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When success in the video game industry is often measured in increments of millions, it should come as no surprise that most high profile games are under a huge amount of scrutiny from the day that a gameplay trailer is shown to the day that the developers cease to support their product. This is especially true when a developer or publisher claims that their game is the most successful new gaming franchise of all time or states that they have over 25 million registered users; yes, there are a lot of people playing your game, but that means that there are that many more pairs of eyes capable of tearing apart every mechanic or feature. Of all the games that have undergone such a trial, though, one in particular stands out: Destiny.

Of course, many people were (cautiously) optimistic about a game that was created by the developers of Halo and backed by Activision. At first, this seemed to be the case, with millions buying the game on release, their purchase seemingly justified given how positive the initial reactions were. Word of mouth, impressive reviews, and overwhelming amounts of coverage made it seem like Destiny was going to be the game that defined the decade. However, rumors of discontent started popping up, seeding doubt in people’s minds. Day by day, people started to ask things like “Why am I getting loot that is of a lower quality than the box that it came in?”, “Why am I only getting the same cosmetic item from the Vault of Glass over and over again?”, and “What do you mean I’m not playing the game as Bungie intended?”

On the bright side, you could manage your own synchronized dance group thanks to the new Raid

On the bright side, you could form your own synchronized dance group thanks to The Taken King’s Raid.

Things only got worse as Destiny’s DLC packs came out. Statements like “You’re telling me that I don’t have enough friends to play my game?”, “Where’s the story?”, and “Time to go onto a website to find people to play with” became more and more common. Naturally, people started leaving the game as frustration over things like the pure randomness of loot, the questionable balancing of weapons, and the horribly time consuming nature of the end game content reached its apex. Things got a little better with The Taken King DLC (with no shortage of people claiming that it revolutionized the game), but it proved to be more of the same: lots of grinding, no in-game matchmaking for end game content, and fairly disappointing loot mechanics. Within a month or so of The Taken King’s release, it certainly felt like Bungie ignored some of the more common criticisms of Destiny simply because it was a way to artificially inflate their playtime stats. To add insult to injury, the DLC gradually became mandatory as more and more activities became tied to the purchase of the DLC.

To their credit, Bungie gave Destiny amazing core gameplay mechanics (after all, no one ever complained about your character being clumsy or awkward to control), but they failed at making Destiny a game that had any longevity to it, or at least the longevity that Bungie hoped for. Realistically speaking, most people could beat the campaign within a few hours and with very little difficulty (or for that matter any comprehension of the story), which usually put them in a position to play the end-game content. Unfortunately, said end-game content turned out to be either repetitive, restrictive in that you need to have at least two other friends online to attempt it, or simply nonexistent. On top of that, the only reliable way to obtain good loot was through playing the same Raid over and over and over again, only for the inevitable release of the next DLC to render your efforts moot.

Someone should probably tell Lord Saladin that he's going to have a bad time if he's still using armor from the first year of Destiny

Someone should probably tell Lord Saladin that he’s going to have a bad time if he’s still using armor from the first year of Destiny.

Similarly, The Crucible (the competitive multiplayer portion of Destiny) was initially regarded very favorably, but when it was discovered that it was in no way shape or form balanced so that every weapon was viable, it quickly became a contest to see who had the best shotgun (or Thorn). Plus, like the rest of Destiny, the rewards that you could get from the conclusion of a Crucible match were not influenced by how well you performed. Eventually, Bungie fixed these issues, but it took them many months to do so. Needless to say, Destiny quickly gained a reputation as being the game that was incredibly fun to play, but only if you judged the game based on first impressions or the fact that most of the game’s enjoyment came from playing with your friends. With Destiny’s Rise of Iron DLC coming out soon, it would be wise to remember that although Destiny excels in certain aspects, it created a legacy where people unquestionably became even more wary of developers and their promises.

More About This Game

Anson Chan

Staff Writer

You ever wonder why we're here? It's one of life's greatest mysteries, isn't it? Good thing games exist so that we don't have to think about it. Or at least I don't have to think about it. Instead, I'll just play Halo or something.

  • Demon John

    This would have been a somewhat valid article over a year ago. Yes, there was some initial disappointment at the story, which some didn’t like, and advancement and balancing needed some tweaks. But Destiny is one of those games that’s only gotten better with time, and these days, it is absolutely amazing and enduringly fun.

  • Nick

    I agree. Destiny started out not so great, but where it’s been brought to has been amazing. I’ve been playing the game for the past 8 months and still have tons to do in the game. Very excited about the Rise of Iron DLC. IMO, author still salty about release and hasn’t revisited since.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    >(after all, no one ever complained about your character being clumsy or awkward to control)

    It’s a console exclusive, console players are used to clumsy and awkward controls.


    I was a Christmas noob, and from December of 2014 until about February of this year, I played nothing but Destiny. After I did King’s Fall once, I dropped it and never really looked back. Part of that is that I eventually got sick of the MMO loop of kill things to get better stuff to kill harder things to get even better stuff, and so on.

    The other reason, the thing I still haven’t forgiven Bungie for and will NOT be purchasing Rise of Iron because of, was the complete deprecation all of the Year 1 stuff that came with TTK. Year 1 Destiny was the game I fell in love with. I created three characters, got full sets of raid gear for each, and did as many of the growing number of weekly activities as I could with them. My many trips through the Vault and Crota’s End, that time my friend managed to down Skolas with six seconds left on the taint and the rest of the fireteam dead, getting home from work on Fridays and running over to Xur like a kid on Christmas morning, running three Heroic strikes every week to get my 27 Strange Coins, facing down a trio of Captains as the last man standing on a Nightfall, using the first Etheric Light I ever got on my Vision of Confluence…these are the things that made Destiny awesome for me.

    And then Bungie took all of it away, literally everything from Year 1, and replaced it with things that were less awesome. TTK was fun, but it wasn’t Year 1.

  • Jumanji Joe

    Destiny felt like a game that had two different development teams working on it that didn’t communicate. One team wanted to make a mmo and the other a fps. They ended up just mish mashing what they both had together and making a Frankenstein of a game. I only played a little bit of it, but I felt like there was multiple core design philosophies constantly at odds with each other. Bungie lost a lot of talent during the Activision merger and Destiny shows this.

  • BurntToShreds

    I stopped playing after spending 340 hours on that game, just a bit after the Sparrow Racing event. I got way too tired of the “Do your dailies”. I moved on to Halo 5 full time and never looked back afterward. I’ve had much more awesome moments in 7-minute Slayer matches than I ever had in those damn raids.

  • Demon John

    Little upset it’s never going to come to PC, eh?

    I will never understand why some people need to fight a war over their platform… and then make irrelevant comments about it on unrelated articles. Console “versus” computer is even stupider than iOS versus Android. It’s not like you can’t just have both.

  • Demon John

    >And then Bungie took all of it away, literally everything from Year 1

    That’s… not actually true either in a literal or figurative sense.

    Almost every Year 1 Exotic came back in one form or another.


    Exactly…”came back.” They carved out all the parts I fell in love with to sell us DLC, and then gingerly started putting them back only after we all bought it.

  • Demon John

    What? No. If you didn’t buy the DLC, the weapons never went away to begin with.