It’s My Year 2 Destiny Review

I’m without a doubt in the camp of users who left the cosmos to die in late 2014, after realizing Destiny was a day-to-day job lacking monetary compensation. Had Nerdopotamus been up and running last year, I would have given Bungie’s first year attempt a grade that many would deem “click bait.”

Remember when you realized leveling after 20 was harder than waiting 21 years for your first drink? With that of course came running in circles (literally) acquiring materials in order to successfully level. No matter what, the game was a mess and it was a mess that I endured. I couldn’t hate the game though.

The overall well-being of humanity aside, Destiny wasn’t deserving of re-gearing circadian rhythms. There just wasn’t anything to do. That was the problem.

Players were often broken after a strike or raid, receiving gear they couldn’t equip. Destiny’s PvP was unbalanced. Players were guaranteed being inserted onto lousy teams should communications be turned off. After some time, players wheeled maps dizzily unaware what to do next, because content was restrictive, and in some cases, non-existent. That’s an insult of time.

titan

I had the limited edition, meaning I had immediate access to the first two layers of DLC. I didn’t redeem them. I waited for what remained of the player base to report on them. In short, they were described as “abysmally short.” Considering the costs of the DLC, I found the actions of Bungie and Activision deplorable. To rub salt in wounds, rumors circulated of a “year one” edition by the end of 2015, or now. I took my physical disc, DLC codes, and sold them to someone who wanted the abusive experience.

Bungie understands first-person mechanics like most others do not. I chalked up their shoddy first-year attempt as early error in the MMO genre territory they weren’t familiar with. Being a long time fan, they had me locked in, and knew people like myself would purchase a “year-one” edition, recently dubbed, “Legendary Edition.”

If arbitrary numbers excite you, without a more in depth look into the previous designs of the game, I would, without hesitancy, score vanilla Destiny a respectable 6/10 for lack of content, dry atmosphere, pathetic dialogue and voice acting, and out-and-out disregard for clocks.

Cool down. Things can change!

Things have changed.

Bungie probably still doesn’t like the massive interpretation of their Destiny tagged as another “MMO,” but as I wrote in another article, it is. No matter how you slice it, Destiny is an MMO. By adopting traditional RPG elements, it now excels at being one.

Destiny: Legendary Edition is the year one edition of the game, including the first two expansion packs and the new Taken King. We’re only focusing on the year one DLC titled Dark Below and House of WolvesIf you’re waiting for a review on Taken King, know that’s currently in progress.

sparkoflight

The first obvious thing that returning players will find is an item called Spark of Light, which will boost players instantly to level 25, much like how returning World of Warcraft players may find they can instantly boost to level 90. If you want to “re-roll” or start an “alt” then it’s worth using on day one. Consider using it on a class you haven’t started. If this is a first time experience, definitely level one character to 25 normally, then use a Spark of Light for a different toon.

Legacy DLC is short, decent, but fun if you have a solid team working with you. All-in-all, the stories can be completed in roughly five hours, if those assembled know tricks to avoid enemies and decimate bosses in a few swings.

Dark Below sends guardians chasing villains like Omnigul and Soul of Crota. After their defeat, guardians find themselves in the House of Wolves, which opens up a new social space in The Reef, a beautifully barely lit area of the cosmos inhabited by the Awoken and their Queen. At Reef, Players can find quests accompanied by rich backstory explaining how Skolas, The Fallen Captain, is regrouping fallen houses to lead them into battle against the rest of galaxy! That includes every single guardian. The boss battles are loud, zany, fun, but a tad anti-climactic. I think it’s okay though, considering how much the DLC expands the universe.

reef

There are more multiplayer maps and public events to bask in too. Those are all similar rinse-repeat experiences. That being said, it’s nice to see such content occur in newer areas, even if resembling areas already journeyed over.

Each quest is lightly detailed with traditional quest boxes accompanied by even lighter voice acting which Destiny and its users were once deprived of. On the topic of voice acting, actor Nolan North has replaced Peter Dinklage as Ghost. Every line has been re-recorded for posterity and quality. Nolan North makes himself sound like how Ghosts used to sound, but with less robotic tonalities and a massive increase in enthusiasm resulting in a wider range of audible emotions. Even when playing alone, the depressing notion of existing alone in the digital universe is lessened by the fact that the artificial intelligence hovering overhead supplies genuine sounding conversation.

NPCS have levels of interaction that were once mute. Each character divulges ripe information both in text and audio form. The story itself isn’t impacted much by these altogether welcome enhancements, but improves the entire experience tremendously.

reward

Other changes can be seen in the leveling system. It was once demanded of players to reach level 20, then collect gear with “light levels,” which would boost their regular levels.  Players now level in traditional RPG ways, by completing quests, participating in PvP, and combating enemies. The max level is 40, but that doesn’t include light levels. Light levels still exist, but do not impact a guardian’s static level. Instead, a higher light level increases the overall effectiveness of loot. The higher the number, the stronger the guardian.

Forget about driving around in circles collecting materials, crying on the inside and out. Materials are much easier to discover. They’re everywhere, and rarely required. Certain shells attached to a Ghost will even enable guardians to find materials even quicker. The fact is, bartering for materials and other items needed for your character can be done in the Tower. Time is once again respected.

Year-one players have reason to be envious of new year-two gamers. Destiny is the game it should have been, with a leveling system that works, a light system that rewards players for gathering equipment, no grind, competitive PvP, and plenty of PvE content that wasn’t fully fleshed out until recently. It’s finally a game worth grinning over.

tower

WRAP UP

Destiny: Year 2 underwent major re-imaging, from understanding how to revere user time, to supplying prodigious content that keeps players returning for the content itself, and not the grind. Story is less jarring, as plot details have been fleshed out with extra context from the new, once non-existent, quest system. Leveling and tailoring equipment fit satisfactorily with ranges of play styles, presenting hours of expeditions while quest tracking, hunting bounties, and concluding missions. Destiny is the MMO it deserves to be.

8/10

Daniel Mihailescu
danjamllc@gmail.com