27 Aug 2017

Destiny 2: Cautious Optimism

Destiny 2 is right around the corner. For console players, just a few short weeks remain before launch day. PC gamers will have to wait until late October for their turn, but the open beta this week should help soften the blow. It’s a time to check system requirements, clean out drive space, and ponder on that preorder.

And yet, Destiny 2 is not a ‘must buy’ for me. Not yet, at least. My experience of the original Destiny was a triumph of missed expectations – I’d hoped for a deep and involving storyline that took us to fantastic places, and instead we got a mediocre script and lacklustre voice acting. Once the shrink-wrap sheen wore off, it slid into the ‘some-other-time’ shelf, next to my PS4 copies of Battlefield 4 and Final Fantasy XIV.

Still, I’d keep coming back. About six months ago, I hauled the console out from under the TV and into my home office, just so I’d feel more compelled to fire it up and get some games in. I picked up the expansion pack for Destiny, which improved the experience hugely, and progressed up to level cap. There’s still more of the saga for me to complete, but I feel like I’m getting the gist of Bungie’s vision now. It’s just a shame it took so long for me to get there.

Which is why I decided to check out the Destiny 2 beta on PS4 earlier in the year, and why I’ll be trying out the PC beta later today. I much prefer using mouse and keyboard for first-person-shooters, plus I have a much bigger network of friends on Battle.net ready to play alongside. Besides, there’s a meaty Nvidia 1080Ti and 4K monitor just waiting to devour all of those glorious pixels.

Treading Carefully

Why am I still cautious? It’s because, apart from my notes above, Destiny felt like an incredibly solitary experience. Sure, I regularly did fireteam instances, but I could have been alongside a couple of AI for all I knew. I treated it as a solo experience, and it treated me as a lone player in return.

By contrast, my Warcraft and Hearthstone contacts have been gearing up to get involved with Destiny 2. It already feels like we’ll be able to set up a clan and regularly chew through content. Plus, the PC version comes with a chat box!

I’m also hoping for more world building this time around. When I first looked at Destiny, I couldn’t decide if it was going to be a full-fledged MMO, or just an online persistent FPS. Although it’s much harder to tell from a thinly sliced beta, my opening experience with Destiny 2 on the PS4 leads me to believe that the story will have more weight this time around. The why will be as important as the how.

Looking for Group

Even so, the MMO schedule is hugely cluttered at the moment. Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire launches in less than a month. World of Warcraft patch 7.3 is due to hit servers soon. SWTOR just got a content update. If you’re an MMO nomad, that’s a lot of plates to keep spinning. 

Will Destiny 2 get a slot in my gaming schedule? I hope so. After all, it sounds ideal: plenty of solo RPG content when you want it, mixed in with group play on-tap when everyone’s online. If the next few days work out well and we manage to run through the content a few times, I’m definitely keen to give it a chance.

And if not? Well, there’s always something else on the horizon.

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