We've known about the new content and changes that are coming to Destiny when The Taken King launches next month for a little while now, but Bungie's livestream that aired yesterday really nailed its overall message home. It's a clear statement of intent from a developer that's obviously learned a thing or two since Destiny's release last year, and it's as follows: Destiny should no longer waste your time.
If you've put any decent amount of time into the shooter over the last 12 months, then you'll know what that means. The game's progression system has, by and large, been a thorn in its side from the moment that players jumped above the soft level cap of 20 and had to start grinding the same missions countless times to be in with a chance of getting good loot. It's no exaggeration to say that you can put entire days into Destiny and end up with nothing to show for your efforts – and this is what Bungie is striving to change.
Back at Gamescom 2015, the studio stated that it wants to be more respectful of players' time, and that's exactly what yesterday's livestream showed. Taking viewers on a tour of the newly improved Tower social space, the public hub is getting a dramatic upgrade. Vendors are getting their own specific bounties, the cryptarch is actually selling legendary engrams, and there are more ways than ever to exchange your unwanted items for stuff that you need.
In short, proceedings are being streamlined and expanded at the same time; getting your most-wanted gear or items is going to become much simpler, but there are also going to be more ways to reach your desired goals. This also seems to be the case with the new character progression system. Instead of being bound to annoying light levels, your base level is now determined by a standard experience bar, and the cap is level 40. Killing enemies, completing missions, and fulfilling bounties gives you experience points, which, of course, promises to be far, far less of a grind since you're not purely relying on random loot drops to power up your Guardian.
But it's not just about streamlining things – it's also about making sure that you're constantly moving forward. Arguably Destiny's biggest flaw is the fact that, as mentioned, you can play for hours on end and feel like you've accomplished next to nothing, but with The Taken King, the whole gameplay loop is being revised. Sure, you're still going out to Mars to complete bounties and you're still slogging through Strike playlists, but you're supposedly getting rewarded properly for doing so.
Legendary marks will replace both vanguard and crucible marks, for example, and these can be used to purchase everything from legendary engrams to the equipment itself. What's more, there's now no limit to how many you can earn in a week, meaning that those who are most dedicated to the game won't be forced to stop once they've hit the limit. A simple and obvious change, you might say, but it's another instance of how Bungie is taking feedback seriously – although it is perhaps a shame that's it's waited an entire year to implement such an alteration.
In December 2014, this particular author wrote an opinion piece on how Destiny's progression system was destroying the title from the inside. It argued that with the light level system, you're always gambling on chance, and a lot of the time, it feels like you're moving backwards before you can take a tiny step forwards. It's an article that perhaps now seems more relevant than ever, since Bungie's obviously gone ahead and taken our superb advice on board. Joking aside, it's been clear since the release's first expansion, The Dark Below, that the light level system just wasn't going to work over the long-term. Tying character levels to equipment means that the goalposts are always moving, with the maximum power of legendary gear in an almost constant state of flux. As such, you could say that Bungie's had no real choice but to change things for the better, but at least it all seems to be happening at once.
Now, we're not saying that Destiny's flaws will be fixed with the arrival of The Taken King – that's what reviews are for. What we are saying, however, is that its creator is attempting to move on from its mistakes in order to make a better experience for everyone involved – and that's absolutely crucial with a title that supposedly has a good few years ahead of it yet. Destiny's 'Year 2' plan promotes a clear message in that it no longer wants to waste your time, and that could well be a statement which finally changes our perception of the divisive sci-fi shooter.
Do you agree that Destiny finally seems to be heading in the right direction, or are you still undecided on The Taken King and the changes that it'll bring? Vote in our poll and then have your say in the comments section below.
Do you think that Destiny is now moving in the right direction? (65 votes)
- Yes, I can't wait for The Taken King to launch31%
- Maybe, I'll need to try it for myself23%
- No, it's fine the way it is2%
- I don't care – I was done with Destiny a long time ago45%
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