Attempting to Manifest Destiny – How Poor Storytelling Drove Me Away

It’s not the story, but how you tell it.

I was late to the party for Destiny. When the first one came out I didn’t have a Playstation 4, so despite my interest in seeing what Bungie, the folks responsible for Halo, could cook up with a clean slate, I ended up replaying Dark Souls for the eighth time. As the lifespan of the game drew on, I continued hearing good things about it. But despite my eventual acquisition of the necessary hardware (thanks, Metal Gear Solid V) I never ended up taking the plunge. That is, until the sequel was about to be released.

“Wow, this looks great! I bet the story is amazing, too!” – Me, an idiot, 2014

With weeks to go until Destiny 2 dropped, I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about… And I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. The setting seemed interesting, the gameplay was satisfying, but attempting to decipher what the hell was actually going on was a nightmare. The story was told through the brave new medium of “Grimoire Cards”, essentially collectable in-game links to a specific page of the Bungie website. Guess which page got shut down when the sequel came out?

I’m sure this janitorial robot is integral to the lore.

Yeah, they technically patched out the lore of the first game. It’s now literally impossible using purely in-game resources to know what the story is. So much for ever revisiting the original game. But this isn’t a problem, right? Destiny 2 is here! We’ve got a whole new story to be told, and hey, they actually explain it in the game itself this time. I was with it from launch (my FOMO can overcome many obstacles) but I couldn’t shake the feeling that my fundamental confusion with the world I was interacting with was hampering my ability to enjoy it, so eventually I slunk back to Bloodborne with my tail between my legs.

This is self-explanatory, tbh. No Grimoire Cards needed

Jump ahead five years, and the new expansion for Destiny 2 is coming out. Due to nothing more than my own morbid curiosity (and perhaps a burning desire to actually like this series) I decided to hop back into it and see what was going on… Only to discover that a lot of content had been removed from the game. The original campaign is gone. Events from earlier expansions are locked, unplayable. Whole planets you could previously visit are now missing, and with them my desire to give this series any more of my time.

It just looks so cool though…

I simply don’t get it. I want to know what’s going on, and I want the game to give me a fair shot of figuring it out. It’s now totally impossible. How Destiny 2 gets any new players at all is utterly beyond me, no matter how good the looter shooter mechanics are. I don’t care how much content there is to catch up on, let me do it!

Compare this way of doing business to another MMO, Final Fantasy XIV. Thirteen years old(!), four years older than the original Destiny but still allows you to play every single piece of content that’s been developed for it. With thoughtful tweaking by the devs, it all still remains relevant and playable as the game itself changes and evolves. THIS is how you do it. I don’t care how long it might take, I just want to experience a cohesive story from the beginning and catch up to everyone else when I’m ready.

I know all these characters. Their names. Motivations. Dreams. Fears. Birthdays.

Well, whatever. Have fun shooting things in space, I guess. I’ll be down here reading the fan wiki page about what wizards are and why they live on the moon. I hear that’s a thing.

Author: Joebotnik

I am an interactive entertainment enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: