My Destiny Is Unclear

As I'm sure many of you are also doing this week I have been playing a lot of Destiny. I'm enjoying the game and that's the problem:  I can already see the beginning of the end when it comes to my enjoyment of this game and it's complicating my current enjoyment.

That said, I'm still loving the gameplay.  I enjoy the feel of the arsenal.  I enjoy the Halo-style encounters that I'm placed in and the close calls that I only barely survived due to some split second decisions.  

However, unlike the Halo games the gameplay parameters do not feel perfectly crafted and tuned.  A layer of randomization has been added over everything: the number of hits needed to take down an enemy is no longer a product of impeccable balance but is now the byproduct of hundreds of dice rolls.  When was the last time the game gave me a suitable upgrade for my gear?  What are the stats on my primary weapon?  What is the level difference between the enemy and myself?  Which enemies did the game decide to spawn in at this time?

I touched on this before but some of the best gameplay experiences in Halo are the result of the constrained resource management that game forces you into on the harder difficulty settings.  I still remember running low on ammo and having to master the alien Needler, a weapon that I previously avoided, and quickly finding that it was fantastic in a variety of situations.  That kind of discovery is not possible in Destiny as you bring your arsenal with you.  Without this avenue of improvisational tactics adjustments, I can see myself cooling on the gameplay quicker than I would with the typical Halo game.

I'm also noticing a very stringent pattern in the story missions of the game: run to location, hold box to Tyrion, and then fight off waves of enemies.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  Eventually I'll reach a location that has a backing soundtrack and then I fight a boss. Mission end.

This pattern has held true for every mission that I've encountered so far, though I am still somewhat early in the campaign.  Normally, this sort of by-the-numbers story mission design would have dissuaded me from continuing but this game has a few structural differences that lend it some needed longevity.  This is due to the structure of this game being much closer to Phantasy Star Online than any other modern console action that I can think of.  

You have a central hub world where you can accept challenges, buy gear from vendors, identify items, and store/retrieve items from your bank.  

You head off to one of several larger world areas on a set of predefined missions and based on the mission that you select you are taken through various configurations of each area.  These configurations affect the path through the level you will take, which groups of enemies you will encounter, and the bosses you will fight.  Along the way you will collect loot in the form of armor and weapons dropped by enemies, techniques (similar to spells only using a type of magic called "sci fi tech") that can augment the way you play the game, consumable items that will buff you in ways that drastically change your tactics for a limited time, recovery items that will give you a leg up in combat, items that you can slot into your gear to alter the properties of your equipment, and currency.  Whoops, seems like most of that stuff is missing in Destiny.  Instead I have the opportunity to grind factional reputation.  *sigh*

Therein lies the rub:  while this game, structurally, reminds me of Phantasy Star Online it is lacking that game's fantastic item drop variety.

I enjoy playing this game, but I'm not sure how much longer I will be saying that.  How many more days do I have before I decide to load up another game instead for just one night?  How long after that before I forget that I still have Destiny installed?  I feel these are questions that I shouldn't be asking but I'm asking them, anyway.

I know I will quit this game, sooner rather than later.  Until then, I'll continue to have fun playing Destiny.


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