I’ve been guilty of many things in my life. I have lied, cheated, stole, all in the same day sometimes. One thing though, that I’ve always tried to keep my hands clean of was buying into hype. But as hard as I’ve tried, there have been a few occasions that I have fallen prey to that specific temptation.
The surest way to pull me into hype is bold promises of adventure. Vivid paintings of space epics and conflict of the grandest sort will hook me and pull me under. This is what Destiny did to me. It was impressive with how quickly they sold me on their 10 year vision. Especially when you consider the fact that I was actually pretty late to the party. The first I had heard of Destiny was in a recap video for the E3 prior to the game’s release. All it took was those few months to convince me to drop my money down day 1.
The marketing worked so well in fact, that I transformed from a simple consumer to a full blown advocate, having convinced two of my friends to join me and take our place in Bungie’s space opera. So when I peeled the plastic off my copy not only was my own enjoyment on the line, but my reputation with people I would have to look in the eye at some point, as well. To be fair, it started out alright. The sparse storytelling didn’t feel lacking, but as if it was sowing seeds for a payoff. The gameplay was tight and enjoyable as we felt out our characters like newborn animals excited to exist. We were simply ready to enjoy what this new universe could offer.
It did not last long though. Within days we had reached the end of the main campaign only because we had agreed to only play together and the payoff never came. The appeal of finding better loot had waned as the realization that there would be no use for it hit us. The crucible sustained us for a bit, but the inevitable would not be denied. Both of my friends traded in their copies and I was alone in a digital world that had lost it’s shine. I tried to stay the course, going so far as to completing Vault Of Glass a few times, but even that could not hold my attention and Destiny was shelved.
And there it sat. The release of The Dark Below and The House Of Wolves couldn’t even shake the dust off. The Taken King could reign as long as he wanted for all I cared. The Rise Of Iron came and went and I barely blinked. Even as everyone was screaming “Destiny got good.” “There’s so many changes.” I refused to even consider sliding that disc back in. It was stubbornness at its finest. Destiny had wronged me, how dare it not meet my expectations then go on and try and get better? I admit that I was bitter and probably a bit unfair. Thinking back I realize that Bungie never had a chance when it came to creating something that would be everything I hoped for. But they did get close, and thankfully events rolled together in such a way that I did get to see their efforts.
A couple of months ago a friend of mine who had never played Destiny began streaming his first time with the game. I tuned in for a few episodes here and there and it was immediately clear he was playing a game that I hadn’t/ Sure, the enemies looked the same, the guns still fired as they did before, but below that I could see the more satisfying loot system, the NPCs spoke of threats and events that suggested an actual scope to the conflict, the boss fights looked intense and challenging. For the first time since those months leading up to the initial release I was prepared to part with some money in order to gain admission to the great war between The Traveler’s children and The Darkness.
I won’t go into all the various ways I enjoyed my second go around over my first. All that needs to be said was unlike my initial run through, I was having legitimate fun and I didn’t find myself wanting more.
Now, is Destiny a perfect game? No, I still have my complaints and changes that I (a person who doesn’t know the first thing about making a game) would make. Yet, above all that there is a commitment from Bungie to create something that people will love. It would’ve been so easy for them to backtrack and abandon their property after the first barrage of negative opinions hit them, like so many other studios. They didn’t though, they kept working on it, making real concrete changes in response to the criticisms of their consumers. Which is admirable and for me at least, goes a long way.
I guess the best way I can express my turnaround from a wounded advocate to a real fan again is by a simple statement: I’ve already pre-ordered Destiny 2.