It's been over two months since Destiny, the game that was supposed to herald the new console generation, was released. With the initial hype period having died down, a lot of people lost interest, leaving the servers to be populated by the faithful. I was one of those people who was turned off by Destiny's monotony.
I was intrigued and excited when Destiny was first announced. I loved Halo's PvP and the loot system of Borderlands, so Destiny was my cup of tea. It was great running through a truly cooperative campaign with my friends. But then, like the inevitability of the rising sun, October, one of the busiest months in the gaming release calendar, dawned upon us. My friends' interest in Destiny waned thanks to the likes of annual blockbusters, such as FIFA and Call of Duty. I trudged on with the matchmaking until I reached level 26. Frustrated by getting nowhere and the repetitiveness of the in-game tasks, I stopped playing, logging on during the weekends to check what Xur was hocking.
You see, Destiny is a social game by design. While Borderlands could be played solo just fine, Destiny forces you to be social in order to get the most out of it. High level raids, which give the best gear, can only be run in a group. Though this initially seemed like an odd design choice, it makes total sense because, unlike the campaign, these can be brutally difficult and require a high amount of team coordination.
I was determined to give Destiny another chance. Things turned around during one of my playthroughs when I received my first piece of exotic gear. I'm a loot-a-holic. This obsessive trait stems from my experience with JRPGs back in the day; I loved optimizing my party's gear. One of my favorite things in FFVI was going to the armory in each new town I came across. This obsession was further exacerbated by purchasing Phantasy Star Online nearly a decade ago. I had a similar experience with that game. I finished the story, only to be bored by the repetition and without online access, I was limited to playing multiplayer with my brother, who didn't really share my enthusiasm for loot. I quit playing for a year until I decided to give it another shot. I was rewarded with my first rare weapon drop. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment (mainly because the damn weapon wasn't usable by my Ranger).
Since obtaining my exotic gear, I've been playing Destiny regularly to collect more and max out my character. I love how the armor can fundamentally change the way you play your character and guns are unique, souped-up versions of the regular weapons. There's also a sense of pride in your gear. As I mentioned earlier, Destiny is a social experience. It's fun to brag about the loot you've obtained (by the grace of RNGesus) and compare it with others. I was in a PvP group yesterday and we couldn't stop laughing about my ship, affectionately dubbed the Magic Spacebus. It's so bulky and garish that it's hilarious.
I've played the hell out of Destiny this past week thanks to the Iron Banner event. It came at the ideal time to validate the hours I sunk into the game. Iron Banner is really the perfect way to bridge the PvE and PvP components together since your level advantages are no longer disabled in PvP. All that exotic gear you've collected and upgraded finally has the spotlight to showcase it. Go ahead, whip out your Gjallahorn, and enjoy the carnage. After all those hundreds of green and blue engrams, you've earned it.
In the end, I'm glad I gave Destiny another chance. Beneath all the monotony there's a solid loot-based game. I wasn't considering buying any of the DLC, but this past week has changed my mind thanks to the prospect of more/better gear. If you're on the fence about investing your time and effort into the game and are a fellow loot-a-holic, I'd recommend sticking with it until you get your first exotic and participate in an Iron Banner event. Just give it some patience and time.