The is the last weekend before Destiny 2: Forsaken arrives. By this time next week, we’ll have a clear picture on whether or not Destiny 2 has had its “Taken King” moment, or if we’re set up for another year of the same old, same old.
A while back, I wrote about how Destiny 2 was heading towards irrelevance. It’s unreasonable to think that the game will ever “die,” where literally people don’t play it anymore. It’s too massive for that to ever happen, of course. However, it is very possible that Destiny 2 permanently takes a back seat to other games until its sequel restarts the process. The haters won’t even bother hating anymore, people just won’t care. This outlook is still just as likely as the other, brighter possibility where Forsaken turns everything around and Destiny is back (baby).
The climate leading up to Forsaken, though, isn’t exactly like The Taken King’s. The situation is far more dire. While Destiny 1 was suffering from a content drought, it still at least was, at its core, a fun game that lots and lots of people enjoyed in spite of some issues. Destiny 2 has that same problem where both hardcore and more fleeting players are tired of the current content, but also, there are gameplay design choices that have held the game back since launch that need addressing.
The choices to restrict popular weapons such as snipers and shotguns to the power ammo slot, change PvP to a 4v4 standard, and to do away with random rolls are all being completely retconned to a state similar to what fans would remember from Destiny 1. This is good. Having played Crucible since the update the other day, I can attest that – at least for me, someone who liked Destiny 1’s PvP – the Crucible is familiar and fun again.
That’s not all, though. Exotics for a long time didn’t feel all that exotic, people got tired of the raid being in the same familiar location, and new events and areas such as Escalation Protocol and Mercury were incredibly underwhelming. We could go on and on. There are just so many things that went wrong since its impressive opening week that Bungie has been playing catch up ever since to try and fix. It’s like watching someone play a game of Whack-a-Mole; just when they sort one problem out, another two or three emerge. Destiny 2 has never been a “bad” game, but for Bungie, that’s not the standard. They want Destiny 2 to be the best live game out on the market.
Also, let’s not forget that Cayde-6 is dead in effort to sell fans on Forsaken’s story. If they killed off one of the few characters players have latched onto over the years and his story, and this expansion doesn’t come through, fans are going to be pissed.
Most importantly, Forsaken will be the culmination of Bungie’s behind the scene efforts. In one incredibly ambitious and massive swoop, Bungie is going to try and tackle every single problem Destiny 2 has had since launch, all of which fall under one of two very broad categories: depth of content and fun factor. There needs to be lots of stuff to do so people don’t quit after a few weeks, which is what appears to keep happening with each passing expansion. Also, currently existing content needs to be more fun, and what is added from Forsaken on also needs to be enjoyable, too.
These are issues that Bungie has acknowledged needs addressing, and the blueprint is on the table for everyone to see. Forsaken is fixing existing problems, adding new game modes, areas, exotics, equipment, and of course a raid. After that, Bungie is trying a new way of releasing content.
Instead of the Year 1 strategy of mini-expansions or the disastrous approach seen in Year 2 of Destiny 1 where there was basically nothing except over-hyped events, Year 2 of Destiny 2 will feature an Annual Pass which contains new paid content that is leaner, but also simultaneously more efficient while being content and gameplay focused. At least that’s what the plan is for the Annual Pass. We have a bit before it’s time for us to adequately judge that.
The success of the Annual Pass strategy won’t really matter if Forsaken doesn’t deliver first.
Destiny 2 is on thin ice, but Bungie’s goal of a Destiny 2 that everyone can be proud of is right there if they can just get to it before the ground falls out from under them. We’ve been encouraged by what we have heard, and the bits and pieces we’ve played so far, but we’ll know for sure next week when the full package is laid bare for the entire community to experience.