In a previous post I expressed some frustration with a few points against Destiny. From that I boiled it down to it’s seven worst offenses that I wished would be addressed. This was written back in May heading into it’s second expansion, House of Wolves. Now we’re knocking on the door of it’s third expansion dubbed The Taken King. I couldn’t think of a better time to check the score card on how Bungie has fared with tackling some of these issues within Destiny. Let’s dive in and see how things have or haven’t improved over the past five months.
1) Story (Fixed)
The launch of Destiny was surrounded with controversy regarding the game being heavily modified from what it was when it was first revealed. Stories swirled about marketing dictating the Traveler serve as an icon of the series as Halo’s rings did, and that the writer’s original plan of making it the villain of the story was squashed. The departure of key people played into that story quite well. So what was shipped was a Frankenstein’s monster style assembly of what was finished, then further butchering the content so they could have a constant flow of DLC expansions mapped out. We’ll never know the truth of that. All we do know is a lot of people were unhappy with the disjointed and seemingly unfinished end product they got on launch day. It was underwhelming given both the history of Bungie’s work and the expectations created by the hype train. Without being able to retcon the original game entirely they seemed to have made due by improving the quality of the story with each expansion. If they could manage to string in some of the established grimoire lore during play or even at loading screens it could go a long way to remedying the questions of who and why that bubble up during the game. Item descriptions drop proper nouns like they’re going out of style. Who are Osiris, Toland, or Saint-14? What are the Battle of Six Fronts, Twilight Gap, or The Vault of Glass? There’s so much story that can be pieced together that is written. Unfortunately Bungie doesn’t help the players realize this since the grimoire cards and their supplemental texts can’t even be accessed in the game itself. Throw the players a bone here, ya know?
I’ve always envisioned Destiny’s base game as a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, meant to serve as the backdrop for greater tales. With most D&D campaign books you get an intro module at the back of the book to help players get comfortable with the world. The expansions of The Dark Below and House of Wolves acted as new modules for your characters to run through. The dungeon crawler aspect of the game just solidifies this comparison. For those who aren’t big on tabletop games, imagine it bit like each episode being self-contained story versus a giant serialized epic. Sure enough TDB got the ball rolling with a far more concise and rewarding story. The missions carried a central storyline and villain through out, which lead into the strike. This naturally lead into the final assault on Crota with the raid, completing the self-contained story within the expansion. HoW, the second expansion, stayed true to this path with creating a new story that connected to the world of Destiny through a post-campaign adventure that again was self-contained. In this remote location of the world an event happened, a villain was established, allies were gained, and the content (mostly) felt like a natural progression of the story. The placement of Trials of Osiris and Prison of Elders were nice additions but didn’t necessarily feel like they were connected to the overall narrative told with Skolas in HoW’s story.
With talk of a restructured original story for the base game, a new recording and dialog for Ghost’s lines, and the new story of The Taken King referencing the events from the first expansion makes it seem like Bungie is starting to really focus on telling a cohesive tale of our Guardians tromping about space. I’d say this issue has been fixed as much as it can be and hopefully should be a non-issue for players who are picking up the game fresh this year.