David Hull / Thu 10th Mar 2016
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Upon the release of The Taken King I put fingers to keyboard and wrote up a review. At the time I was hesitantly optimistic that Bungie had embarked on a journey towards the Light. Things were promising: new content, new vision, a new vibe that Bungie finally delivered; everything would soon get back on track.
Months on, Destiny is in a massive decline of players with Bungie themselves sending out questionnaires to people that have left Destiny behind asking "Why aren't you playing Destiny?". Players that are sticking around are encountering constant issues within the game. Ludicrous latency, enemy pathfinding errors in King's Fall Raid, competitive matchmaking not being implemented as promised with little response if any.
I have found this to be Bungie's Achilles Heel. Not having the adequate staff and/or ability to continue the engagement with fans and make decisions beyond the big announcements. The recent update regarding new content and Destiny 2 being slated for 2017 is where you start.
But you don't turn off the transistor at this point (which seems to have happened again), you keep talking with everyone. Discuss some big and small enhancements you want to release as well. Find Destiny broadcasters, Streamers and YouTubers, offer them interviews on podcasts, using them as conduits for your message. Should Bungie feel the need to experiment with the game using players as the test subjects, announce it ahead of time and include the audience as integral ingredients, instead of hiding it from them.
To make things more desperate we've just seen the releases of Star Wars Battlefront and Call of Duty. Not to mention heavy duty releases on the Horizon such as Dark Souls III and The Division (which was just released). These games have strong, engaging communities or are going to be moving in on Destiny territory. Dice have struggled with Battlefront and a lack of content so they have listed their future plans for free content and community themed events . The Division is direct competition for Destiny touting online interaction and open world exploration with plentiful loot and engaging combat, so far proven accurate.
FromSoftware have a very broad game that needs constant tweaking and updating so as not to fall prey to heavy imbalance. Despite being based in Japan, a Western audience can get regular updates and fixes due to not only a ravenous audience but also developers that are glued to their forums and statistics and are editing on the fly. Boot up Dark Souls 2 and you'll be required to load any new calibrations since you last played.
I think that if Bungie want their game to survive into the future they are going to need to become more regularly transparent. But not just by increasing their word count in an update, instead by talking openly about their failings and plans for the future. Destiny is such a great concept. Much like their work on Halo, Bungie created a game that carves new ground for a genre many would have thought to be suicide. Hopefully with the recent shake up of staff we can get back to enjoying Destiny, not enduring it.
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