Incentivisation is a really tricky thing to deal with in terms of most games. Developers need to give reasons for players to keep playing their games. Publishers will advertise things that might not be there but most of the time players will find reasons to come back to games they love. World of Warcraft and most other MMOs give players daily quests to increase their standing with factions to high level gear in order to take on end game content. This cycle will continue and most players seem content but then drop off once the raid is done a few times and then wait until the other raids come out. This incentive to play is either not done well or non-existent but I think that Destiny 2 does it right.
Since release, I’ve never really put down destiny 2 for a huge amount of time. I’ve always been popping onto the game for a couple of hours to do a strike or run the crucible and due to its nature, I’ve just kept playing those activities. The shooter RPG from Bungie has taken what made the original game special and extended that into a more dynamic and fun experience. As a Destiny 1 player myself, I enjoyed my time with it but the game didn’t give me enough reasons to keep playing. This only really changed once the Taken King expansion came out as well as the Iron Throne because the events that players took part in fed into the larger story and also led players on a chase to find loot. Destiny 2 takes those lessons from the original game and builds that into its core. What we have here is a game that has an MMO level of incentives spread out over the top of a shooter’s heart.
Players will start out with a fantastic set piece that is fighting off the invasion of the Red Legion. The elite army of the Cabal which for new players is one of the 5 enemy races that are hiding the loot from you. Led by Dominus Ghaul, the legion take away the powers of the guardians and due to story reasons, you get yours back and have to take the fight to the legion and force them off of earth. The main story platform isn’t amazing as it’s only there to get you to go to the many different areas in the game and meet the interesting characters that keep the game relatable and interesting. Each of the main guardian characters have found their voice and personality and added to a list of side characters make the world of destiny 2 more alive. Especially Devrim Kay and Cayde-6 voiced by Gideon Emery and Nathan Fillion respectively at least in my opinion. Most of your time will be spent hopping between Earth’s European Dead Zone, Saturn’s Moon of Titan, Jupiter’s Moon: IO and Nessus which is a planetoid setting on the edge of our solar system. Each location is vibrant and visually stunning, bringing you in enough to want to explore and unlock their secrets to get sweet gear.
These locations are filled with enemies of various races as well as the Red Legion, the robotic hivemind Vex, the fallen scavengers and the terrors beyond the darkness that are the Hive. The good thing is that these are all allergic to bullets and guns and other special abilities that you gain as a guardian. You’ve got 3 classes to choose from: Hunter, Warlock and Titan. These focus on Crowd Control, buffing your fireteam and blocking damage respectively but they all do damage to everything that moves. Each class has 3 subclasses based on elements. One for electric, one for fire and one for void and these subclasses need to be managed in order to be effective in the PVE Strikes which are similar to dungeons in other MMOs and especially for the Raid. The main thing is to just play to get loot.
Which leads me back to the incentives of Destiny 2. The loop of the game is to complete milestones (Daily quests) to get gear which increases your power level so you can do high end activities like the Leviathan Raid and the Nightfall strikes. The thing is, if you were to start playing, the milestones that are given to you are all the things you would end up doing anyway as you play. Those milestones are vague enough to allow for multiple things to fufill the criteria. An example is to play the PVP mode enough to get a loot drop which in all honesty, if you were interested in the PVP aspect of the game you would be doing this anyway so you are getting rewards for consistent play over having to really grind. The same with the locations as well, if you are one to explore then you’ll be spending a lot of time combing the locations for Lost sectors which are like mini strikes with a boss and loot as well as public events which encourage players to come together to complete an objective and get more loot. A small tip with the public events. Make sure to do them as that is how you unlock the other subclasses.
PVP is 4v4 with a variety of game modes but you don’t know which one you’re going to get when you start the queue. You’ve got casual play which is similar to team deathmatch, domination and so on but you’ve also got a dedicated competitive playlist which has modes similar to Counter-strike’s Bomb mode and Elimination. The Elimination mode is also used for the higher value competitive mode known as the “Trials of the Nine”. PVE side you’ve got the normal strikes, the nightfall strike which is a weekly event that takes a strike out of the pool and adds special variables to it with a time limit which is harder but you get better loot. Then you’ve got the raid. The six-man PVE run will take you several hours to complete and is difficult but the payoff is the items gained from completing it and getting items so you can run it again and again but harder than the previous run. Each expansion that is coming out will add new strikes and new raids as well as new story and PVP content so if you jump in then you’ll be pretty busy.
Destiny 2 seems to be a bit of an enigma. A shooter on console that is an RPG with MMO elements brought together into something truly special. A game that keeps the player enthralled with enough incentive to keep coming back every day or every couple of days to advance their character enough to be able to do more stuff. Some parts of the story are a bit paper thin and sometimes the gunplay on console isn’t fantastic but at least it’s coming to PC and it will be glorious. If you aren’t a PC player and still want a rewarding experience with one of the best shooter pedigrees around then pick up destiny and probably the season pass too. Trust me, you’ll need it