Destiny has been a problematic and confusing game since its launch. Fans have criticized the size of the game, the amount of DLC, and recently the pricing structure of The Taken King expansion. Bungie even went so far as to sell the digital pieces of the Collector’s Edition after the outcry from fans because of an interview with Eurogamer. In the midst of this controversy Bungie has assured the fan base that more details about The Taken King are coming that will excite the community. Prior to this the consistent language from Bungie has been that The Taken King will be the most substantial injection of content to date. However, I think something is worrying when we examine the recent update with details about the content.
The first bullet point about the content says there will be new story missions and side quests that will tell the story of defending the Solar System against Oryx and his Taken army. It’s good to hear language about the story, but future updates will have to outline exactly how much story and campaign content we are actually getting. Then the very next bullet point is about the new narrative and how it will be driven by cinematic cutscenes starring an engaging cast of characters. Now I know there has been a lot of criticism about the lack of story, but it just seems strange to make this the second point in your rundown of the new content. In light of all the questions about value and the price point it doesn’t build much confidence to put cutscenes on the top of your list describing the pricey expansion. Maybe I’m off the mark on this, but a bullet point further down the list adds to my concern.
Weapons & Gear
The seventh point down on the list uses a phrase that Bungie has been throwing around about The Taken King since the beginning of their reveals about it. I happen to think it was carefully and intentionally used in this list. This was no accident. The oft-repeated “most substantial” description is used in a way that I think is concerning. They attach it to, “weapons, armor, and talents”. At first I was excited to see that a lot of guns, gear, and skills are being added, but then I remembered the type of game that Destiny is. The long engagement is not in the campaign, story, or missions, it is rooted in grinding for loot and leveling up skill trees within the sub-classes, guns, and armor. My worry is that these details are already a glimpse into the disproportionate nature of the game that many of us are all too familiar with. Why aren’t they saying it’s the most substantial amount of campaign missions, bounties, and other playable content? How hard is it to outdo the previous DLC’s with respect to mission quantity and length? When you promote a $40 expansion you should, in my opinion, establish the size and scope of the playable content. Having a ton of new guns, gear, skill trees, and perks won’t matter very much if the playable content can be run through too quickly. Now, admittedly we don’t know how much playable content there will be, but what we do know is that they aren’t attaching the “most substantial injection” descriptor to the playable content but rather they are attaching it to the gear.
The primary concern of fans is the size and scope of the expansion in light of the criticism of the past DLC pieces, The Dark Below and The House of Wolves. Both of the previous DLC’s added a lot of stuff, and especially the House of Wolves with all the new faction guns and armor. But the actual playable content, especially the campaign missions, is pretty short. So when the first official outline about The Taken King has what feels like another lopsided delivery of content, I have concerns.
No More Straws
For many there are no more straws left to break the camels back. The repetition woven into the game has spread the content too thin for many gamers. And just recently they announced a host of easily predicted weapon balances that will cause more frustration to those who have enjoyed their dominance or finally managed to get one. The incoming weapon tweaks may also cause many to question whether investing in any gun is worthwhile if a potential nerf seems to be inevitable if a gun is coveted and powerful enough. And with limited vault space we are told that hard decisions have to be made about gear, but those decisions can be invalidated with nerfs/buffs. The Taken King is supposed to be a capstone for year 1 players of Destiny, and I hope they are able to pull it off. Hopefully they start revealing a clearer picture into the scope of the expansion instead of just mechanical facts like how the new bounty system works. Many of us want Destiny to succeed which is why we are so hard on it. So come on, Bungie, step up to the plate!
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