Destiny 2 - What I did instead of sleeping this week.

The release of Destiny 2 happened on the 6th this September and I think that's the last day I really had any good sleep until last night. Seriously, it's that addicting. Now there are some cons to the pros this game has but I've got to be honest, they seem sort of nit picky. I was hesitant to give this game a good review because of how poorly handled the story was in its predecessor as well as generally finding it difficult to recommend a first person shooter to people who don't generally play that genre. I am happy to report however, that despite a couoke issues that seemed to be getting ironed out the more time goes on, Destiny 2 is worth the money. 

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Now that's a pretty bold statement considering Destiny's track record with its prices, so I'll preface this by stating that I went ahead and shelled out to extra $20 for the expansion pass. D1 put put at least 3 expansions and charged ~15 for each, plus a $100 gold edition after a few years, so I figured $80 now is worth it. Since there are currently no expansions yet however I will be reviewing this on a normal price scale I use which is essentially: is this game worth $60? So far I'm inclined to say yes.  

Let's look at the good of this game. The gun and shooting mechanics are much of the same from Destiny 1 if not a little polished. The guns themselves are diverse and a new feature was implemented which many seem to enjoy is that you do not have to level up the gun anymore to unlock its features. I'm more or less indifferent to this however I do see how helpful it is when you're leveling and switching out guns like a kid at a candy store. Leveling seems to be much of the same with an easy way to calculate what your loot drops and vendor payouts will be based on your current power level, and there are ways to max out a character using the exotics and modification system in tandem with the infusion system. As far as stat calculations go, I love this area of the game and as a fan of MMO's I don't mind (read: have become desensitized to) the grind. However it can be a grind. A real grind and farm. Be prepared for that. 

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The exotic items are fantastic and the art team in the game is some of the best I've seen in any shooter. The first Raid recently released, and the art direction was easily next gen AAA worthy. Another thing that deserves high praise is the score. This games music is nothing short of flawless. One thing that Bungie and it's developers seemed to have listened to about the first game was the lack of story. This game is saturated with it. I really appreciate that about a company, even if I do think the complaint shouldn't have been there in the first place. They listened, responded, and this game has more story in the first 2 hours than the entirety of Destiny 1. There's a reason for the bad guys doing what they do. There's almost sympathy for certain aspects of the conflict. There's a ton of characterization, however this side can get a little predictable, but hey, I'm not complaining. At least every character isn't Shaxx or a Zavalas clone this time around. 

Another good feature of this game is the Clan system; essentially a guild system Destiny 2 has employed. You create a clan (guild) at Bungie's website and so long as you have 2 people it will appear in game on a roster screen. Special bonuses are given for completing things as a clan and just for being in one, and it's a fantastic way for players to find fireteams interested in whatever they want to do. The clan system is deserving of praise in my opinion and I hope to see further incentives for being a part of one as the game continues.  

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So the glaring thing about the bad in this game is the shader system. I'm very broken on how to feel about this. Shaders are used to customize the color scheme of armor and guns to create very unique looking characters and separate your player from others in the game even if they share similar equipment. In D1 shaders were unlimited use. If you had a shader you could always use that shader. In D2 they are single use. Meaning you pick up like a 3 pack and that's all of that color scheme you get to use unless you get another. Also, you can buy shaders using real world money. Here's the deal. I have seen other MMO's use this kind of cosmetic micro transaction system to great effect and almost no real complaints from the community. It doesn't tip gameplay in any direction and is purely cosmetic. But man oh man, the player base HATES this. I think it's because D1 gave us unlimited use of shaders and now it feels like something is being taken away from the community. Now to me the idea of this new shader system is typical, and honestly I'm not too outspoken against this (again, I can think of many, many MMO's that have a cosmetic cash shop) but if that's a big enough reason for you to hate bungie then hey so be it. 

The other thing is latency issues but this is slowly clearing up. I think. I might be stockholmed into thinking it's better. It takes forever to match with a team, especially in crucible in D2. I'm talking some serious wait time. I think it's improving as bungie starts to work on it, but again I can't tell if I'm comparing the difference between 10 minutes and 9 minutes. It's that bad. But hopefully this is something they can clear up easily enough, I read they are trying a new system out to counter player base drops and since the game is new and has a large player base it's messing with wait times. I would give you a source but you can trust me I'm a reliable guy.  

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You want to hear my biggest complaint with this game? You can't pick the *&#@ing levels on crucible or strikes!! OH MY GOD this is annoying. Now strikes I've heard about and can understand, they don't want you picking whatever strike you want because people would pick the easiest one and farm it (there's a counter point involving times and drops and Heroic events but let's leave it for now), but there is no reason, NO REASON, I should not be able to pick my Crucible type. For now I'm stuck playing whatever random thing it gives me, usually supremacy. I hate supremacy. Clash or Control or nothing. I can't stand this and will never stand this until I can pick again. It literally kills me to play pvp now, and that was my majority play style on D1.  

So about leveling and the grind. This game its fairly easy to level, to stat crunch, and reach the top of a characters abilities. It's all about farming rare gear until you reach the highest level that type of item will drop at. Then it becomes a milestone (weekly and daily challenges) completion, or a raid party to level to max. But the grind is real. Now I've played several MMO's so I'm used to farming. You hit the same areas over and over as fast as you can for hours on end to improve your level. But for some people, especially the FPS crowd, I can see how this is a turnoff. It's not fun, the reward per time is low compared to other areas of the game, and it really is a chore. Speaking for the grind system the game has implemented and allows I will say that it's typical and if you're familiar with how to grind and farm it will be extremely familiar territory. Just do some basic maths and figure out your drop rates per minute and the best level to do it at and you'll be fine. 

So Destiny 2 is an improvement on the first game for sure. I would definitely say returning players will find hours of enjoyment and new players will see what all the hype is about. I've lost very many hours of sleep beating, leveling and finally finishing the raid in this game so honestly if you're in it to win it I'd say you'd definitely get your money's worth out of it. You'll enjoy the music, art direction and witty if not predictable characterization. The gear options allow a diverse play style which in turn make for diverse fireteam encounters. In typical MMO fashion there's no real "correct" way to play. Any character idea you have will be useful to a team. if you like shooting monsters, raids, and want a little story to it all then Destiny 2 is right up your ally. 

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