Sometimes horrible behavior is like a great storm, crashing upon the land to wreak it’s havock only to leave a quiet calm in it’s wake. This is Sour Pineapple’s second law of jackasses: Jackasses seek to avoid equilibrium and instead converge towards the highest possible concentration.
That being said, weeks will occasionally go by where no one in the gaming world makes a particularly noteworthy fool of themself or treats someone in an especially terrible way. It is in these quiet times that we can take a moment to reflect upon the simple things in life, the kinds of asshats who are always with us.
So today let’s talk about Bungie and the train wreck that has been the Destiny franchise. For starters I’m going to state that, despite it’s many maaaannny flaws, I loved Destiny. I put countless hours into that game. My Ghost and I patrolled the inner solar system, fighting to protect the Last City and The Light.
Even though the game stumbled out of the gate and continued to stagger afterwards it did eventually get to a state that could be regarded as a well made game. It showed it’s potential from the beginning with an interesting, if sparse, plot and very fluid and enjoyable gameplay. In my opinion it set a very high standard for gunplay and kinasthetics in a FPS.
Myself, along with many others, thought that sad days were behind us. Oh how wrong we were. Sad days were here again.
I picked my pre-ordered copy on launch day ( I said before I was part of the problem but I’ve grown and learned so shut up you’re not my real dad!) and dove back into to fight with high hopes and a song in my heart. I watched through the opening cinematics ready to lay the smackdown on some cosmic jabronies and save the City once more. About 20 hours later I was done and came to the crushing realization that we had come full circle. There was nothing left but a grind through recycled content with nothing new to look forward to.
But still my heart held on to hope. It was the first week of a game that was part of a franchise that had limited time events and additional content on the way. What I should have known was that the content would be as lackluster as the first months of the previous game. In reality it was more so. The removal of randomly generated weapon stats killed any reason to grind for minmaxed gear. The new public events and pvp set up were obvious downgrades from the first game. Even the weekly content left little to do for substantial reward after only a few hours of play after reset. My loyal guardian heart learned the true meaning of loss.
Then, as the rose colored tint faded from my glasses and I could see the truth. My beloved Destiny was the victim of a pair of insidious diseases. It was struck down in what should have been it’s time of victory by a team of intersecting cancers that knows no remorse. Destiny was killed by greed and incompetence.
As more and more people began to look deeper at the game there were a variety of issues coming to light.
First was the banning of PC players for using software that was considered to be manipulating the gameplay in the same way as hacking tools or aimbots. Bungie claimed these were each reviewed in depth and that all band were valid. Later it was shown to not be the case and Bungie eventually admitted that it had made mistakes.
The Bungie shit the bed further by throttling XP gains. Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been much of an issue except that XP gains were a way to gain Bright Engrams, a form of loot boxes containing items that players really wanted. The other way to get them was using real money to buy them. I’m sure you piece that puzzle together.
It then lied about the throttling, announced that they were no longer doing it, and then just doubled the XP needed to get an Engram and accomplished the same shitty goal.
All the while Bungie repeated that it was listening to feed back and working to correct the issue. But it continued to grow more apparent that all of it boiled down to two things: The wanted us to spend more on the game and they weren’t capable of making the game worth staying engaged with.
And don’t get me started on the damn Eververse store, the in game microtranaction hub. Tess fucking Everiss and everything revolving around that shit show of a monetization strategy showcases the absolute worst of exploitative business practices.
Even more controversy followed. Shit DLC, piss poor communication from the company, game changes no one wanted, no changes that people did want, and on and on and on. There could be entire college courses taught on all the ways Bungie mishandled all this.
I say all of that to say this: don’t be forgiving of developers and publishers repeating mistakes. They do happen and no one, not even me, is perfect. But repeated behaviors are not simply mistakes. They are indicators of an inability to handle one’s responsibilities at best, and a desire to manipulate and do harm to others at worst.
Hold your standards high and if you aren’t happy with the product or service you receive for your money then say so. Become a part of the conversation. Only by continuing to put pressure on the industry that so often treats it’s customers with disdain can we expect to make change. If they fail to change there is only one option. Walk away and leave them to implode.
Eyes up guardians