Destiny, I fucking love you!

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I can’t think of another game that has polarized opinion as much as Destiny. When I hear complaints about the game, I usually react by nodding my head in agreement, before returning to work on adding to the 350+ hours I’ve already sunk into it. I’ve even concluded that had I’d been reviewing the game, I probably would have given it a seven too. Despite all that, I love Destiny. Regardless of its many flaws, Destiny is quickly becoming my most played console game, ever. With that in mind, (and before I write about the things I don’t like) I thought I’d go through the things I love the most about Destiny.

Destiny_20141119212713 Hand Cannons. Oh my god, Hand Cannons! I love these bad boys so much, I very nearly made two of these things Hawkmoon and Thorn. Once in a while, I come across a weapon in a game that has the magical X factor, and I fall in love with it. In Halo 3 it was the Spartan Laser. In Gears of War it was the Longshot Rifle. But In Destiny it’s a whole damn class of them. Nothing else feels as good as headshotting enemies with a Hand Cannon – not even killing a Hunter in PvP just after they’ve popped their Bladedancer special. Hand Cannons are so much fun to use, if I had an actual physical version, I would do dirty, dirty things to it.

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Raids. When I first started playing Destiny, all the talk from those further along than I was about the Vault of Glass, and just how good it was. After a frustrating few weeks of no raiding, I eventually lucked in to a group of friends tackling the Vault, and found out for myself what the fuss was all about. Without a doubt, the Vault of Glass is some of the best designed, and most enjoyable video game content I’ve ever played. I could go into more detail, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. What I will say is that in my opinion, the Vault is the perfect example of how you create co-op gaming where every player has a meaningful role.

Destiny_20141124221420 The Iron Banner. Version One of the Iron Banner was not good. All that weaponry and armour we’d been carefully gathering and levelling was more or less meaningless in IB v1, and players were not happy. Bungie went away, reworked the mode, and sent Lord Saladin back to the tower. The first few minutes into my first game, I headshotted another player on the other side of the map with Bad Seed Down, and instantly I was converted. Power finally fucking mattered. Oh boy, did it matter. Since then I’ve taken part in every Iron Banner, and learnt the joy of headshots with a fully levelled Hawkmoon. After a shaky start with destiny’s PvP, I can honestly say that Iron Banner is one of my very favourite parts of Destiny.

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Warlocks. Apart from having an exceptionally cool sounding name, Warlocks are also blessed with having some of the best looking armour in the game. The Iron Banner set for example is simply beautiful. And if there’s anything better than swishing around in robes, firing off Nova Bombs – I’ve yet to find it. I do have a Hunter and Titan, and I’ve found them quite fun to play, but they don’t have the same sort of swagger the Warlock does. Flying electrical fists and golden guns are all well and good, but let’s be honest, they’re not the same as tooling around in a cool outfit, wielding Hawkmoon, and fucking shit up with purple balls.

 

Destiny: Crota’s Cheesy End

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Sorry about the title, I couldn’t help myself.

Cheese. Bungie does not like it apparently. Not if the content of their latest update is to be believed, anyway. If you’ve been following Destiny’s progress, you’ll probably know that the new Raid – Crota’s End, has been suffering from a particularly cheesy odour since it’s introduction as part of the Dark Below expansion. Tales of Guardians using various cheesy methods to run through the raid easily, hoovering up loot, were becoming commonplace, and it was only a matter of time before Bungie stepped in.

Not cheesing this time round.

Not cheesing this time round.

Now that they’ve at least begun that process, I thought I’d talk why I’m glad they’re trying to de-cheese the Raid. Firstly, I’d like to say that I’m not against cheesing per-se. As someone who’s crimes include hiding beneath the stairs in the Cerberus Vae Strike, I’d be a massive hypocrite for a start. But mainly it’s because the whole thing is a massive grey area. Where does cheesing end and exploiting a game bug begin, for example? If its possible (although highly unlikely) to be killed whilst hiding in a “cheese spot”, is that cheesing? There’s no right or wrong answer in my opinion.

So why don’t I like it in the Raid? I’ll explain. Destiny is a strange game when it comes to challenge. Unlike similar games within the genre, its possible to replay the entirety of Destiny’s story mode content whilst being hugely over-levelled. The gear and weapon levelling mechanics eventually render the game’s “normal” difficulty curve meaningless, and beyond the odd Heroic stipulation on various Bounties, the game never really insists you turn the difficulty up. The vast majority of Destiny’s PvE content therefore, relies upon the player choosing to be challenged to remain meaningful, and that’s why I have a problem with Raid cheese.

Definitely cheesed this one

Definitely cheesed this one

Players solo-cheesing their way through Crota’s End are rendering the most meaningful content in the game meaningless. They’re rendering the achievement of earning Raid gear meaningless. And in a game that relies upon the player to keep content relevant, I don’t understand why you’d do that. What is the end game anyway? You cheese your way to a full set of Raid gear, and then do the Raid as intended? That doesn’t make any sort of sense. Destiny is all about the gear you’re wearing, and the guns you’re wielding, and I personally don’t know how you can take any pride in that when you’ve cheesed your way there.

As I’ve said, cheesing is a ridiculously grey area, and something I myself have partaken in, so I don’t want you to go away thinking I’m making a judgement here, because that’s not my intention. This is an expression of bewilderment at the specific issue of soloing Crota’s End to short-cut your way to Raid gear and weapons. So by all means, feel free to ask me why I’m not also questioning whole Raid groups cheesing bits of the Vault of Glass, or to tell me I’m taking a bunch of pixels way too seriously. I won’t mind. Yes, its ridiculous the Raid can be solo-cheesed. Yes, Bungie should fix it PDQ. But also yes, I think the players have a responsibility to resist the cheese, no matter how fragrant.

 

Everything stops for Destiny.

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As per usual, a long period away from my blog usually means I’ve gotten my head buried in a new game, and so it has been this time around. The release of Destiny in the early part of September has seen my tenuous grasp upon the idea that doing something productive with my day is probably “a good idea” finally desert me, and all I have left is the bewildered mental haze I now find myself in. Thankfully, just as I was about to decide that playing Destiny at 7 AM whilst my children were getting ready for school was something I could totally do, I realised the danger I was in and pulled back. Currently I’m using the fact that bounties don’t refresh till 10 AM to stay off the game until a reasonable time, and over time, I will kick this habit.

But I didn’t want this post to be exclusively about Destiny, so I’ll move on to the tiny bits of my life that haven’t been consumed by Bungie’s latest game. A few months ago, I stopped writing for The Game Jar. The seed for doing so was planted during E3, during which time I paid absolutely no attention to what was going on there. Man oh man, did it feel good. For that short period I wasn’t thinking about games. I wasn’t pouring over coverage hoping to find inspiration for my writing. I even started to wonder whether I gave a shit about gaming culture at all. When I did eventually get back to paying attention to gaming, I did so knowing my heart wasn’t really in it.

Part of that was because of the pressure I felt under to produce content for the site. Admittedly it was pressure that I stupidly placed upon myself, but it was still there, and just I couldn’t find a way to stop worrying about it, no matter how hard I tried. Then, when it looked like the site was going to go through some big changes, I asked myself whether I still enjoyed writing about games, and the answer was a pretty convincing no. I’ve never been one to do things hard-heartedly, and once I’d combined that with doubts about whether anything I’d written was at all interesting, to anyone, my decision was made. I felt like I didn’t have anything interesting to say.

But I’d be lying if I said it was all about my own confidence in my work, other hobbies were calling out to me. You may have noticed that over time the content on this blog has shifted, and that’s because it reflects how I’m spending my time now. Modelling – a pastime I’ve indulged in for a very long time – has returned to me, and I now find that I want to spend the majority of my days painting toy soldiers! I do miss writing about games from times to time, and I certainly miss being part of the Game Jar crew, but I’m reluctant to swap my paintbrush for a keyboard. Hopefully, when I feel like I have something to say again, I’ll figure out how to spend time on both things happily.

So that’s where I am today. Stuck between my desire to play Destiny, and paint little plastic men. With my bingeing period over, things on my blog should get back to some sort on normality. Already I have updates to projects piling up, awaiting  photographs and other such finishing touches. Over the next few weeks I’ll get caught up, and we can all pretend this whole sordid affair with a certain game never happened. Until then, thank you for reading, and please keep visiting my tiny little corner of the internet. I’ll get lonely if you don’t :-p

 

 

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