Bungie’s release of Destiny: The Taken King significantly improved the PlayStation and Xbox MMO shooter by fixing many of the Year One shortcomings. While Year Two brought improved quality, balance, and activities to the game, there are a few issues that these changes have introduced with a couple that still linger.
Before going through the list of complaints, I do want to commend the team at Bungie for the changes they’ve introduced to Destiny. The improvements made to activities, quests, story-telling, weapon balance, and loot has been a night and day difference for the game.
It was often joked that the first year of Destiny felt like a beta test. That is true in some ways, as it is clear that Bungie took a laundry list of feedback from players and lessons learned to dramatically increase the enjoyment of its franchise shooter.
That said, let’s dive into ways that Bungie can further improve Destiny.
In Year One, the weekly Nightfall was a must do challenge for Destiny players to tackle to earn loot and get an experience boost. The combination of modifiers plus potential to be kicked to orbit and made to start over from the beginning when everyone on a Fireteam dies made it a tense, white-knuckle exercise at times and a glorious damage dealing romp at others.
The Year Two change of no longer being forced back into orbit on a wipe is welcome, but the Nightfall has lost some of the risk / reward. The loot drops at the end are a mixed bag, sometimes rewarding Engrams that produce weapons and gear at less than 280 Light. The activity also no longer gives an experience boost, which was a major reason for completing it every week, and the 500 reputation bonus for completing the Nightfall has been dropped to a paltry handful of Vanguard and Faction reputation points.
Bungie appears to be trying to figure out how to handle Nightfall Strikes in a way that they aren’t a mandatory start to every weekly reset. However, the disappointing rewards guarantees not many will want to run it at all. There needs to be a more consistent level of rewards to match the high level of difficulty for the activity.
Vanguard Heroic Strikes And Strike Playlists In General
Bungie’s decision to convert the Weekly Heroic Strike into a Vanguard Heroic Strike Playlist was one of their better decisions, and the new Strikes are vast improvements with better rewards. How it was handled presented a couple of new problems, however.
First, the amount of Strikes available in the Weekly Heroic Strike playlist is only 7 out 12 total available (8 out of 13 on PlayStation), and the chance of repeats is extremely high. There have been runs in the Vanguard Heroic and regular Vanguard playlists where I’ve seen the same Strike three times and never even touched the other Strikes.
Second, the Vanguard Heroic Strikes did away with the modifier from the Weekly Heroic Strike in Year One. This removes the fun, variability, and uniqueness of the Heroic Strikes and simply makes them slightly higher level versions of the existing Strikes. Bungie would do well to introduce at least one random modifier for each Strike.
Lastly, the lack of matchmaking once a Strike starts is nothing short of painful. Too often players will drop out of a Strike at the start or part way through it. In Year One, a new player or players would drop in soon enough. Year Two has shown that it may be rare that players drop in at all. I’ve frequently been the victim of trying to progress through a Strike by myself, hoping that others will join so I don’t lose my bonus streak. I’m not alone judging by comments in the Destiny Reddit group.
The Crucible Quest given by Lord Shaxx to earn the right to receive Weekly Crucible bounties is nothing short of brutal. There are 22 steps involve winning matches in the Crucible and/or performing some additional feat such as getting a certain number of kills with a particular weapon. More than 40 wins are required to complete the quest in all with the likelihood that you’ll play approximately double that number in matches unless your one of the rare few that dominate at Crucible.
An unintended consequence of the Crucible Quest line is players dropping out of matches as soon as they believe there is no shot at winning. With a steep hill of 40, 60, 80 matches, who can blame them?
I’m toward the end of the Crucible Quest line, with only two steps remaining. My play time has been limited since the release of The Taken King, and I really don’t know if this questline is something I want to run through with my alternate characters right now. It’s definitely not something I look forward to.
Grouping For Court Of Oryx
The Court of Oryx has been a successful spin on public events in Oryx’s Dreadnaught. The rewards for Tier 2 and Tier 3 events have been plentiful and excellent, and I can honestly say one of my most enjoyable times with Destiny: The Taken King so far was running with a random group of approximately ten people in one session.
I have not been able to duplicate that success, though. The Court is empty more often than not. That may be in part because of the way matchmaking works in the Dreadnaught Patrol. Fireteams are limited to three people, and a player entering the Hall of Souls, where the Court is located, appears to take up to three of the possible 12 slots due to the potential of inviting two more players to a Fireteam.
Additionally, getting a group of more than three friends together to enter the Court of Oryx requires various workarounds. In all, it’s a very inartful solution to an area that demands the ability to meet with multiple friends. I don’t know if Bungie needs to instance the Court of Oryx away from the rest of the Dreadnaught Patrol to allow up to six players to meet there via simple invites, but a solution needs to be found.
Yellows (Still) Don’t Always Count
This has been one of those aggravating things from Year One that has carried over to Year Two. Progressing through various Grimoire Cards for their points requires killing non-Major (Yellow) enemies. I still have not reached Rank 2 on the Hydra Grimoire Card simply because I have no intention of doing dreadfully boring farming of the Vex monstrosity.
This much the same in Year Two, with the added bonus that now some of the gun field testing bounties for the Gunsmith also don’t count Major enemies or higher toward their completion. Why? I can’t recall Bungie ever explaining.
The story in Destiny: The Taken King was better explained in the first few minutes than the entirety of Year One. That’s a testament to Bungie’s ability learn and adapt. However, much of the lore of the Destiny universe is still buried in Grimoire Cards that can only be read via Bungie.net on PCs and mobile devices.
This is especially vexing with the addition of the Book of Sorrows, earned picking up Calcified Fragments in the Dreadnaught. It tells the origin of the Hive and Oryx, along with some of the Traveler and Vex.
Bringing this lore and information into Destiny somehow would make the game better overall. If you wish to read the Book of Sorrow without unlocking every Grimoire Card, Destiny Tracker has collected them all into one easy to read format, while a Reddit user, Beornlake, has compiled them into an eBook (epub format) that can be downloaded from Dropbox.
Are there somethings with Destiny: The Taken King that you’d like to see changed? Anything you disagree with what I listed above? Let’s hear your feedback in the comments below.
[Images via Bungie]