Destiny 2 and Casual Play

For the past year and a half my primary game1 has been Destiny 2. However, as time has gone on, I’ve found it more difficult to feel like I’m making progress or accomplishing much in the game. At this point I’m probably going to shift my limited time2 to other games3. What’s wrong?

Forsaken and Slower Progress

Forsaken is great. Bungie did a great job. However, with it came the first hints of Destiny 2 shifting to the players able to dedicate much more time than me. The grind to 600 was punishing. The grind to 540 so I could comfortably6 play in the Dreaming City was frustrating.

Once I hit 540, I got into a solid habit of starting every week of play by burning through the Dreaming City powerful reward activities. This was a lot of fun4, and since the drops were always a few levels above my currrent, it felt productive. I even managed to get a full set of armor with decent perks.

When Black Armory dropped, I was just shy of 590. The content was set just too high for me to be successful. This was demotivating. At the end of the season I had just hit 640, and just barely unlocked the second forge.

The current season is really dragging me down. I still haven’t unlocked the third forge. My clan is long gone from playing5. When I play, I often don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything after a session.

What Hurts

Here’s what really has hurt:

  • Powerful Rewards not being equal. Just look at the chart. It makes sense, drive the players to the new content. However, it punishes players who really like the older content and particularly solo players who want to play what they like most.
  • It feels like I should be optimizing my play for power level increases. With the powerful drops that are tied to bounty completion it starts feeling like a spreadsheet is needed to optimize my play.
  • Armor type random rolls. Every bit of randomness increases the time that needs to be spent to get something worth using. Making the armor type random feels like an insult to the time I have. I didn’t need another variable.
  • The forge unlock grind. Look, the hardcore players and streamers complained. It is awful for someone like me. I’m terrified of getting to the strike step, no one I know is playing anymore5.
  • The low exotic drop rate. I spent months without receiving a single Forsaken exotic. The few exotics I got were repeats. This has gotten better recently, but Bungie overcorrected from Year 1.

Two Things That Would Help

  1. I’d like to be able to sit down and play and know that the powerful rewards that drop during my session will really help me move along in the power level grind. Currently, with the minimal increase in power level for many activites, something dropping in a slot might end up doing nothing. This feels terrible, and then I end my play session feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything.
  2. There should be more currated rolls, and clear ways to get them to drop. I love the currated drops I’ve received. I think most weapons should have the option to drop currated, and that there should be a clear path to them. The rolls should be good, but not always amazing, so there is still reason to grind. In Year 1 it was great knowing that if I took the time to play strikes I could eventually get an Origin Story. Or the raid for Sins of the Past. Give me more clear targets like that, but without the craziness of the pinnacle weapons.

The Future

I’m curious what comes in Season of Opulence. Maybe the new activities will hit the mark for me. The catch up bounties added in the latest season are a great thing. More of that. I’m hopeful, but if there are big grinds to unlock new activities, I’m not sure I’ll bother at this point.

1: Big AAA game really. I play a lot of Switch during my commute.
2: Toddler + long commute. 2-6 hours a week after bedtime.
3: Spider-Man on the PS4 looks like fun.
4: Blind Well is great. A productive story mission is fun. And the Ascendant Challenges are very cool. Great job Bungie.
5: Look, I know about LFG apps, etc. I have social anxiety7 so random groups are rough. Look, I wish I was neurotypical for this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
6: I’m probably just average for skill. That’s fine as long as I have fun. Just means I won’t be soloing the Shattered Throne anytime soon.
7: And yes, I’m taking care of it. But it takes effort, which isn’t exactly top of mind when I want to play.