I have always loved Destiny, from the very first moment I saw it announced I knew I was going to be playing it constantly and I did. From the first day of release, I had entered into the Last City and was battling against the forces of the Darkness with my trusty Warlock, Anubis. Even though vanilla Destiny 1 was very bare of content, I played for a few hours each and every day, and that time spent traversing Mars, Venus, the Reef, Earth and the Moon only grew higher with each passing expansion.
I explored every nook and cranny there was to explore, I collected every material and did every daily quest, Nightfall, and Raid. Destiny had captivated me and even with the lack of explicit lore, I dug through everything I could to just piece a little bit more of the story together. Destiny was a safe haven for me to go to when I just wanted to explore among the stars while Nova Bombing everything in sight. It only got better after the release of the Taken King, which took Destiny to new heights. More cinematics began to pop up, the weapons got cooler, new enemies entered the fight, and of course, we had all the lovely events that added a bit more life to the world – Iron Banner, Prison of Elders, The Dawning, Crimson Days, Festival of the Lost and SRL. All was good in the world of Destiny, but I fear that the magic has faded from the world of Destiny with its descendant, Destiny 2.
Much like the Light fading from the Traveler, the magic has almost seemed to fade from Destiny 2, with really no incentive or draw for me and many others to once again join the fight. The sequel did a lot of things right, with more badass cinematics, awesome new Exotic weapons and a rather enjoyable and at some points emotional story…but that is kind of where it stops.
Fast forward to Destiny 2 and the magic has faded, the fun factor has gone. A big part of it is in the casualisation of the sequel, to make it more appealing to casual gamers forgetting that it is the hardcore fans that keep it aloft. Set weapon rolls have ruined the excitement and anticipation when hunting for a new gun leaving everything one-toned and dull, weapon designs are recycled from the same silhouette which even makes getting the specific rolls even duller. I could deal with the set weapon rolls, and casual-style gameplay if the world itself had more substance because that is what I, and many others truly lament.
Destiny 1 had something truly special, a particular brand of space magic infused into everything we did or could do but now the franchise feels hollow, beautiful and breathtaking but empty. For the worlds and environments that Bungie has crafted for Destiny 2 are gorgeous, there is no faulting that, but it only lies skin deep. Where is the wonder? Where are the questions being asked leading us to seek the answers? Where is the imagination? When the first DLC Curse of Osiris was announced, I got giddy because of all the Grimoire that vaguely spoke of the legendary Warlock, Osiris as well as the PVP competition, Trials of Osiris. I mean, you do not get a cult following without being something special. Then the DLC rolled around and it fell flatter than a crepe. The story was lacklustre, presenting, what constitutes a paragraph of dialogue from the mythical Guardian who then ups and leaves once it is over. This walking, talking legend was boring, there was no imagination to his character, just a mouthpiece to set up a reasonably planar storyline.
Destiny 1 had characters you rallied around and wanted to learn more about, and that is what the Grimoire cards, for all their faults (Not being in the game for one), did. They generated buzz, asked questions that led you on sleuthing missions to find the answers to. Learning about the disaster of the Reef War against the House of Wolves, the internal musings of Dredgen Yor and about the different races that we fight against added much-needed depth and the game thrived for it. One of my favourite all-time characters within Destiny 1 was Queen Mara Sov, partially because she was Awoken like my Warlock and partly because of the mystique cultivated through the lore and through the storylines and NPCs.
Briefly going back to the Curse of Osiris DLC, two new primary explorable areas were hyped up like no tomorrow: Mercury and the Infinite Forest. The Infinite Forest was said to be an infinitely changing simulation wherein the Vex would scan and play out every possible outcome to find the most advantageous. Every time you enter the forest the layout would change, presenting different obstacles with different types of enemies…the problem was, they were the same enemies we fought for three years in Destiny 1, only this time, they aren’t as new, as fascinating or as interesting. You simply ran through the Infinite Forest after one or two fully-fledged fights, it was just another changing walkway. The same could be said for Mercury, whose biggest selling point was the fact that there was a bespoke Public Event that became vanilla once you figured out how it worked, which did not take very long. Plus the Lighthouse as a new social space, which, while cool in a way, seemed like it was a play to the nostalgia of the first game.
I cannot complain entirely about that, however, as it is a sequels job to answer the questions that the predecessor asks and to provide continuity. It is just that, with Destiny 2, the worlds seem empty of excitement and intrigue, the enemies are just there for something to shoot and the characters seem hollow, just objective mouthpieces or a vendor for Tokens. Even with the upcoming DLC Gods of Mars, which focuses on Rasputin and Ana Bray, two characters of great interest and mystery from Destiny 1, I remain hesitant simply because of the feel of faded magic. We left Destiny 1 with an apparently ambitious Russian-speaking Warmind who had begun to spread from planet to planet and who you helped against the invasion of Omnigul and her Hive. Rasputin is a character we want to know more about, it is a character I desperately want to know more about and I hope that Bungie can do him, and the world they have created, justice.
My excitement has faded, I miss the mystery of Destiny 1, I miss wanting to come back. Hopefully, Bungie can find that spark once again and breathe life and depth into this amazing world we all want to rejoin.