– by Campbell Clark

Static Subclass Trees

Fans feel that much of the customisation of their characters play styles were forced down pre-set paths compared to the original game, with many if the subclasses underperforming when compared to others. What’s the point in having three subclasses per class of character if only one or two of these subclasses are actually viable in most activities?

Modifiers That Make Strikes Fun and Make You Feel Powerful

Although they are bringing back Heroic Strikes, they make no mention of modifiers, which may then make them pointless especially when added to the point below.

Strike Specific Loot

In Destiny, there was loot you could only attain from certain strikes and it was interesting and desirable loot, there is no mention of this being looked at. And it was one of the primary reasons to keep running this content.

Raid Perks on Raid Gear

Raids are generally Destiny’s ultimate endgame activity for teams of six, but with Destiny 2, after you have beaten it 2-3 times, there doesn’t feel like any need to run it every week, because the gear you can earn is no better really than the gear found elsewhere in the game.

There is also a prestige/harder version of the Raid which even I haven’t run yet, because the gear you earn has no intrinsic differences to the gear you can get by running the easier version. Bungie has said they will make prestige modes more rewarding, but their vision of more rewarding seems to be giving the player more mediocre rewards instead of better, unique and more powerful rewards.

Again, this seems to line up with them not wanting more casual players to feel like they can’t compete. The problem with this as I’ve said before in the previous article is that these casual players either would never have run prestige versions of the Raid anyway, or they could see the magical gear others have and actually want to challenge themselves to get into this highest level of content for the loot.

Separate Balancing for PvP and PvE

I describe the differences between these modes in our previous article in more detail, but while some people loved Destiny for the Multiplayer PvP content against other players, I think there was a slight majority who focused on the PvE content i.e. Running activities against AI controlled enemies with friends.

Many games have both these modes but as yet, whilst many have tried, no game has ever managed to balance both these aspects without separating them eventually. Bungie seems to always believe they will be the first company to successfully balance both parts of their game together, but Blizzard couldn’t manage it and they are a far more experienced development team than Bungie.

Bungie seems to have reduced the power levels in PvE content in order to make PvP more balanced. What they have been left with is a multiplayer game that isn’t being watched on twitch or actively engaging players because it’s too boring and a PvE that feels completely neutered to fit this vision. No game will ever be completely balanced, not Overwatch, not World of Warcraft, Not PUBG and certainly not Destiny. In fact, by stressing too much about balance what you lose is simple and pure fun, an aspect of Destiny 2 which is badly missed and this is a feeling echoed by most PvP and PvE fans.

One day, Bungie is going to realize it cannot be done, and start balancing the two modes separately. But how long is it going to take them to realize that the biggest win they could have is release weapons or modifications that can only be used in PvE because they’d be too strong against other players. One of my friends has always said that Destiny will never be the game we all want it to be until Bungie come to this realisation. Let’s be clear. What most people seem to want is some sort of first person shooter hybrid of World of Warcraft and Diablo, with Halo shooting mechanics.

Most of the above points can be summed up by how many RPG elements the game has and hasn’t. I am not an RPG player — mega detailed and diverse options would probably turn me off a game — but there is a fine balance somewhere in between a standard shooting game and a deep RPG where the perfect balance lies that can appeal to fans of both types of games.

Destiny had probably just enough RPG elements to give it the depth it required, if anything what they needed to do in Destiny 2 was go a little deeper into RPG territory. Instead what they did do was scale back on the RPG elements, which many games have done before to their failing. For Destiny to succeed, Bungie really needs to address some of these very basic design philosophies, which were certainly not addressed in this latest update.

We are not expecting miracles in such a short space of time but acknowledgement of the deficiencies and a willingness to explore new paths in the future would have gone an even longer way to restoring faith than this massive list of currently planned changes. It’s okay to tell us you don’t know what the answer is Bungie, just tell the fans that you hear them and you are working for the same goals.

Ultimately, it may be that many of these changes will just not be possible until the inevitable Destiny 3. The problem for Bungie might be that with a decimated fan base, no one will be picking that future game up. In my own clan, the only players coming back for the latest DLC are those that on good faith bought the season pass and have already paid for it anyway. Those that held back, all seem to be willing to wait till much further down the line when the content is cheaper, or Bungie finally changes some of its design choices.

Bungie did also release a podcast which you can listen to Here.

In this podcast, they do discuss how they never quite got the development right for the “hobbyists” that play this game and they concede that they don’t actually have the time to be able to put in the kinds of hours that the consumers can. That’s completely understandable, however, there is this thing called money and you can use it to hire people to do these things for you. Bungie could easily be hiring full time play test consultants, people not invested in doing anything but playing the game, and passing their thoughts back to Bungie at an earlier stage. I don’t think you’d have a shortage of applicants for the posts, I’ll throw my hat into that ring readily enough.

Ultimately Bungie, this is a step in the right direction, it is. But it’s only a small step and there is a lot more work to be done if you want to retain your community. They say they are going to listen more and communicate more regularly, something we have been told before that never materialised. If Bungie can follow through on that promise then maybe, just maybe, Destiny 2 can become the game people expected it to be out of the box. Will they be able to save the game in time? Watch this space as this is a story I plan to follow through on as things progress, and as always feel free to chat about this news in the comments below.

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  • Victor Roa

    I don’t know if “making it easier for gamers” is a solution since children of the age of 7 play minecraft.