- Despite being a great experience in the genre, Destiny 2 continues to suffer from its greatest flaw. This problem compounds due to the nature of the game.
- Destiny 2 is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to info-dumping and overwhelming new players.
- The game requires you to purchase each expansion individually. This model increases the price for the full experience & can be a huge negative for players.
- The game’s longstanding history is proof of its immense potential. If Destiny 2 can iron out these problems, it will be a drastic improvement.
Destiny 2 is hands down one of the most definitive gaming experiences in the MMO genre. While the game dives into an extremely saturated space, it sets itself apart from the competition with its gameplay loop, core mechanics, and staggering visuals.
Bungie has built a world that has evolved over time and now thrives on its own. Where most games in the genre end up dropping the ball, Destiny 2 actually excels. Initially being a pay-to-play game, Bungie changed the model and made the base experience free-to-play. A solid tactic to provide a bountiful sample to prospective players.
However, no matter how great something might be, it will always have flaws. An MMO game is constantly evolving, and its existence depends on bringing in new players and making them want to stick around. Not only that, it needs to provide quality content to keep its veterans engaged.
In the case of Destiny 2, the game drops the ball in one area that happens to be common in the genre. In my opinion, this is probably the game’s greatest weakness—the new player experience. As a player who just started the game, I believe it can do a lot to clean things up.
Destiny 2: “Free-To-Play” Yet Hard To Buy
When it comes to the new player experience. I’m going to draw parallels with Final Fantasy XIV and Warframe. These two games are one of the worst offenders of this. Destiny 2 is free-to-play, or at the very least, free-to-try, and you’re technically not buying the game. However, what you need to buy are the expansion packs which the game continuously prompts you to take a look at.
Bungie has added live-service elements to the game, and it’s right there for you to see. The reason why that isn’t a problem is that it’s technically not a single-player game. Developers like Rocksteady, for example, force that into solo experiences at the expense of gameplay quality. Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is a prime example.
The latest expansion for Destiny 2 has two options. As someone trying out the game for the first time, I had to make a decision. Either try it out with the free-to-play base game first or buy everything immediately.
On top of that, there was the question of the annual pass. Not knowing what significance it held was definitely an annoyance.
I’ll give credit where it’s due, and Destiny 2 made that decision infinitely easier by having a base game that gives you a free taste of what it has to offer. In fact, it’s one of the best ones out there in this apartment. That doesn’t change the fact that a lot of the free content that used to exist has been vaulted.
When it comes to purchasing a game, Final Fantasy XIV is the absolute worst despite having an expansive free trial.
You’d think that developers would want you to buy their game and give them your money. FFXIV is an exception to that. You have two PC versions of it that are considered separate entities. On top of that, their Mogstation portal is absolute garbage mostly due to certain confusing elements of the interface.
Their payment processing system is even worse if that wasn’t enough. Add to that the entire setup for various accounts before you can even start the game and it’s a total wreck. Unfortunate because it’s a really good game once you get into it.
As far as Warframe is concerned, it’s free-to-play and has no expansions. When it comes to purchasing a game, it’s not even part of the debate. While Destiny 2 handles this in a relatively suitable manner, it still ended up being a questionable first step.
However, the worst part of its new player experience is yet to come.
The Interface & A Massive Information Dump
One of the pillars that a new player’s experience is built upon is the interface of a game. In conjunction with that, the rate of imparting knowledge to the player determines whether they’ll be overwhelmed and lost or well on their way. Destiny 2 handles this in a very incoherent fashion.
For comparison, I need to make it clear why Warframe falls flat on its face when it comes to the interface and info dumping. Once you’re out of the tutorial and get to your ship in orbit, you’re left at your own mercy. There’s no guidance, and it’s all there right from the get-go.
Furthermore, when you open the map, there are a ton of planets and each of them has all of these nodes for missions and the campaign. There is a disconnect between the player and the game within the first hour. Anyone who is unwilling to watch a video or deep dive into the game will quit due to the sheer amount of content.
Now keep in mind that the amount of content does not equal the quality of it. Warframe’s procedurally generated maps with the looter-shooter/melee template aren’t exactly intuitive.
I did not enjoy Warframe until they released the first open-world map—Plains of Eidolon. That is when Warframe got into my book of decent games. Josh Strife Hayes covered this aspect of Warframe in depth in his video.
The absence of a system that imparts information is what contributed to the feeling of being overwhelmed. In this regard, FFXIV actually does a great job. There’s only one reason for that, and it’s the fact that the developers treat it as an RPG first.
FFXIV is structured to proceed with its Main Story Quest. All other MMO content is locked behind that story. This essentially blocks off all the unnecessary information and modes for a new player. Along with that, its interface is streamlined, and navigating it is extremely easy.
Destiny 2 handles its interface in a far more competent manner compared to Warframe. However, it falls short of the mark due to its magnitude. I will say that the way it shows the planets and transitions into a map screen with checkpoints adds a lot more clarity. However, the menus leave a lot to be desired.
At the end of the day, the game just can’t avoid dropping all these information bombs at you and it gets overwhelming.
Constant pop-ups for expansion packs, and new systems being introduced every five minutes, it’s annoying and doesn’t help alleviate the feeling of being lost. The last time I felt something similar was with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and its unholy tutorial system.
Destiny 2’s Purchase Model & Content Structure
Being into FFXIV for over half a decade, this is one of the first things I noticed in Destiny 2. Its content is structured in a very weird way. Before I get into that, here’s some context for FFXIV if you haven’t played that game.
Everything in FFXIV is locked behind its main story. Furthermore, its story is divided into a base game and several expansions, which is the same as Destiny 2. However, in order to unlock the events and missions of an expansion in FFXIV, you first have to complete the story prior to that DLC. This is an absolute requirement.
When it comes to Destiny 2, this is apparently not the case. I was browsing the forums in order to understand how the game works and how these expansions are structured. Turns out that you can start an expansion right away if you’ve purchased it. Completing the previous story is not a prerequisite.
At first, I thought this was just false information but then I played the game. Upon completing the tutorial and meeting with Commander Zavala, I was told to kill Navota. The second that mission was completed, I was introduced to the premise of Destiny 2’s latest expansion—Lightfall.
I told myself that this might just be a cutscene to promote the expansion since I’m a new player. And if I’m being honest, the entire premise and the cutscene for Lightfall were actually pretty solid.
The latest update for Destiny 2 definitely looked promising with everything that it brings to the game but the community thinks otherwise.
I was able to access the first mission that ultimately took me to Neomuna, the new city on Neptune. Along with that, I was able to experience a new green-looking power which I believe is the Strand class they were marketing.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun because it was, but it was also disorienting. The game threw me into a mission with all these characters I know nothing about, and the disconnect I felt brought me so close to pressing ALT+F4. Not because the game was bad, but because I didn’t feel anything for the world or the lore.
Moving on, FFXIV handles its expansions in a specific way. The latest pack was released in 2021, titled Endwalker. Now, if you have the base game and you purchase Endwalker, you’ll get access to all previous expansions. This includes Stormblood along with Shadowbringers. That is not how Destiny 2 does things.
If my calculations aren’t wrong, I’d have to spend over a hundred dollars to get every expansion available. People might think that it’s a waste and I should just go into Lightfall, but that’s not what an average player would want. While the expansions can serve as standalone adventures, you can’t help but feel the depth of that disconnect.
In my opinion, Destiny 2’s lore and its world are too good to skip. But for an average player, that feeling of not knowing what’s going on and why it’s important can be the deciding factor. For a game like this, you can’t risk losing a new player over such trivial matters.
Streamlining The Experience
Destiny 2 is a first-person shooter MMO. Atomic Heart came out recently, and I talked about how its dialogue was ridiculous but fairly enjoyable. I mentioned there that I hate first-person games. They are simply not appealing to me. However, some titles just manage to pull me in. CDPR‘s Cyberpunk 2077 was one of them.
Bungie’s Destiny 2 happens to be another one on this list. It’s genuinely good, and during the 15 hours I’ve spent in this game, I had fun for the most part. I’m sure there are other people who feel the same way.
It could be that I was just biased toward trying out Destiny 2 due to the MMO aspect and the bang-for-buck ratio. Personally, I find this game to have a lot of value for the money it’s asking for. A gigantic story with lots of content, such as raids, overworld events, and miscellaneous stuff; there’s a lot to do here.
And all of this is just me scratching the surface. I’m sure there are a lot of things in this game I have yet to uncover and understand. However, not everybody will be able to sit through the constant info bombs and other unfriendly elements of Destiny 2.
Here’s to hoping that Bungie can streamline the new player experience and make Destiny 2 an even better game than it appears to be. Filling the gaps that exist at its beginning while paving the road leading to the endgame is vital. After all, the potential for this game is as vast as the cosmos it takes place in.
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