Hello everyone. Today, I want to talk about something I’ve been talking about for 4 years. This video is currently in it’s 4th iteration. It started out as a rant about the Nightfall and how it more or less has become the arc-singe, heavyweight playlist and how I think the Nightfall isn’t in a great state right now. The Nightfall used to be this pretty highly coveted activity, even if it wasn’t too hard, because it was THE place to go to try to get your BIG upgrade of the week if you didn’t raid. Now it’s just another powerful reward in a sea of powerful rewards, with its identity being completely gone from what it used to be. But over time, this video become more and more about the post-end-game or post-650 pursuits that are in the game. Right now, those post-end-game pursuits are: triumphs or titles, and maybe Luna’s Howl or Not Forgotten, which are PvP pursuits, which not everyone is really interested in.
I was talking to a friend about this topic and he called it the pursuit of mastery. We have the pursuit of power, which is gearing up, and then the pursuit of mastery which is… Shattered Throne solo flawless and maybe raid flawless. One time achievements. The end game to a lot of people I would say is completing the raid, getting max power level and farming for god roll weapons. But, as I’ve mentioned in videos past, there are a very limited about of things that require you to be maximum power level, right now the only max level activities are Scourge of the Past and Bergusia Forge.
If you don’t raid or don’t care about raiding, there’s almost no reason to chase max power in the first place, but only recently have there even been any reasons to even get max power, and again, those reasons are having a slightly easier time in the raid and Bergusia Forge. Triumphs and titles are nice for completionists, but there’s only a small handful that are high skill or high dedication and don’t need repeating. The forge is not a high skill activity at all, although I imagine a lot of people would consider the raid to absolutely be one, but if you don’t care about minmaxing your armor sets, you can get to max power without the raid anyway. Destiny yet again finds itself in a position where the only activities we have to show off all of the gear we grinded for are… the same things we did to grind for those items. If I fully max out an armor and weapon loadout with the best stats and everything in between, that’s cool, but I have no place to go use this build other than some strikes or quickplay PvP.
There are no pursuits in the game that make use of all of this grinding and gearing up. In other games of this ilk, there tends to be much more maxing out of gear before you definitively reach “the end” or a fully maximized build. With Destiny, 650 is the only real stat you need to care about, which would be fine if there were more things to do with said 650 power. The past few expansion cycles have all come out with a “Court of Oryx” like activity, a spinoff. Technically it was Prison of Elders, then Court of Oryx, then Archon’s Forge, then Escalation Protocol, which was the first time I feel like Bungie had innovated the concept for a public area activity, Challenge of the Elders was an evolution on a private activity, Prison of Elders. Then we get Blind Well, which sort of innovates a little, then we get the 4 Forges of Black Armory, which innovates in a way where it allows players to farm for top tier weapon perk rolls, which is pretty interesting.
I personally am looking for more innovation in the challenge side of these kinds of activities since most of these activities as a whole are not very difficult when at the appropriate level, I’ll elaborate on in the next paragraph. I suspect Season of the Drifter will also come with one of these kinds of activities as well. I think I’m just getting fatigued by this process because while forges are another fun, mindless activity to go do, they’re not really challenging at all, they don’t test me as a player, outside of the first day of Black Armory at least. I don’t really have to pay attention, which some people like, it’s fun to just mindlessly run strikes or forge runs and just kill stuff, I get it, and those activities are good to have. But, at some point, I would really like Bungie to turn one of these things into something where if I want to, I can go challenge myself and not only can I go challenge myself, but be rewarded for challenging myself.
Scoring, timers, leaderboards, something revolving around some sort of competitive PvE-like experience. I am ok with more sandbox based difficulty, since scaling that up is a lot easier than mechanic based difficulty, although both would be nice, but I think the greater challenge is actually incentivizing those challenges. I’m not saying make the entire game harder, because we don’t need that, the entire game doesn’t need to made super hard. However, there are people out there who want to engage more with Destiny, but once they get to max power, they don’t have many reasons to stay interested other than grinding triumph score, which doesn’t consist of many difficult things, in fact, a portion of difficult things give zero score.
I would like to stay engaged more often and not just when Bungie has an event planned. Is that asking too much? Eh, potentially, I totally accept that. But I think laying some of the groundwork for some of these end-game activities to get the Five of Swords high score Nightfall treatment while also properly incentivizing them could go a long way in making some of these content droughts less dry or more engaging for engaged players.
You could also argue that engaged players are going to come back anyway, so who cares and while you’re right, not my point exactly. You could also that not many players would engage with such a thing since it would be limited to that high-end PvE crowd and therefore not worth spending the resources to make on top of how much work it would be to properly balance and incentivize this concept and again, you would make a very good point. As some of you may know, I’m hugely interested in Nightfall high scoring being a thing in this game that actually has some value, gonna go back to the Nightfall stuff for this part of the video. Higher scores should mean greater rewards. But beyond making it give higher level drops based on your score instead of based on your current power level or in addition to, which is something I think it should be doing anyway, once you hit 650, that incentive is removed and we resort to speedrunning Nightfalls to try to get the curated drops or a god roll weapon.
In games that have real stats in them, strength, agility, intellect, a scored activity like the Nightfall would incentize high scores by padding stats on gear drops: the higher your score, the better the stats. Diablo, Division, etc. Destiny doesn’t have those kinds of RPG like stats beyond resilience, recovery and mobility and increasing those by 1 is definitely not enough of an incentive, which is a major issue if you want to use armor or weapons as an incentive. The game is just not stat based, it is entirely perk based, of which these perks do not have any stats or percentages that can go up or down, they are binary. You can only minmax your gear so much and even with the minmaxing you can do now, the game overwhelmingly cares most about power level. The only thing that could produce stat upgrades are percentages on certain weapon or armor perks, like Heavy Lifting or Rampage, but the game doesn’t even tell you what those percentages are, even if some are easy to calculate.
Having the Nightfall exclusive item drop at X score doesn’t really incentivize pushing for higher scores beyond that X score. I’d be looking for something that has that infinite skill cap, where you don’t necessarily win, you just try to do the best. So how do you incentivize a game like Destiny when it doesn’t have RPG-like stats? A lot of rewards in this game are 1 and done: once you get them, you don’t need to do the activity anymore.
This is what made Destiny 2 year 1 so boring. From a loot that I can actually use perspective, beyond those one and done things, there’s not much. I feel like people don’t care a ton about “lesser” cosmetics like ships, sparrows, etc. You’d have to have seasonal rewards for those to be revelant. You’d need to have armor sets on the level of Age of Triumph for people to even consider getting invested in doing any competitive PvE kind of stuff, but even those armor sets would be one and done collectables unless they were made seasonal. The Season 4 Zavala shotgun for getting Nightfall rank 14 was an interesting concept that has since been removed from the game. The issue was that the shotgun wasn’t super amazing so no one cared.
Even if it was really good, you could just hit rank 14 and be done with no continued incentive. Truth is, it’s likely near impossible for Bungie create a loot system that is continuously incentivized like a more traditional RPG without a complete overhaul of how stats work in Destiny, which would change the entire game. Whether that’s for the better or for the worse depends on how you enjoy playing Destiny. If you’re a minmax kind of player, the most you can do is find Machine Gun reserves and scavenger on 2 armor pieces and sort your mods.
The majority of players are likely NOT minmaxers trying to squeeze every ounce of power out of their gear and like Destiny the way it is: a game where it’s fun to shoot dudes in the head. Beyond the incentive problems, there’s the issues with Nightfall scoring in general, like farming endlessly respawning adds to boost your score, Mercury strikes having score RNG via the infinite forest or whatever other exploits that happen to pop up that make scoring completely busted. The strikes would have to be normalized to make it the same for everyone for good competition if Bungie wanted to have any sort of competitive PvE experience, of which there is currently none in the game. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like competitive PvE in Destiny, that’s the root of it. Also, the current max handicap is 110. The Nightfall is 540 and the max level is 650. A max handicap puts you right at the Nightfall’s level, which means even at maximum handicap, you’re still breezing through anything in your way. I wrote a lot of this video pre-Niobe Labs and Bergusia forge, however, I think a forge being at 650 power doesn’t really change things with regards to this video, same for Niobe Labs.
While Niobe Labs I think is a pretty good combat experience, was an… interesting puzzle experience, and overall was an awesome addition to the game considering how much went into it, it is a one off. You CAN repeat it, there is no reason to repeat it. The forge being 650 doesn’t change the fact that it is still the same forge gameplay as the others, just on a different map. Bungie really seems to hate difficulty settings too. I dunno what it is that they don’t like about having multiple difficulty options, but Bungie does not like them. Maybe they do hate them. Maybe it’s a “games are hard to make” situation. I dunno what it is. But besides making up your own challenges and maybe the raids, Destiny is a pretty easy PvE game to play, with difficulty only being linked to your power level and time commitment.
Most things are only hard because you are not at the proper level and once you are, most things become much easier. Gambit is the only competitive PvE type thing in the game, but it’s still you against another human team AND it’s PvEvP, what I’m talking about is you purely against the AI. What I’d like to see is Bungie use the things that they already have in a more challenging or engaging way. I’d like to have reasons to use all of these super powerful items that I’m grinding for. I’d like to get more engaged with certain activities.
Even the raids reach the point where you can roll over them because your power level is so high, or even equal to the raids themselves. I just wish that I felt like I was going somewhere with the items that I’m grinding for, instead of just doing milestones for gear that I know I’ll dismantle. Getting max level can prepare you for the next content drop, but I think Bungie learned their lesson with that with Black Armory. Now, this video is not me saying we have a content update problem, because this year, year 5, will introduce the most amount of content updates we’ve seen in a single year. Forsaken, Black Armory, Season of the Drifter and another update after that, plus all of the holiday stuff in between. Pretty good amount of stuff. Dunno if Bungie will be able to keep that pace up though, especially with them downsizing. Which means they’ll need other ways of making their content stay relevant for long periods of time. Anyway, that’s all I got on this topic. Lemme know how you feel on this, I know this video might come across as yet another Datto elitist video, but again I’m not trying to say “make the entire game harder,” but rather just add some things towards the top end for people to challenge themselves, that’s all.
Thanks for listening, I’ll see you next time..