“People still play this?”
It’s a glib question that anyone who streams Destiny on the Internet knows all too well – taken not just as an affront towards Bungie’s game, but towards the player as well. No matter how many units Destiny sells or how big its profile gets, there will still be those who lambast the game and seek to make sure everyone knows that any who play it are in the wrong.
But despite the negative attitude some raise towards Destiny, the truth is the community surrounding Bungie’s shooter has done nothing but grow larger and closer. In the two years since the launch of Destiny, the fans have rallied together to form a community that’s unlike any seen in gaming today.
Destiny's Growth on Twitch
Nowhere is that more clear than on Twitch, where Destiny consistently ranks in the top 10 list of games. And that’s even as Destiny fans weathered the biggest content drought to-date. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t new content to consume; the love shared for Destiny seemed to bring a large group of gamers together regardless.
Streamers like King Gothalion, Professor Broman, and TripleWreck regularly post thousands of regular viewers no matter the time of day. It’s as if the simple act of playing Destiny is enough to bring the community back together on a regular basis – in most cases every day.
There are also those weekend warriors, like RealKraftyy and Lucky_and_BW, who actually make a living off helping others reach The Lighthouse in Trials of Osiris. Not in the “pay us for a free carry” way either; the only compensation shared is either a follow or subscription ($4.99/month) of the channel on Twitch, but nothing is ever required. In total, people like RealKraftyy may “carry” about 20 people per day, but thousands tune in, many just to share in the community or to pick up a few Crucible tips here and there.
Destiny Fandom Expands to Community Convention
Given that Destiny has continued to track as many games faded away, it's fair to say that the community is a dedicated one. Just this week, in fact, fans from across the globe will gather for Destiny Community Con 2016, the second annual iteration of an event created by the fans to celebrate the community
Last year, the “convention” was more akin to a meetup, but an extremely large one. According to DCC Event Director Kevin Murray, the Community Convention was something thrown together by Professor Broman and King Gothalion in their home state of Florida, and the expectation was that around 400 people might show up. As it turns out, about 1,000 fans, streamers, and YouTubers made the trip to Florida, smashing expectations and sparking an idea.
"Destiny Con last year was a fun mess. In about 2 weeks time Gothalion and ProfessorBroman planned a meet up that grew into something larger than a traditional meetup but not quite a con. The term "Destiny Con" was coined and everybody just went with it. The estimation was 400 people and over 1,000 showed up. It was pretty impressive."
That idea eventually became Destiny Community Convention 2016, the first, proper convention that will host thousands in Tampa, FL. Bigger doesn’t even begin to describe the event, which will include panels and meet-and-greets featuring popular Destiny personalities, and fun activities like Crucible-themed laser tag. It may not be an official convention sanctioned by Destiny publisher Activision (hence the change to Destiny Community Convention from Destiny Con), but this is as much a fan convention as anything else.
Even more impressive than the growth of Destiny’s Community Convention in a year span is the support surrounding the event. This year Murray and the other planners have created a Twitch account for the Convention and held a streaming marathon to raise money for St. Jude’s Charity. In 4-hour blocks, different Destiny streamers try to raise money by way of fun challenges or simply interacting with the community.
Some have set specific rewards for hitting individual goals, like deleting beloved characters or altering their appearance in embarrassing ways, while others have had success just by being themselves. Something must be working because the Destiny Community Con stream has smashed its $250,000 initial goal and even beat its $350,000 stretch goal. According to St. Jude’s that’s more than any single charity fundraiser in the history of the organization.
The Future of Destiny's Community & GuardianCon
Clearly, Kevin Murray, King Gothalion, and Professor Broman took what was to be a large-scale meetup and turned it into a celebration of Destiny fandom. But they are apparently only scratching the surface. While Activision has yet to officially get involved with the event, Murray thinks that the studio one day will one day take on a larger role in the event, which may be called GuardianCon in the future. He also foresees Destiny Community Convention playing host to things like new content reveals, or, to take things further, the event expanding to accommodate the communities of other major properties.
For now, it’s safe to say that the Destiny community is riding high and thriving. $350,000 for charity and a convention that will only expand as the years go on all echo that fact. So, to bring things back around - yes, people still play Destiny, but when it comes to the game's community they do so much more.
For more information on Destiny Community Convention 2016 check out the official site at DestinyCon.co. And to donate to the St. Jude’s charity marathon head to twitch.tv/destinycommunitycon. Our thanks to Event Director Kevin Murray.