Destiny: The Taken King Review – After the HypeOctober 28, 2015
The reactions to Destiny: The Taken King were largely positive. The popular sentiment was that it was the game Guardians had been pining for, which kind of made Year One a disappointment of sorts. It’s easy to get excited about something new, especially for a game that hasn’t issued new content in roughly five months. While TTK is universally acclaimed as the best Destiny expansion to date, has it held up six weeks later?
It would be pretty lazy to simply say the answer is both yes and no, but it’s also the truth. Destiny is a game that “requires” a daily commitment, and a two-to-three hour one at that. So, a game that doesn’t feature a vast array of character customization and is confined within an FPS framework (with sprinkles of third-person) is going to wear thin over time, it’s just natural. However, the quest line system in TTK has introduced more content by tethering (pun intended) various tasks together with a more defined reward. The quest line system certainly isn’t perfect, but it accomplished two major things: Helped put some structure around a previously loosely put together story, and it gave Guardians an idea about the reward at the end of the quest as opposed to being completely at the mercy of RNG.
The quest line system has added far more content than the two prior expansions (The Dark Below, House of Wolves), as there are several Guardians who are still trying to complete a few lingering quests six weeks later. It’s hard to ask for more than that in terms of total content. So, on the one hand, there is always something to do when you sign-in. On the other, thinking about grinding out the same quests on two other characters can be extremely daunting. Granted, that is more of a systemic issue with the game, but perhaps Bungie will ease the grind by issuing some more account specific quests as opposed to character specific.
The Crucible (PvP) can be a real line in the sand for Guardians. For the most part, it seems that most Guardians participate in both the PvE and PvP aspects of the game. However, there are certainly those that heavily prefer one side of the house over the other, and often balk at the quest lines that marry the two together. As someone that enjoys everything that TTK has to offer (minus that terrible farming step for the exotic sword), I can see both sides of the equation. To me, PvP is what really adds longevity to TTK, and especially the previous expansions. Like several games in the FPS genre, despite playing the same map continually, there is something about the variability and competitiveness of PvP that compels one to participate over and over again.
With that in mind, while TTK introduced 10 new maps to date (nine if you’re on XB), it’s the new Crucible dashboard that is the real boon. Previously, certain Crucible types, like Elimination and Salvage, only appeared every now and then. Now, Guardians are welcome to participate in both of those types whenever they want, and as a result it has allowed Crucible types such as Inferno to be featured. There is now an option to participate in Crucible types in which TTK maps are largely weighted, or Guardians can enter “classic” 6v6, 3v3, and Rumble types on the older maps.
Two weeks ago, Guardians could participate in Iron Banner for the first time in TTK environment. The reaction by Guardians varied, as lag issues were still somewhat prevalent and the matchmaking was bizarre. Trials of Osiris was definitely the best part of the House of Wolves expansion, and Guardians are chomping at the bit to enter the foray this Friday. Now that rewards are dropping as Guardians accumulate wins, and matchmaking will also be based on the total wins of your fireteam, the stakes are higher than ever. If ToO is a success, it will go a long way in adding longevity to TTK. If it fails or is mediocre at best, Destiny may see a dip in its “competitive” player base with games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Battleborne, and The Division on the horizon.
In short, TTK is definitely the game that Guardians wanted from the start, at least in my opinion. It’s nice to see the Bungie took a years’ worth of feedback and implemented some global requests and desires. The grind is eased by the quest line system coupled with the fact that new quests are unlocked after reaching higher levels with certain vendors. While the commitment level of TTK has certainly increased and not every systemic issue has been overcome, TTK doesn’t lack in content on either side of the house. For those on the fence or for those Guardians who turned off their light in the last few months, it’s certainly a good time to return to the fight. With that said, we’re all waiting with bated breath to see how these newly introduced microtransitions will pan out.