As Destiny continues to develop into a franchise, Bungie is still figuring things out. Things such as, “what the hell is Destiny?” Like, what is a Destiny game, really? What does it mean? Is it an MMO? No, according to people who want you to buy it if you don’t like MMOs. Is it a Halo successor? No, according to people who want you to buy it if you want a new MMO. Destiny is very much a vehicle for earning money in as much as it exists for the sole purpose of being a platform to attract long-term gamers, the hardest of the hardcore. Bungie has repeatedly stated that Destiny 2 is meant to be a “hobby,” meaning if Bungie and Activision had their way, it would be the only game people played, forever. But things keep happening that make people frown at Destiny 2, things that show chinks in the armor to the money-pits within.
Look, the XP thing was bad, but not really bad. It exposed a real problem, that is Bungie having internal communication problems. But nobody would be complaining if the XP showed the intended numbers. It led to more scrutiny however, as Bungie doesn’t feel like anyone’s “friend” anymore. Note: corporations aren’t your friends. Stop treating them like it. Anyway, Curse of Osiris came out as intended after all the drama. People, now looking more intensely for problems, quickly discovered and raged about how the launch of this expansion has effectively locked people out of content they arguably paid for already.
Holy smokes, what? Yeah, Destiny 2 pulled a MMO thing. But it’s totally not a MMO, right? Well. Here’s the situation, which will probably sound familiar to MMO fans. Destiny 2, like the first game, has tiered endgame content. There’s the Raid, the Nightfalls, so on and so forth. Then there’s this qualifier called Prestige. All this content is supposed to be challenging, because it’s meant for the endgame, as in the stuff that keeps you playing after all the story stuff is over. But Bungie doesn’t want you to touch it until you’ve done everything else, because they don’t want people getting their butts kicked and feeling discouraged, therefore dropping the only game they’re supposed to play forever. So, Prestige.
Prestige is content that is only accessible when you’re at the power cap. When Destiny 2 shipped, the power cap, or Light Level, was 300. Once you hit 300, you could go try your hand at the Prestige content. If you weren’t there, you couldn’t even try it. While I personally have been taking my time with Destiny 2 (aka I don’t have time to only play Destiny 2 forever), plenty of others have run through everything and have been enjoying the Prestige content leading up to now. The problem is, Curse of Osiris raises that Light Level cap to 330. Now everyone at 300 isn’t at the top anymore, and that includes people who haven’t even bought that content yet.
So, suddenly, the folks who put hours and hours into Destiny 2 and have been playing the endgame stuff can’t anymore, until they feed another Andrew Jackson into the machine. And then grind for however many more hours it takes to get up to 330. Sure, there’s more story content, missions, so on and so forth. And that’s fine. But because it locks content that was open before, it feels like more of a mandatory purchase than an optional, expansive one. Like an MMO. Because that’s an MMO thing. Effectively, for the time being, the retail price of Destiny 2 has been boosted from $60 to $80.
Does this mean Destiny 2 is a “ripoff,” some kind of trap? Lure people in with the fun game at a normal price, then trickle in with loot boxes, then drop the mandatory 20-dollar upgrade? It’s something people will spend some time arguing about, for sure. Perhaps a better alternative would be to separate the content. Go all-in on the MMO thing. That’s one of the biggest problems here. If there’s only one Raid, how do you balance adding a new level cap? By pushing people out until they pony up. You can’t have it both ways and expect everyone who opened their wallets to be happy. MMOs work because people expect and generally receive a constant flow of content. Events, multiple raids, on and on until the game stops running. And people do play only those games forever. Destiny 2 feels like a half-step between that and Season Passes, but the two ideas meeting at a halfway point causes these issues. I’m sure it’s excruciatingly difficult to figure out, especially with thousands of nerds screaming at you, but it’s gotta happen.