expansion rather than a full year, would go an enormous way to make this whole situation more player friendly and overall less distasteful.
Trials of Osiris
If the folks at Bungie somehow see this list and take anything away from it, it should be this. There have been heavy hints that Trials of Osiris, the most contentious, competitive PVP mode from the original Destiny will be returning for the sequel, perhaps under the new banner Trials of the Nine. That’s the word on the street, at least. With the Crucible overhaul and the shift from games with teams of three or six players to all PVP game types being 4v4, Trials of Osiris will have to be adapted to fit into the Destiny 2 environment. That’s the least pressing change that should be made to Trials of Osiris.
For those that don’t know, Trials of Osiris was developed to be the PVP counterpart to the similarly challenging PVE raids that had become a weekly ritual for many hardcore Destiny players in the title’s postgame. In Trials, players got a “Passage” card that tracked team progress. The activity, offered each weekend, was oriented around the Elimination game mode where two teams of three fought to eliminate each other, each player only receiving one life per round but capable of being resurrected by a teammate if the opportunity presented itself. First team to win five rounds won the match. The result of each match was then recorded on each player’s passage card. The passage was completed by either netting a total of nine wins or by losing three matches, at which point a new passage needed to be purchased to continue participating. If a team went nine wins without a single loss, they were brought to an exclusive location, the Lighthouse, and given coveted prizes, primarily cosmetic.
It was a cool concept that in actuality was plagued by innumerable issues. Like raids, Trials didn’t feature matchmaking, part of the reason why both had low participation numbers. However, of the fraction of the player base that participated in Trials, only a fraction of that fraction, under 15% of participants, made it to the Lighthouse on average. As if that wasn’t bad enough, to receive any noteworthy gear, players had to win a total of five matches for a piece of armor, and seven matches for a weapon, an achievement many players vocally struggled with and grew to resent. Worse yet, the cutthroat nature of the game wasn’t what turned many players off, but the community itself. With no matchmaking, players had to form groups for themselves. Those who played Crucible with chums regularly were at an advantage. I often heard the suggestion, “find a regular crew to run with,” but this was overly simple, weak advice. Trials was less of a test of player skill, and more a test of patience and friendship, and the grueling ordeal bruised many longterm relationships, making it hardly an appropriate environment to try and make new companions.
Players using LFG sources to try and find a team were often met by outrageous demands, demands many of those posting didn’t meet themselves. The “sherpa” attitude that frequently accompanied raids was nowhere to be seen. In fact, some players were charging for carries. Even when players had a competent team, there was no guarantee they wouldn’t face up against a monstrous, sweaty clans, effort ending lag, or even cheaters. My team was once on an 8-0 run when we came across a team that we were handily beating when suddenly the connection seemed to flicker. All at once, one of our teammates was booted from the game and the enemy team was mysteriously impossible to shoot, which I’m still quite convinced was the result of a lag switch, a fairly rampant issue at the time. On top of that, a good run can take well over an hour, not to mention all additional attempts at the Lighthouse, and that’s just one character for an event only available over the weekend. Nine wins is simply too demanding and time consuming a task for the average and even the above average player. Why not reduce the ask to five consecutive wins or even seven to simply save players time and wasted effort and a whole lot of salt and grief?
This was an obligatory pick. I’m certain Bungie have addressed this age-old issue in Destiny 2. Whether it’s an enormous place to store gear, weapons, and everything in between, new kiosks to retrieve previously awarded items, or some unforeseen fix, it’s undoubtedly clear that Destiny‘s lack of storage space will not fly in the sequel. But since Bungie remain tight lipped on the issue, here’s my final plea.
And there you have it! Destiny 2 brings with it a number of quality changes. Here’s to hoping these few don’t get forgotten. If they do, players, myself included, will just complain until the developers acknowledge their plight. But we complain because we’re invested and because we genuinely care. Either way, we’ll know soon enough when Destiny 2 drops on consoles on September 6th and on PC on October 24th.