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So, What Exactly Is The Plan For ‘Destiny’ Year Three Content?
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So, What Exactly Is The Plan For ‘Destiny’ Year Three Content?

by GAMEFORCENovember 3, 2016
Photo: Bungie

Photo: Bungie

The idea was that Bungie was going to learn. That after the largely negative reaction to Destiny Year Two content, that perhaps some sort of compromise with the fanbase was in order. While the ultra-populated content stream of Year One might be out of reach, Year Three would give players more than the desert they trudged through in Year Two, which was largely made up of short “events,” and little else.

But now, as we’re almost two months into Year Three, not much seems to have changed, and in fact, things might be getting worse.

You will be hard pressed to find many people saying that Rise of Iron was as good as an expansion as The Taken King, albeit it was fun and useful in its own way. But now, as we head into this great unknown, we have almost no roadmap for Destiny Year Three content, and what we do have so far seems to be a lesser version of Year Two.

Bungie brought back Festival of the Lost, an event that many were excited about last year before they realized that it and events like it were going to be their replacement for actual DLC throughout the entire year. But this time, more than its first iteration, the Festival seemed less about a fun community experience, and more about herding people into the Eververse treasure box slot machine, locking a large amount of items in those pay-to-access crates, only allowing one freebie per week. Even with a few quests that awarded cosmetics, the overall impression was that this “Festival of the Cost,” as many have taken to calling it, felt much greedier than the last.

And now, what, exactly?

Bungie is starting to roll out challenge modes for different segments of the Raid, standard procedure, and it’s pretty clear that another Year Two event is returning, the Sparrow Racing League. Presumably it will come with new maps, and new bikes, and new reasons to buy treasure boxes.

Photo: Bungie

Photo: Bungie

We know that the vast majority of Bungie is hard at work on Destiny 2, a game that was rumored to be scheduled for this fall a long time ago, but was eventually officially announced for 2017. The idea now is that Bungie is aiming for a Fall 2017 release, but given the way Destiny scheduling has worked in the past, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it could be delayed to 2018.

But, assuming the holiday target is hit, the question remains of what happens to the game in the meantime. Once again, Bungie’s Live Team is saddled with the enormous responsibility of keeping players entertained and pressure from on high to make money through microtransactions.

It’s more or less certain that Rise of Iron will be the last major content pack before Destiny 2, whenever it does come out, meaning that more DLC, even something The Dark Below-sized, won’t be showing up this year. That means more events, more of Year Two, and I’m not sure how many fans are terribly excited about that.

The trajectory is the same. We’ve already had one of Year Two’s events return, and it seems likely another is going to be arriving shortly. And after that? Will we see Crimson Days again? Will we have another April Update?

It’s a strange place to be for a number of reasons:

– It’s hard to know what exactly would satisfy fans at this point. If actual DLC is off the table, what kind of “event” is even attractive? Would revamped raids do it? New PvP modes? Periodic, sprinkled story missions/exotic quests? Would that be enough? It’s hard to say.

– How much is actually realistic to expect from Bungie during this time period? How can a small team of people be expected to keep a playerbase of millions happy? I think Bungie’s lack of attention is forgivable, if they really are crafting a true sequel, which is something that normally takes years in other franchises. But the problem is that everyone still remembers how great Year One was in terms of a constant stream of meaningful content, and it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that’s impossible to reproduce when we had that first, glorious 12 month window.

– If Destiny 2 is a hard reset for Destiny, where players have to re-level and will possibly lose their gear (this isn’t confirmed, but it certainly seems like a possibility), then this creates a rather awkward situation for Destiny 1. Will the last hurrah for Destiny 1 not be a piece of great DLC, but a couple of awkward, microtransaction-filled events? Will it be some new April Update where players gamble for armor pieces in loot boxes and run a new Strike be the last thing we ever do with our Gen 1 Guardians? After such an epic three years, it would be a rather disappointing send-off, if so. But what would be a proper finale, given the restrictions in place? One last leap into the Vault of Glass? The Exo Stranger appearing and saying now she does have time to explain?

Photo: Bungie

Photo: Bungie

I don’t have all the answers here, but I do have some advice. While I understand Bungie’s desire to make money during this downtime, if they are going to be focused on events, they really, really need to tone down the monetization, which has been spiraling out of controls for practically a year now. Yes, Festival of the Lost is the latest example, but with the ornament/Silver Dust economy, gambling for Sparrows and full sets of armor, it’s bad, and it’s getting worse.

My idea? It’s time to offer some alternatives to the casino. Take the Sparrow Racing League v 2.0:

– Players have a small chance of getting new racing sparrows from actual sparrow races

– Players can choose to gamble for random racing sparrows in treasure boxes

– Players can pay a larger up-front cost for a specific sparrow they’re after

– Something like the “record book” comes standard with the event

To me, is a good balance of grinding for new content for free, offering the option to gamble, letting high-rollers buy cosmetic items outright without randomness, and encouraging people to show up in the first place by not charging for something that feels essentially to the experience (the record book).

Photo: Blizzard

Photo: Blizzard

That’s just one example, but it could be applied to other events as well. Destiny’s problem now isn’t just that events don’t feel like enough content, it’s that all are designed to extract money from players in increasingly obvious ways. They no longer feel like fun community holidays, but just a way to cash-in during the game’s downtime from its most loyal, obsessed players.

It’s going to be a weird year. Bungie is in a tough position to a certain extent, but they’re making things worse by over-monetizing what little content they are producing. Fans, on the other hand, can’t really start screaming about a lack of content when the studio doeshave an enormous sequel they’re actively working on. If we have to take a few steps back from actively playing Destiny in order to let them craft a proper sequel, not a glorified expansion, that seems worth the trade in the long run.

Destiny Year One was a mirage. Bungie almost killed themselves cranking out that level of content, and the after-effects can be seen in the years that follow, where up-front overload resulted in a massive drought. While a huge fall release with two DLC packs in the interim every year would have been fantastic, it’s abundantly clear that it just can’t happen.

But what Bungie can do now is make what little content it can produce in the meantime something players want, something that has the potential to make some extra money, but not designed so that is essentially the sole purpose, crippling the entire experience in the process. So far, we’re not off to a great start, but we’ll see where things go from here.

Source: Forbes

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