Monday, January 11, 2016

The State of Destiny 2016

I've been outspoken about Destiny since it's launch. Sometimes I've praised it, and other times I've outright bashed it because of it's growing laundry list of problems. Even with it's major downsides though I continue to play the game with friends, and admittedly so. I liken said experience to beating my head against a brick wall, but finding euphoria in the trauma induced dizziness afterwards. It's just one of those things in life, I suppose ...

Seeing as it's 2016 I figured in my spare time between reviews that I'd try to breakdown my thoughts on what Destiny has become, and what needs to be done in order to revive fan's faith in the game/series. I definitely have a lot to say, and honestly a lot of it is going to put the game in the negative spotlight. At the same time though I want you to understand that I don't want to see the game fail. I don't want to see it in the state of mismanagement that it's in. I'm hoping the team at Bungie can get it together enough to do what needs to be done in order to reverse the damage that Destiny's current build has done to the morale of those who have invested so wholly in it.

Destiny, as we all know it comes in two flavors. By that I simply mean you have vanilla, or you have chocolate (mmmm .... chocolate!!!). Just kidding, lol! What I really mean is that you can either enjoy the co-op experience that is PvE, or you can brave the online disaster that is PvP. PvE, or rather the online co-op portion of the game which pits you, and your friends against the galaxy's most heinous monstrosities is a tolerable experience that is only plagued by weapon balance issues, and the doing away with what you've worked so hard to earn in previous expansions. How would one go about making PvE better, you ask? It's simple, really. All Bungie has to do is make weapons from all expansions viable in new expansions. We all have worked our asses off to earn the legendary, and exotic weapons/gear since the game's debut only to have them rendered useless when a new expansion rears it's ugly head. There is no justifiable reason for this. None whatsoever.

I do understand that one might think older weapons might play a role in balance issues with other expansions, and expansion offerings, but the truth is that this is only the case if weapons do not do uniform damage. To remedy the problem that is gun balance (or the lack thereof) one would simply have to make weapons do the same amount of damage universally at a base level. Only allow for perks, or weapon upgrades that will affect how the weapons are used. Do away with the extra damage boosts, health tweaks, and and light levels attached to said equipment. By doing so you would make the weapons balanced in effectiveness, and only advantageous to those who would spend the time to properly learn how to utilize them in PvE, or even PvP. If you are worried about space, or storage associated with keeping the growing collection of weaponry intact all you have to do is revamp the storage system. Make it a listing instead of a grid based unit with limited blocks. Text listings take up so much less space when it comes to loading the initial storage contents, and it allows for things like individual weapon pop-up screens which can be viewed by clicking on said text. Hell, make it a scrolling list if you have to, and make it accessible to the gamer in a fashion that's similar to a game like "Final Fantasy 7". There's no need to make players do back and forth trips to a tower in order to micro-manage equipment, and various other character oriented tasks in a game. Just tie it all in with a proper pause button triggered menu system.

When it comes to the PvP side of things the issues at hand are an entirely different situation. Beyond the previously mentioned weapon balancing PvP suffers from a plethora of connection problems. I won't hold back in saying that 90% of those problems are tied to individuals using modded consoles, mods, or other forms of connection manipulation to cause grief to Destiny's online gaming community. The proof is out there. You simply have to do some research, and you'll find all kinds of mod websites, and exposure videos up for your viewing pleasure. So far I've seen me, and my friend get shot through walls. I've seen players not take damage. I've seen players disappear and reappear (not go invisible). I've seen a Titan player glitch in two super attacks in sequence. The list goes on, and on. In fact with each passing match I play in Destiny's Crucible I see new forms of cheating. How would one combat this situation? There is only one sure fire way to stop the problem that is modding, and that is by banning the players console from online use. This would have to be a joint effort on Bungie's, and Sony's behalf. There's no way around it.

The bad thing is that I fear the problem will not be solved any time soon due to the lack of caring on Bungie's, and Sony's behalf. It's either they don't care enough to stop the escalating abuse, and "harassment (I'm looking at you Sony)", or they can't figure out how to deal with it. I know from personal run ins with modded account users that they have numerous accounts tied to their modded consoles for masking their true identity. This is why I say a complete console ban must be administered to stop the player/s from abusing the system. Simply banning one account won't even put a dent in the problem. The offending gamer will just go to another mirrored account, and continue harassing all the legit gamers out there. There cannot be a second guessing in what needs to be done. The ban hammer needs to be dropped like a punishment from the gods. No mercy must be shown.

The only other way to deal with the issue that I know of is to separate region access by servers from each other, but not definitively so. Whether we want to say it or not certain country's gamers are known for their online tomfoolery (In saying that I am fully aware that Americans are at fault too, so don't you dare call me racist). If the servers were region separated, and only mutually accessible through friend relations made through the console of choice this would stop the problem. It would also do away with a lot of the distance related lag issues gamers encounter in competitive online games. At the same time friends who are from different countries would still be able to play together if they so wished as long as they were friends on the console of choice. I hate for there to be a dividing line, and I know fully well that server expenses would come into play to implement such a thing, but let us be honest with each other. There are certain countries whose gamers we'd rather not encounter in an online environment due to the repeatedly bad online experiences we have faced when playing against them, America included.

As far as making new friends, and hooking up with other like-minded gamers goes social sites, and forums do a perfect job of connecting gamers. There's no need to have to play against/with random players who are going to "harass" you through their online actions, or reactions. This is the only other viable option we've got that I can personally think of outside of the console ban hammer option. It could also possibly help the narrowing down of hacking suspects for when/if such an incident happens. Having to search through global servers is like looking for a needle in a haystack while having to look through smaller country specific servers for a hacking link would be much easier to deal with. Think Sony, think!

I think I'm gonna close the article in saying that Destiny is currently in a dire state of emergency. It's losing players due to the drawn out grind, and it's losing fans because of the failing quality of the overall experience. I don't even know if I'm willing to invest any more money into Destiny, or future Destiny games. I honestly feel like it would be throwing away my hard earned cash at this point, especially since I don't actually own the game (You pay over $100 to have the privilege to play it online knowing that the game could eventually go offline permanently rendering all that you've invested in it useless). If you want my money Bungie then earn it. That's all I've got to say.

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