After a marketing leak courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Gamestop, Destiny 2 was finally revealed. The most obvious sequel in existence pulled back the curtain on its reimagined story via a cheeky trailer featuring Nathan Fillion’s Cayde 6. With a welcome emphasis on story being a response to much of the criticism of the original, it is fair to wonder what form the sequel will take. Expansions fixed many of the original’s key issues, but the problematic skeleton that turned away millions could not be fully remedied. So what does Destiny 2 have to fix in order to entice burned players back into the fold? Here are three suggestions from a dedicated Guardian.
Streamline the Grind
It is no secret that Destiny is a grindfest. Want to level? Grind it out. Chasing that elusive exotic weapon? Crind it out. Want to test the perks on your shiny new toy? Grind. It. Out. The problem? Nobody likes grinding in Destiny. It is by far the biggest reason that players grew bored in the earliest days, and even the most resolute Guardians don’t like the process. The instant a workaround was discovered, players would swarm it like jackals. From loot caves to Omnigul’s heinous screams, every era of Destiny saw its method of madness. It took far too long to get to the good stuff – namely raids, nightfall strikes and Trials of Osiris.
If Destiny 2 wants to attract more than Destiny’s current playerbase, this needs to change. Rise of Iron did a solid job of speeding up this process, but it could still use work. Allow players to jump into the content that has ensnared millions of gamers for millions of hours sooner. Instead of padding the process, offer more great loot for players to chase through the best activities. Keep exotic quests that guarantee fantastic weapons and armor, but remove the trivial steps that only serve to inflate hours played (like collecting damn materials). Destiny never felt like it properly rewarded time spent. Creating more exclusive loot-available through the specific endgame activities-would be a great incentive to continue the chase. A pity timer for exotic loot would also be a nice way to consistently reward dedicated Guardians. Grinding isn’t inherently bad, and it is expected in a game like Destiny. But if Destiny 2 rewards players appropriately for their efforts and streamlines the process to experience the best content, it will greatly increase the game’s stickiness.
Cut the Clutter
As someone who has sunk over 1,000 hours into Destiny, it is incredible how accustomed I had become to the game’s ridiculous time sinks. Loading screens were horrendous and frequent, as players were forced to sit through them upon entering any new zone. This meant that a tremendous amount of time was spent in-game without actually playing. The inventory system was also a pain, as players constantly had to shuffle gear between characters and waste time whenever a piece was forgotten. Guardians spent far too much time in-game preparing to play the game.
This is one of the structural issues that was unsolvable in Destiny’s original state, but is redeemable in Destiny 2. The tower is gone, meaning players will be in the field interacting with characters, accepting quests and configuring gear rather than having to retreat to do so. I can only hope that social and active play spaces are combined, allowing for a more seamless experience that cuts wasted time. The shedding of the previous generation should help with this transition as well. As for gear, Guardians already use the Destiny app to transfer gear, so why shouldn’t they be able to in game? Any piece of gear should be accessible at any time. If Bungie wants to limit this in high-stakes modes like the Crucible, Trials of Osiris and Raids, they can always lock out this feature while in those activities. But for the normal minutia of Destiny, gear should be accessible. If players spend less time waiting to play and micromanaging gear and more time shooting aliens, it will be a massive win for Destiny 2.
Cooperation is Key
While it can be played (and enjoyed) solo, cooperation is an integral part of the Destiny formula. The game’s raids were the perfect realization of the original’s ambitious ideas, providing experiences that were completely revolutionary for shooters. Players were tasked with navigating a set of mechanics designed to make them work together in specific ways in order to achieve their goal. While these elements slowly crept into other areas – namely public event arenas – they were primarily exclusive to raids. On the competitive side, Trials of Osiris incorporated key cooperation between a team of three with the goal of eliminating another team, which led to Destiny’s best multiplayer experience. In other words; Destiny was at its best when it forced teammates to work together.
Bungie should lean into this element in Destiny 2. Raid mechanics, even lite versions, would have a significant effect on the game’s encounters. Rather than being bullet sponges, bosses would gain a Zelda-like complexity and spectacle that would only increase the elation felt upon overcoming a particular challenge. The trouble is finding the correct balance. We have all played with a Guardian who, well… sucks, and that can take the wind out of the experience almost immediately. But I trust Bungie to find a solution to this issue, and the developer should not be afraid of challenging its players. A player shouldn’t necessarily be able to accomplish everything, and it would only serve to increase the prestige of certain rewards exclusive to the most rigorous activities. Cooperation is what makes Destiny special, and this secret sauce should be infused into every nook and cranny.
Bonus: Community Challenges
Remember when Rise of Iron introduced an almost incomprehensible binary puzzle into a series of hidden messages that ultimately unlocked the expansion’s best weapon? Yeah – we need more of that.
So what would you like to see change in Destiny 2? Can the game increase your unhealthy passion for the series? Can it perform the even harder task of winning back burned players? We won’t know until the game launches on September 8, but we can get a better idea of what is in store when gameplay is revealed on May 18. Wherever you stand on the polarizing original, I hope that you will at least give the anticipated sequel a chance. You might even be surprised.
Brett Williams is an Associate Writer for MONG who is part of the Titan Master Race. You can follow his nonexistent ramblings on twitter.