Well, that was fast. After just two and a half weeks of playing Destiny 2 as a free-to-play player, I spent money on it. I bought the season pass last Friday, and I think it’s the first season pass I’ve ever bought, in any game. I’ve had subscriptions to MMOs before, sure, but those are so 2009. These new-fangled season passes, though, are cool and shiny and oh hey, I just got more loot!
As you can probably tell, I’m still enjoying Destiny 2. I’ve even managed to get a slightly better understanding of the various factions of bad guys, something I lamented in my last piece, though I wish there was better in-game lore supporting them. A codex, like in BioWare games, would be nice, so I can preserve a better idea of who the Vex are or who the Red Legion are, because when Zavala is prattling on about what a threat someone is, I’m trying to pay attention but I’m also thinking, “Fine, fine, talk later, just let me go shoot them already!”
(That being said, I could listen to Cayde all day. Can we make a rule that Nathan Fillion has to voice a character in every game going forward?)
Speaking of Zavala and plot exposition, I finally played through the Red War storyline, and, as someone who’s generally against linear narratives in MMO games – again, let me go shoot-and-loot already, not to mention the disconnect between “The City’s been taken over” and “I can go to the City any time I want” – I thought it was decent and helped me understand, at least a little bit, the motivations of various characters. Having not played Destiny the first, I still don’t understand why the Traveler’s here, but then again, does anyone?
Seriously, do they? I really don’t know.
Putting all that aside, I’m still churning through the multitudes of quests and assorted tasks and – while I still think they could use better organization – really liking the base simplicity of it all. Get tasks, do them, get loot … it’s hardly Earth-shattering, I know (or Mercury-shattering, ha!), but even the longer tasks have easily understood requirements and rewards that make me feel like I can always progress, even in shorter sessions.
Not that I ever play in a shorter session. I commented to Magicman a few weeks ago on the F2P Cast about how I didn’t see Destiny 2 as a game that I’d play for large chunks at a time, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. “I’ll just do a couple of things,” I say as I log in and then it’s three hours later and I’ve completed about a dozen bounties and maybe a couple of strikes and oh I just need to get a few more sword kills to finish this up and then …
That’s probably the sign of a good game, or at least one that keeps up the trickle-feed of activities and rewards at a solid pace. I’d never played a proper “looter-shooter” before – the closest non-shooter-type, loot-focused, games I have played probably being Path of Exile and Guild Wars 2 – but I’m definitely hooked on the appeal. Strangely, it makes me even more excited to see what Athlon Games has cooked up for its Lord of the Rings title, which I’m totally convinced is going to be a “grabber-stabber,” a.k.a. a looter-shooter in fantasy form.
One other thing I’m finding surprisingly enjoyable about Destiny 2 is the exploration aspect and the sheer size of the worlds. Given its focus on the shoot-and-loot cycle, I expected, as in most MMOs, for the baddies to be all nicely clustered together, in groups every 50 feet or so, so as to expedite the collection of rewards – a very high Destiny density, if you will. Another reason for this kind of design is that the smaller and more packed the game world is, the less the developers have to build. Empty, monster-less spaces are pointless, right?
While I’m still “meh” about the navigation options, I’m amazed at how large and open the worlds feel, and that’s helped by the emptiness of some areas and the lengths I sometimes have to traverse. Whether I’m tooling across the landscape of Nessus feeling awestruck by the gorgeous scenery or crawling through a narrow tunnel in a Lost Sector feeling claustrophobic and anxious, I’m given time to actually wonder what’s going to be around the next bend. That’s something that I think a lot of MMOs have lost, in their desire for uniform spaces that maximize player engagement at all times. Wouldn’t want us going 15 seconds without killing something now, would you? We might get bored and log off!
Maybe those feelings will fade as I become more familiar with the game, but the game is still “wow”-ing me after 40 hours, and I still haven’t made it to the aforementioned Mercury, or even the Moon, or started up on the other two campaigns. Even after hitting the soft Power cap of 900 (I’m around 910 right now), I’m still feeling at least a slow sense of progression and don’t feel any rush to ready myself for raids or whatever else is offered at endgame.
For now, at least, it’s still fun, and I’m not only happy with my Season Pass purchase, but I’m considering whether I’m going to drop some cash on expansions. I’ve still got a long ways to go, I think, before I exhaust myself of content and feel like I need to get an expansion because the free-to-play version of Destiny 2 has a serious lot of stuff to do. I’ll get to it all … eventually.