Late to the Destiny

When Destiny first came out a year ago, I passed on it. There were a number of reasons, but the main one was my disinterest in what sounded like an MMO experience. I’m not really interested in playing games online either with or against strangers. As time has gone on, more and more of my pals started playing it, and it sounded like it might have potential for me. I decided to jump in with The Taken King, as it overhauled the game and made it much more streamlined.

My character is a female robutt. She doesn’t have a name because you don’t name your characters; they just go by your PSN username. So I guess she does have a name, which is “davelartigue”. She’s a gunslinger because I like shooting stuff. Currently she’s level 20, which means she’s half the level of pretty much everyone else playing the game.

The MMO aspects of the game have been well overstated, at least so far. When you enter an area, you’re in an instance with a few other players. The areas are huge, and you’re seldom interacting much with each other, though you can choose to do so if you want. Me, I don’t want, so I go off and do my own thing. Occasionally a group event will happen in an area that you can go take part in. This usually involves taking down a large enemy or a big group of smaller ones, and I’ve participated a number of times.

It’s clever how the game’s been done. If I accidentally or on purpose kill an enemy that another player was fighting, it doesn’t deny that other player either XP or loot. So you can’t kill-steal or screw with other players too much (and there’s no PVP in the main maps.) The other players, should you choose not to join up with them, mostly just give color and a sense of population to the areas.

The other day I encountered my first mission that required teaming up, and it made me nervous. I went ahead and did it, and the game matched me with two other players who were about my level. We joined up, fought together, revived one another when down, and then took out the target. Then we went our separate ways. I didn’t have any headphones on and didn’t talk to either of them. We just did what had to be done. Thankfully, I don’t think I was a drag on the team and pulled my weight.

Bolstered by that, I tried the PVP arena, as I’d been given a mission involving it. Although it claimed to again do some player matching, I was slaughtered in seconds. When I respawned, I’d again be moved down immediately. Thankfully, none of that is required and I can just ignore those missions.

As for the game itself, it’s okay. The storyline is blandly generic sci-fi, hitting every single expected beat right on cue. Absolutely nothing special or exciting to it. That’s fine, because it’s basically just there to hang the action on and there’s no need to invest in any of it. I prefer a blandly generic plot that stays mostly out of the way to a blandly generic plot that keeps interrupting gameplay to throw blandly generic bullshit at me. The action is pretty good, and there are some neat powers and things to play with, but usually it’s just “go here and shoot this”. You can do some exploration, a thing I enjoy, but most of the environment is non-functional, and so far, apart from a few hidden collectibles (dead ghosts and loot chests) there isn’t much reward for straying from the path.

The appeal to me so far is similar to that of Diablo 3. It’s shoot-and-loot, with short missions you can drop in and do without a huge time investment. I’m not that far into yet, though, and what I bought comes with three expansions, so there could be large swaths of game I haven’t encountered yet. Speaking of shoot-and-loot, loot doesn’t come often, but one nice thing is that usually it’s something better than what you have. If you current boots have a defense value of 60, Destiny doesn’t waste your time with piles of defense 30 boots. That’s nice.

So far Destiny is a pretty good but not really essential game for me. I’m enjoying it and I’ll play a bunch of it, but it hasn’t grabbed me like other games have. It’s fun and well made, but doesn’t have a lot of soul. Maybe I’m missing out on something with the MMO elements or in the storyline. Maybe if I read the eight hundred and something plot cards I’ve gained I’ll find what I need to really get hooked, but let’s hope that’s not the case because it’s not happening. Oh there is plenty of jumping, though!

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