Destiny: The Taken King

the_taken_king

When I first mentioned Destiny a little more than a year ago, I mentioned having played it for longer than any other game I could remember – there have been periods where I played less since then, to be sure, but I never really stopped. My original raid team disbanded and I finished all the challenges the game laid out before me, then I found a new friends through the game and made my own goals within the game world. Never having been this into an MMO (or any other game, really), it has given me some insight into the allure of a solid game combined with a persistent but grindy reward system and the social contracts involved in high-level multiplayer games. I also think I am playing a bit too much since there are other games I’m missing out on. But anyway, the expansion.

The Taken King has greatly improved the storytelling – there are whispers about how vanilla Destiny was ripped apart and patched back together less than a year before release, which could explain the bare-bones approach it took. As someone who appreciated the underlying narrative of the original, it is a welcome change but hardly a game-changer – the new approaches to quests and the variety of tasks to accomplish certainly is though. There is no end of things to do in the Taken King, and there is a lot less incentive to do any specific one – Bounties are easier and give smaller rewards, Nightfalls no longer give you a weeklong buff, PvP events no longer guarantee exclusive gear. Even the raid rarely gives you true top-level gear. In some sense this is good since it makes completing everything a fool’s errand, in another it makes the grind to true max level so long that it if you let variety take a backseat to optimization you are not going to have a lot of choice for a long time.

It is a different kind of grind – having invested so much time in the old game I’m inclined to dislike change of that magnitude, but a lot of small changes have streamlined the experience. The economy still never seems to settle in a good place, but that is one of the tougher challenges of a persistent world.

Another thing that is a more obvious improvement is the variety in gameplay itself – strikes and story missions used to be a sequence of corridor fighting and holdout areas with the occasional miniboss – still fun due to the exceptional shooter experience and weapon variety, but not particularly varied in a minute-to-minute perspective. The Taken King includes light raid mechanics more or less everywhere and makes bosses more interesting than bullet sponges – after you have done them a few times the puzzles are no cerebral challenge anymore but it’s still a nice change of pace.

Talking about Destiny as I would another game is difficult, because so much of my experience is tied to the community at large, the people I play with regularly and the massive amounts of time I have invested in my characters and how the game has evolved during that time. The core shooter is still very solid and everything immediately surrounding that has improved though, anything beyond that is probably too personal to be relevant to anyone else.

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Posted on Nov 02/15 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »