Destiny 2 – Should You Give Bungie Another Chance.

I do not believe there is any debate about whether or not Destiny 2 is a better game right now after the launch of its new Forsaken DLC than it was at launch one year ago. I think the debate that most people who have not already taken the plunge and picked it up is whether or not to give Bungie another chance. Do they deserve more of your money?

I’m going to give my thoughts on the situation. I think both sides of the argument are quite valid. How you view Destiny and if it is a game you have enjoyed despite its ups and downs is really going to affect how you think of the Bungie and their latest offering.

So let’s start with the positives.

Destiny 2 has never been in a better place than it is right now. Vanilla Destiny 2 launched with many of the same problems that plagued the launch of the original Destiny.

Many people were unimpressed with the campaign. I thought it was a huge improvement over the campaign we had in the first game at launch, but admittedly that was a low bar to get over. It was too short, but they did a much better job telling a coherent story from beginning to end.

It had some great moments, but many of them were at the very beginning. The demo had many of us excited after seeing The Tower under siege and getting to fight alongside Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde for the first time. At that time, we didn’t know that would be the last time we would be fighting alongside the Guardian Vanguard.

Despite all the hype and Bungie promising us that they had given us an enemy which we would truly hate in Ghaul, his story fell flat. The most disappointing part about him was the final boss fight. It lacked any kind of imagination or real challenge.

Just as disappointing was the fact that the story climax was the last time we saw Ghaul. All this build up for this powerful enemy unlike any we had faced before… and 8 hours later he is dead and gone. Great.

Then there were the issues with the weapon loadouts. I don’t give Bungie too much grief for trying something new. As gamers, one of our biggest complaints about sequels is that they do not do anything different. They are often the same game with a new coat of paint.

The problem was that when it was painfully obvious that this idea was an utter failure, it took them an entire year to fix it. And it is fixed in Forsaken. We still have kinetic, energy, and power weapon slots, but they feel much more like the weapon slots in the original game. You want a sniper rifle and a rocket launcher? You can do that. There is a lot more freedom in the loadouts, which is great. It just should not have taken this long to get here.

I don’t know all of the behind the scenes workings of a game developer like Bungie, but other game developers with much, much less (wo)manpower seem to be a lot more nimble and able to make changes, even fairly massive and sweeping ones, in a lot less time.

Bounties are back. Another item mysteriously taken out from Destiny 1 days that were sorely missed.

The Crucible is a fun place to be again. They have reduced the time-to-kill. It doesn’t take two-on-ones 90% of the time to get a kill. Grenades are more deadly. Melee. Melee feels viable again. And the Titan shoulder charge as a one-hit kill is back.

If you have been away from the game for awhile, you also might be unaware that 6v6 is back was brought back to the game a few months ago, thankfully. There is still 4v4 in competitive playlists, but you have the option in Quick Play for 6v6 again. It’s removal never made any sense to me.

Perhaps the most exciting offering in Forsaken is the new PvE-PvP hybrid mode, Gambit. In Gambit, two teams of 4 Guardians each face off against one another, however they are on separate maps.

You fight against PvE enemies who drop motes upon being killed. There is a “bank” device where you can deposit your motes. Dying while carrying motes means they are gone forever.

A deposit of at least 5 motes sends a light “blocker” to the other team’s map. Their bank area is locked down and an enemy appears that must be dealt with before any more motes can be deposited. A deposit of 10 motes sends a more difficult enemy to the other side, and so on.

Once your team deposits 75 motes, you summon a Primeval. This is a big boss that must be killed. The first team to kill their Primeval wins.

Gambit has one little twist that separates it from other PvE experiences. Mote deposits can also be used to open a portal to invade the other team’s map. One team member can enter the portal and attack the other team. They have an advantage in that they don’t appear on the other team’s map, which somewhat nullifies the 4-1 disadvantage they are fighting with.

Guardian kills by an invader during the Primeval phase can be “swallowed” by the Primeval giving them a pretty strong heal.

The setup just adds an additional layer to a traditional PvE or PvP encounter and has proven to be a huge hit for the Destiny community.

With The Taken King expansion, Bungie gave each class a new subclass. There are no new subclasses in Forsaken, but each subclass has a new super and a new skill tree to unlock. That is 9 new supers for the mathematically challenged.

Without going through everything that is available to players, there is far more to do in Destiny 2 right now than there has ever been before and more to do than what we had at this point in Destiny 1 and maybe ever in Destiny 1.

Now on the negatives.

I’m going to repeat what I first said above as a positive:

Destiny 2 has never been in a better place than it is right now. Vanilla Destiny 2 launched with many of the same problems that plagued the launch of the original Destiny.

This is where many people find their frustration. Why was Destiny 2 launched in a state that stripped out so many of the great things in the first game that made it feel like a fairly robust game with lots to do?

It launched with barely any strikes (we had about 16 available at the end of Destiny 1’s life). Bounties were removed. Collections were taken out. Triumphs were gone.

Crucible lost 6v6, free-for-all, private matches, and Trials were reworked into something that just never felt the same.

We were left with far fewer places to visit. Patrols were gone.

No Prison of Elders or Archon’s Forge arenas, nor anything similar to replace them.

They completely reworked the character skill trees into something very generic with limited choices (basically just 2 choices) taking away a lot of the player choice we had in the previous game to make our characters feel a little bit more like our own.

The campaign was way too short. After a great opening, it turned into something very mundane. The following acts failed to capture the same feeling of desperation that players felt to start the game.

All of those are fair and legitimate arguments. If you are on the fence about buying Forsaken, it is likely because of all those mistakes that Bungie made, and now it very much feels like they are charging you for the fix.

I’m am surprised that more gaming journalists are not talking about this. The number one complaint from the Destiny community (and outsiders) about Forsaken, both before and after its launch, is the cost.

If you bought Destiny 2 last year and were among the few who also purchased the Curse of Osiris and Warmind DLC’s (or got them from the season pass), the Forsaken DLC is $34.99, which is a fairly reasonable price for an expansion of this size.

I know some people are going to blurt out that it should be $15 or $20. I’m not going to try to justify the cost. I’m just looking at it compared to similar games that put out very large expansions on an annual basis.

The two that I am most familiar with right now are World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online. Both of these games will release a couple of smaller DLC’s throughout the year and then have one big expansion every year or so. Wow’s latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth is selling for $40. In the case of Elder Scrolls, the last two were Morrowind and Summerset, which both retailed at $59.99 at launch.

In comparison, the pricing is pretty in line with the rest of the market.

Here is where it sucks for some people. If you were turned off by Destiny 2 at launch and said there was no way in hell you were giving Bungie any more money for CoO and Warmind until they fixed the game, you need both of these expansions in order to play Forsaken. The least expensive option you have is to buy their Forsaken pack that comes with the previous two DLC’s, and that will run you $59.99.

You can see the frustration for those people who feel like they are stuck paying for Destiny 2 twice to actually finally enjoy the game.

And here is a bit of a rub too for many gamers. That same Forsaken pack also comes with Destiny 2.

What that means is that somebody brand new to the game who wants to dive in now, is able to do so at the same $59.99 price.

I do not know what the best solution would have been. Some people have suggested that Bungie should have thrown in the CoO and Warmind DLC’s for free with Forsaken, but then you would have still had people who invested in them or the season pass feeling a bit slighted.

Others have said that Forsaken should have been free. Sure, that would have been great for gamers, but realistically, Bungie is not a non-profit.

What’s the lesson?

When Destiny 3 is released in another 2 years, wait until the year 2 Taken King-Forsaken style expansion and buy the whole thing for the price you would have spent on buying just the base game with all its inevitable faults.

For the TL;DR folks, if you love Destiny, you will love the state of Destiny 2 right now and the purchase will be worth every penny. If you were not a big fan of Destiny and just played it now and then or first got into it with the Destiny 2 launch and quickly dropped out, the purchase of Forsaken will likely feel like throwing good money after bad. That being said, the sandbox is much different and has gone through a lot of changes, even if you do not purchase the DLC. I would log in and give it a go. See what you think. Then make a decision.

Or as my kids are so fond of saying lately, it’s no longer Destiny Poo.