Playing Games: Impressions of Destiny 2

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2023 by Sri. Tagged JOURNAL

Sunday, February 19, 2023.

I've been playing a lot of Destiny 2 this past year, and while I think the game has one of the worst onboarding experiences I've seen in a AAA game, it is also really great in two ways:

  1. The Story is Great, Once You Find It! - Since Witch Queen came out, the storytelling has become much richer and more compelling, once you find out how to access it through the "Seasonal Content" model (which is terrible from a UX perspective). There were four seasons in Witch Queen, of which the first was kind of bad. The three following it, though, helped establish the emotional tone that had been missing for me. There is a great in-game cutscene with Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick) in Season of the Haunted where he is reminiscing about a past relationship that moved me to tears. The crazy thing is that this content had been there all year; I just couldn't find it. From the UX perspective, this game is extremely hostile to my ADHD on nearly every level.

  2. Attention to Detail is Rewarded - A lot of things explode in Destiny 2, and I thought it was all very pretty, but what I didn't know was that anything I can observe probably means something. Observing and reacting to these details becomes very satisfying. There are over 600 weapons in the game and each of them has a unique sound, so you can also tell what the players around you might be up to as far as their tactics. From the gameplay perspective, the game is extremely appealing to my ADHD+ASD sensibilities, as it fully-engages my audio-visual-kinetic senses in a tight OODA loop.

I speculate that the inadequancy of the user interface might be due to Destiny 2's initial goal of being a simplified experience for casual mass market players, and misrepresents the delicious complexity of the game and what is paywalled. It's extremely frustrating. I figured that it was just a game that you shoot a lot of stuff. However, there are MANY interwoven systems that are not documented at all inside the game, which is made worse by similar-sounding terminology that sometimes means something very specific; as a new player, there's no way to know what is important. There are dozens of hours of homework you need to do to play the game with some competence, which makes me very sad. On the plus side, the community has picked up the slackFor the mechanics, I like the starting guide. For "who the hell are all these characters", Youtuber My Name is Byf has excellent synopsis videos..

On February 28, the new expansion Lightfall will be out, and I'm looking forward to seeing what direction it moves in. The storytelling for the final Season of the Seraph mission left me in quiet awe as it set a tone of desperation and unity. It has me thinking about how to integrate story with live services, which is what I'm trying to figure out for my website.