Although many games release in near-finished states and very rarely change after, some developers are constantly tweaking in an effort to better player experience. Most of these games, like Destiny for example, are billed as deep RPG experiences meant to sustain hundreds of hours of play (online or off) rather than just a few. However, aspirations of keeping players occupied for so long require a commitment to improving the game well after release.
For Destiny, the changes have been slow, but all have seemingly been in response to player criticism. And now, with Destiny Update 2.0 and the release of The Taken King expansion, Bungie has honed in on a formula that’s a lot more agreeable than it ever was before.
Specifically, where the loot drops in Vanilla Destiny were structured in a tier system – i.e. Rare items have X Attack/Defense power, Legendary items have X higher Attack/Defense power – in which players were making large leaps forward with each new worthwhile piece of gear, the Taken King loot drops are much more in line with a traditional RPG. By that we mean, as players acquire new gear, regardless of rarity, it increases in Attack/Defense power based on the player’s current level (in this case Light level). So if you are at Light level 250 and you find a piece of gear, chances are it will have an individual Light level above 250 but not by much.
While this does make the process of leveling one’s Light a little more time consuming, it’s still a vast improvement over what was offered by Destiny in Year 1. Now each reward that a player earns will feel significant, as it will help them increase in power. No more praying for a good drop because, for the most part, they are all “good drops.”
One of the biggest criticisms that players cited with Destiny in Year 1 was that it didn’t feel like they were making progress. In order to get to level 30, players needed to get lucky with their loot drops, and even getting to a point where level 30 items dropped required its fair share of luck. There’s a reason players spent so many hours farming a loot cave in Year 1; loot was such a crapshoot back then. Now, it’s far less so, and actually has a genuine addicting nature.
Obviously there are some drawbacks to the current loot system, but the most important element is still clear: Bungie wants to make Destiny players feel like their time matters. Even if a player is doing something as tedious as farming a treasure chest, the developer wants to ensure that the loot they earn doesn’t instantly get dismantled. Sure, some of the pieces are going to be below Light level, but thus far we have yet to see any major droughts. For as long as we have played, there has always been a steady increase in Light level.
So, regardless of how players may feel about the storytelling in Destiny: The Taken King it’s hard to deny this is a vast improvement over what was released last year. It’s what players hoped to see originally, and now it makes for a much more enjoyable experience.
How do you feel about Destiny’s new loot system? Do you think it’s an improvement over how loot worked in Vanilla Destiny?
Destiny: The Taken King is out now for PS3, Ps4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.