Destiny (Review in Progress): Why Does It Feel Primarily like an MMO When It Wasn’t Intended?

I expose Destiny as being a MMO as one of my big issues in the games Review in Progress

Many gamers have been up in arms over Bungie’s latest title. While I haven’t completed my run through of the game, I want to air something that has been bothering me. 

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Disclaimer: This is a Review in Progress!

Many elements of the game are unexplored to me. This is an opinionated pre-review stance on a game in mid play. Take what I have to say with just a grain of salt.

 While I have a few complaints about the game that I could mention, as well as some praise, I will hold off on all of that until my final review. My impression is partially uncolored at the time of writing. What I will be doing is going over something that has piqued my ire about this game and about what it was claimed to be. Be warned, I hold no punches in any way when it comes to reviews, even the ones in progress. 

Destiny is a game that was pitched to us as a “first-person shooter that will incorporate Massively Multiplayer Online game elements.” Bungie wanted to avoid making it just a traditional MMO game, but to me that’s exactly what the game is becoming.

The core of Destiny is a story that involves you being a protector, or as they are called Guardians, of an all powerful being known as the Traveller. Your overall goal is to fight off an impending enemy and try to understand the events in the universe so that you maybe able to put an end to it. Missions are the primary way of advancing through the story, or what one tries to exist outside of what I have explained anyway. You are dropped in certain zones on different planets, such as Old Russia on Earth and The Moon, where you have to complete said missions in a typical RPG style. 

So far sounds like it’s not much of an MMO, but I’m just getting started. 

Throughout your travels, you must complete these missions, raise your level (which has a standard experience cap of 20) and complete certain objectives.  However this is where Destiny begins to falter away from the RPG element and dip straight into the MMO pool. You’ll start seeing names populate on your screen in the distance with a number, indicating other players and their levels, either completing the same quest as you or leveling in the enemy rich areas.

You cross paths with these players, they can even snipe your kills away from you if they are inclined to. They change the standard experience completely just by existing, at least that’s what I see. You are never truly alone in this game unless no one is playing.

The Tower and Its Many Players

Outside of the missions, you can head back to the central hub, dubbed The Tower where players will gather in mass and collect quests, buy new gear, or just dance around on top of buildings. Yes the options to wave, sit, and dance are all standard to your game pad. As if interaction was something that was integral to your gameplay. 

At this I started thinking something was a bit off, giving me interaction options in an RPG? I’ve played plenty of RPGs but never have I had that option, not in Final Fantasy, not in Skyrim, and definitely not in Legend of Zelda. Sure these maybe weird comparisons but they are the essential RPGs I played throughout my life. I mean if we are going to give something a title, it has to somewhat resemble what we’re calling it. 

Moving on past the Tower, you have your options on where to travel, different planets and areas which will help you progress. Among these options are Crucible matches, which are the typical online multiplayer game battles. A Capture the Flag like mode and Free-For-All mode are included in these battles, which would be perfectly fine if they were separate and if they had no bearing on the main campaign.

This is not the case. Within these matches, you earn points for different clan factions listed throughout the game, which once these points are accumulated you can trade them in for new armor or weapons that you can use within the campaign. The experience you gain in these matches even goes toward your overall in game level. 

Are we seriously still not calling this an MMO, just flat out ignoring that this is what it has become just because Bungie wants it not to be called by such titles?

The Real Breaking Point

The last straw for me was the inclusion of Strike Missions which make you pair up with two other players. Strike Missions pit you against the standard enemies, but will ambush you with wave upon waves of them that soloing would make it practically impossible. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but for someone not well versed in First Person Shooters could find it very difficult. As if that wasn’t enough, there are large “Bosses” towards the end of the missions which are labeled with a skull icon. It takes a long amount of time to take out, unless you have more than one player gunning it down. 

I’ve been stuck in a mission like this where I was alone, the two people I was paired with dropped out due to how hard it was. I can attest that I spent the majority of the time hiding and popping off enemies till another set of players joined my game. I made no progress as the little enemies continued to respawn as the boss stomped his way around the level. This only serves to prove that Destiny was meant to be played with others, meaning this has become, in essence, a standard MMO experience. To say otherwise is just a slap in the face.

Just call it like you see it

Denying the type of game Destiny really is would be pointless. I can understand if they never intended to be an MMO but if you change it mid developement, just own it. 

I still have plenty more complaints, graphical glitches, unhashed story, and limited developement but I will cover them in the full review later on. Not to say I haven’t found positive points to Destiny, I have and will discuss those at length as well.  

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Jay Prodigious
Have been writing since I can remember, have always loved reviews (gaming mostly), and have a knack for the written word.