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Destiny: One Year On (Gaming Feature)

The release of the next expansion for Destiny on September 15th will mark the first anniversary for the game. With around 25 days game time, 3 fully maxed out characters and every exotic weapon obtained (apart from PS4 exclusives) I feel I can call myself a devoted fan of the game, although being a big fan I can still recognise issues and improvements that I hope are brought in either with the Taken King or before, here are somethings I feel that need to be recognised and hopefully addressed.

For those who haven’t heard of the Taken King, it will be the next adventure for the Destiny universe, kind of like a massive DLC this expansion will bring with it a new story line, new quests, strikes and a new raid. It will also fill the gap in every player’s menu giving each character its third sub-class, the expansion will also bring new multiplayer maps and game modes for those who like the play against other people. It will be sold as either a digital download for those who already own the game or on disc for new comers and a few other editions that I will talk about later on.

The story of The Taken King follows on from the last raid (Crota’s End) back from The Dark Below expansion in which guardians battle Crota, Son of Oryx along with his army of Hive. In this story Oryx (The Taken King) after hearing of his son’s demise, brings along his dark army wreaking havoc throughout the solar system by raising an army of corrupted “Taken” who are pretty much enemies of different races manipulated to serve Oryx. It is up to the guardians to travel to Oryx’s massive ship and take him down. This seems to jump over the last expansion (The House of Wolves) which caused some controversy for not containing a raid as advertised at the start of the game, instead it offered a 3 player waved based mode available at differing difficulties which would cycle weekly giving different bosses and modifiers to keep it somewhat fresh, although fun at first I feel it has gotten a little stale with the same bosses coming up over and over and no real challenge being offered.

Those who have played Destiny will know how its levelling system works, from levels 1-20 players will level up through XP from completing missions and killing enemies, after this the light level of armour will increase your characters level with the higher the light level, the higher your level.

Each expansion has heightened the level cap of the game with newer expansions having higher level enemies meaning better gear is needed to take them on. With this in mind one thing Bungie has done is make it easier to obtain the highest level, although great for new players it leaves the die-hard fans feeling as if they have grinded their characters up over the year for no reason. Originally you could only obtain the highest level through completing raids and gaining armour from there, this was the same in the first DLC pack where the armour from raids was the only way to hit max level, since then the last expansion has brought with it ways of upgrading existing armour straight to the maximum as well as making obtaining this max level armour much easier.

When the game first came out I made one character and it took about 10 days of game time through raids and playing to get the materials and armour to reach max level at the time, a few weeks ago I was able to create a new character and get it to max level in 9 hours game time, this includes going from level 1-20 where it is XP based and not based off your armour, to be fair I had some materials and weapons ready to help but still the difference is crazy. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing how it’s been done completely but it makes those who have been playing the game since the start feel a little cheated.

I hope that the Taken King adds a sense of difficulty similar to when the game started where levelling up isn’t something do-able in a few hours but something that takes longer to do and gives a better sense of accomplishment for those who reach the new max level.

The Taken King will offer new game modes into Destiny along with a number of PvP maps inspired by the world in which you play missions. The first game mode that I am interested in is Rift, Bungies take on capture the flag where instead of a flag teams will fight over an orb known as a rift and will have to get it to the enemies base and slam dunk it in order to get score, similar to Call of Duty Advanced Warfare’s game mode uplink this mode sounds like a lot of fun and something try out. The next new mode is named mayhem and is a basic team death match style mode where characters super abilities charge rate is significantly increased meaning you will have to be prepared for lobbies full of people spamming their super’s in order to win, I feel mayhem is a good name for this and hopefully this will be a lot of fun.

The House of Wolves brought something new for those who like PvP a new game mode called Trials of Osiris was introduced which runs every Friday to Monday and is a 3v3 game mode where your level and gun stats matter, it is a very simple mode, one life elimination (can be revived by team mates) with first to 5 rounds win.

The mode gets interesting when you mix in how you can obtain loot, you buy into this game mode using in game items which grants you one passage (9 games) from these you have to win as many as possible but 3 loses means you’re out. With this in mind it is very competitive with players using the most over powered weapons in order to win, because of this the game mode has become hard for new people to jump into, I feel like there should be a better match making for those who play it a lot and those who are just playing for fun. I hope this game mode is improved and kept in The Taken King as it is very fun but in need of improvement.

PvP has become somewhat boring and old to some players like myself with most people simply using the same gun’s over and over because of their kill times and power. It has taken some of the fun out of it for me leaving me with PvE to play on mostly, this is an easy issue to fix with some weapon balancing which is being done pretty soon with people on both sides of the fence with the changes, it will be interesting to see what it does to peoples play styles and PvP overall, especially Trails of Osiris which needs some improvement in my opinion.

Since PlayStation has an exclusivity deal with Activision, players on the PS3 and PS4 get some exclusive content before Xbox, I am ok with this but what I am against is the amount of time it is exclusive. PlayStation players get access to a number of weapons, armour, strike missions and multiplayer maps for a whole year before Xbox even gets their hands on them. I feel this is way too long, maybe a month would be a good amount as with Call of Duty and its DLC deals with Xbox (soon to be PlayStation). This content will become available after August this year although it is unclear how it will be made available on the Xbox, of course when the Taken King comes out more content will be made available for PlayStation only again for another year, sad as it is, it is something that I don’t think will change and was probably a decision made by Activision in order to market the game, it isn’t something I have a major problem as it is only an extra part to DLC instead of a whole pack being withheld for a long period of time.

This expansion has had quite some controversy over its pricing and variations; it will be available as either a physical copy or digital version for those who already own the game and will be on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The physical edition will cost around £45 which comes with the base game, both expansions and the Taken King which is a great price seeing as the base game was £45 and the expansions £20 each, the digital edition which is just The Taken King will cost around £35-40 and probably the version I will be getting.

There is also a collector’s edition of the game which will offer the base game, both DLC’s, The Taken King as well as some physical things like a steel case, small memorabilia as well as some in game exclusive’s which is what have come under debate leaving die-hard fans mad that this is exclusive to new players and is forcing a rebuy of the game, since the announcement of this edition a separate pack for this digital content has been made available for existing players at the price of £20 which leaves many including myself thinking, this is way too much for a small digital content pack and not a good way of treating loyal fans. This version will cost £80 which has also come under fire as the American version is $80 leaving people wondering why we are paying more (after currency exchange) for the same thing, this isn’t an edition that I will be picking up. Again you have to question how much of a role Bungie has had in these decisions of pricing and exclusivity as I feel Activision has done a lot of this in order to sell more copies of the game leaving loyal fans to the side.

Even the base price of the expansion has left me worried because of its high price point, I really do hope they can justify it with a good amount of new content. Each previous DLC pack has included 1 new strike, 1 new raid/prison of elder, a new story quest and 3 new multiplayer maps along with a long list of weapons and armour. Since the price is doubled I hope the amount of content is also doubled in order to justify its pricing, I’m sure there will also be more DLC either later this year or early next year so this expansion will have to lay some solid foundations for Destiny’s second year.

Destiny seems to be going down the heavy-promotion path of games such as Call of Duty and Halo offering extra content/ XP boosts for purchases with certain food and drink products. This time Destiny has partnered up with Red Bull offering players an XP boost as well as a new quest once The Taken King releases which will become available December this year, an issue with this apart from being an extra to buy is that it is not only exclusive to one store (7/11) but also exclusive to North America leaving the rest of the world out on this, I was able to get a few codes through giveaways by Destiny YouTubers but for the majority this isn’t the case as they will have to wait for this extra quest. I’m sure again this was something done by Activision in order to rake in as much money as possible and get people to buy Red Bull in order to get this content. I do hope this type of promotion is stopped as it is very unfair to both regions that don’t get it as well as those who might not be able to afford the extra products in order to get the content.

Taking into account all that I have said about Destiny as of recent after playing many days of this game as well as my expectations of The Taken King I feel from what Bungie has shown us that they are taking steps in the right direction mostly with this new expansion, I do hope they address some of the issues that I have raised which are shared by a lot of the Destiny community. More information will be released as we get closer and closer to release which might change my views on the game and how much time I will be investing. Through most of the controversy I have stuck with this game and continue to play it in hope that The Taken King will be a great expansion of the Destiny universe.

Expect our review once the expansion releases.

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