Where were you when the wall fell? Where were you when the six fronts stood? Where were you when Efrideet, Gheleon, Perun, Jolder, Radegast, Saladin, Silimar, Felwinter, Skorri, and Timur flew the Iron banner oh so long ago? That’s right: you were a worthless pile of human bone meal, soaked up into the long-decayed fibres of a Russian SUV during some kind of pile up on the Soviet equivalent of the M24. Not hard to become legend after an intro like that, is it?
But you don’t judge a man by where he is from, right? You judge a man by where he is going, and you’re certainly going places, aren’t you Guardian? You’ve witnessed the fall of Wolves’, the grace of Queens’, and the taking of Kings. You’ve bled the Black Heart dry. You’ve confronted Time’s Conflux, you’ve abused that Crota mechanic so many times the poor lad has Childline on speed dial! Basically, you’re one of Luke Smith’s useful idiots, and chances are you’ve bought Destiny’s latest expansion – “The Rise of Iron” – when it dropped like a diarrhoea poo from a prolapsed anus on September 20th. Now, you can spend your money on whatever you want, and in between starving Africans’ and the finest whores this side of Amsterdam, I really couldn’t care where you stick your money – or what your hooker does once your money is stuck in there – but I have to ask: why on earth do you want to spend your money on more lies?
Yes: Destiny lied to you. It made a fool out of you. Luke Smith did play with himself like a self-aware Bop-It after he called all Destiny players – including you, cupcake – idiots during that famous interview – an interview that Smith himself later stated he had been a “total asshat” in regarding his shameless defence of “The Taken King” – from price point to microtransactions. “The Taken King” represented great change. It represented the sum of hope – what little remained – that things could get better for Bungie’s ‘Halo killer’. A new story, new powers, new characters; the fulfilment of old promises made by everyone’s favourite developer seemed within reach, and the Destiny community stood upon the breach with baited breath.
The expectation was understandably high, especially after the offensive offerings that fans had to slug through before “The Taken King” launched. The two previous ‘expansions’ – “The House of Wolves” and “The Dark Below” – were terrible. Nothing qualitative was added to the Destiny experience: micro-economies came and went, meta-games and unbalanced, broken multiplayer killed the PvP experience, Etheric Light was a thing and then it became utterly worthless (yeah, thanks for that one Bungie) and most heinous of all, no element of the core story was expanded upon at all, leaving millions of players utterly confused and infuriated regarding Bungie’s shambolic, pseudo-prophetic storyline about a boiled egg that did things until it stopped, and lots of ‘darkness’ that is still doing things until you sort-kinda-maybe killed its heart?
The DLC completely ignored the crucial achievements of the player within the game – achievements that to this day have yet to be acknowledged. And what did the “The Taken King” do to fix any of this? Nothing. “The Taken King” side-stepped all but one of the successes of the player. It chose to focus on the worst raid in Destiny history thus far, the fall of Crota in “The Dark Below” DLC. This poor wee tyke had suffered more cheese-related abuse than a BDSM club that uses cheese strings in lieu of whips. The pretext of this raid was hilarious, too. Eris Morn got salty because she and her Bungieforums.net-recruited raid team got pwned by the taken prince, and instead of grinding for better gear, Eris decided to abandon her raid team – which somehow led to their deaths – and find some other gullible saps to take her place. Enter you, Guardian, and your equally as special friends, fresh from your spectacular and momentous (theoretically speaking) vanquishing of the heart of the Black Garden. Because I know Destiny fans love it so much, you are what Eris Morn would call absolutus idiota. I’ll leave you to decipher the Latinate phraseology.
Fast forward one painfully dull raid later and what did Bungie do to remedy the sheer amount of butt-hurt that was erupting from the community as a result of this luke-warm mess of a DLC package? “The House of Wolves”: as much of a tonic to cure disappointment as a Jaeger bomb is a treatment for chronic alcoholism. The aforementioned kennel of European fleabags didn’t actually include the titular dog at all. Nay, what Guardians’ got instead was some wazzock called Skolas, who took his friends on an interstellar treasure hunt, killing people for no morally acceptable reason other than seeking glory and riches. It’s up to your team of interstellar treasure hunters to kill Skolas and his mates in order to get better gear and level up for the sole purpose of killing him all over again.
What strikes me the most about this DLC is the meta-punishment it audaciously conducts, resulting in the continued humiliation of the Destiny player base. There is no raid in “The House of Wolves” expansion. Instead, players are given a prison, known as “The Prison of Elders”, in which they are confined to several rooms for the sole purpose of gunning down arbitrarily named enemies who are already in prison. The greatest challenge this mode has to offer is “Skolas’s Revenge”, in which the main villain of the DLC is imprisoned – with no hope of escape – and you and only two other Guardians are sent into the prison to kill him. The whole DLC is virtually a prison for the player: a prison that forces you to fight the same enemies over and over again, and even makes the very DLC you paid for worthless since the story mode has no significance on the game anyway. You, the consumer, are literally paying to be imprisoned. I can just imagine Luke Smith and his colleagues laughing their arses off at the Destiny community at this point. You got no raid, no story, no meaningful economic systems: the DLC is a prison, designed to keep you playing merely for the sake of it.
All of this disappointment, all of this misinformation and shattered expectation from Bungie, and what do they do to remedy the diabolical situation that was Destiny’s formative years? Nostalgia.
Nostalgia for this game? Seriously? Destiny’s dreadful release year was virtually unprecedented in gaming until No Man’s Sky. Activision and Bungie were mired in headlines citing the internal, Machiavellian infighting and mass firing of some of the most beloved members of the studio that brought us the Halo series. The exclusion of players from raids due to the Gjallahorn elitism that putrefied the Destiny social experience is another ugly facet of the game’s first two years. The broken and virtually unpoliced meta-dominated PvP modes were reviled by the community, and the single-player campaign will be remembered with the same sense of nostalgia that colours the nightmarish memories gamers have of Metal Gear Solid V.
We started Destiny with utter disappointment, untrustworthy devs, broken promises, that one rocket launcher that no one can correctly name and a Russian assault rifle that is still pretty good in regular PvP. What are we getting for year three? Well… that one rocket launcher that no one can correctly name is coming back and that Russian assault rifle is going to get a buff, meaning it will probably be pretty good in regular PvP. Let’s face it: in between the return of Sepiks and rumours of a plethora of year one weapons shamelessly being regurgitated and made to look like new weapons, we are being re-sold year one! When Bungie say nostalgia, what they really mean is re-packaged year one. You’re buying into a false sense of nostalgia. Everyone remembers year one Destiny for all the wrong reasons.
Despite the horror show that was Destiny in its first two years, year three seems hell-bent on peddling a totally false sense of nostalgia in order to deceive players into buying into the game for another year – and even then I’m being awfully generous in presuming the “Rise of Iron” DLC will keep anyone playing for a year. With content-rich, next-generation experiences like Gears of War 4 available, and multiplayer-focused titles like Battlefield 1 being released, what right does Destiny have to trot out a meagre raid and more microtransactions and then sit back and expect the army of useful idiots to stay plugged into Activision’s gambling simulator? Why should you keep playing? What is Destiny doing to earn your time or your money? Compared to the high-tech, high-spec titles released this year, it is clear – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that Destiny is simply a waste of money. It doesn’t have the pace of Doom, it doesn’t have the narrative depth of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it doesn’t even achieve the lovingly crafted, entirely earned sense of nostalgia that Bioshock: The Collection so effortlessly evokes within minutes of loading the title up.
Compared to the slew of brilliant games that are available right now, Destiny’s fourth slap in the face – “The Rise of Iron” – surely has to be one DLC too many? For DLC that hinges on nostalgia, allow me to reminisce on one of my favourite lies of the iron frauds that are Bungie: where is the statue of the first raid team to beat Atheon?
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