As someone who has spent a lot of their time playing MMO’s I was pretty pumped for the first solely console based MMO. But, as with anything that garners this much press, expectations rarely seem to win out when pitted against reality.
I want to preface this review by saying I really enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, Destiny. It’s an awesome game and anyone who enjoys shooting things in the head will have an absolute ball. However, when a game jumps onto the hype train it tends to disappoint.
To be fair, MMO does stand for Mass/Massive/Massively Multiplayer Online, three check boxes that Destiny ticks without hesitation. It’s massive in the sense that it sold $500 Million worth of copies on the first day. It’s multiplayer in that you can play with friends or join a Fireteam in-game with strangers. It’s online, like completely online, as an MMO should be. But, the issue I have with calling Destiny an MMO is that over the past ten or so years MMO’s have been categorized as something entirely different to what you get from Destiny. MMO’s are supposed to be huge open world sandboxes with countless quests and a plethora of crafting professions, whereas Destiny has a reasonably large map pool for a console based game, which is to say a tiny map pool compared to any PC based MMO, an awesome storyline quest, but not much more than that, and no professions.
At this point, a lot of people are probably going to jump up and say that Destiny is more of an MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter) than an MMORPG (MMO Role Playing Game) and that you can’t expect an MMOFPS to have all that stuff mentioned above especially since its console based. To that I say… Kinda. It’s hard to categorize a game where you shoot things with a gun but the progression system is based on acquiring better gear, unlocking subclasses and levelling up your skills. On one hand, yes, it is an FPS game, but on the other hand saying it’s an RPG is also correct. To those that would make the above mentioned point that Destiny is console based and cannot be expected to do all that any PC MMO can do, I would like to point to exhibit Skyrim. Meaning, c’mon Bungie, you guys could have knocked this game clean out of the park, but instead you decided to go for a leisurely stroll to first base.
So, where does this leave the person responsible for labelling the Destiny box? Because as we all know, if something can’t be chucked into a box and labelled, the world will blow up. If I had a say in naming the new genres I would call Destiny an MMOSPRGP, a Massive Multiplayer Online Solo Progression Role Playing Game. Pretty confusing, huh? What might be construed as an oxymoronic acronym is in-fact my thoughts on the game summed up into eight letters. Whilst you do have a lot of interaction with other players whilst on a Strike, also known as an instance to those of the MMO community, or during a PvP match, most of the game is based on your own personal ability to farm gear and level your character. In common MMO settings you would rely on enterprising individuals with too much time on their hands to go out and collect any required materials or rare gear that they can put up for auction, and lazy people like me who would buy said gear or minerals and thus craft or acquire better gear than what they currently have. With Destiny though, there’s no trading. Zero. Anything you acquire is solely based on luck and, as stated above, your ability to farm gear, thus pretty much destroying the essence of what makes an MMO truly Multiplayer.
The choice that Bungie made to not include an auction house or a trade mechanism in Destiny could have worked out pretty well, if they had included a way for players to craft their own gear, but instead, they created a system where by one of the only ways to acquire gear is to decode an item (the other being to grind like a crazy person and collect a million (hyperbole) motes of light and buy stuff from the class vendor). When I say decode I mean taking a coloured token and putting it into a slot machine because what you’re essentially doing is gambling your time away. MMO’s should be a collaborative effort. If you have a mate that’s playing as a Warlock and you get a Legendary item that you can’t use but he can, then you should be able to say: “Hey buddy, you want this?”, and he should be able to say: “Hell yes I want that!”, and then you give him that thing that he wants. But you can’t, and so you end up putting it in storage so that you can use it your ult, eventually.
I understand the need for reinvention, taking a specific genre and turning it on its head, but if you are set on doing so, comparing something to a pre-existing genre and claiming that said thing is in fact part of that genre defeats the purpose. On top of this, if you compare a game to a pre-existing genre, people will be expecting a certain type of game. With Destiny, I expected an MMO, and my word was I looking forward to spending weeks grinding through various zones, levelling my character to the level cap and then breaking into the end game content like a Greek breaks plates at a wedding. But I couldn’t, because there just wasn’t anything to break. As a standalone game without the so called MMO aspect to it, I would have said they did an awesome job. As an MMO though, there just isn’t enough. The game had immense potential, more-so than most, but they just didn’t utilise it.
If I said I was disappointed, I would be telling the truth, although not the whole truth. As I stated at the beginning of the article, I really enjoyed this game, and I’m still doing so three weeks down the line. I just feel that the potential that this game had was wasted and that certain mistakes were made by the development team in terms of what part of a typical MMO they should include in Destiny. Anyone worth their salt should get the game if they are able to, I believe it’s the first of many such games and getting in on the ground floor of something huge is always an appealing prospect. To all those MMO veterans such as myself, don’t expect Destiny to be the same as any MMO you’ve ever played, because it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it, and as such, I urge you to take it for a spin.
Destiny Rating: 8/10
Check out the Destiny website: Destiny