Destiny players on PlayStation and Xbox consoles are already familiar with tweaks and changes to the game’s economy, gameplay, and weapons. In fact, Bungie recently detailed a slew of weapon buffs and nerfs coming in the next patch. However, the developer admitted that it has made mistakes in the past and is still learning. Which begs the questions, should Destiny have an on-going public test server to ensure the changes are well-received by the community?
Bungie has avoided calling Destiny a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and has gone with “shared world shooter” in the past. Still, many consider the game to be a MMO or at least a MMO-lite (like myself) and public test servers aren’t uncommon with MMO titles.
For example, The Elder Scrolls Online launched a public test server last June. It is currently being used to test the upcoming 1.6 update which is adding all new functionality like the Justice and Champion Systems plus the Crown Store that is part of the new Buy-to-Play economy. It’s only been out approximately a week and ZeniMax Online has already fixed numerous issues with a 1.6.1 patch. There’s been over 300 suggestions from those who have played on the test server as well.
The idea of a Public Test Server isn’t limited to MMOs either. DICE opened a Community Test Environment for Battlefield 4 Premium Members last year to help its developers iron out issues to the game and make updates to gameplay elements such as movement and weapon balance. Other examples include Diablo III‘s Public Test Realm and World of WarCraft‘s Public Test Realm too.
These same concepts could easily be applied to Destiny. After the debacle of The Dark Below expansion’s economy, which reset progress on weapons, the game could honestly use some cohesive form of community feedback that doesn’t involve forums exploding with anger when an update is released and then weeks of grousing about how Bungie should have implemented changes.
The reactions to the upcoming weapon changes are another example. Destiny players are already complaining about the nerfs to the Auto Rifles and other weapons. A Public Test Server where Bungie could get feedback and real-world data for weapon changes could only be beneficial.
Obviously, the implementation of how to run a Public Test Server for Destiny and who to allow in is up for debate. Microsoft already has the Preview Program running for the Xbox One to make it easier to get feedback from players. The PlayStation 4 could easily deliver updates as well.
“We’re learning and watching and seeing and responding day-in and day-out,” a Bungie representative told GameSpot about learning from mistakes since the game’s launch. “We put this thing out there; we hoped that it would resonate with people. And we’re watching and we’re seeing what’s working and what’s not and trying to adjust. So it’s a passion for us.”
It’s clear that Bungie likes to surprise players with new content. However, when that content is filled with glitches and changes the economy in a way that frustrates players, perhaps it is time to consider a different approach. It may be too late for The House of Wolves expansion that’s scheduled for a second quarter release, but maybe it’s something for Bungie to consider with the Comet expansion in the fall.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Bungie]