A Vanilla Experience – A Retrospective on Destiny.

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You can be a legend. . . For a couple bucks, I guess. 


So, I have been struggling a bit to think of how to start this, I even thought this would quite possibly be better suited for a video, possibly a 20-minute video at that. But I wouldn’t be any good at narrating this, so. . .

But I wouldn’t be any good at narrating this, so. . . Why don’t we start at the beginning? The beginning of my experience with Destiny Year 3, as a vanilla player.

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I am taken to the exact same page everyone is taken when they start their adventure, the character selection page. And of course, I already knew what I wanted, so I didn’t waste any time at getting at it.

I picked a Hunter, and I began from there, a Human Hunter. Very much representative of my past experiences with this game. Waiting to obtain great riches and hoping to obtain my own legend, using my enhanced mobility to my advantage.

I hit finish and I create my character, and then I was taken to that same old intro cutscene, the beautiful visuals of the men walking across the empty vast regions of Mars, up until arriving face first to where the Traveler laid low.

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Everything was going well, I get to the part where I begin my adventure. And the game crashes.

. . . I should’ve guessed this would be my experience with this, however.

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Connectivity issues aside, being either on Bungie’s end or mine, I restarted my game and began my adventure again. I rewatched the beautiful cutscenes and then, I woke up in the middle of this desolate land, with this. . . Obnoxiously voiced new Ghost by Nolan North.

Let’s say I liked Dinklebot’s grim, and sombre tone of voice more. It made him sound more knowledgeable, better than Nolan’s innocent and oblivious tone. But, here I was, beginning my experience with the game, from a vanilla copy. No DLC. No advantages.

I started my grind from zero. . . Granted, as being a resident of the third world country; Venezuela. I don’t have the capacity to take out $30 and waste them in a paid level boost.

However, I made my way inside the dark halls of the wall…  Peering my view inside as my Ghost’s light shined bright before me and illuminated the area in front of me, just barely. I made my way up and I found myself staring at a vast, dark space. And my ghost left my side, venturing deeper into the dark metallic chasm of this mysterious wall.

And then, the lights flutter to life, and I am found surrounded by this enemy all around me.

And, then conveniently a gun was in front of me after going through a door. Where did it come from? We don’t ask these things.

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Having played this mission before, I easily boosted through it, running like a mad man past enemies, bunny hopping my way to the outside world and then to the level 2 trigger once the ship is reached, having played through all of it before I knew exactly all that happened and it’s inner workings.

However, my journey didn’t end there, I was taken to the Tower, and once again that beautiful cutscene where we see the tower for the first time ensued. The atmosphere being grandiosely beautiful as the chills of seeing that scene again after a while, returned in kind.

But. . . That wouldn’t prepare me for the reality of Vanilla Destiny that hit the moment I stepped on the tower.

From this simple, obnoxiously simple book that continues to bleep giving out some sense of urgency and then once you go in to take that notification off, you’re met by the fact that you have to buy the DLC to actually make it stop.

To, the entire weekly raid selection being locked off to you from the start under the DLC, these are things that make the vanilla player’s experience diminishing. The game asks of you to whip out money to enjoy the fullest extent of it’s content, and while I understand it for things like the story missions and such.

Why is gear, weeklies and weapons locked off to you from the start except for a handful of things that are according to your vanilla status, but the rest is entirely locked off to you, in the fullest regard.

All of this is taking away the core experience of the game from you if you’re unlucky enough to own a standard copy of the game.

But, at the end of the day, to distract me from this, I did what any sane man can do. I played with friends. . .

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And, of course, it was a ton of fun to play with friends, we did patrols, missions and they helped me level up to 10 in one night and I was already halfway through the story, but of course, they being level 40, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was being carried through the entirety of it.

So we decided to try out a higher difficulty. And what came next, really didn’t shock me. Being a Halo player I am used to going in missions with paramount odds against me when playing Legendary, I wanted this experience with them, something that made my time worth it and my agility and speed came into play like it has before in many playthroughs of Year 1.

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It started to get old at this point, it’s an unnecessary lock to something that is not going to benefit a vanilla player like me who’s still mounting up the ranks, at the end of the day outside of a feeling of accomplishment and adventure, I want that from this game. I want to be challenged and I want to use my character’s ability to the fullest exchange, but, just like everything else in this game. It’s entirely locked out from you.

I want to be challenged and I want to use my character’s ability to the fullest exchange, but, just like everything else in this game. It’s entirely locked out from you.

So, we just carried on, not looking back and focused on having fun. At least to an extent as the reminders that you have a game that is entirely locked off from every core experience and benefit is very apparent every second you play this game.

Well, we finished every mission on Earth, and then, we played Devil’s, Lair. . .

And we finished the mission in less than twenty minutes, Sepkis Prime being the easiest takedown I have ever experienced in this game while playing with two level 40s, there were no stakes involved in it, no urgency for you.

I can carry on retelling the story of Destiny Vanilla through my eyes and my experiences as I carried on upon my ‘legend’ or dare I say, my ‘destiny’. But there’s really nothing good I can say about it, the good of the game came from the gameplay, and my friends jerking around with me.

I can legitimately say, that I only died in this game five times, three of which were through falling off the map unaware. The stakes in everything are so diminished it’s almost non-existent, and if you want a challenge, you’re not gonna get it unless you waste your money on this.

And keyword being; waste’, this is the most critically acclaimed scam I have ever experienced, all the fun it can offer and all the good times with friends that it can give you are just not enough justification to waste your money on a half-baked franchise.

From discussions with my friends, I have learned that there’s more to the story outside the game than I could ever imagine. A game, advertise for the story and a huge world where you can play with your friends, has legitimately no story whatsoever unless you read the Grimoire cards, and that’s another issue, however, that’s an issue I will tackle more in-depth at a later time.

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Just to not keep running on a tangent, I will briefly mention some of the things I noticed myself, from the reef being barely of any substance, looking at that horizon, I can just see the failed promises that this game had, from trading to exploring the derelict ship Cassini.

Many things of which caused me to want to fall in love with the game, and I want to, I really do. However, I don’t feel any urgency to. This game fails to captivate me and others at every turn, there’s no Cairo Station, no Scarab Battle, no Truth assassination. There’s nothing for me to feel compelled to love this game.

And the answer to make me love this universe lies within the Grimoires, then I am thoroughly disappointed.

Nothing good comes from this game in its end game. If you’re a vanilla player, you’re left out of things that potentially make the game for others or things that are part of the core experience of this game.

And this is an awful practice that has plagued the industry in the last couple of years, whoever has the bigger wallet, shamefully wins. And this game is, sadly, no different.

However, let’s put aside what it does wrong, and let’s focus on what it achieves, despite locking you of half the experience of what it legitimately does good.

Social play, I have never experienced such a fun game to play with friends before, this was also true for Day 1 and Year 1, My friends kept me coming back and gripping the edge of my seat to see what we do next today.

Friends are the sole reason why you play this game, not for the game itself. And that’s something that Bungie should hope to capitalise on its fun factor and expand the game enough so that both factors are continually making you come back to their game and enjoy it.

Patrol missions are excuse enough to play with your friends – Though, I’d suggest adding a six-player fireteam cap to it – the public events and the random events that happen in select areas causing the NPCs to fight each other like the Taken Corruption are really, really fun.

There’s no way to describe the laughter I had when my console almost overheated with the number of enemies that appeared on the screen. It was ridiculously fun and good.

They’re so close to creating the perfect game, a game you keep installed forever and keeps you coming back every single day, this is what they can achieve, but greed is apparently too. . . Tempting, and oh, so strong.

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However, from the fun times to the disappointments I had with Destiny, I can conclude that it is, of course, not a bad game it does a lot of good in its experience, but it’s execution and handling is a scam.

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No amount of fun times, clever gameplay, beautiful visuals or even the experiences you can make with your friends along the way; really excuses the scam that is Destiny.

And as such, Destiny 2 must mark an improvement, a step away from setups like it’s predecessor. Doing so would open the game up to more than those who have a big wallet… Destiny 2 should strive to include everyone, not just those who buy the DLC, Day-1 players are important too, Vanilla players.

You gotta give us an excuse to care and want to come back if you lock us out, there’s little to no reason to want to do anything.

So at the end of the day, the journey really only ended. . . Back at the beginning. 

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Author’s Notes:

Now that this post has come to an end, I’d like to give a quick announcement/promotion towards Pictorial Hand at the HaloArchive, if you’re a Halo fan, if you’ve done anything that you’d like showcased and promoted, be it music, art, fan fiction, amongst others. Feel free to tweet at us at @HaloArchive, @AdvJones and @HaruspexOfHell and we’ll find a space for each piece!

We’re working hard on incentivising community creations, so if you have created something you’d like to show off, hit us up!

Also, be on the lookout for other posts from me, I will be going through the story fidelity of Destiny later on, from Vanilla to Rise of Iron in Story Fidelity – Analysing the Story of Destiny.

And I will be accounting some of the events that led up to Halo 5: Guardians’ ultimate objective failures, in Halo 5: Guardians – A Stolen Marvel. 

A Roman in Blue Chapter 4; City of Fire is also coming in nicely, 3,000 words and counting.

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Be sure to join us at the Halo Archive Forums! You’ll be sure to find a good time there and friends!

Also, the ProgressiveHalo Discord has been open for a while! Here’s a link to it; https://discord.gg/nzJThck

We’ve got plenty of cool stuff coming in, so be on the lookout for that as well. And as always, be sure to be safe, live your life, and play Halo. . . And other games, but especially Halo.

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