Destiny was heavily promoted to be the definitive experience that would usher first person shooters into a new era (even though it did launch on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3). With Activison backing the next big space epic from the creators of the multi-billion dollar franchise, Halo, surely nothing could have gone wrong. While the core gameplay mechanics were highly enjoyable, Destiny’s launch was met with much disappointment due to its lack of content and repetitive mission structures. There was something that had gamers coming back, but there was no denying that Destiny was underwhelming from what it was being built up to be. It’s not only the main campaign that’s lacking, though, as its paid downloadable expansions are receiving a heaping of heat, and rightfully so.
Before the game even launched, Bungie and Activision began selling future downloadable content. The Dark Below and House of Wolves were considered “expansions” to the main campaign, adding additional content that would extend the enjoyment gamers were having with friends. You have to take in consideration that the reason most players bought the expansion pass or The Dark Below was for more content, something that was desired from the beginning. The Dark Below was incredibly disappointing as there were only four main missions, an extra strike (two for PlayStation), three Crucible maps and one Raid. While some may debate that this is a decent amount for twenty dollars, the problem is that the actual content that wasn’t particularly good to begin with, at least outside of the Raid. Other than those who continue to play Crucible, Crota’s End is what extended most players’ time with Destiny, giving them a reason to come back once a week and hopefully earn the gear they wanted.
It was announced today that there wouldn’t be a Raid attached to House of Wolves. In exchange, Bungie is offering players a new mode called The Prison of Elders. While not much has been said about this mode, from how they described it, it seems like some sort of three player cooperative horde mode. This could quite possibly end up being great, but players have the right to be skeptical, especially when the word “variety” is thrown around in describing it. Bungie has already shown their inability to craft a diversity of content, mainly reusing and expanding upon older assets, but with this being set in the Rift and having a couple more months to develop it, there’s a chance this could turn it around for studio. Regardless, the reason players play the end game of Destiny is to reach and play the raids, and with only two currently available seven months after release (Vault of Glass and Crota’s End), there’s very little reason to stick around outside of competitive multiplayer.
Normally, this announcement wouldn’t set off any flags. Lots of games have season passes, and most of them under deliver, but the difference here could be detrimental to the Destiny franchise in the long run. While it wasn’t said that this would include a Raid to begin with, Bungie should have been clearer with what was being offered to begin with before selling promises. Some of the fault falls on the consumer too, blindly buying something while expecting the best. The absolute worst thing Bungie could do now is charge for an additional Raid. Vault of Glass was free as it was promised, but Crota’s End was a paid expansion that many expected to continue with House of Wolves. If the decision was to break off virtually the best of what Destiny has to offer and sell it piecemeal, then it’s something no one in their right mind should support.
If you look at MMOs such as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is receiving its first major expansion in June and priced very similar to Destiny’s Expansion Pass, the difference between the two is staggering. Not only does Heavensward add a multi-tiered raid expansion and multiple unique dungeons to explore, but includes new job types, a new race, flying mounts and a story that’s said to be just as long as the main campaign in 2.0. Granted, that last part is still up in the air as it’s coming from a more biased source, but you look at this and it makes you wonder how Bungie and Activision have been able to fool fans into putting down their hard earned dollars for such minor content. You can make the argument that Final Fantasy XIV does still have a monthly fee and Destiny isn’t a traditional MMO experience, but Bungie’s attempt at “expansions” seems downright insulting. Throw in their excuse for not including a Raid and it becomes even more concerning.
While Bungie states they didn’t make this choice lightly, surely that’s what fans will say when looking at future Destiny releases. While it wasn’t explicitly stated that there would be a Raid in this package to begin with, this still seems like a shady practice that will leave fans sore, especially if they decide to charge for another down the road. Regardless, Bungie has a little over a month to regain the trust of their fans. For all we know, The Prison of Elders could very well be a promising addition, but if there’s one thing we learned over the last seven months since Destiny’s release, it’s to be cautious and skeptical.