Two weeks ago, I wrote a controversial column describing how I thought The Division was already better than Destiny. Many readers took issue with that, and, believe it or not, I thought many were spot on with their reasons for Destiny being the better game. I’ve spent the last two weeks diving back into Destiny to rediscover what I so much enjoyed when the game launched and to dabble once more in The Taken King’s improvements. In the spirit of fairness, we’re going to look at the flip side of this coin and explore just how Destiny is better than the Division.
Plus, Baldur’s Gate expansion drama, Mass Effect: Andromeda footage, Dark Souls 3, new Grim Dawn content and more!
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way: I stand behind my belief that The Division has been more fun than Destiny, but allow me to elaborate. In my previous column, I outlined the gameplay reasons why I’ve come to that conclusion, but the second, more important, reason is that I’ve simply found The Division to be more fun. Destiny, at launch, was a complete disappointment compared to its original promise. This isn’t surprising considering how hacked up and pasted together it turned out to be. Players call the vanilla game a beta for The Taken King because it took Bungie a year to deliver something we could actually rally around, and new players still level through that mediocre content.
The Division, on the other hand, has no right to be as good as it is. Even if you don’t like it, it’s hard to argue that the game isn’t better than its delay-ridden development and cagey beta made it seem. For all of its flaws, The Division was a surprise for the better whereas Vanilla Destiny was a surprise for the worse. Those initial impressions make a world of difference. Without preconception, I’ve been able to let go and have more fun leveling through The Division than in pre-TTK Destiny. Fun should be the most important factor in assessing a video game, but it’s also subjective (which is why this is written in an editorial).
Over the last two weeks, I’ve stepped back into Destiny. Guess what? I enjoy it just as much as I ever had, and there are many things that Destiny does better than The Division! For example, and don’t take headings at face value:
For all of vanilla Destiny’s faults, the gunplay was fantastic. It redeemed Destiny’s missions and made the bland mission design fun. The Division’s shooting is also good, but Bungie’s history has absolutely given Destiny the advantage with weapons that all feel unique and satisfying. Since the game isn’t rooted in realism, the variety of weapons is also much better.
Gun and Loot Variety
I really enjoy the pace at which the The Division gives you new goodies, but one of the most common complaints is that, well, one AK is a whole lot like another, no matter what level you are. Destiny has a much better variety of weapons. Gear also feels much more meaningful because it actually changes the way your character looks. The Division gives you far too few options to make yourself look unique.
I am more let down by The Division’s character development the more I play of it. I much prefer a class system like Destiny’s. Destiny’s character development feels all-around deeper with more ways to make yourself unique. I also love the special abilities and how they give each class their own flavor. Titan SMASH!
A True Shared World
For the life of me, I don’t get the “pseudo-MMO” tag The Division has received. Groups are small and can be completely ignored. I love Destiny’s world for the same reason I love MMOs: having real players running around makes it feel like a living, shared space that goes on without you. Destiny feels like a pseudo-MMO. The Division feels like a co-op game with an open-world PVP zone.
The Division has better matchmaking, but the actual endgame options pale in comparison to Destiny’s strikes, challenge missions, raids, and PVP. The Division is receiving Incursions, but their success is yet to be seen, and the Dark Zone just isn’t as repeatable as organized PVE and PVP. Destiny also offers a regular rotation of events with the above, giving you a little more purpose to your playtime.
Destiny has a whole slew of modes, some even factoring in your hard earned raid gear. PVP is its own progression path, too, which was how I made my way on the first go round and again this time. The Division has bupkis outside of the Dark Zone, so this is an easy win.
Looking at this list, it might be easy to say that Destiny does all of the “important” things better. That’s so subjective as to be unfair and ignores the disappointing original campaign. These are two very different games trying to accomplish very similar things, so it comes down to what gameplay you enjoy most.
For my part, The Division wins the leveling game because of the campaign. It’s damn fun and the co-op is a blast. But looking at the bigger picture you’d be crazy to think Destiny wasn’t also worth considering in this off-shoot of a genre. No matter what your personal taste, we should be happy about that.
Two good games are better than one.