Forsaken? Maybe. A lot of changes have come.
The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of changes for Destiny 2. Cayde-6’s passing being the one we all knew was coming, but many other changes as well.
A few Call of Duty players I knew didn’t like Destiny because the player vs player (PvP) combat was ‘too slow’. This is no longer the case. A lot of explore everything type players didn’t like Destiny because there wasn’t a lot to do. This is still the same, but it isn’t.
There was a bunch of story items leading into Forsaken and not just the trailer. Oh, that trailer. For Cayde fans, it was hard to watch – but watch we had to.
But that was far from the only way Bungie decided to play with our heartstrings. August 28th, Bungie posted a news item that ended with Cayde’s final letter to his friends and fireteam.
That was enough for me, but if you read the entire news entry Bungie began dropping secrets again. Simple cryptography this time, not like the elaborate Warmind promotional event.
Bungie was going all out with what was happening – and a lot of people were excited.
The idea behind Forsaken is that there is a jailbreak in the Prison of Elders, and you help Cayde-6 and Patra Venj. Sounds like any other Destiny Mission right?
Except we know the ending. Uldren Sov is going to kill Cayde-6. So starting through the mission, excited thoughts of “I’m on Cayde’s fireteam!” quickly tarnished.
But it’s important to note that’s only because I like Cayde-6. Nathan Fillion had injected his own cheekiness into the fairly 2-dimensional quest giver, and hearing his quips was a highlight of mirth during many repetitive missions.
And it’s here, about 2 minutes into the first Forsaken mission, that it started feeling wrong.
Cayde-6 is voiced for Forsaken by Nolan North, doing a Nathan Fillion impression. And because you can hear Nathan’s Cayde during the game back to back with Nolan’s, it feels wrong. Now, this is a nitpick, but it’s a point that kept pulling me in opposing directions during the game.
But the mission itself is standard fare, and is fairly enjoyable. Playing with my primary hunter (that I put zero effort in trying to max out to the Solstice of Heroes 400 power level) it was a straightforward mission.
A few new enemy types seem to be in the mission, but it’s hard to know for certain. It was a straightforward run, with moments of Cayde-6 popping in and out.
And then Petra Venj realises the truth, and the beginning of the end for Cayde begins.
You get there to late to help Cayde-6, but the story enemies are all on display. The Scorn Barons, and Uldren Sov himself. In terms of send-off, the cinematic cutscene of Cayde’s final stand is amazing.
It’s hard to describe, but seeing the realisation of overwhelming odds and acceptance that he is going to take as many with him as he can is amazing. If you enjoy Destiny, this is the sort of scene that is right up there with Blizzard, and you should play it and watch it.
If you don’t play Destiny and want to see what I am talking about, IGN posted a YouTube video here. Even not knowing the character, it’s still enjoyable but some subtleties may be lost.
Once all this is done, you take Cayde-6 back to the Traveller and witness his friends dealing with the news.
And here comes a spoiler, but I need to add it to demonstrate another small ‘off’ with Destiny 2 Forsaken.
It’s only a few words, but the silent guardian rule is broken. The theory behind the silent protagonist is that it puts the player into the role more. The words you are thinking/saying/screaming at the TV is what the Guardian is saying.
Breaking this rule lends weight to the scene, yes. But at the end of Forsaken and the beginning of the end game, when this speaking would be more appropriate again, the silent protagonist rule is enforced again.
Looking back, here is where Destiny 2 as a solo story game starts to come unstuck for me. Any game with rules and systems needs to stick to these rules and systems, but Forsaken has become something new and with exceptions.
For example, Cayde-6 is Dead. New players (or characters) no longer have to speak to Cayde for story plots like unlocking patrols. According to a Bungie post, they will unlock when you max out your character level +1.
So why is Cayde still speaking during missions? Why not remove the audio files as well to keep the ‘Cayde’s gone’ consistent?
And this is where for me, Destiny 2 is coming undone. I really enjoyed playing through Forsaken story missions, but there was so much inconsistency between a world with Cayde, and a world without.
So I have a game that is fun to play, yet simultaneously feels off. During it’s big ‘we fixed it’ reboot.
The endgame – The Dreaming City
Once you finish with the story, you start playing Destiny proper, same as always. And Bungie have given players a huge area to explore, with many old school secrets to uncover and timings to work out.
And here’s the thing. I don’t want to. Not really.
Not because I don’t think it will be any good, the things I have heard and a couple of YouTube videos I have seen make it look amazing!
I don’t want to because of major changes to the upgrade, masterwork and light systems.
If you want to ‘masterwork’ your weapons and armour, you need to upgrade them in levels which use a bunch of resources, including masterwork cores. To strengthen your equipment you need Glimmer, Legendary Shards, Masterwork Cores, and Planetary Resources.
Now on its own, this looks like a good way to reward running around the universe and not neglecting any areas. What I am getting though is a resource farming exercise that will force me to play areas for a few hours a week to upgrade my weapons again, especially now I have hit the level 500 soft cap.
A key ingredient is also Masterwork cores, where the only way to get them at the moment is buying them from the Tangled Shore from The Spider. Again sounds good, but each one you buy doubles the price, but the price resets each day. So timed rewards are a big part of the integral play.
This is great for people with the time to log in each day, but players like myself that play maybe twice a week are about to be left far behind.
Even Xur has changed. Each week, you could get a new Exotic (at a price) and a shot at a random as yet to be collected Exotic. Not anymore apparently.
At the end of the day, it feels like Bungie has listened to the more hardcore player base that was not satisfied with the more casual friendly Destiny 2.
Strike and Iron Banner bounties must be in their respective armours, which you earn consistently by beating those game modes. So you have to grind a play mode in order to get the rewards you need to get the rewards for the play mode. Not everyone has the time to put into this, and the players that have played this from day one have a huge advantage in these modes.
This isn’t meant as a ‘poor me’, rather just how it feels. Take Gambit and the ‘Ace of Spades’ quest for example. The first step is to shoot five invaders with a hand cannon – OK, straightforward. When the other team comes over, be the player to kill them with a hand cannon. Five times. Grinding, but doable.
Except that the player level advantages in Gambit are on, meaning the higher level players have all their character and weapon advantages and bonuses. On top of map familiarity and all the rest of the advantages that come from playing a game a number of times. It’s true it doesn’t stop new players from putting in the effort, but how many times do you want to play a game that hits you in the head repeatedly for trying?
Too much of a grind for me
I have played one character solo for about 11-12 hours, doing some of the new bounties and the old flashpoint challenges, but mainly just Forsaken missions. Two hours of that was also spent just trying to do one bounty mission that recommends level 540, and I just kept dying with no progress made. I am now level 502, with my highest piece of equipment 505. Out of 600.
Harls, on the other hand, has about 20 hours with his main character. His best level equipment at the moment is 520, with strikes, raids, bounties and the dreaming city with some other clan members. It also includes Gambit and other PvP play, which I am not interested in even trying with the weapon loadout changes.
Basically – if you are all in on PvP games with resource grinding conditions for new loot, Destiny 2 has bought you your game back. And it has done it well – it’s just not for me.
I have mixed feelings about this one. For me, I can all but say I am done. I might jump in at the end and spend a day doing the stories, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
A lot of the changes are what Player vs Player fans have been asking for, but I don’t want to play PvP – especially with the new changes. This isn’t a knock against the players that do, it’s just not the game I want to play. Destiny is not firmly back in the Battlefield/Call of Duty camp for me multiplayer, and I don’t play them either.
Solo, the different story layout and bounties give a point to running around, but if I am going to resource farm – Stardew Valley and Graveyard Keeper are on my ‘must play’ list, and I think I will start playing them now.
Destiny 2 is free on PlayStation Plus at the moment, and if you thought Destiny 2 was ‘too casual’ this is probably the game for you now. If you just want to pick it up and play, probably play the base game for free and see if you want to invest.
Until next time,