Like many others, I was fortunate enough to get into the Destiny beta test last week. I have been hyped on Destiny for a very long time and have followed all of the development but after the public beta however, I was extremely disappointed. Destiny was not the “game of the future” like the hype would have suggested. In this case, hype got players hopes way too high. There are a few fundamental issues with Destiny that are too big to fix this late in the development process. Issues so big, they could definitely be a turn off. Here’s why I didn’t enjoy Destiny.
First things first, we need to declare that Destiny is, and forever will be, an MMO. Although Bungie wants to avoid that term when it comes to Destiny due to the seemingly negative connotation for the casual gamer, the game had every characteristic of an MMO. I mean come on – it was Massive, Multiplayer and Online. It’s important to make this distinction so that we know exactly what to compare it to. Wildstar, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 all did “MMO” better than Destiny. An MMO needs to be fundamentally spectacular to succeed for the masses and Destiny failed to do that.
My first and probably my largest complaint with Destiny was the boss fight mechanics. I was so excited to engage the giant spider for the first time, but quickly learned there was absolutely nothing to it. It was essentially a bunch of people sitting around for 30 minutes shooting at a giant metal spider, occasionally dodging attacks. Even worse, the next boss (a giant floating orb) was exactly the same mechanic – aim, shoot, dodge, repeat. So many things could make these fights more exciting. Utilizing the environment more, having the boss change as the fight goes on, doing something to stop the repetitive action of shooting for 30 minutes straight. Boss fights are essential in MMOs, they’re what keep people playing the game.
Aside from the boss fights, there are a few other mechanics that were poorly utilized. The classes played almost exactly the same way, except for their special abilities (and the hunter flaming gun ability was lame). There was absolutely no incentive to play another class when I felt I had already played it. To be clear, the beta was only the first 8 levels and I can see the classes changing as you progress further in the game, but the beginning of the game needs some serious work. As a final note, the story was hectic and nowhere near compelling and the PvP felt exactly like Halo, which is a 10 year old game.
So was Destiny “good?” Sure, but it definitely wasn’t and won’t be a game changer. Take a trip down memory lane with me – in elementary school, when teachers would assign a project there would be a certain amount of points allowed for something called a “wow factor”. Destiny would get absolutely nothing as it’s “wow factor”. Borderlands 2 did looting and story better, World of Warcraft and Wildstar have much better boss fights and so many games have more interesting PvP. Anyone who has played an MMO know that the first levels are never all that fun, but Destiny was far behind some of the worst. I’d rather play through the first 10 levels of Aion. Bungie needs to sell almost 8.5 million copies of Destiny just to break even on the $500 million budget and I just don’t think that’s feasable with such a mediocre game. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely hyped for Destiny but chances are I won’t be buying it in September.