I remember the launch of Destiny 2 very well.
There was a lot to like when the game first came out. Although the story wasn’t the greatest, lots of us in the community appreciated that a noticeable effort was at least making it noticeably better than vanilla Destiny 1’s memeworthy campaign. We were all surprisingly showered in legendary and exotic engrams. A far cry from the days of getting trolled by the Cryptarch, and running the raid and getting nothing but some lousy Ascendant Shards. Locations were brimming with life. There were Lost Sectors to explore, dynamic Public Events that could be enhanced based on player cooperation, and tokens. Lots and lots of tokens which could be redeemed for even more legendaries. And of course there was Leviathan, an excellent raid that still stands among the best Bungie has done so far.
It didn’t last though.
That shimmer quickly faded. Destiny 2 was stretched a mile wide, but an inch deep. Sure there was lots of stuff to do, but what was the point? Most of the legendary and exotic equipment were nondescript, and you had most of them anyway just playing casually for a few weeks. There wasn’t anything in vanilla Destiny 2 that could be included in the Mount Rushmore of infamous Destiny weapons like Vex Mythoclast, The Last Word, Black Hammer, and of course, Gjallarhorn.
Sure, maybe that approach made the game more balanced, but it also sterilized it of any personality. People clung to the small handful of weapons worth using, and whether it was Crucible or Raids, most encounters played out exactly the same. At least when guns like Ghorn and the Mythoclast reigned supreme it was hilariously broken. The glorious few days of Prometheus Lens being totally busted was the closest thing we had to something being that fun, and worth owning in Destiny 2. The mini expansions didn’t do much to change things and instead heaped more of the same onto the pile.
That said, it was the period surrounding and following the second expansion, Warmind, where the fruits of Bungie’s behind the scene labor started to appear. They recognized how lame most of the exotic weapons were, and fixed a lot of them. The Go Fast update, made guardians feel like superheroes again. Quests for powerful exotics worthy of your time and effort like Whisper of the Worm, Sleeper Simulant, and Polaris Lance, appeared. A plan for reintroducing random rolls, and changing the weapon loadout system became clear.
There was an acknowledgement that something wasn’t right, and that change needed to happen.
Forsaken is shaping up to be the moment where Bungie finally puts together the best of Destiny 1, with the best of Destiny 2. You can sense and feel the excitement for the game returning. Whether it’s Reddit or Facebook, there’s a lot of positivity going around about Forsaken; genuine positivity, born from players that would be able to tell if this was just another Curse of Osiris fake out. Heck, even the user score for Metacritic, a notoriously tough crowd, is sitting at 6.7 right now. Which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that it’s actually the highest user score in the series for any Destiny-related content so far as of the time of this writing.
The reason is because that Destiny 2 isn’t just an inch deep anymore. There’s still lots of content to play, there always has been, but now there’s some meat on the bones. In the past, for me, the only thing that really motivated me to care about what kind of loot I had was the raid, and that didn’t even last. Now, after Forsaken, I care about my Crucible loadout again. I’m grinding as many Masterwork Cores as I can to ensure my gear is in tiptop shape for Last Wish. I’m trying to figure out the best balance between PvE/PvP equipment for Gambit. There’s exotic quests I still need to get to… and more.
I’m still sorting out my final thoughts on Forsaken. The quality of the raid, and how The Dreaming City holds up over time is important to experience in order to evaluate it fully. But at the very least, as of right now, I can feel confident in saying Destiny 2 has at least reached a point where it’s putting its best foot forward, and if you still don’t like it then you’re probably not ever going to like it. It isn’t being held back by poor decision-making and other similar nonsense anymore.
Finally, Destiny 2 has arrived where it should have been back on Sept. 6, 2017 and maybe, for the first time in the series’ history, it can exit catch-up mode, and finally chart a path towards new levels of greatness.