The curtain needs to come down.
Destiny 2 launched to general praise from both critics and fans, but since the honeymoon period ended and the dust from clearing the raid a few times had settled, the criticism has started to trickle in. The warts that typically appear after heavy play time have been exposed, and are starting to fester.
Fans looking to Curse of Osiris to solve all their problems have instead been greeted with disappointing news like the lack of a new Curse of Osiris themed raid, strikes recycled from story missions, and “the most rewarding Public Event” granting a measly two tokens for an end game reward system that has not even lasted three months before decaying. Destiny 2 sold very well, so the game probably isn’t “in trouble” at least in comparison to most other games. But certainly, the franchise has hit some bumps in their “10-year life cycle” plans in this most recent phase.
Bungie has tried to keep calm, not stray from their plan for promoting Destiny 2’s first expansion, Curse of Osiris, and not have to do anything they are uncomfortable doing. The company has a long history of secrecy, and controlling the flow of new information to fans.
That had to change this past week after fans discovered how Destiny 2 scales experience points for certain events, which is at best confusing and broken, and at worst, misleading and rigged. This is on top of all the other frustrations that have bubbled up to the surface since the game’s release, such as the slow pace of PvP balance updates and underwhelming rewards for content like strikes and prestige events. The pitchforks were coming out in places where Destiny fans congregate like Reddit and Facebook, and if Bungie decided to host just another tone-deaf stream that trickled out insignificant information about Curse of Osiris while all of this was going on it would have been a dumpster fire.
Bungie, for lack of a better way of putting it, needed to cut the crap, and show that they were hearing the complaints by actually showing something, and not just saying that they were. The act of “everything is fine” just wasn’t flying anymore. They finally did that yesterday, openly sharing their timeline for content for the rest of the year and early next year.
The Bungie Blog update from the Destiny dev team yesterday doesn’t address all of the common complaints Destiny 2 has received since launch, but it does at least finally give players some tangible proof that work is being done.
Starting from the top, there’s the new Masterworks weapons, which tackles the problem that repeat loots quickly become stale without some variation. There’s an acknowledgement that strikes, adventures, and lost sectors don’t reward enough, but more importantly a time frame for when players can expect tweaks to those features to arrive. Special events like Iron Banner and Faction Rallies, which some have felt is underwhelming, is going to be spruced up to offer more unique rewards. Lame exotics are going to get tweaked some time near New Year’s.
Destiny 2 fans aren’t unreasonable, nor are they impatient. Your average gamer understands that there’s going to be a bit of trial and error with a game as dynamic as Destiny 2. Most people just want to hear that their problems acknowledged as problems by the people responsible for working on the game, and get a sense for what the plan is for correcting it. They can then either bide their time playing the current version with the understanding that change is coming, or take a break until the updates roll out.
Yesterday’s update isn’t perfect, but it’s a long overdue, tremendous step in the right direction. This needs to be the standard going forward. Bungie’s secrecy was charming when it was Halo, but Destiny is a much more complicated franchise that requires more transparency with fans. Everyone on the Bungie team is capable of delivering. The sense I have gotten in my time meeting them, and observing them as a fan of both games, is that they do care, do listen, and are working behind the scenes to fix things. They just need to pull the curtain down like they did yesterday and let fans watch them work.