Well before Destiny hit store shelves, gamers could tell that Bungie’s latest game, their first non-Halo effort in more than a decade, would be something special. However, few could have predicted how much of a phenomenon Destiny has become.
Despite a community of close to 100,000 strong, Destiny has proven itself to be among the most divisive releases in recent memory, garnering as much critical praise as gamer derision. In fact, the game has fostered its own sub culture, part of which has been positive and part of which has been negative.
That negative side of the Destiny community has appeared in various forms, but the most common is an elitist mentality. While Destiny is supposed to be an all-inclusive experience, the way Bungie designed the game, specifically the random loot drops and endgame content requirements, is such that many players get shut out simply for not being deemed “good enough.”
The Destiny “Elite”
Now, video game elitism is nothing new to the world of online games, but for many gamers Destiny will be their first encounter with it. MMO players know the feeling all too well, but luckily there are matchmaking options to help them circumvent those cutoffs. Destiny, on the other hand, has no matchmaking for its endgame content, meaning if a player is deemed “bad” and they don’t have any Destiny-playing friends there is nothing they can do to get around that.
Destiny elitism is present in many ways, but has only further come into light with the launch of the House of Wolves DLC. Once the second DLC expansion for Destiny arrived, players found themselves in yet another position of inferiority, as Bungie raised the level cap from 32 to 34. So, any who had yet to get to level 34 would obviously not be considered for the top tier content, namely the Prison of Elders combat arena.
To make matters worse, once players did hit level 34, they still found a barrier to entry for Prison of Elders’ level 35 arena. After videos surfaced showcasing how best to quickly defeat the level 35 boss, Skolas, many figured that the only way to do so was with a team full of Gjallarhorns and a Titan using the ‘Weapons of Light’ buff. It’s obviously not the only way, but it seemed the easiest and so many assumed it was the only.
It didn’t take long for the Destiny community to jump on that assumption after that. Just a quick browsing of Destiny “matchmaking” sites like DestinyLFG.com showed an overabundance of players requesting that teammates must have Gjallarhorn if they wanted to do level 35 Prison of Elders.
However, since Gjallarhorn is among the most rare guns in all of Destiny, that seemed like a pretty lofty expectation. To punish players because they weren’t lucky enough to see the exotic rocket launcher drop was bordering on absurd, and yet few were willing to acknowledge that. Or to require that players have finished the Prison of Elders level 35 before joining the team seems counterproductive to the whole point of a looking for a group. Not to mention, the numerous accounts of players joining a group only to be kicked out because they didn’t have the “right” gear or weren’t deemed worthy enough.
Then came the launch of the Trials of Osiris multiplayer event over the weekend, and yet again Destiny elitism reared its head. After discovering that players that went 9-0 during a run would unlock a secret area called The Lighthouse and a chest filled with rare rewards, many were obsessed with visiting the location themselves. And as a result, the requirements for joining a Trials of Osiris group jumped from a casual interest in PvP to “must be the best in the world.”
Once again, Destiny players took to the forums and subreddits to voice their displeasure, feeling shut out from top tier rewards because they weren’t deemed “good enough.” In the case of Trials of Osiris, there are still plenty of worthwhile rewards to be had just for a few wins, but most are focused on the flawless victory. In fact, some players are so concerned with getting duped into adding a “bad” player that they claim they will institute a vetting process to determine the joining player’s skill. It’s as if trying to participate in any endgame content is a job interview where a rare emblem for the 9-0 run is the ticket to future success.
Fixing Destiny Elitism
Ultimately, there’s no easy solution for getting around Destiny elitism, or any type of video game elitism, but it’s no less an ugly side of this particular community. Because of certain decisions Bungie has made – i.e. no matchmaking for raids, Nightfall strikes, etc. – they have created a situation where the top tier players can shut out any who want to be top tier. And in most cases the top tier players only became top tier because of a lucky drop. They didn’t do anything differently to earn their Gjallarhorn, or Hawkmoon, or Etheric Light; the Destiny gods simply smiled upon them and frowned on another. And because that other player was frowned upon they have to count on the generosity of strangers to get into a raid or Prison of Elders game.
We’re sure that with Destiny 2, or the Comet standalone release, Bungie will institute new ways to circumvent this elitism, but for now it’s shutting out a lot of eager members of the community. There are lots of people who want to try the raids, or Prison of Elders, or Trials of Osiris, but their perceived inferiority is preventing them.
Have you seen any cases of Destiny elitism? How would you like to see Bungie combat the issue?