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On the way to Lightfall, Destiny 2 must make some drastic changes in order to survive

On February 28, 2023, Bungie will release the fifth major DLC update for Lot 2: Lighting. As the game enters its sixth year, it’s no surprise that the experience as a whole has become difficult for new players to fully engage with. Even introducing the base game as free-to-play, Destiny 2 is a mess of menus and game modes, with a complex story to go along with it.

However, the onboarding process has become such a mess that even for expired players with hundreds of hours under their belts, knowing what content to engage with – and what the hell is happening at any given time – has become nearly impossible. If Bungie isn’t careful, Destiny 2 will become a market exclusive to an unsustainable and dwindling hardcore fan base.

To address what Bungie could do to solve this onboarding problem, we need to break down the main issues. This starts with the acknowledgment that as novel as Bungie’s decision to make the core game free-to-play was, so is Destiny 2. not an F2P game. While there are plenty of things for F2P players to do, most of the endgame activities (such as the seasonal activity for a given update) and most of the story missions are not available to you. Even content labeled ‘F2P’ – such as the nightfall strike as part of the vanguard operations – can be locked if that mission is part of a DLC pack.

Realistically, you have to pay to get into Destiny. This process is messy, especially on Steam.

With so much going on, it’s hard to keep up – mechanically and narratively.

At the time of writing there are currently 11 different DLC options for Destiny 2 on Steam. These range from major expansions, such as The Witch Queen, to emote bundles and seasonal silver bundles. If a player bought every DLC option available, it would cost them an eye-watering price £347.89.

The curation here is just a mess. Sure, there’s the £49.99 “legacy bundle” which includes the previous major expansions (except The Witch Queen), but a new player won’t associate the word “legacy” with “essential story and mechanics”. A new or returning player should take the time to research which pieces of content are important to them or not. If you need to do external homework before purchasing add-ons for a game, something has gone wrong.

Destiny 2 DLC on Steam: Possibly the best puzzle in the entire D2 experience.

Once a player has navigated to purchase the game, the next major stumbling block comes with the game’s manic UI. Destiny 2 will immediately put you into some kind of mission, whether that’s the New Light mission for new players or whatever is the first season mission for returning players. Once you’re out of that and into the main menus, it’s messy to figure out exactly what to do. The Destinations tab will be littered with various icons that make little sense to those unfamiliar with them (and often even to those who are).

In addition, some of these activities will relate to previous seasonal activities, such as Season Of Plunder’s ‘Ketchcrash’. For F2P players, that activity is simply not available. Not at all. For returning players who only bought the most recent season, it’s legacy content that they can’t deal with either. Knowing what is relevant to the here-and-now is not possible without research. Again, if the only way a player can determine what to do within a game is to investigate outside of it, something is off.

The witness in destiny 2;  Lighting
This is the witness. No, we don’t know either.

Finally there is the story. I’m not going to talk too much about Destiny’s story because it’s been a notorious mess since vanilla D1. Bungie has made great strides in making the story accessible to players in the form of weapon lore tabs, as well as a broader lore section within the menus. But unless you have a particular interest in completely picking apart the minutiae of this universe, you’re just not going to sacrifice time playing the game to read a ton of text.

For the average player, gameplay is the only way to deal with the story. And right now, that presents the story as a truly baffling mess. For example, I took a year’s hiatus from Destiny 2 and when I came back, a Cabal named Caitl was now our friend, the Fallen had moved to the Last City, a person called “The Witness” was doing things, and the ominous threat of Savathun was gone ? I wouldn’t have to go to YouTube to watch a four-hour Byf video to understand what is happening.

What can Bungie do to fix this? For starters, if Bungie wants Destiny 2 to be a true F2P game, all pre-Lightfall content must be free. The cornerstone of the very best F2P games is that the basics of the game are accessible to everyone, with bonus content such as specific weapons and customizable items available for purchase. Currently, F2P content may become inaccessible if this content is DLC-based. Bungie should look at what Square Enix did with Final Fantasy 14, make the first 60 levels free and give players access to enough of the game that they can at least get a good understanding of the situation until they log in. Create all previous DLC free. Give F2P players the chance to really get their teeth into all the things that make Destiny great.

Come on, Bungie – let’s find out what this is about without all the complicated nonsense.

At the very least, the player onboarding process should be made easier. When Lightfall is released, all content should be a simple one-time purchase, similar to the old bundle already available, but better signposted. Older content, such as the Destiny 2: Forsaken Pack (the Forsaken campaign content is currently vaulted and unavailable to play) and the 30th Anniversary Bundle (now Bungie is 31) should be made free for all users. Make sure a new player can get everything they need in one purchase, and returning players can choose content that’s relevant. Don’t confuse them with emote bundles and the like.

The in-game UI is a more difficult problem to solve. Since I’m not a game developer or UI specialist, I’m not going to tell anyone how to do their job. However, consideration should be given to clearing mission objectives for outdated content, such as a previous season’s activity. At the very least, make the most recent content central to players. Or give us a switch to hide non-urgent notifications.

Finally, the entire story of Destiny 2, including the Red War and Forsaken vaulted campaigns, should be accessible to players. That doesn’t mean all gameplay concepts have to come back. Instead, using an in-game character like Ikora to show “shadows from the past” or something like that, as a gateway to an in-game cutscene, would bring to life some of Destiny’s amazing movies that are now lost. went. to the ether.

Let players revisit the experiences of the Red War, see Osiris emerge from the Infinite Forest, glimpse Cayde’s final hours, Prine Uldren becoming a Guardian – and much more. Even this piecemeal storytelling would allow new players to fully understand who the voices are telling them to do things, and for lapsed players to catch up on what they’ve been missing.

Destiny 2 is a great game with some standout moments, and Bungie is doing its iconic franchise a disservice by keeping them hidden behind needlessly complicated gates. It’s about time that changed.

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