I don't think Destiny became a bad game, it just became a bad game for me.


I played a fair amount of Destiny 1; I've got the Moment of Triumph t-shirts to prove it. I had a lot of fun! I connected with a co-worker who also played, they invited me into their group, I got introduced to the Vault of Glass, and Crota. We ran Kings Fall blind, loads of fun!

My wife and I had a kid, we had a bit less time for Destiny, it happens.

Destiny 2

Destiny 2 came out, heck those first few hours felt like they had more story than most of Destiny 1 combined. Ghost? They hurt Ghost? WAAAAAT. Time was a bit harder to come by but I hit the grind, it felt a bit grindier than before but we ran Leviathan blind as well. Man those war dogs were ROUGH. I think I still owe my group some apology over not recording the time I accidentally shot the lights in Gauntlet correctly without remembering what I'd done.

Lots of the content seemed to require more coordination than it had before. Escalation protocol required a bunch of people to coordinate to complete, as someone who usually played solo this was out of reach.

Forsaken was a lot of fun: two new worlds to explore. I gulped down the main story. I loved the look of the Dreaming City, but dropping into the Blind Well and hoping some people would be there was a great way to waste time that I had less and less of.

My clan had fractured between XBox and PC, so there was fewer people to happen upon.

Gambit was a breath of fresh air into everything PVP. I've never been a big fan of PvP - maybe a few rounds of Control if I needed to do something. But Gambit I loved. I even reset my infamy once.

Ascendent chests and challenges seemed interesting, but I hated my options: Spend hours (I don't have) searching the entire map, or watch people on youtube & read reddit to understand. I wasn't sufficiently invested in the game to want to spend time researching reddit threads & youtube videos to learn how to play.

This stopped seeming like fun so I drifted away.

I made a few attempts to get back into things when time permitted, but stuff had only become more confusing. I discovered the game had "weeks" and only certain content was available certain weeks. Spending 20 minutes trying to find the entrance to a dungeon that wasn't there, and wouldn't be for another 7-14 days didn't feel awesome. The people in the game didn't talk to me about weeks, or shifting sands of time, or how the planets weren't aligned so this wasn't even something I'd considered.

If I did try to figure something out using reddit, the assumed knowledge I was lacking made things difficult to decipher. What's a week? What week is it now? How do I find out what week it is? I didn't know what I didn't know, so I didn't even have the right questions to ask.

Black armory launched. I probably didn't download the update for quite a while. When I did, the story didn't really grab me. I unlocked one or two of the armories, then drifted away again. There may have been some story involving the Drifter, I have no idea what's happening there. It seemed like we'd moved away from "finish all the story, then you can grind for some stuff if you want" to "you're going to need to grind like heck to finish the story", and that just wasn't as appealing.

Then. Then another freaking Moments of Triumph t-shirt was announced, just in time to suck us all back in before Shadowkeep. So I updated some xboxes, updated my copy of Destiny 2 and tried to force my way back in. Most of it just felt like a grind.

Random Notes about my Moments of Triumph grind:

  • There was some sort of festival happening, that was cool. Yet again I had to check out reddit to understand what things meant. I still didn't really understand it all.
  • One of the festival quests required you kill a lot of mini-bosses, but not the final boss. This led to a lot of people dropping on me after we'd killed the mini-bosses.
  • More BS around in the dreaming city around what content was available when.
  • It was sad hearing Cayde's voice in one of the classic strikes
  • Had to look at reddit to understand what the various elements of the Moments of Triumph achievement were, and what counted towards them.
  • Apparently matchmaking moved out of some websites and into the Destiny 2 app. No one told me! Messaging prospective party mates was still a challenge, and the "join group to party" thing was broken most of the time so I had no idea how things were supposed to work.
  • Scourge of the Past (SoTP) was a fun raid. It felt like it had a lot of interesting mechanics, without requiring perfect execution. Great raid for a player like me. We were of course running it well over-powered at this point.
  • I ran SoTP with a bunch of drunk college students, one of whom stopped to run out and buy chinese food half way through. It was a lot of fun.
  • I ran some other raid with some randoms who swore at me for a moment before dropping when I told them (again) that I hadn't done the raid before.
  • Crown of Sorrows felt like it required perfect execution, I don't know if we ever managed it.
  • Last Wish felt pretty demanding, but my team managed it. There was some interesting mechanics in there, I think, I was usually on clearing ads.
  • The Menagerie was super fun. I felt like I could play it without fully understanding it, which was good, because there didn't seem to be any in-game explanation. It took me a long time to drop in, because I had no idea what it was.
  • Unlocking the last forge by completing that strike variant without dying, as someone who usually plays solo, was challenging.
  • People on raids seemed pretty demanding about having certain guns. I generally lacked these guns, and since they referred to it by a nickname I had to google to figure out what it was. Not having the guns did not make me popular.

Trying to be as effective as I could in seeking the achievement was tiring and time consuming. If I had 30 minutes to kill I'd probably spend the first half:

  • booting xbox,
  • loading destiny 2,
  • loading character,
  • going to the tower,
  • picking up black armory quests,
  • picking up clan quests,
  • picking up vanguard quests,
  • travelling to nessus
  • picking up emperor quests
  • mentally sticking quests and achievements in a spreadsheet in attempt to determine maximally effective thing for me to be doing,
  • loading into strike, comparing strike burns to quest requirements.

^ all of that was before I got to do the "fun part". I'm playing on an XBox OneX, so it's got the fast drives and such, but the load times were still rough.

By the time I'd earned the shirt I was done. I haven't loaded it since. I finished Control last week, and breathed fresh air into my gaming desire: I could play for short periods, once I was in it was largely devoid of loading screens and new story trickled out to me constantly. I'm playing Outer Worlds now, a few more loading screens than Control maybe, but if the baby starts screaming I can save my progress at any moment!

I don't think Destiny 2 has become a bad game I just think it's become a bad game for me. Destiny 2 that was better aimed at me would:

  • Give me the information I require in-game. You don't need to hand everything to me on a silver platter, WoW's "point of interest" tracker was a revelation, and maybe something simialar would work here. There's a % of players who want the hunt, the search, the challenge! Consider allowing them to opt into it, or having something similar to "realm firsts" that unlock the content's easy access for the rest of us mere mortals.
  • Allow me to progress through story with a minimum of grinding. I like story. Collecting 200 bear paws before the hunt master will speak to me? Less so.
  • Make it clear where "story" is in the UI and explain that UI to me so I know what it's telling me.
  • Promote in-game matchmaking and peer evaluation (playing with people can be fun!).
  • Provide first class tools for people who do want to write/document how to do things. Help them help us :).