Destiny, First Thoughts and First Patches

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The new FPSRPG from Bungie has been on the shelves for a few weeks now, and I’ve been enjoying it rather a lot.

What happens when you combine Bungie Innovation with Activision-Blizzard’s MMO know-how? Find out after the jump.

There have been several attempts at MMO FPS RPG’s over the years, (God wasn’t that a mouthful?) and none of them have been very successful.

We started with Tabula Rasa by Richard Gariott a few years back, and it was a colossal failure. I did try it, but found, like most of Garoitt’s work, it was little more than an attempt to use someone else’s scheme with his own world. In this case, World of Warcraft.

Currently, there is also Defiance which just went free to play, and it ALMOST had the right idea. I haven’t watched the television show, so I shan’t comment on it.

So, what makes these games different from Destiny, or, rather, what makes Destiny different from them?

Skill.

In both Defiance and Tabula Rasa, the game was still largely based on the old MMO stand-by of turn-based combat. Oh, it may not have felt like it but if you look at the stats on weapons, and how damage comes in and goes it…well, it’s all there in the numbers suffice it to say. And Tabula Rasa’s spell system was nothing short of obtuse.

Destiny, however, is a shooter first and foremost. It simply tacks on the basic vestiges of an MMO.

Does your gear have stats? Of course. But it’s relative to your skills. Your Auto Rifle may have a damage potential of say..200, but unless you’re accurate you won’t be doing any damage. Also, is the enemy wearing armor? The reverse is also true, if you move and the enemy can’t hit you, the defense on that shiny new helmet scarcely matters. But, if you get hit, the math is done and off comes your health.

But you aren’t here to hear about the engine. You want to know what Bungie is doing differently that set it apart from the other companies.

Communication is the key here.

Recently, a balance patch was introduced to the game. It had two major impacts:

1: Auto Rifle damage and accuracy was lowered

2: Scout Rifle damage was increased

This was to combat the fact that Auto Rifles were being used, almost exclusively, in PvP. They were far too accurate, had an immense rate of fire and, due to these two things, were dealing substantially more damage. In other words? If you wanted to be competitive, no other weapon was suitable for you to use. This is not how Bungie wanted things.

In a post to the community just prior to the patch, they explained themselves.

“There should be no one way to win.”

I love that line. It’s simple, it’s concise and it explains everything balance should be in a multi-player/RPG environment and it’s something WoW has been attempting to do for years now.

Those of you who play WoW, how often have you looked at Icy Veins or Elitist Jerks for the best raiding build? The best soloing build? The best PvP build?  It doesn’t exist in Destiny.

Certainly there are perks and “training” you can take that make one or the other easier, but if you build a personal play style around your selections, you’ll be set for any scenario.

And, I have to say, after that explanation, most complaints quieted down as the player base realized that having 100 different ways of being successful made for a far more interesting game than who can shoot the most bullets the fastest.

Blizzard should take note, just telling a player base that it’s better this way doesn’t work. You need to give an explanation as to WHY it’s better this way. And not having one way of winning is the best way to do that.

So, in short; well done Bungie, you communicated well and this brought the player base together under your way of thinking. Sure, there are outliers, but that’s because those people are afraid that they aren’t going to have a lock on winning anymore. And you know what? They shouldn’t. Its not fun if you have no chance of winning. There should be some element of danger.

This is odd for the MMO player who are used to Best in Slot gear. And there still is, to a degree, it’s just all the Best in Slot weapons are balanced against each other. This is the proper way to do things, and I hope to see more of it.

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Destiny, First Thoughts and First Patches

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