The Darkness was winning.
Mitch, weary of the grind, traded in his copy of Destiny. After the lackluster experience of The Dark Below, Eddy traded his in, as well. It was a fun experiment that gripped us tighter than any game in recent memory, but it seemed like its time had passed.
I alone persisted, putting it aside for a time, but waiting for The House of Wolves expansion. It was good, much better than The Dark Below, but without my Fireteam, it was harder and harder to get a group to experience any worthwhile content, the eternal cross that Destiny bears to this day. I had a bit of luck with r/Fireteams on Reddit, but too many bad experiences with trolls and jerks soured me on the whole thing. I put Destiny aside again, not trading it in, but with the intent to do so if The Taken King didn’t blow me away.
When the hype machine for The Taken King started up, I barely paid attention. Destiny was fully out of my system. But Mitch, reading up on things, brought some things to my attention and I started to become interested. Suddenly, I couldn’t read enough new things about the loot system, the rejiggered Light level and the On Demand Public Events in The Court of Oryx.
Mitch re-bought a copy and started playing again. He leveled up his character and I joined him now and again. Then, we turned our attention to Eddy. With a sustained attack of tidbits and testimonials, he caved and bought Destiny again. All 3 of us purchased The Taken King.
What an amazing turn of events.
Destiny was always the best feeling shooter I’ve ever played. The content was lacking, but the moment to moment loop was like no other game I had ever played. Nothing felt as good as controlling my Guardian. Nothing since the original Super Mario Bros; it’s that level of tightness.
Suddenly, to have a compelling loot system thrown into the mix changed everything. Destiny was no longer this albatross around my neck that I would play, but also hate myself for playing; it was responsible for some of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had playing games, either solo or with friends.
That first week, as we raised out Light levels, messaging and bragging to each other about how much progress we made each night, was merely the tip of the iceberg. Far below the surface were fantastic missions, an actual clear story, lovable characters and a new enemy that changed things up in a terrific way. And that was before the Black Spindle discovery, where we learned that a routine Daily Story Mission had an alternate path that led to one of the best weapons in the game…if you could make it past the HARDEST encounter in all of Destiny.
We tried and tried and failed and failed. Finally, one night, with less than 5 seconds remaining on the timer before mission failure, we struck the final blow. We whooped and hollered and woke up our spouses, dogs, neighbors, the world. We didn’t care. No other game has given me such a feeling, not this year or any other.
And that doesn’t even cover King’s Fall, the new Raid, which took us over 10 hours the first time and less than 2 hours the last time we ran it. Coordination and teamwork made something that seemed impossible into something that seemed mundane. Destiny forged us in fire and we ascended into demigods. We even did (most) of the Hard Mode.
Destiny was my personal Game of the Year in 2014 and it probably is again for 2015. I’ve played 235 hours of Destiny since its release in 2014. I am not sure where the future will take Destiny, as Bungie appears to be changing things up, but I will be there to see where it goes. Even if the changes are too drastic and The Taken King is the last meaningful content I will ever play, it has struck a chord with me like no other game has.
So now we wait for more Destiny. The fire is mere embers now, but it still burns. Waiting to be stoked once more.