Destiny – This is fun!

The Dark Below – Sure, OK, I’ll bite

House of Wolves – A little better, but…

Taken King – I suppose

Rise of Iron – Oh, we’re still at this?

Okay, so maybe the reactions were a tad more excited than that – at first.  Therein lies the problem.  The reactions for the Destiny DLCs were always great at first.  Bungie has created a monster of a FPS freeform MMO game.  In Year 3, the game has decidedly taken a shape all its own.  The only comparable game to Destiny now…its Destiny.  This brings on problems; but also great opportunities.

It is a tad late in the game for a complete Rise of Iron review.  Additionally, if you’re into Destiny already, you will likely find some activities to extend playtime by another 50+ hours.  As for me, I found ROI to simply have new…stuff.  The facade has been upgraded, but it seems Bungie has settled on core game mechanics.  This time no real effects have changed from previously released Taken King.  The new goodies are a nice touch.  My favorite are new weapons Distant Star and Clever Dragon.  A scout and pulse rifle respectively.  Great design and excellent feel for these weapons has removed me from mainstay Hung Jury scout rifle.  I would like to see a solid non-exotic hand cannon to play with; a la Imago Loop.  Perhaps with next Iron Banana-fana-fo fana in November 2016.  I found the Oryx raid hand-cannon to be worse than vanilla.  Otherwise, the sandbox just grew with missions and other activities to do.  If you had no problems before with gameplay – you won’t now.

Whats next?  Destiny competes with Destiny now.  Sure it took elements from other games, to include Bungie-made contemporaries, but now the true mirror match begins.  There are a number of blogs, vlogs, interviews and articles out there fantasizing about Destiny 2.  All that is certain is that there will be a Destiny 2.  I now offer my opinion on where Destiny 2 can/should go.  I present this opinion as someone with virtually zero experience as a professional gamer, producer, director or tech journalist.  This means that it’s very very important; exempt from criticism and worthy of implementation post haste.

1. Reward players who spend time and effort, but don’t have a solid clan to undertake long/difficult activities.  

You don’t see this complaint as much anymore because Destiny newbies come in with full understanding that the community is well establish.  Clans, to their credit, seemed to have opened their doors a bit more to new players.  This was a big deal early on.  If you didn’t have G-Horn, you probably won’t get into an active clan.  If you didn’t have Fatebringer, don’t bother.  If you cannot describe yourself as “very experienced,” good luck to you.  I am a member of a clan – of good friends.  Our grouping is more for fellowship than to tackle raids; although we do try sometimes.  I have been invited to other clans, though.  These wanted time commitments, insisted on “lower” clan membership before “graduation” to the main clan, and pvp K/D (kill/death ratio) at 1.5 or higher.  To them, I believe, 1.5 was still pretty bad.  I balk at this, but hey – its a free country.  I want to have fun with Destiny, not create a new job with dumb pressures.

Reward those of us who play the game.  My hours on Destiny? 1124 hours.  Top 22% of Destiny players (estimated, of course).  My grimoire? 5190.  I have nearly all exotic weapons.  All the raid necessary weapons are max or near max…prior to Rise of Iron.  It took an act of divine intervention to complete Oryx Hard to complete the progress book for Taken King/Year 2.  I great deal of my loot was earned on my own, yet I constantly play with players who have completed many raids (or so they say) and have low grimoire, few exotics, not much time in-game playtime.  Stop complaining!! Yes, I know.  This is not to complain, but to make a point.  Where can I get goodies these other people can’t?  Should my time not be rewarded as basically single player superstar?  Where is my Sword Art Online loner praise?! I can write a book while playing every strike, shredding everything with best weapon for situation tactics.  My PvP is neat 1.2, which is crap I guess – unless you consider it started out less than 0.5 two years ago.  Lots of averaging ground to make up there.  Destiny 2 needs perks, weapons, etc for those of us who basically complete the game on one player and shred the game when “very experienced” raid teams won’t invite us…even though, most of the time, their “experience” simply means they were carried many times.  There I said it.

2. Keep the stuff that works; shed – don’t fix – the stuff that doesn’t

I read one Destiny 2 article commenting that Bungie remarked (they say a lot of things depending on who you ask) Destiny 2 will be a completely different game.  I’m fine with that.  Sort of.  Anyone remember Super Mario Brothers 2?  The United States SMB 2.  Boy, that was different!  Generally, SMB 2 is thought of as a departure from the source material; the aspects of what made the game what it is.  You can find SMB 2 on many good NES game lists.    Nintendo kept the stuff that worked, and shed the stuff that didn’t – not fix.  Destiny needs to stay Destiny – stay away from Battlefield (sloppy, messy, glitchy), new generation COD (overly cinematic), and beware wading into space battles or travel.

Destiny has the best FPS handling I have ever played.  I would argue no game has surpassed its weapons handling and seamless transition to melee and powered super moves.  I think the swords could be don’t better; but its still top notch.  This is why people come back to Destiny.  Even when people take extended breaks, they come back because its easy to play.  The point and shoot takes the best from COD, Killzone 2, Halo, and I also submit Resistance: Fall of Man.  Call of Duty honed the modern weapon feel (arguably from Goldeneye, but that’s a story for another time) while Killzone and Resistance merged the modern weapon and fantasy weapon.    Halo is, well, Halo.  I’ve only played it a few times, but I never liked its feel.  Read my lips: Don’t touch these game mechanics.

Remove RNG.  Just do it.  There’s nothing worse than doing a raid and hoping you get a certain weapon.  Remember earlier when I wrote I have nearly all exotics?  Yeah – still don’t have Vex Mythoclast (now PvE worthless), and still don’t have Necrochasm (worthless).  But…but…how many times have you done the raid?  It doesn’t matter.  I guarantee it was more than once, and in more than a few occasions I was the part of the “carrying” and not the “carried.”  If I spend the time to do the raid and demonstrate proficiency – give me the weapon, or a 100% way to acquire it through a quest, mission, or whatever.  I don’t care – say you need to beat the raid with fewer than 5 deaths, something tangible.  Look at my above stats again…there is no way I should not have those weapons.  I put in time and effort.  Randomness begins to bring you down.  This is where I mean “shed it – don’t fix it.”  Bungie tried to fix it with Touch of Malice and the new exotic pulse rifle.  Finish the job – no more randomness.  All exotics should be this way.  G-Horn, Thorn and Khvostov all have enjoyable missions.  You earn them – let us earn all of them.  Let us earn upgrade materials – or search for them on overworlds.  Even pay for them.  These are all fine options and are customary for games with RPG elements.

Infusion is really unnecessary.  The current process is a holdover from the insanely long legendary item upgrade fiasco where there was a cap on how much you could get per week/per character.  No more.  Simply make the materials more expensive or more sparse, but allow us to get them and earn them with the only limit being our skill and worthiness.  In Final Fantasy 7, the process for the golden chocobo is pure insanity.  The endeavor does include somewhat of a “luck” factor while waiting to battle black chocobos, white chocobos, etc and mating them.  The difference is the gysahl greens allow this to happen frequently if you can afford the right kind.  Your money and skill in mating is more important than the randomness of mating said chocobo to acquire the ultimate prize.

3. Take advantage of next gen capability

This is a forgone conclusion.  Rise of Iron has some graphical upgrades in terms of background effects.  They look a little sharper to me with constant snow as a nice touch.  Now is the time to go all out.  Several articles have alluded to a complete change in the way social spaces work and access to towns and cities.  Its nice looking down on the Last City from the tower, but strangely, when you try to go there – you die.

Do better with planetary maps.  We need a map HUD after landing on Earth, Mars, Moon, Venus, everywhere.  a quick push of the thumb pad could bring up a 3D HUD complete with YOU ARE HERE dot and dots for friends and clan mates.  Even The Division does that…and it doesn’t even cause you to fall through the Earth’s crust upon activating.

Give us better bosses than just a larger version of a smaller foot soldier.  Archon Priests = Large Vandals.  Cabal Generals = Large Cabal regulars.  Vex Bosses = Large Harpy, Large Hydra, etc.  We get it.  Large Tank = shoot legs.  Destiny improved slightly in later DLCs, but each time the increased difficulty, hinged more on the regulars who pour in cyclically than the boss.

Deepen weapon vaults.  Not sure if this is a server issue or just more RPG element.  Either way, I don’t see any reason to have vaults so small for those of us who like to collect.  I want to fire off old raid weapons I used to love, but keeping them takes vault space.  Don’t make me choose.  Earning that weapon again is improbable – probably not going to do the raid again (where RNG had to bless you with it in the first place) and there is no real strategic value against the current missions.  A matter of fact, raid weapons should remain active no matter what.  I understand Bungie wanted to take away the primary burns for balance issues.  Thats fair.  Is it hard to simply strip the weapon?  Maybe that is not possible.  Enter Destiny 2.  Design raid weapons that are yours for the long hall.  They take too long to get to just fade them away.

Finally, Destiny 2 needs to be for the fans.  All eyes on Activision.  Will they hack up the final product and allow another incomplete story to be told upon initial release?  Will they money grab a built in community?  Will they introduce pay to play?  The industry is on notice for their unsightly tactics with The Dark Lord Cthulhu…I mean Gamestop eroding video game economics.  Destiny 2 can break that, please fans, and create new ones.  For now though, Rise of Iron will do.