“What’s next for Destiny?” Has that not been the question on many a mind for the last two months? With the turn of the calendar to 2016 many of the Destiny devoted have been starving for information about where their favorite game will be traveling to next. Rumors and outdated information abounded about a pending sequel to Bungie and Activision’s hit game slated to arrive in the third quarter of 2016, but after a change in leadership over the holiday break, it seems that some of that time table has changed as well. To explain where Destiny is going, perhaps it’s best that I explain from whence it came.
Destiny launched in September 2014 with a one year plan. The initial game plus two DLC packs to be delivered throughout 2014-2015. As the year progressed the developers at Bungie soon seemed to realize they were in a bit over their head. Though many predicted that Destiny would be a hit amongst fans of games like Halo and COD franchise front runners, no one could imagine the cult following that would mash together with mass consumable market popularity to create one of the most popular games ever. Notice that I did not say, “In a while” or “for quite some time.” Destiny has been both blessed and cursed by the world into which it was birthed.
Reddit and Bungie forums soon became a coexisting home for the Destiny faithful like yours truly. I personally have logged a mediocre 900+ hours into the game myself. I say mediocre because there are thousands of people who have logged thousands more hours into this endeavor. Small niches for competitive PvP players of Destiny’s Crucible game mode carved out one of the most successful podcasts in the market today, averaging at times upwards of 35,000 listeners a week! Destiny’s main Reddit page took on such a life of its own that Bungie literally hired its creator to serve as a community manager.
I say all of this to highlight how many people are eagerly anticipating what Bungie will do next with this darling child star of a game. With all the popularity that Bungie was able to claim with their first iteration of Destiny, many were left underwhelmed with the subsequent DLC’s produced in winter 2014, and spring 2016. Destiny became a game with little to no new PvE content, and a stale PvP environment dominated by one or two weapons. After 200 plus days without a weapons patch update, Destiny took heavy criticism from many of its most loyal players. It was time for a change.
Bungie committed to more transparency and frequent updates to the player experience. They abandoned the DLC model for an in game micro-transaction system that would fund future free DLC so that they could make new hires to relieve their harshly overworked employees. All signs were pointing to the right direction before the removal of its president during December.
More questions were being posed about the future of the game than could be answered, so Bungie declared almost a month long silence which was broken late in January. At that time mouth pieces laid out part of a partial plan for the remainder of the immediate future. It would consist of a valentine’s day themed week long encounter for PvP players as well as another update to the base game to be detailed some time in February. Fast forward the clock almost another month, and one finds a clearer picture of what the rest of 2016 and forward will look like. Following Bungie’s shareholder meetings last week as well as the Weekly Update from Deej (Community Manager), gamers have now been promised a smaller DLC in the spring of 2016 with a larger DLC comparable to the popular “Taken King” content of fall 2015 to be delivered some time in the fall of 2016. Many fans of the game were disappointed to learn that the rumored “Destiny 2” project will be pushed to the beginning of 2017.
What we see in the next year of Destiny’s existence will be crucial to the future viability of the game itself. After a week finish to year one of Destiny, much praise was given, and rightly so, to the success of “The Taken King.” Many complaints were addressed and fixed by those of power and influence in company, yet many glaring problems still exist. Namely the lack of communication between the player base and those who control the experience. Since a late winter update to the PvP experience from 2015 players noticed a distinct change to the match making after the release of the heralded “Sparrow Racing League” update. Upon the release of said update a noticeable difference was apparent in the match making procedure of the PvP experience. Response from inside the company descried the complaints as over exaggerated because of the newfound interest in sparrow racing. As the months progressed it became more evident that something was amiss.
Bungie eventually came clean about changing from a Connection Based Match Making (CBMM) to a Skill Based Match Making (SBMM) without telling the users nor the Bungie employee that vied for the validity of changes to the player experience. While many admired their honesty and forthcoming about the confusion over the issue, the player found sadly another reason to doubt the transparency of the future game.
With all this said, and the possibility of two DLC’s on the docket for this year, what can the player expect? Through my experience thus far I would say that we can expect a continued improvement on major DLC’s throughout this year. The spring DLC will be somewhat smaller than “The Taken King” in size and scale, but equality in terms of writing and player experience. The second DLC should be an improvement as well. Both of these updates will mare than likely add much to the PvE experience for users as well as some things trickled in for the PvP aficionado as well. Players will most likely not see the addition of some of the much sought after PvP improvements until the second full game release in 2017. These additions would be things like dedicated servers, private lobbies, and drastic changes to connection based problems.
If you can wait on these problems to be fixed, and are pleased with where some of the nuts and bolts player experiences issues lie now, then you should find nothing to keep you wanting with the release of new content in 2016. However, if you are wanting major changes, specifically in the realm of PvP based issues, then it might be best to wait until the next full game release. From my perspective, I’m sure that I’ll be buying and playing whatever they have to offer. For the money and time I have spent thus far, I have gotten more value out of the Destiny franchise than anything else i have ever played. I trust where the game is going, even if I do not always trust what the talking heads have to say, and I am okay with that. Realistic expectations will take you a long way.