Once or twice, I’d be talking to my colleague and Destiny power leveling bro Jason Schreier about playing, and we’d both hem and haw and slowly realize that, to be honest, we’d rather do something else. It just wasn’t worth our time.
We could both imagine what would happen if we did play: We’d spend an hour or so running through a difficult battle, a battle we’d played through a dozen times before. At the end, we’d be bitterly rewarded with booby prizes and useless junk. Rather than go through all that, we decided to stick a pin in it and go do other things.
Not Enough Carrots
As I was partway through writing this article, I saw a thread on the Destiny subbreddit titled “Who else feels like taking a break from Destiny until the next expansion?” I’ve seen that sentiment shared more and more at the various Destiny hubs I frequent, and this particular thread captured the zeitgeist.9
“I broke 800 hours of combined gameplay,” the original poster, temporarycreature, wrote, “and I’m just feeling bored and burned out. I’m not complaining. I am not threatening Bungie. I just hit a wall, and I don’t feel like doing the same things over, and over, day in, and day out.”
Guess what? That’s a shitty way to play a game, especially one that rewards players as arbitrarily as Destiny does. It didn’t take much mental algebra to figure out that my chances of having a Gjallarhorn drop are low enough that I might as well just stop playing altogether, sit on my hoard of strange coins, and wait for Xur to sell it again. It doesn’t help that some exotics appear to be weighted to drop more often than others—I’ve had No Land Beyond, the worst exotic gun in the game, drop for me not once, not twice, but five times. At this point I just expect the thing to drop at the end of Nightfalls. It feels like Destiny is going out of its way to insult me.13
I’ve Started Playing Destiny For The Wrong Reasons14
Oh, shit, I’ve started playing Destiny for the wrong reasons. In the past, I used to hassle Jason when he’d say there was “no reason” to do some mission or other. What he meant was, there’s no useful loot we can get out of it. He was working under the assumption that we only play Destiny for the loot.
“But it’ll be fun!” I’d counter. This game is, after all, fundamentally very fun to play. Surely that’s enough?
Lately, my mentality has changed. I find myself performing cold mental calculations to determine the worth-itness of a given undertaking. I always did that, mind you, but nowadays, it’s my primary calculation, rather than a secondary one.
Crota’s End Hard Mode Is A Bust
Many of us were optimistic about the high-level “hard mode” for the Crota’s End raid. It launched almost a month ago, and it only took one or two attempts for us to realize that something was off.
There were few new ideas happening; in most ways, it was the same raid. The one major difference was that the enemies had all been kicked up to level 33, one level above players’ level 32 cap, which artificially inflated the difficulty in a cheap and unenjoyable way.
Other times the Swordbearer AI would act up and momentarily throw us off our game, which in Hard Mode is as good as having your whole team die.
I was running late to meet some friends for dinner, but I decided to try one more time, and we failed. So I tried again; we failed again. I finally tore myself away—I was late to dinner, and I had to let go of the notion that we were on the verge of beating Crota. I left the fireteam, and they replaced me with someone from an LFG site.
A short while later, I was away from my PS4, having a drink with my friends. I had sheepishly arrived about 20 minutes late, and we had immediately begun talking about things that were not Destiny. The game was still buzzing in my head, but the buzz was fading. I texted Jason: “Hey, if you guys beat him, let me know!” Then, a couple of hours after that: “Did you beat him?”
Xür, Agent of Sadness
Weekends are an exciting time in the world of Destiny, because that’s when Xur comes. Like a sad Santa with a mostly empty sack on his shoulder, the Tentacle-Faced One arrives and, inevitably, disappoints the shit out of everyone.
I’ve talked in the past about why Xur is generally so disappointing—most players already have most of the exotic items they need, so it’s much more likely that Xur will turn up selling stuff they already have or don’t want. And of course, some of the bitterness around Xur will dissipate if he turns up next week selling Gjallarhorn, or the Heart of Praxic Fire, or the Helm of Saint-14. The Ice Breaker honeymoon lasted at least a week.
The Heavy Ammo Bug is a Bigger Deal Than You’d Think
Of all the bugs in Destiny—and there are a lot of bugs in Destiny—one stands apart in the minds of players: The heavy ammo bug. In the game, if you die while wearing a piece of armor that increases your heavy ammo capacity, you actually lose some ammo. Maybe one or two rockets, or some heavy machine-gun rounds. Die multiple times, and your stock of seven rockets will be reduced to one or two.
This wouldn’t ordinarily be all that big a deal, but several factors stack on top of one another and make it into a much bigger problem than it first seems.
Heavy ammo is crucial for Crota’s End. Defeating Crota requires everyone to use a lot of heavy ammo with precision timing, and if someone on your team runs out of rockets, it can blow the run for everyone.
- Fighting Crota also requires a lot of trial and error, meaning that teams will frequently need to “wipe,” or all die so that they can restart.
- The raid armor that lets you get to level 32 has a perk that raises your heavy ammo, meaning that the raid armor—specifically, the leg armor—triggers the heavy ammo bug. Every time you wipe while wearing raid armor (which almost everyone wears during a hard mode raid), every person on your team will lose some of their heavy ammo.
- Heavy ammo is relatively difficult to find in the field, meaning that the most sure-fire way to get it is to use heavy ammo “synths,” or single-use packs you can buy that replenish all of your heavy ammo in the field.
- It’s possible to pop a heavy ammo pack, then have your team wipe several times and lose all of the ammo you just got, not because you used it, but because the bug drained it away.
- A heavy ammo pack costs nearly 1,000 glimmer at the gunsmith, so if you run out of heavy ammo packs and want to go raiding, first you’ll have to spend a big chunk of time mindlessly grinding glimmer at the exclusion zone.17
- Xur sells heavy ammo packs for relatively cheap, so when he has them in stock, it’s a great way for hardcore raiders to stock up. The problem is that he hasn’t sold heavy ammo packs for several weeks now, meaning that anyone who’s been farming Crota’s End Hard Mode has probably run out of heavy ammo packs and has been forced to farm the Exclusion Zone multiple times when they’d rather be off playing the raid.
In other words, players need heavy ammo to beat Crota, but Crota frequently kills the entire team, and the bug drains them of their heavy ammo as they die. Xur hasn’t sold heavy ammo in a while, so players need to go and perform thankless grinding in order to get more heavy ammo so they can go fight Crota again. And on, and on, and on.