(Scroll down to the bold subheadings if you don’t want my Destiny backstory.)
I’m a Bungie tragic. At least, I used to be. Let’s get the background stuff out of the way first. I liked what little I played of Marathon, adored the Myth games, and had fun with Oni. The release of Halo, though, was when I really fell in love with the developer, and even though I really didn’t like Halo 2 (in terms of the campaign) and ODST felt like a cash-grab the first time I played it, I loved every other game that Bungie touched in the Halo series.
So, when Bungie broke away from Microsoft and Destiny was announced, I was automatically on board. Sure, it bothered me that it was going to be a console exclusive, but I was used to that from the Halo days, so I was willing to tolerate it to get a taste of Bungie’s potent mix of a compelling gameplay loop, space-opera storytelling, and an epic score.
Fast-forward to Destiny’s launch, and it was a disappointment out of the gate. While the gameplay loop was there and the soundtrack was classic Marty O’Donnell, the story was lacking. Worse than this, the content was completely lacking. It felt more like a really expensive B-movie than a game that lived up to the potential of what Bungie had been enigmatically spruiking prior to release (not to mention the rumours of the epic budget).
Because Bungie pushed so hard to not want it to be defined as a shooter or an RPG or an MMO, it felt light-on in all of those areas and suffered as a result. I put in 100+ hours at launch, with most of my time spent in Crucible (PvP) where, to my surprise, I got surprisingly good at shooting on a console. I was even able to regularly pull off headshots with sniper rifles (whaaaaaaaaaat?).
That didn’t stop me from hitting a wall and unceremoniously abandoning Destiny. It wasn’t anything special that broke me, but one day I just gave up. There really wasn’t enough keeping me there. I understand that Destiny is in much better form now (thanks to a handful of DLC releases) than it was at launch, but I haven’t been able to bring myself back to it. Now that I know Destiny 2 is coming to PC, I’m willing to give the series another try, but Bungie needs to be smarter about how it launches the sequel.
Let’s talk about what Destiny 2 needs to be a hit on PC.
More content at launch
This should go without saying, but considering the original game was so light-on in terms of content, it’s worth stating the obvious. There wasn’t enough to do in launch Destiny, which meant you ended up doing the same old things over and over again, with little to no variety, to the point where it was impossible to ignore the reality that Bungie mistook ‘grinding’ with ‘gameplay’. I can appreciate that there’s debate about what constitutes grinding—after all, if you’re enjoying a game, working towards unlocks doesn’t have to feel like grinding—but a lack of content for launch Destiny tips the scales against Bungie in this regard. If there’s scores of hours of stuff to do at launch, people will be more likely to keep logging back in to play Destiny 2.
Regular content post-release
Without a doubt, Bungie has plans for DLC for Destiny. But a major DLC drop once a year isn’t realistically enough to keep PC players consistently coming back for more. We have a lot of games vying for our attention across AAA releases, indie games, and Early Access titles. Perhaps adding some randomised elements to the usual missions that people play time and time again (in the hope of earning favour with the RNG gods) would be a great place to start. Outside of that, a constant stream of little bits of new content is a great way to maintain player attention—distractions aplenty that tempt you away from what you were doing. If at all possible, too, Bungie, please don’t lean too heavily into releasing exclusive content for any of the platforms, because that tends to piss off every other platform that’s not the one getting it. In the past that was just annoying to Xbox One players, but now there’s a whole new platform of people that won’t take kindly to that.
Visual fidelity options
Break out the sliders, Bungie. We want all of the graphical options that PC gamers should safely assume are part of a AAA release. The original game looked hella pretty on consoles, but it obviously has the potential to look its best on PC (and don’t skimp on those 4K assets, either). If possible, it’d be great if Bungie can resist the urge to optimise it more for Nvidia or AMD cards, so that everyone can play it in its best possible form at launch, regardless of their GPU loyalties. It’s also going to need an FOV slider, because that tight first-person view in the original Destiny makes it look like you’re shooting out of a coffin. Oh, we’d definitely also appreciate unlocked frame-rate potentiality, too, Bungie.
It’d be awesome to hear that PC is the lead platform for Destiny 2, but that seems unlikely, given our beloved gaming platform was overlooked for the first game. Port may be a dirty word, but it doesn’t have to be if Bungie gets it right. For instance, visual fidelity options are one thing, but it’d be great to have separate difficulty balancing for Destiny 2 on PC. Consistently pulling off headshots against moving foes is challenging with a controller joystick (at least, it is for me), but it’s not so hard on PC when aiming with a mouse. Boosts to enemy damage soaking/dealing is par for the course on higher difficulties, but smarter enemy behaviours would also be appreciated if we up the challenge. The Halo games of old have been heralded for clever AI, so there’s no reason why Bungie can’t tap into that history for Destiny 2.
Love for original Destiny players
For people like me who played the original game—particularly those who continued long after I did—it’d be great to import elements from our old accounts. I can appreciate that this won’t include gameplay-impacting things, but having some sort of acknowledgement that we put in the time on a platform that’s not our primary one would be appreciated.
I’m sure this would actually be appreciated on consoles, too, but you only need to take a look at the recent backlash to For Honor (on PC particularly) to see how peer-to-peer multiplayer can shred a game’s player base (even one that has great gameplay). Destiny’s PvP mode, Crucible, was basically unplayable at launch, with latency that resulted in everyone (except the host) teleporting everywhere. While that improved over time, the better solution is dedicated servers. If you have to, Bungie, use a hybrid peer-to-peer/client-server system. So, say, P2P for out and about in the world when you’re not really running into too many people, and client-server for competitive multiplayer. You could take a leaf out of Rainbow Six Siege’s book and use P2P for matchmaking and then shift everyone to a dedicated server. That said, even Ubisoft Montreal is working on transitioning away from its hybrid system and to a pure client-server structure. Y’know, because it works a whole lot better.
Kill cheating before it starts
Multiplayer on PC, particularly for popular titles, always runs the risk of being impacted by cheaters. There are a number of anti-cheat services available: some are great, some not so much. Bungie, consider taking a(nother) leaf out of Ubisoft Montreal’s book in terms of what they did with Siege. Not long after launch, it was clear that Siege’s default anti-cheat system, Fairfight, wasn’t cutting it. Instead of replacing Fairfight, though, Ubisoft Montreal doubled down and complemented it with BattlEye. The result: well, let’s just say I’m struggling to remember the last time I saw a cheater in Siege. The PC community tends to only play new games for a few weeks before they decide whether they’ll be coming back for more, so launch issues like rampant cheating can deter players from coming back for more.
That’s the list! If there’s anything you’d like to see in Destiny 2 for PC that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments section below.