Fun from the start.
For all intents and purposes, I am a veteran Destiny player. No, this doesn’t mean that I’m some amazing pro who can 360 no-scope you in trials because of my mad skills. Nor does it mean that I can tell you exactly where every dead ghost is found. What it does mean is that I have poured a ridiculous number of hours into Destiny, much to the dismay of my significant other and often at the expense of my adult responsibilities. It also means that I sharply remember the launch of the game and how it was… well, a bit dull for the first few hours.
If you, like me, were a year one player, you may remember all of the articles and opinions stating Destiny finally gets good after you’ve invested at least 20 hours or so. The exact amount of time varied from person to person, but one constant was that it meant you essentially had to get to the end game before you can actually enjoy yourself. A large part of this opinion was the fact that not a lot of the general game felt rewarding to a lot of players. It was mostly a grind that you had to endure in order to finally face the game’s real challenges such as Nightfall, the raid, Trials of Osiris, or the Iron Banner. These weren’t activities that players just jumped into. They needed the proper Light Level, the right gear, an exotic or two. It was almost as if the story and early game content were there just as a hurdle, not as a part of the full experience.
I, like probably many others, reasonably expected the same for Destiny 2. It just felt like part of the experience that I had to deal with if I wanted to do the fun stuff with my friends later on. It appears that Bungie was aware of this not-so-fun hurdle, which becomes apparent when you first reach the EDZ, Destiny 2’s first open, explorable area. There is a lot to do – Adventures, Lost Sectors, public events, patrols, high-value targets, challenges. And none of it just feels like busy work.
Everything that is playable is legitimately enjoyable. Bungie upped the challenge for public space activities, so there is a stronger push to work with others, whether in a fireteam or with strangers who happen to be around. There’s also some lore to dive into through some of these activities. Adventures are scripted with plenty of dialogue as your ghost and various NPCs converse about your objectives or just make witty quips about what you see (a personal favorite of mine involves Fallen thieves on Titan).
And the best part is that, for the time being at least, it doesn’t just feel like busy work that’s needed to get to the “actual” game. There’s a steady stream of rewards for everything you do, which helps feed that “just one more” sensation us gamers tend to get when things are going in our favor. And the fact that their actual quests, and cave dives, and events that you can alter with hidden triggers (Heroic Public Events are now a thing and they change objectives as well as bring new bosses to contend with), means this is a real game before all of the end game stuff hits.
It honestly feels really good to see that Destiny 2 isn’t gating the fun. Yes, the end game content still requires a lot of leg work to prepare for. You’ll need to grind to boost your Power Level and obtain serviceable gear that will help you overcome the challenges that lie ahead. But it’s not boring anymore, it doesn’t feel like some chore that offers some reward at a later date. Maybe you won’t even enjoy the raid, who knows. But at least you’ll have some fun while making your way over there, and that’s definitely a step up for Destiny 2 over its predecessor.