A love letter to Bungie :: Toothache and Destiny

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I recently deleted Destiny from my PS4, in lieu of the monthly cleanup of games to make up space for even more games. Incidentally Destiny holds the record for existing on my PS4 the longest, I bought it day 1 and have seen it increase in size from a mere 11 GB to 25 and beyond. From a single game to 2 DLC and 2 expansion, me and Destiny have had some fun together.

For the longest time, Destiny was my go to game. I understood a lot of flak that the game got (most of it deserving) but it was my guilty pleasure. I came back from my office exhausted, powered up my PS4, loaded Destiny and let my hand eye co-ordination take over. Some of that time was when I was struggling with toothache, a period of my life that I wouldn’t wish upon my greatest enemy (OK maybe my greatest, but definitely not my second greatest and beyond). Destiny helped me cope up with the pain. Take my mind off the fact that my lower jaw was exploding from the inside and in another 2 hours I was supposed to be drilled into by a dentist, which may or may not reduce the pain.  Its not as noble as video games helping you through cancer (and I say that with utmost respect) but it was a big deal.

Most of my progression in Destiny was obviously in Single Player. Some days however, when I was feeling a little too adventurous I would load up the multiplayer. I dabbled with the Trials of Osiris and flirted with Sparrow Racing League for a while. Checked off all the strikes but never got around to ever finish a single Raid. I even got great at Prison of Elders. Once I got serious about my light level for a while, which resulted in me printing out the maps for entire areas and a checklist to capture all the Calcified fragments. That’s when I realized how deep the abyss went.

Naively, I had thought that Destiny had a rocky launch and the player base wasn’t what Bungie would have liked. On the surface the evidence supported that claim, the lobbies could be woefully long sometimes. However, you just needed to type Destiny in reddit and the number of threads that were dedicated to this semi-MMORPG were overwhelming. People discussed lore, bounty quests, hints, drop rates, team formations. The Destiny app too was something that I had thought was a mere gimmick, but as it turned out it was the best way to change your guns in combat. Probably the only example till date where a companion app had changed the way you play the actual game (whether that’s a good thing or not is another debate). I found a core group of Indian gamers, who played together daily at a scheduled time, the only example where I made FB friends with PS4 players. I even found a FB group made up entirely of Indian Destiny players. The mainstream internet might not have liked Destiny but the game was thriving. At that point, it was either my light level or my personal life, and I chose the latter (not sure if I made the right decision though) but my perception of the entire video game industry had changed.

Of course the game gave back to me too. On my trip to Gamescom 2016, I was invited to try out the Rise Of Iron expansion before its release. I also got a chance to meet the team behind Destiny and told them how much of a fan I was, not only of the game, but Bungie themselves. These are small things but they bound me to the game unlike any other before it. Ever since its release I have played many games. A lot of them decidedly better than Destiny, but none as repeatable as it was, and none closer to my heart.

Funnily, I stopped playing Destiny soon after the announcement for Destiny 2 was made. It was half an unconscious effort to build up anticipation for Destiny 2, and half a feeling of playing something old. I have already convinced at least 2 of my friends to buy Destiny 2 when it comes out later this year so I would be better equipped for raids. I don’t expect it to be groundbreaking, or legendary or even GOTY. I expect it to be more of the same (which is exactly what it will be by the looks of the trailers) with some new guns to use, some new locations to explore and some more lore to uncover. And sometimes that’s all that you want.

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