While I have been keeping up my daily Destiny articles as usual, due to the all the news that Bungie has been dumping out about Beyond Light, Stasis, Europa and random things like Ghosts 2.0, I’ll let you in on a secret.
I have not been playing Destiny 2. Not for about a month now, in any real sense.
Before anyone goes back through the receipts, yes I did log on for like two hours to do the (extremely easy) Traveler’s Chosen quest a few weeks ago. I also showed up to pay tribute to Matt Helsom in his mini-quest last week (which was about ten minutes). But besides that? I’ve been staying away and playing other games, though I will return next week for the kick off of Festival of the Lost, the first truly major thing that will happen in about a month (and how “major” it will be is debatable).
I am not complaining about a lack of things to do in Destiny. I always knew there would have to be a slow period with the Beyond Light delay and I was not expecting anything major to be crafted to fill the gap. That’s not what this is about.
Rather, this time away has given me perspective on a few different issues with Destiny right now that I wanted to go over briefly here.
The Endgame Grind Doesn’t Hit Right
You will notice that I have not mentioned the double Nightfall reward week where Lake of Shadows was drowning players in prizes. I did a run or two but I didn’t farm that to high heaven like some people did.
Why? I just don’t find that chase particularly rewarding. I already have a solid amount of Prisms and Shards I have gotten from elsewhere, and a constant problem has been feeling the need to hoard these lest I need them for some perfect armor piece I get later. But now with armor sunsetting I feel like I’m even less likely to commit to investing in masterworking armor, and honestly, I find like I often don’t even need all ten slots for whatever build I’m doing. So it’s just not much of a motivator.
The same goes for exotic farming, which I don’t particularly enjoy. Hunting for rolls on guns? Yeah, there’s nothing quite like landing those perk combinations in just the right order. But I find stat total and distribution hunting on exotics far less enjoyable and not really much to get excited about. Since you cannot target farm exotics you are at the mercy of RNG to an extent where you will likely never get the exact roll you want, so why try? Something is missing here.
Temporary Gains Feel Bad
I know that one motivating factor in grinding is to skyrocket your power level through your artifact so you can make content like the dungeon or GM Nightfalls trivial (or at least bearable). But I cannot really get behind investing so much time into something that literally is taken away when a new season hits. Temporary power has never really felt like a great addition to the game, and I don’t find it motivating to grind for.
Post 100 Progression
So, in tangent to that, I think we need some sort of system that rewards players for longer term investment in gameplay, like Diablo’s Paragon system or Borderlands 3’s Guardian Ranks. Destiny has nothing like this, not even during a specific season, so when you hit 100 on your battle pass, that’s it, your rewards after that are almost non-existent, either mostly pointless cosmetic engrams (how many purple ships do I need) or temporary artifact power. I do not feel the long term investment in my character, especially now that even my gear isn’t permanently useful either.
Preparing For New Content
Similarly, I don’t love how the main way to “prepare” for Beyond Light is to once again, stack bounties. Not only is it incredibly tedious, but it’s just such an unsatisfying way to get ready for a new expansion. Actually increasing your power means very little since we know there’s going to be a big jump and soon enough every blue you get will equal every pinnacle drop you’re getting now. So instead you just stack bounties so you can get a surge of XP-based artifact power when the season hits and unlock whatever season-related nodes on the pass you can to get advantages there early. But this is not a fun or enjoyable way to prep, and speaks to larger progression and leveling and content gating problems in Destiny, which have been in place for a while.
All of this adds up to one simple thing that has allowed for this break: Without brand new content, I just can’t find a reason to play. I have a rough approximation of all the loot I want or could need, extra XP means nothing and materials have annoying caps that gum up my postmaster. The best times I’ve actually had this season have been doing old raids with my friends for Moments of Triumph, which was more about the experience than the actual reward. I suppose some can find that in PvP or Nightfall runs, but I don’t.
I am beyond hyped for Beyond Light, let me be clear. And yet I do think Destiny lacks motivation to keep playing even for small gains in these down times, and the further away I’ve gotten from the game the past month, the easier that has been to see.