When Destiny first released, the FPS MMORPG hybrid set in space, it was met with overwhelming negativity because it was just “meh”. There wasn’t really anything that set it apart at first launch and as such, the negative reactions and criticisms were warranted. But after nearly 3 years after launch, Destiny has rectified those criticisms and has put forth a very serviceable and, dare I say, fun game to play with friends, and it earned the right to Legendary
Destiny’s Year 1 was honestly nothing to behold. There was barely any story and once you finished it, all that was left to do was the endgame activities such as strikes, which had matchmaking capabilities, and the Raid, which did not. Year 1 Destiny or Vanilla Destiny was fun if you had 5 other friends to play with to help you complete the raid, the Vault of Glass, but if you didn’t then you were S.O.L. Not only that but there was one piece of weaponry that was absolutely vital in raiding or even being considered elite: the Gjallarhorn.
The Gjallarhorn or the G-Horn was the most sought after piece of equipment throughout the Destiny community, more than Thorn and its long quest line or any other exotic. Whole raiding parties made it an absolute necessity to have the G-Horn in order to raid and the drop rate was so minute, that even getting it became the stuff of legends. While others were not as lucky to get it to drop, I was fortunate enough to have two, one from an exotic engram and another from Xur, the resident exotic merchant. It’s ability to track a target and the inclusion of Wolfpack rounds, rounds that split off into multiple projectiles after impact, made it the perfect weapon for death and destruction.
Apart from the end game Raid and the Gjallarhorn, Year 1 of Destiny had expansions that
helped it bridge the gap between Year 1 and Year 2. However, you had to pay for these expansions and if you didn’t, you would be left behind everyone else who did. For those that didn’t pay for the Dark Below or House of Wolves expansion packs, you essentially be at a level cap, so all the work that was done prior to the expansion’s release would have to be done all over again. This is where I personally left the game to go on hiatus.
After finding out that all my hard work that went to leveling up my Hunter was basically for nothing and that in order for me to progress along I would have to pay money, I left Destiny. I’m pretty sure other people had as well because according to some, these other two expansions weren’t any better than the base game so I figured, “what’s the point?” Although I was enjoying Destiny, just grinding and grinding and then having to pay to progress was just not doing it for me. And so, I left Destiny behind and focused on other games like GTA and NBA 2K for a long while. Eventually, I was going to sell my copy until a classmate of mine told me that there were new things in the game but I had to pay for it. Initially, I was hesitant until he convinced me it was well worth the money. Begrudgingly, I started Destiny up again and began to download the new DLC, The Taken King.
The release of The Taken King ushered in a new year and a new era of Destiny. Dubbed “Year 2”, The Taken King introduced a new batch of enemy called the Taken, gave us exotic swords to play with, a new level cap with a new leveling system that was completely overhauled, and it gave the game a story line! With actual characters showing emotion and cutscenes that actually propelled the story forward. However the caveat was that all the weapons that you had gotten in Year 1 was essentially useless, so I said goodbye to my Gjallarhorn(s). It also introduced a new raid called The King’s Fall, which tasked players to destroy Oryx, the king of the Taken. Not only that, but it gave players a new subclass to play with for their characters: Nightstalker for Hunters, Stormcaller for Warlocks, and Sunbreaker for Titans. With all these new things added to the game, it instantly sucked me back in and brought back the fun that I had with Destiny when I first played.
Year 2 was a welcome change that was needed. It infused life into a game that was slowly flat lining. In one fell swoop, it made the game infinitely more enjoyable and allowed players to be have more fun while they grinded as Bungie made the tasks less tedious, which was perfect because farming was a necessity for the elemental swords. Year 2 was also when I got my first taste of actually raiding with a fireteam of 6 people, which was extremely fun but very time consuming.
With my classmate (now friend) that brought me back to Destiny, we proceed to blaze through the end game Raid that I remember took about 2 weeks to complete because of scheduling conflicts. Even after we defeated Oryx and completed most of the activities, there was never a shortage of things to do as periodically, there were would be events that gave us more to do. Events like The Festival of the Lost during Halloween or the SRL (Sparrow Racing League) gave fuel to the fire that was Year 2 Destiny. Not only that but there were more quests with new rewards like new sparrows, new cosmetic items, and new weapons to obtain to make sure that Year 2 wouldn’t be as stale as Year 1.
As time went on, the activities got repetitive (again) and eventually the aura of The Taken King began to wear off. As much as I enjoyed Year 2, something else was coming in and it was coming in hot. Before I knew it, not only did the last of Destiny’s DLC’s arrive, but it also ushered in a New Year.
Destiny’s Year 3 came with a bang with the arrival of Rise of Iron. Again it provided new background on characters we have known and somewhat cared for, a new storyline about the defeat of the Iron Lords at the hands of SIVA, a new increase in level cap to 400, and it also introduced a new Raid, Wrath of the Machine. Not only that, but it introduced new gameplay mechanics and brought back the fan favorite Gjallarhorn,
except now everyone can get it and is much less powerful. But as much as Rise of Iron and Year 3 as a whole felt like a new experience, it did invoke some feeling of nostalgia.
Around the Holiday season of 2016, Destiny had an update called “The Dawning” which brought back the fan favorite Icebreaker, a sniper rifle that never reloaded and had regenerating ammo. In order to get the Icebreaker one had to complete the Vanguard Elite bounty “Sunrise”, which was a new concept for strikes that was introduced in “The Dawning”. The update was, in my opinion, a preparation for the final update of Year 3 and Destiny, Age of Triumph.
Age of Triumph is Year 3 and as a whole, Destiny’s swan song. It brings back old raids and raises them to proper light levels, a new questline that is essentially a reminder of Destiny’s pastlife, brought back Year 1 weapons such as the Necrochasm and the infamous Vex Mythoclast, a new record book, chronicling all that you have done as a Guardian throughout the years of playing Destiny, and overall feels like a celebration of the journey you took in the world of Destiny.
In some respects, Age of Triumph is a way of experiencing all that Destiny was about, before saying goodbye forever. Bringing back Year 1 favorite weapons and raids, hearing the Ghost talk like Peter Dinklage instead of Nolan North, and having the startup screen revert back to the original Destiny logo before all the updates and expansions may be minute and subtle, but these changes are things that Year 1 players such as myself notice and appreciate. Having a record book entry to visit the infamous Loot Cave, a cave in which enemies would span at a faster rate than usual and would lead to many Guardians constantly spamming the entrance with explosives and bullets in order to gain loot, was the icing on the nostalgia cake.
In the end, although Destiny was not a perfect game by any means, it did enough to rectify those problems that it had. When there were complaints of no story, Bungie released DLC’s that had story to improve the game. What about complaints of lack of activities? More raids and strikes. Same old weapons and armor? New weapons and armor. With the Age of Triumph update, we get to say goodbye to Destiny. Even with all it’s faults, it was undeniable that Destiny was a fun experience. It may not have been perfect, but then again, nothing is. Although many people bash on Destiny, I am one of those enjoyed the hell of Destiny. If anything, the progression of where Destiny was in the beginning, to where it is now is nothing short of spectacular and it gets me excited to see what Destiny 2 has in store. Here’s to Destiny. Even though the road was very bumpy in the beginning, I was glad to stick with it to smoother pastures.