The most sought after gun in Destiny was recently opened up to the masses by Bungie. Obviously this decision, like so many from Bungie, is being simultaneously celebrated and ridiculed with equal fervor on both sides. What surprised me are two things that continued to come out of those being negative about it. First, how many people are upset because so many players will be able to buy the weapon without “earning it”. Second, how many people have overstated the incoming nerf to the Gjallarhorn. I want to talk about both of these misconceptions because I think they are part of a larger problem in Destiny.
Random is random
I already addressed this misconception in my post about how farming needs put to pasture. Farming tends to hurt your experience because you end up interacting with the code of the game, stripping the game away, and literally doing what amounts to pulling a lever on a slot machine over and over again. This is at the core of why thinking you “earned” a Gjallarhorn is completely at odds with how you got it. And there are many people who just started playing the game that have gotten Gjallarhorns and those who have over 800 hours in the game without one. So who earned it in that scenario? The very act of playing many hours of Destiny and farming for coveted weapons is passive admittance that you haven’t earned your weapons, you’re just lucky. The reason for this is that by playing Destiny you’re embracing a system of blind chance that has no concept of “earning” any dropped loot. Yes, you can earn a higher Vanguard rank and buy better armor and guns, but the Gjallarhorn was obtained by pure chance. I hate to take away from the excitement or allure of a game that is so loot driven, but RNG systems are cold numbers and random chance, nothing more. Sure, increasing your chances of finding good gear by playing every day and every week takes a lot of time and patience, but it’s still, at the end of the day, completely random. Are the people who think they’ve “earned” their Gjallarhorn willing to concede that a brand new player with less than 50 hours “earned” their Gjallarhorn off a random Nightfall? And the person with over 800 hours just hasn’t quite done enough to “earn” it yet? Does Xur selling it make it a little less special? Sure. Did you do anything special or impressive to get your Gjallarhorn? No. So it’s actually not that different. You both played the game for a certain number of hours, and after a completely random number of hours you both have received a highly coveted weapon. And the reality is that most of people who are happily scooping up the weapon have probably put in a ton of hours in the game equal to those other lucky players who have had the weapon for quite some time. If you’ve had the Gjallarhorn for a while before Xur sold it then you should be pretty satisfied with how long you’ve had the best gun in Destiny while others have been left out in the cold.
The first problem with everyone decrying the Gjallarhorn as “worthless” in a month is that we haven’t used it, ascended it, or tried it against tough enemies in The Taken King yet. And beyond the fact that nobody has even played with a fully ascended Gjallarhorn after the nerf, the changes to the weapon don’t seem that severe. I made an important point in my video about the incoming weapon nerfs hurting loyal fans, and the community response to the nerf is proving my point. I never said the nerf was too severe or that it ruined the weapon, I made the point that it’s all about perception. The community is largely proving me right with how they are talking about how horrible the weapon is before even using it post-nerf. To a point, I’m glad they are selling the Gjallarhorn because of the point I made about it being more requested and required by LFG groups now. It will still very likely be one of the best rocket launchers in the game, so lowering its power even a little bit will make people think you need even more of them when running a raid or Skolas. I’m not saying the gun is necessary or validating how people turn it into an LFG hurtle, I’m just predicting it will be more required after the nerf. So ultimately the entire community having no excuse for not owning one is a good thing.
At this point nobody in the community has an excuse to be without a Gjallarhorn. Stack up your bounties, get it upgraded, and start getting past those pesky LFG hurtles. Hopefully Destiny learned their lesson with this weapon and don’t have any more weapons that just seem impossible to get, leaving more players placed in quarantine until they manage to get one. Apparently the new loot system is supposed to be better about giving you loot you don’t have yet, and that’s promising to hear. Should it take a while to get really good gear, yes, I completely agree. Should it feel impossible and then limit your ability to play with other people? Absolutely not. But what’s the bigger issue here?
The big problem
The real reason that I think so many people are up in arms about Xur selling the Gjallarhorn is that the veil of specialness is starting to fade even more on the first year of Destiny. Many have referred to first year as a beta, and I think that’s an overstatement, but it represents what the unhappy Gjallarhorn owners are probably feeling. Not only is the gun being made a little less special by the incoming nerf, it’s now strapped to the back of almost every Guardian in the universe of Destiny. Generally the way you level up and get gear in Destiny isn’t all that exciting, and the one gun that could light up the face of any Destiny player has now been turned into a simple transaction. So I get it, the veneer has worn off, and the game feels just a little more bland than before. But let’s keep an open mind. Bungie has a 10 year plan and I’ve already stated why The Taken King finally looks promising after the Game Informer article. When things have been so rocky and turbulent, I happen to believe they can only get better, and not worse. So everyone calm down and take a breath, we’ve got new content and gear on the horizon, and we can set our sights on that instead of one weapon that may not be so special anymore.
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