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Bungie Responds to 'The Taken King' Controversy, but Players Still Aren't Satisfied

After a botched interview, Destiny developer Bungie attempted damage control and continued to fail.

After Destiny Creative Director Luke Smith's disastrous interview with Eurogamer left the game's core community feeling abandoned and ignored, he and Community Manager DeeJ stepped in to perform damage control. In an apology posted in Wednesday's Weekly Update, Smith acknowledged he had come across - in his words - as an Asshat. DeeJ promised Destiny fans that Bungie was working on making digital content from The Taken King available as a small DLC package. Apologies and concessions have done little to calm the angered Destiny masses, however.

In the past, vitriol levied at Destiny has seemed extreme. In a February 2015 Cracked article, Robert Brockway aptly described gamers' hatred of the game:

[T]hey despised it not necessarily because it was bad -- everybody freely admits the mechanics and atmosphere are great -- but because it could have been way better. There's an imaginary game of pure potential that exists only in gamers' heads, and Destiny is not that game, so Destiny is a piece of shit.

In many ways, the Destiny hatred until now has seemed much like biting the hand that feeds. Bungie's newest title has one of the most involved and active communities in the console gaming world. Destiny has been updated and patched many times since its September 2014 release, to meet both fan and developer expectations.

Today, the question is not about whether or not Destiny is the best it can possibly be, but whether or not the content The Taken King purchase options provide is worth the pricetag. Here's a breakdown of gamers' options at the time of this writing:

  • Destiny: The Taken King - Legendary Edition contains the original game, the first two DLCs, and the expansion pack. It's marketed primarily at newcomers who want to jump into The Taken King straight away. Price point: $59.99
  • Destiny: The Taken King - Collector's Edition contains Legendary Edition contents, plus a SteelBook case, modified copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, a strange coin replica, other assorted replicas and artifacts, and personal notes and illustrations from Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6, as well as digital content: class-specific emotes, armor shaders, and exotic, XP-boosting class items. Price point: $79.99
  • Destiny: The Taken King - Digital Collector's Edition contains Legendary Edition contents in digital download form, plus digital content from Collector's Edition. Price point: $79.99
  • Destiny: The Taken King - Digital Download contains the new expansion, plus exclusive content for veteran players: a sparrow vehicle, armor shader, and emblem. Price point: $39.99

In the Weekly Update, DeeJ announced that the digital content from the Collector's Edition will be released as a standalone DLC for $19.99, but the Destiny website has not yet been updated to reflect this.

Before the Eurogamer interview, Destiny veterans, having been promised Year 1 exclusives with the purchase of the Destiny: The Taken King - Digital Download, took to the forums to ask whether Bungie planned to make digital content from the Collector's Edition available to them as well. This was - and still is - the crux of the critics' argument: that players who already own all existing Destiny content should not be required to repurchase it for the sake of The Taken King

Fans have criticized Bungie's decision to price its two Collector's Editions at the same amount when the digital version contains none of the physical collectibles available in its counterpart. Additionally, the $19.99 price point for the Collector's Edition digital content as a standalone DLC ruffled feathers because, as Destiny players noted, the pack of nine in-game items would - at that price - cost the same as either of the first two Destiny DLCs.

When asked about gamers' concerns, all Smith could do was repeat the mantra that devoted Destiny players would see the value in Bungie's offerings. After issuing an apology that only created more controversy, DeeJ's second Weekly Update ignored The Taken King almost entirely, and focused instead on mobile apps and the much-talked-about Red Bull quest. For now, it seems, Bungie has decided to remain silent on the biggest issues threatening the success of The Taken King in September. It may be a prudent decision, but only time will tell.

Published Jun. 26th 2015

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