Please Sir, I Want Some More

By Jonathan Barnes, 2 years ago
Today's news about Destiny's first expansion shouldn't be a surprise to gamers. The developer (Bungie) and publisher (Activision) had already announced their plans for expansions well before the game's release, even going so far as to package the Season Pass into their special editions (which this writer, buying into the hype and seeing the potential value, purchased). The real news of this announcement is that, like the shipped game, this DLC appears to be skimping on content.


Throughout Destiny's development, Bungie would make allusions to the fact that it was the biggest game they'd ever made and hinted that, even after the limited depth of the beta, the final game would offer so much more. While many of these assertions are a matter of subjective judgment, one can't help but feel slighted by the final result. Promising a Christmas feast of content and showing up with a boxed lunch was one of the many knocks we had against Destiny in our official review. Today's announcement that "The Dark Below" would only contain three story missions, one strike, and one raid (as well as three new multiplayer arenas) smacks of outright thievery when the $20 price tag is slapped on it. As Xbox gamers, this slight is further exacerbated by the fact that Sony's deal with Bungie/Activision garnered them a timed exclusive on one of this expansion's strikes (something that Kotaku's Jason Schreier took issue with as well). At the end of the day, this expansion announcement does more to remind gamers of Destiny's lack of overall content than it does to excite them about this new morsel.

There are no two ways about it, Destiny had/has a lot of problems. The obtuse, post-20 leveling grind amplifies the unrewarding loot system... which draws focus to the lack of content variety... which reinforces the feeling that the game just isn't that good when playing by yourself... which points focus to the fact that you can't even access the game's (purported) best part without grinding through all of that drudgery AND finding five other friends who are just as crazy as you. The cherry on top of this sundae of problems is Bungie's continued meddling with post-launch "fixes" that do as much to impede the experience of gamers looking to find an edge in the game's highly suspect systems (Vaya con Dios, Loot Cave!) as they do to fix actual problems. All of that being said, the biggest problem Destiny has is its lack of compelling, varied content. The reveal that the first expansion is less of an "expansion" and more of the same short shrift should be a sign to gamers that these bite sized nuggets of content are all they'll be getting out of their investment.


The saddest part of this whole ordeal is that there's a good game locked away in Destiny somewhere; it has great mechanics and amazing visuals, but I doubt the slow trickle of overpriced DLC packs will make it better. As much as I hesitate to rehash all of the problems we pointed out at release, every time I consider jumping back into Destiny I always run into the same mental block of "Do I really want to spend my (limited and personally valuable) gaming time playing the same old missions and maps without the guarantee of any advancement towards the 'really cool' mission that I might do?" I typically answer in the negative and had been hoping that the influx of new content with "The Dark Below" would be the siren song that draws me back into Destiny. Unfortunately, today's reveal has just reaffirmed my decision to stay away for the time being. If "The Dark Below" were not already pre-paid with my investment into a Collector's Edition (and boy wouldn't I love to hop into the DeLorean with Marty and Doc Brown to take that one back), I would have permanently shelved the game months ago, but alas... I'll probably see you back on the Moon on December 9th.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.