You gotta pay the cost to be the boss.
It would seem as if Destiny isn’t quite done yet. Although it was previously stated that Bungie would focus on free timed events rather than expansions, the developer has changed its tune. The studio has confirmed that it is working on a large expansion to be released later this year, as well as a full on sequel to be released some time in 2017.
The sequel, while exciting, was assumed to be in the works. It’s the expansion that is more curious. When asked about why Destiny was switching to free timed events and why there would be no new expansions anytime soon, Derrick Carrol, a designer who is part of the live team, stated “Rather than doing these giant, monolithic DLC packs, this way everybody who’s an owner of Taken King can enjoy these things.” It was as if the team realized that players had given enough to the first iteration of what will likely be a series that spans this entire console generation.
Paid DLC bars players who own the game from participating in new relevant activities, and the game had already received two mini-expansions and one full-sized one over the course of a year. One of them, The Taken King, was not part of the season pass which further segregated the community.
With the release of The Taken King, committed players that bought everything new as it came out, would have shelled out a cool $135 total for all of the content and even more if they bought any limited edition versions. By today’s standards, a game reaching beyond $100 isn’t unheard of, but they tend to do so over a longer period of time, and even then they rest around the $110-$120 range (not including microtransactions, of course).
But having a higher price doesn’t necessarily make something too expensive. Something being expensive is a matter of value. Looking at just the price isn’t doing the game any justice, because what matters most is what that price got players.
Bungie has charged those looking to get some more interstellar action quite a bit, but they’ve arguably provided a lot of content, at least within the expansions. The base game was admittedly a bit light in terms of things to do outside of the story. The game’s structure was very simple, story was hidden in an app, and the raid was troubled from both a technical standpoint, and the fact that its reward system was very broken. But the three add-ons that released afterwards helped to improve and expand the game in meaningful ways.
But even so, the question remains: is it becoming too much? While each of the expansions offered something new and fresh, none of them really lasted as long as many expected them to. This was largely due to the fact that you were still confined to the same worlds and locations, places players have spent billions of hours in. Adding more content to these areas isn’t likely to breathe any more life into the game than either of the first two expansions did. The Taken King took it a step further by including a new open area and some extra locations on the already existing planets. But even then, it still included a lot of the same scenery players already knew. Take for example Phobos, although technically a new location as far as the Solar System goes, is essentially just more of Mars in terms of visual style.
If Bungie is going to emulate The Taken King with its next large expansion, it could potentially cost a pretty penny. Although nothing is confirmed, it isn’t too far-fetched to expect it to be priced somewhere between House of Wolves ($20) and The Taken King ($40), depending on scale. Chances of it being free are very slim, mainly because of the language used. Events are always going to be free, they’ve stated that many times. But they made sure to call what’s coming later this year an expansion, the same name they have used for the other priced add-ons.
Bungie has done one thing in particular exceedingly well through Destiny’s life though: the studio has shown that it can learn from the past and listen to feedback. The progression of their DLCs and the transformation that came with year two is proof of that. Bungie has also shown that it really knows its game. Any worry we can think up, they’re most certainly aware of. There’s a reason the game has managed to maintain its place in the gaming landscape for so long.
The developers know that value is important to fans of Destiny. If anything is going to be added to the experience, be it another raid, strike, weapon, or class, you can be sure that the folks working on it have though long and hard about how to integrate it to best serve the players. That means any upcoming expansion has the chance of being great, as long as the team keeps to the solid pattern it has already established pattern of listening to player feedback.
Value is the thing that gamers care about most. If Bungie can do what its been doing, then Destiny will not have become too expensive at all. Good content will keep fans coming back as they await the next big leap for their guardians. After all, there’s not a price too large for a great experience.