Bungie releases a new piece of paid downloadable content for Destiny, which causes some controversy among the game’s community as a result of its paid boost to character progression.
Earlier this year, Bungie confirmed that the future of Destiny would be supported by microtransactions and in-game currency, rather than the expansion packs players had grown accustomed to. Now, we’re starting to see more of that content introduced into the game — and it’s causing some controversy among fans.
Destiny players can now purchase a subclass boost from the Xbox Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Store. This package allows for a single Guardian to take a shortcut to level 25, as well as completely upgrading one subclass and providing some telemetries as a bonus.
A similar item was included with the purchase of The Taken King, as a means of bringing new players up to speed with veterans. That’s an important job in any game with as much grind as Destiny, but it’s the pricing of the tool that has some fans worried for the future, as it costs $30.
That’s half the price of the game, for a boost that effectively just helps Guardians skip past much of its content. Even for those not interested in using such a shortcut, the bloated pricing of the boost doesn’t bode well for any future microtransactions or other methods of monetizing the game.
Previously, it seemed that paid content would not affect gameplay, thanks to the popularity of offerings like a set of non-standard emotes. However, it seems that Bungie’s plans have changed, as the boosts released today fundamentally change how a new player might start a character.
It would be easy for Bungie to fall into the trap of commercialization and unintentionally turn Destiny into a cash-grab. A game of this scale demands a huge development budget, and that money simply has to be made somewhere for the experience to continue being supported and updated.
Despite being widely criticized for its shortcomings in the immediate aftermath of its release, the past several months have seen a shift in popular opinion regarding Destiny. It’s no longer the target for ridicule that it once was — but it’s safe to say the relationship between Bungie and the game’s fanbase has been strained.
Of course, there’s no reason to panic just yet. In the past, Bungie has consistently demonstrated an ability to improvise, and a knack for listening to its audience — if there are enough loud voices criticizing the way the game is headed, you can be sure that the studio will do everything possible to course-correct.
Destiny is available now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.