I’ve definitely had what many would call a love/hate relationship with Bungie’s Destiny. I gave the proper game an 85/100 review, but raised questions about its repetitiveness early on, and eventually started to loathe its gameplay altogether. I ranted about Bungie’s closing of the first ever Murder Cave, citing it as a sign that players were already fed up with grinding the same missions over and over again with no real hope of getting the Light-enabled gear they needed to rank up past level 20, which I considered to be ludicrous. Eventually, about six weeks after the game’s initial release I officially decided to shelve it, because I just couldn’t support doing the same Strikes and missions over and over with no real guarantee of being rewarded for my efforts. It was a futile experience, similar to ramming your head into a wall with the hopes of improving your IQ, and these days my game time is precious, so I couldn’t afford to blindly throw hours of my life at a game that would mock me with shitty Engrams for my efforts.
Destiny remained tucked away on my gaming shelf for most of 2015, because even though Bungie had started to make slight improvements to its formula, I just couldn’t commit the hundreds of hours it would have taken to level up and get the gear I wanted. I mean there are many other great games to play, and being in the gaming media my time is typically dictated by review schedules, so when I do have a game that isn’t party of my job, I want to have fun and not feel like I’m spinning in circles.
With that being said there was always a piece of me that wished I became a Destiny fanatic like many gamers did. Envy would creep in while reading or listening to people discussing their obsession with the game and how great the Raids are and the high level gear that took obscene amounts of time to unlock. I felt like the outsider looking in on one of gaming’s most controversial titles, and as most humans do I wondered if I was the problem. For some reason I didn’t feel like I was in with the cool kids, and as ridiculous as that sounds coming from a 35 year-old man, there was some truth to it. I wanted to belong to this community, but my logical side kept me in check.
The Taken King Allure
That all started to change with the introduction of The Taken King, Destiny’s official start to its second year, and as many would joke, the end of the game’s year long beta. The 2.0 update promised revolutionary changes to Destiny’s gameplay formula, most notably, its stupid ass experience system, which is the main reason I abandoned it close to a year ago in the first place. Knowing that I’d be rewarded with XP for just completing missions and killing bad guys struck a chord for me, because after all I’m not opposed to grinding in a video game, in fact I quite enjoy it when I know I’ll earn something for my efforts, but I despise it when I know there’s no guarantee of any reward for my repetitive work.
With this knowledge in tow I committed to myself that I would give Destiny another shot once its 2.0 patch went live, but I had a very tough decision to make. Should I use my old level 26 Hunter Guardian from 2014, which hadn’t been touched in close to a year, but had plenty of hours behind it, or should I start fresh with a new Guardian and relive the game all over again now that it has been patched up to a point that suits the way I like to experience a video game. Considering my gaming time is precious and not unlimited these days this was a very tough choice. I’m definitely not the type of gamer who likes to replay games over and over again, especially when I’ve dumped 40 or more hours into it, but knowing that Destiny 2.0 would essentially be a brand new game also made the thought of starting anew appealing.
After learning that players would get a one time use gem to auto-level their Guardian to 25, and absolutely loving the Sunbreaker class for the Titans, I committed to creating a new character, and in turn reliving everything Destiny had to offer in its first year all over again. Five hours into this Destiny 2.0 experience I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Sure I lost a ton of time on my Hunter, but quite frankly I didn’t love him anyway and knew a Titan would better suit my play style, and besides, with the power gem I was more or less right where my Hunter left off within an hour of starting my Titan playthrough, so in the end it’s not like I felt the pain of the lost time by switching Guardians.
I’m finding myself falling in love with the game all over again thanks to my decision to start off Destiny 2.0 fresh. When I say fresh I literally mean starting from the beginning of the main campaign and working through the entire first year of content all over again. My decision to start a new character wasn’t just based on using him to move forward with the game’s second year of content. I wanted to relive the game all over again with all of its new bells and whistles in place, and so far it’s been nothing but pure joy.
I’m definitely appreciating all aspects of the game, where before I thought of its offerings to be mundane and uninspired. The visuals feel improved, the sound is more immersive, it truly is a whole new game complete with the Northbot, which at times is better than Dinklebot. The gameplay feels most improved, especially the new XP system, which is exactly what it should’ve been last year, but oh well, shit happens as they say. It’s also empowering to play through the original campaign missions as most of them are way under my Guardian’s level, making each mission feel like a Rambo movie. Time is not being wasted on these lowly missions either, I’ve already gained two levels just by playing easy campaign missions, which just goes to show the power of the revamped XP system.
I’m not sure my schedule will ever allow me to become the true Destiny fanatic that I’d like to be, but I’m definitely at peace and happy with my decision to return to it with the release of Destiny 2.0 and The Taken King. I’m also overly pleased with my choice to tackle this experience with a brand new Guardian, even though it was tough to just leave all of my previous work in the moon dust, but thanks to the improved gameplay and a helpful little power orb, the loss wasn’t as great as one would think.
If you were like me and fell out of favor with Destiny faster than a guy falling out of love with his one night stand after losing his beer goggles, but have had your fire for it reignited with the 2.0 patch and new expansion, I highly recommend starting from scratch with a new Guardian. Obviously if you’ve been grinding on a character since day one you’d be a fool to leave them by the wayside, but if you haven’t played in many months you will probably enjoy the experience more by starting all over again and crafting a Guardian using the game’s new XP system to your liking. It truly does feel like a brand new game, at least the one we all had hoped for back in September of 2014.
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