Friday, September 14, 2018

Op/Ed - Destiny 2 Was Good and Forsaken Makes it Even More Gooder

The Forsaken expansion came out and now Destiny 2 is saved! Hurrah! Did it need saving to begin with? No, in spite of what Internet loudmouths said for the last year it was fine, but Forsaken does add a lot of new content to keep everyone busy for another month before they get bored again. This article is sort of a review but mostly a rant about hardcore fans poisoning the well of discussion and the media focusing on negativity to chase easy page views, but there's some Destiny 2: Forsaken impressions in here too, I swear! Continue reading for a unique take on Destiny 2's first year problems and what Forsaken brings to the table.

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Trying to put my thoughts into words on Destiny 2's new major expansion, Forsaken, is difficult because I never understood why people decided Destiny 2 "sucked" in the first place, so I don't really know what Forsaken "fixed". From my perspective, both Destiny 2, and Destiny 1's, well documented first year struggles had more to do with misguided player expectations than anything inherently wrong with the games themselves. Kind of like how I hate Sonic the Hedgehog games for being slow platformers rather than letting you run stupidly fast all the time - It's 100% my fault for wanting the games to be something they aren't (also, Sonic sucks). How that line of thought applies to Destiny is that certain players expected the games to be long lasting MMO-style games that kept you playing forever but the games only had X amount of content and when players did it all they got bored. Instead of moving on to other games for a while, players then started nitpicking and looking for problems. This small, but very vocal minority, poisoned the discourse about the games and suddenly everyone else had to agree "I guess Destiny sucks" just to get them to shut up about it. I know that won't be a popular take on it, but I have to call it like I see it.


With both Destiny 1 and 2 I was satisfied after playing the base games for about a month and then stopped playing and moved on. I was fine with this. I had a lot of fun, played for a couple hundred hours, and then moved on. This is how games are supposed to work. There is nothing dumber to me than when someone says "I played (blank) game for 400 hours and now I decided it sucks so everyone listen to me about why it sucks". Why did you play a "bad" game for that long? Probably because it was actually good and you had fun. Just because hardcore players burn themselves out does not suddenly make a game bad. And just because someone spent a lot of time with a game does not mean their opinion holds more weight than other people. Honestly, their opinion should matter less because most mainstream players aren't going to even come close to having the same experience, but it is those hardcore players that dominate the discussion. 

Then when blogs and websites pick up the story about how much a popular game supposedly sucks and how disappointed the "community" is, because sites these days have to follow trends and tell people what they want to hear and write 100 stories about whatever game is the flavor of the month in order to get the most page views and ad revenue, the signal gets amplified so it convinces casual and mainstream players that a game sucks despite the problems not actually ever affecting the majority of them at all. Destiny 2 still maintained a large and active player base for the last year, but judging from all of the news stories you'd think it was a ghost town and no one was playing which dissuaded new players from even trying the game at all. The hardcore "fans" could have just taken a break, but instead they had to poison the well and salt the Earth so no one else could have fun. And the media only focused on the negatives because that produced the most page views and ad revenue rather than focusing on what would ultimately be in the best interests of their readers. That's a shame.


Circling back around to Destiny 2's big Year 2 expansion, Forsaken, which is what this article is really about, how did Bungie "fix" the game and make fans happy again? By adding tons more content. Sure, there are mechanical changes to how upgrading weapons work or how you get quests and some other subtle changes, but the key main change is they just added tons more stuff to do - a new full length story campaign, a new multiplayer mode, two huge new areas to explore, loads of new quests, loads of new items, etc. - and now everyone loves Destiny again. At least until a month from now when everyone gets bored again. Bungie has promised that there will be regular updates and new content sprinkled throughout the next year thanks to the new premium Annual Pass you can buy, but we'll have to wait and see what that actually amounts to.

On a side note, I think it is also worth noting that a downside to Destiny 1's The Taken King and Destiny 2's Forsaken expansions is that they have set a precedent going forward in that it sure seems like buying these games at launch is a total sucker move. Why spend $60 to buy a game at launch, plus $40 for a Season Pass, plus another $40 for the big year 2 expansion when you can just wait a year and get a collection that includes the base game, plus the DLC, plus a giant new expansion that "fixes" the game for $60 instead? I suppose you miss out on the thrill of playing something when it is new and hot and fresh, but you also get to skip the anguish and hand wringing over waiting for the game to be "fixed" for the first year and jump right into the good stuff and have a ton of content. It is going to be hard to justify buying Destiny 3 at launch, whenever it comes out, knowing that this will more than likely be the case again.


So, in conclusion, Destiny 2 was good and the Forsaken expansion is also good and gives you tons of neat new stuff to do. Truth be told the first two expansions that were widely panned, Curse of Osiris and Warmind, were also fine but probably overpriced at $20 each. If you haven't played Destiny 2 yet, buying the Legendary Collection that includes the game plus DLC and Forsaken for $60 is a no-brainer. It's a ton of fun and you'll have a ridiculous amount of content to play through. If you already played Destiny 2 and got tired of it, no shame in that, that's how games are supposed to work, Forsaken's new PVP / PVE Gambit mode is super cool, the two new locations to explore are fantastic, and the story content is excellent (and the core mission of hunting down what amounts to a bunch of unique boss fights is awesome), so spending $40 to jump back in with Forsaken is well worth it. Bottom line - Destiny 2 was good, and Forsaken makes it more gooder.

Sorry this "review" was kind of all over the place, but it's my party and I can rant if I want to. 

Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.