The Year Ahead Needs More Meat
Destiny 2 just put out its early game plan for 2018, mostly about changes to the game’s cash shop (the Eververse), XP gains, and other quality of life fixes. It’s a good start, but there’s one clear thing it’s missing - juicy, meaty, content. Even as a casual Destiny 2 player, I can tell there’s not enough hints of actual content to come in 2018 to satisfy the player-base, and I’m beginning to fear that Bungie can’t catch up to the rabid demand for content.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m nowhere as out of gameplay options as some folks, and I loved the Curse of Osiris story and missions. But to say it was short would be an understatement. The most recent This Week At Bungie teases more info to come about the 2nd expansion, but beyond that the entire Year Ahead post is mostly about small fixes going all the way through the calendar year.
Where’s the beef, Bungie?
Regardless of what kind of game you think Destiny 2 is, it’s an online service, and a game that Bungie and Activision expect to earn income and to be played by millions for years, not months or weeks. And yet, it seems that the sequel not only launched with too little content for its hardcore fanbase, but also too little content planned to keep the game thriving in the years ahead. Is the plan to just pivot to Destiny 2 in 2019? Is that why there are only 2 “expansions” announced, with one already released? Given the lukewarm reception to the idea that Destiny 2 was a full sequel, I’d think that’s a huge mistake.
Here then, is what I think Bungie needs to do, from my armchair game director’s chair... stop with “Expansions”, start with DLC, and hit a quarterly release schedule like any major online game. If you want an example, try looking at any one of the majorly successful PC/Console games already doing it - Warframe, ESO, GW2, FFXIV. All of these, with a mix of monetization models, deliver updates with major new content every three months. Bungie should come out of the gate, make that their commitment, and deliver.
There’s no subscription in Destiny 2, and it’s fine and dandy that they charge for their “Expansions”. But everyone, and I do mean console players to, expect expansions to contain a load of content for the price. Enough to last at least a month before they’re waiting and wishing for the next update. This cadence, or at least a commitment to it, and a move away from secretive expansions, would go a ways towards easing a playerbase that is a.) unsure what comes after the next expansion and b.) unsure if their game is going to be left in the dust in another year. And of course, $10-20 for the DLC would be the sweet spot, while keeping the newly announced commitment to not segregating the playerbase as much as possible in tact. In short, just do it like ESO and be done with it.
Bungie’s made a fantastic loot shooter, one that improves upon a lot that I had issue with in its forebear. Along with the changes, it’s also finally on PC and being played by many millions more (presumably). Now comes the time in Bungie’s Destiny plan where they learn that transparency and forward facing commitment to ongoing content updates on a regular schedule would be ideal. The changes outlined in the blog are good, but they’re only one part of a plan. You don’t have to get rid of the Eververse, but you might want to rethink the wording on “Expansions” u unless you plan to deliver a lot more with each one. Give us the meat to put on the bones of what you’ve built, Bungie. Your playerbase is mad and angst-ridden because they care and they want you to succeed probably even more than you want to.