This weekend I was bouncing points with Viddik on Twitter about what exactly we consider went wrong with Destiny. It’s a subjective matter, for sure. Some people love it and are very happy attempting Crota’s End – the new raid introduced in the Dark Below expansion. I loved Destiny, playing it so much I was neglecting my duties in Final Fantasy XIV.
I was ready to buy the expansion. Even bought a PSN code worth $20 for that same purpose. With the new expansion, and since Destiny is a horizontal progression MMO (more on this later) they had to find a way to make old gear still relevant (“respect player’s time” my former FC called it) so they chose to give an option to upgrade gear to “Dark Below levels”. The net was abuzz with rumors of upgradeable gear being reset to 0 progress (in Destiny you level your weapons & armor, and they get bonuses for each level like faster grenades, quicker melee, more ammo, etc). So I chose to hold on that purchase. This weekend I logged into the game to find Xur, the game’s weekend peddler of exotic wares. I was not expecting what I found.
You see, now that the first expansion is out, there’s new gear with better stats. Upgrading old gear requires the pre-expansion exotic gear, a bunch of Glimmer and a special item. But there’s a small catch: Xur has a selection of gear that can be upgraded every weekend, but if the piece you have is not among that list, you’re SOL for the week. None of my exotic pieces was available – there was nothing I could do. While I’m at it, I couldn’t do any of the weekly challenges because this week they were related to the DLC. So, recap time! How do you upgrade your Exotic gear?
- Pre-Dark Below exotic gear (not hard, if you’ve been playing Destiny for a while).
- Exotic Shard, obtained from Xur (weekends) or dismantling exotic gear.
- Glimmer in a not-insignificant amount.
- Xur must have the item available for upgrade, SOL if not – this is my biggest gripe: your capacity to upgrade each week depends on a random roulette.
- Once done, the item’s perks revert to 0, and you must level it again (so much for “respecting your time”).
Another point I’m torn on is the relation between Destiny, MMOs, and the expansion price. “Destiny is not an MMO, bro!” I hear you say, and maybe you’re right. It may not be a massively multiplayer online game, but it is a moderately multiplayer online game. You play alongside others, you level up, you find loot and farm experience or reputations. MMOish. And here’s my issue with TDB: it costs $19,99. As an MMO player (5 years of WoW and 1 of FFXIV) I’m used to paying for expansions that cost around $39,99 but offer a heck of a lot more content than Destiny does – TDB doesn’t even add a new planet. I concede this is purely personal opinion but this whole blog is. Destiny has the “no monthly fee” going for itself, though.
I like Destiny. I’ve had my fun with it and have stated that it’s a great game, despite it’s flaws. But I don’t plan to keep up with it. I had to choose how to spend my time, and the duel was between Destiny and Final Fantasy XIV – This weekend I capped my tomes of poetics for the first time in weeks. I may log in on weekends to check if I can upgrade something, and maybe do a bit of PvP until the level differences are too great. Now if Xur doesn’t allow me to upgrade my gear next week, I’ll take it as a sign. Destiny is a solid game, but it’s going through a not-so-solid path.
Related reading: Destiny’s Biggest Flaw, from Kotaku, posted as I was writing this; and Destiny’s Dark Below expansion punishes the game’s most important players, from Polygon.