Destiny 1 launched as a major success and was an introduction to a game style that allowed players to grow with their characters. Gamers spent months and years playing Destiny nonstop in search of better gear and ways to perfect their characters. Years later, fans eagerly awaited the release of Destiny 2 as we all hoped to spend our nights grinding away to earn epic loot. Working towards learning the new Raid or participating in the new events Destiny 2 bragged about. The game sold millions of copies and everybody was playing it. Well, everyone was playing Destiny until a month later when no one was playing it. What happened to Destiny 2 and where did all the players go?
Sadly, players have left Destiny 2 in under two months time. Clan and Friends lists have such a lack of players it’s almost impossible to find a fireteam, let alone a raid party of 6 players. In a game that borrows heavily from the MMO genre you’d expect players to spend more time with the game. So what happened to Destiny 2 and can Bungie resolve the issues and bring back players? Let’s break down the reasons why players moved on.
A big issue that contributed to the demise of Destiny 2 was the game became too casual and the PvE became ridiculously easy. Players flew through the campaign at break neck speed due to Destiny’s overly simple enemy AI. You never felt threatened or had any difficulty clearing a level in the campaign as the enemies main job wasn’t to kill you but to hide, take a few pot shots and wait to be killed. Defeating the final boss at the end of the game was effortless. This behavior continues to the end game activities and just becomes repetitive and boring.
The reward system in Destiny 2 makes it impossible to not get the weapons and armor you want at a 305 light level. Players are rewarded with so much loot that it’s impossible to process it all. Clan Rewards, Milestones, Dailies and Token reward systems all gave players several easy ways to earn sought after Legendary gear with minimal effort. Casual players could easily outfit their Guardians with the best gear with just hours of end game gameplay. Earning quality gear wasn’t special anymore as an effect of this casual loot system.
Another major factor with the fall of Destiny 2 was the overall lack of originality. Once again we’re facing the same enemies as we did all through Destiny 1 and all it’s DLC. The Cabal are the major enemies this go around. The Fallen, The Taken and the Vex all return in smaller roles. We are not facing any new races or really any new classes. A Sci-Fi game built around space travel and there isn’t any new species or civilizations to fight? Such a wasted opportunity. Destiny 2 may be sold as new game but can never feel that way as the tactics for dispatching the enemies are the same as they were in Destiny 1. This has always been a major Bungie fault as they have had the same issues in the Halo series. Which is why the enemies from Destiny feel as though they are re-skinned Halo enemies.
Bungie felt the need to change up the Crucible (PvP) and unfortunately most players feel it is for the worse. The most noticeable change to PvP is the switch from 6 players to just 4 players on a team. It’s believed that lowering the player count was an attempt to reduce lag issues, help standardize maps (D1 had 3v3 maps and 6v6 maps) and a way to bring the title to the forefront of E-Sports. The problem they have now is it hampers game modes. The last Iron Banner was Control where teams try to hold on to three capture points and having only four players changed the whole dynamic of the game mode. Defending two points was incredibly difficult with only 4 players and Control became just a game of Ring Around the Rosie as players just capped points and moved on. This took out all strategy of the match and reduced the game to the equivalent of Space Call of Duty matches. Run and Gun.
The other issue that the 4v4 player game mode presented was map sizes. All the current maps are very tiny with terrible sight lines. Destiny 2’s maps and lack of sight lines killed off Sniper Rifles. They became completely useless as a power weapon as Sniping lanes were a thing of the past. The small maps changed the meta for the weapons. Auto Rifles were king, if you weren’t running a Origin Story or Uriel’s Gift then you were just outgunned. It’s bad design for a game centered around earning loot to really limit weapons that are useful. Weapons and maps should be balanced to allow players to bring in any weapon and still be a viable option.
A carry over quality of life component from Destiny 1 called infusing really hurt the replayability of Destiny 1 and 2. Destiny 1 introduced infusing as a way to help guardians level up their preferred armor or weapons. The way it worked is you would sacrifice a higher light level item into a lower level item that you preferred. When complete the lower level item’s light level is raised to the value of the sacrificed one. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Not when there are limited items to get and not when you can easily transfer weapons (via the vault or the Destiny mobile app) from one guardian to the next. This took away from the pursuit of getting specific gear at a higher level. Now you just need to get a similar item at a higher level, press infuse and viola! Your favorite piece of gear is better. With the rate Destiny 2 throws items at you it’s easy to get max rank in no time.
Then there is the Leviathan Raid, the pinnacle activity of Destiny 2. The whole reason you spend countless hours playing and gearing up your character. Unfortunately, this may be the biggest disappointment of the game for casual gamers (like GRG). While previous Destiny 1 raids required teamwork and knowledge of what to do, Destiny 2’s raid requires such precision between ALL 6 players that simple mistakes end in failure (wipes). Gone are the days of actually fighting bosses and killing things to get past raid checkpoints. Now it’s become a choreographed dance that is unforgiving and brutal towards casual gamers. Making matters worse is the token reward system they have in place. Nothing is more deflating than finally getting past a stage only to receive tokens that can only be redeemed upon completion of the raid. It’s just unrewarding, unforgiving and enjoyable.
So now that I tore apart the game, can it be saved? What fixes can Bungie do to get players to return and stay in the game? New DLC called Curse of Osiris will be released on December the 5th and I’m sure we’ll see a resurgence in player population as they play through the new content. Can the game be fixed or is Destiny 2 not a game that requires full time play? Maybe gamers are looking at it completely wrong and Destiny 2 is only meant to play when new content is released and put back down once it’s beaten. I do know that players want more than just a basic shooter, they want a game where they can invest and grow with their character.
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