I’ve been seeing a lot of “Why I’m Quitting Destiny” internet posts lately and I’m not surprised, as I think the game is misunderstood. Most people consider this game to be an action/adventure shooter. I do not. As I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, I believe that Destiny is a MMO first and a shooter second. Granted, it is heavily gutted from titles such as World of Warcraft, but it portrays the exact same characteristics as any other MMO I have played in the past, including endless grinding (in this case, for materials to upgrade your gear), and faction gear that can only be obtained by grinding reputation. One of the other, most notable changes is that prior to major releases, old content is scaled down in difficulty, and new gear almost immediately trumps end-game content. In other words, the playing field is completely balanced mere hours into new content, as old gear does not keep up against its new counterparts.
But what one of the greatest characteristics of any MMO I have played, and one of the reasons why I think that Destiny contains much more depth than may like to give it credit for, is the endless pursuit of character (or weapon) balance, game mechanic modifications, and the continuation of new events. Unlike World of Warcraft, where I pay $15 a month to keep the content flowing, Destiny has instead elected for a onetime fee with optional downloadable content packs for major content. Still, the folks at Bungie have continued to give us some new things to sink our teeth into.
All of this brings me to today, just eight days before the first official expansion, The Dark Below. We’ve seen significant improvements in this title since its launch, and were just treated to yet another modification, this time bumping the game up to Version 1.1. Here are some of the highlights of the new, absolutely free, modifications to the ever growing universe.
EASIER GEAR GRINDING. As I mentioned above, MMOs always like to bring new customers into the mix with equal footing to the previous content. As such, Bungie has announced that Ascendant Energy and Ascendant Shards will no longer be required to level up current Exotic Weapons and Exotic Gear, respectively. Instead, standard upgrading materials (or glimmer!) will be utilized. The final upgrade for any piece of Exotic equipment will be a new crafting material, an Exotic Shard. These can either be purchased from Xur for 7 Motes of Light or by dismantling an existing piece of Exotic Gear. In addition, Exotic Gear will now start with higher statistics. They will remain at the same peak values, however. This ultimately means less upgrades are required to reach maximum efficiency with gear.
UPGRADED EXOTIC STATISTICS. How many times have we seen a weapon nerfed to oblivion, only to make a triumphant return in future game balancing patches? Bungie has outlined a series of changes to most of the Exotic Weapons, whether they be to increase the rate of fire, the number of bullets in a magazine, or to modify the existing perks of a weapon in favor for another (Send It upgrades now become Speed Reloads, as an example).
QUICKER MATERIALS. In the past, I’ve spent hours (upon hours!) farming various planets for required destination materials (Spirit Bloom from Venus, etc). Now, these destination materials are going to come to players in a much easier fashion. Completing a daily heroic mission will now grant destination materials (this is based on whatever mission/planet you are assigned for that given day), which is a great way to pick up a few extra crafting supplies. In addition, patrol bounties will also include a few extra destination materials as well. And if these are not for you, players can now cash in their Vanguard or Crucible reward points to buy materials. Unfortunately, Ascendant materials are still only obtained via random events and by dismantling Legendary equipment from vendors, although with the other changes coming, I suspect they will be available somehow soon as well.
And although it’s been in an older patch, its worth pointing out that many of the control zones have been moved slightly to allow for better flow on each map. I’ve engaged in my fair share of control matches and I am happy to report that the new zones do ensure there is less special weapon, super charge, and overall gunfire spam as a result of moving points away from tight corridors and into more accessible, open spaces.
With The Dark Below coming to us in just a few days, I expect that we’ll continue to see a list of modifications to the existing game. For those of you who picked up the game but haven’t really touched it in the past two months or so, I’d highly recommend you log back in to see all of the new changes, and overall improvements, the game continues to make.
For those fellow Guardians out there who are still enjoying this title (as I continue to!), let me know what your thoughts are regarding the new content. Are you happy that Bungie continues to modify existing Exotic Weapons or did you prefer the game’s original balance? Sound off below!