I wrote last week about what I want to see out of Bungie for Destiny in 2016. However, over the last week or so, I’ve been seeing a lot of other, more immediate issues that have been showing up in the game. Crucible games have become plagued with even worse connections, along with some seriously confusing misadventure deaths. This week’s Nightfall opened up with a bug that didn’t spawn any enemies for the first section, then the door to the Ogre room was bugged and didn’t open until Bungie fixed it. Trials has been plagued by those Crucible issues, taking an activity that is supposed to be end-game level and turning it into a crapshoot. Even today, I’ve seen a bunch of people saying that PvE lobbies are disconnecting and having red-bar connections.
Normally that’s already a big deal for a game to have to overcome. But Destiny has been fighting an uphill battle, really since November, to remain relevant until Bungie unveils the next major step for the series. Spend just a couple minutes on pretty much any Destiny video over on YouTube and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a handful of “Destiny is dead” comments. Now normally I just dismiss them because the game has been doing pretty well – especially since there hasn’t been any real content since September. But with the new issues that have popped up recently, it’s harder than ever to defend the state of Destiny. The question now isn’t can Destiny stay relevant through the spring; it’s now can Destiny survive the onslaught of issues it faces right now. Every game goes through a rough patch – sometimes it’s a bad patch that ruins the online meta, sometimes it’s a set of server issues, sometimes it’s a combination of a bunch of problems. Usually, games can weather the storm – Destiny already has gone through a rough patch with the Thorn meta. The Master Chief Collection couldn’t handle the complexity that came from multiple game engines, and in my opinion it killed what could have been an amazing collection of games. What I think really hurts Destiny right now is that there are a good handful of other really good options out there. Shooter fans can play Halo 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars: Battlefront and Rainbow Six: Siege – and that’s just the big hitters. RPG fans have Fallout 4 to keep digging through. Action fans have the Uncharted Collection and Tomb Raider to play. There are a lot of options across the board out there – not to mention older games that people are catching up with (Witcher 3, Battlefield Hardline).
Ultimately, I would like to believe that Bungie has a plan to fix this, and we’ll find out exactly what that is next week. My problem with that is that it’ll be about a month without a full update from them. Even if the game was maintaining the status quo through that month, that’s a long time without an update. Prior to Destiny I would definitely have given Bungie the benefit of the doubt with most of these issues – but since they’ve shifted focus away from Halo, I’ve seen a bunch of cracks appear. Since the launch in particular, there have been plenty of things to point to – the disjointed story at launch, allowing a broken weapon meta to reign supreme for as long as it did, and how long it took them to admit the issues with the early vanilla launch. They’ve definitely gotten better, but this is a major test – there really isn’t any way around that. As a huge fan of the game, I really hope that they get this fixed, because I was excited to see what they had in store for the game this year.