Putting the Story back in Destiny

One of the biggest reasons I play video games is to escape to other worlds and take a break from reality. I have a love for fiction of all kinds and consider myself a ” Movie Buff” ; at least as far as popcorn movies go. I have been playing video games since I was 6 years old and started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 12. I love fantastical stories involving Heroes and Villains, Epic Quests and daring rescues of captured Maidens.
It goes without saying that Star Wars is a BIG DEAL to me.

When Destiny was announced I , along with an entire planet of video gamers could barely contain my excitement. Bungie promised us the stars and in the end gave us a telescope to look at them from afar.This is a game that has a 10 year life cycle. Looking back I cant help but laugh at how naive I was to think that  we would be given a game that would have everything we could ever want in an epic sci fi setting. This was a business model after all.

Let me get this out of the way now. Destiny is an amazing game and delivers an equally amazing experience when it comes to its actual game mechanics ie. Shooting. The flavour of the world that Bungie has created is all over your screen and even the zone loading sections have been crafted in such a way as to draw you in to the Destiny Universe ( Watching your spaceship orbit a planet  then blast down through the atmosphere never gets old ).

Destiny has largely been criticized for not delivering on the story component of the game and in most ways that is a valid complaint. The one thing I have come to realize with this generation of games is that what we get for our hard earned money on day one of a games launch is by no means what we can expect to have in our hands a year later. Point in case ; Titanfall is a excellent example of a game that launched with a pretty skinny content vs Price ratio and gamers had a similar reaction to it citing a lack of story and minimal content for the $60 asking price. A year later and Titanfall is now a different game as far as content and replayability. Destiny will no doubt follow a similar path but the question on everyone’s lips is, ” What do we do while we wait”

I am actually in that very spot myself. I browse my digital library nightly looking for a game to play ( Gotta love not having discs to constantly swap in and out) and that little square Tile with the Destiny cover stares back at me almost as if asking ” Dwayne, why don’t you play me anymore?”. I have beaten the core game and completed all the missions the game has minus the raids. The story content has dried up and now I am left to grind away strikes and missions in hopes of getting legendary gear that will simply be used for bragging rights in the often quiet social space known as the Tower. Joy.

The Tower can get a little lonely at times
The Tower can get a little lonely at times

What tempts me more than the allure of loot and gear is simply the worlds and landscapes and to a limited degree the social aspect of the game. To me playing with friends is more enjoyable than anything  and my time in Destiny that was most enjoyable was when I was speeding across an alien planet on my Sparrow on our way to a mission. So how does a gamer inject some life back into a game that is currently in the midst of a ” Content-Crisis” ? Simple…add in your own story!
Remember when you used to play with action figures as a kid , pretending to re enact your favourite movies or episodes? Well its the same concept except now your figures are virtual avatars. Here are 3 Tips that will help you re invigorate your love for Destiny

Tip 1: Assume the Role

Try and forget your playing a game where your primary foal is to Grind your next level. Your a Guardian with  Space Ship for petes sake! Spend some time in the tower and let the game’s atmosphere flow through you ( Imagine I just said that in my best Yoda voice). Talk to some NPC’s in the tower and maybe take the time to talk to other players somehow( Bungie really needs to add a chat client to t his game!).  Part of what makes Destiny cool is the role you have chosen and remember; Not everyone in the Destiny universe is a bad ass Guardian capable of singlehandedly fighting off waves of enemies. Try looking at some cool concept art from Bungies site or on the internet ( I’ve posted some below ) to put you in the mood.

Tip 2: Every Mission is a story

Rather than simply loading up on Bounties and tackling a nights worth of strikes as a chore you should approach them as a nights worth of adventuring. Stroll up to the Bountie Tracker and select a bunch of bounties for the night with a theme. Say you and a buddy are teaming up and want to have some fun playing for the night. Settle on a specific planet and take bounties only on that planet ( Hey XYZ Friend lets do a Tour of Duty on Venus and round up some spare parts for a new gun I am working on back at my weapons bench) .

Hey Mr. Bounty Tracker Robot Dude. Anything new today?
Hey Mr. Bounty Tracker Robot Dude. Anything new today?

Maybe you want to grind out some crucible Bounties, then whip up a cool reason ( Hey “xyZ Friend” lets go hunt down some traitors/renegades in the crucible arenas tonight. Putting a little narrative spin on everything you do will enhance your time in Destiny and go a long way towards keeping you and your friends engaged even though you are simply plugging away at the same mission you completed 10-15 times before. Compartmentalize your time in game and have an end goal for each session that you log .

Tip 3: Enjoy the Scenery

The landscapes in Destiny are some of the grandest and beautiful ever put into a game. The sad part is that there are so many enemies populating them that you never really have a chance to take it all in. This is crucial to your Destiny experience! Bungie has a very talented art team and part of this world they are creating is very much tied to the history of the planets you are running around blasting everyone to bits.Its okay to stop and smell the roses for a bit. You’ll find that the vistas and scenery really give you a sense that you inhabit the Destiny Universe. Even the simple act of zipping around on your Sparrow avoiding canyon walls and blaster fire from hostile aliens ( Astute listeners will even notice that Bungie directly ripped off the Star Wars speeder bikes sound effects) can   suck you in.

Anyone up for some Pod Racing..errr...
Anyone up for some Pod Racing..errr…

Make a point  to return to the tower every once in awhile to recharge your creative batteries and also to purge your bounties and embark on new adventures with your friends.

Destiny may have not launched with a ton of in your face story but Bungie has layered the game with a lot of subtle lore and flavour. While most video gamers these days need a planet sized mallet to smack them between the eyes with a easy to understand story and narrative ; the more creative folks out there can inject some of their own ” Story Juice” into the game…at least enough to get us to the next expansion.

Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash

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