Feature

Why Can’t I Stop Playing Destiny?

by Bryan Vore on Nov 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM

It’s hard to believe Destiny came out in September and I’m still jumping into it regularly. I’ve tried to pull away and try other games, but it keeps dragging me back. The upcoming release of The Dark Below expansion is only going to make that worse.

I generally enjoy playing a game to completion and jumping over to the next without lingering long, once the primary career mode or story is finished. That’s simply not happening in Destiny. Outside of review titles, my free time is dominated by this game. I purposely avoided looking at how much time I’ve invested in the online grimoire database, but forced myself to do it for this story. It’s over 80 hours. That’s two entire work weeks. And I’m sure that doesn’t even touch what some other editors and many of you have invested. So what about this game has kept its hooks in me? 

Hands down, the primary reason is that several friends and co-workers have stuck with it as well. Almost every day there’s an office chat about the game with Miller, Andy, and/or Laleh, one of our designers. When Tuesday rolls around, there are calls to do the weekly nightfall strike so our character gets a 20 percent experience boost for the week. As Friday approaches, everyone wants to take on the weekly heroic strikes to ensure they have enough strange coins to buy whatever’s coming from high end merchant Xur when he shows up for two days each week. Now mass texts pop up on the weekends to play the Vault of Glass raid. Now that I’ve run through it a few times along with my regular fireteam, it’s not going to take forever to get through, and it’s the only way to get the current best gear in the game. Even if I miss one of these dates, plenty of my friends have alts that they need to run through all of this stuff again with. There’s no time outside of standard work hours where I can’t team up with people. 

It’s awesome and detrimental at the same time. I know there are tons of great games out there I should be playing. On the other hand, I’m having a blast shooting aliens with my friends so why feel bad about it? There’s always that next light level to hit (I still haven’t made it to 30 with either of my characters) or a great new weapon or raid gear to score and level up. These upgrades are oftentimes a game changer in terms of my characters’ power and abilities.

I fully acknowledge Destiny’s known issues. I’ve been running around the same stages over and over again to the point of memorizing them. Whenever I need ascendant energy, I get ascendant shards or vice versa. The story is impossible to follow even if you’re trying really hard to understand it (the grimoire should track how many times you’ve been forced to watch the mandatory cutscenes). I still don’t have the raid gear I need to max level because of unlucky drops. And boy is it boring to run around and pick spinmetal so you can upgrade stuff. This kind of thing should turn me off, but it doesn’t for some reason. 

The gunplay and enemy design and A.I. are fantastic. I eventually get the right loot I want and it makes a difference. And material farming can be combined with other beneficial tasks that make it less of a drag. Plus, refined runs take a lot less time.

Justifiably, not everyone is as forgiving of these and other problems large and small. If you take online forums at face value, there are three types of people who have played Destiny. 

1) Disdain: I played it for a weekend and the story sucks and it’s too repetitive. 

2) Somewhere in the middle: Bungie has screwed up everything about this game, especially the higher end content. I’m going to quit if they don’t figure their s--- out. [Has several level 30 characters and 200 hours invested.]

3) Joy: I acknowledge its faults and have plenty of my own complaints, but I love playing with my clan and I’m addicted to the agony and ecstasy of loot drops and staying on top of community happenings on Reddit and Bungie forums.

I fall into the third camp and there’s no way I’m skipping The Dark Below when it comes out in December. But I’m really going to try to blast through at least one other game before that time. Now I just have to not talk to anyone at work or accept game invites or find out what awesome things Xur has on sale. Should be easy, right?