The only thing I can compare it to is a weekend when I was 18.
I'd be super pumped for the night ahead. Get dressed up, head to a friends place for pre drinks / watch the girls get their hair ready for 3 hours, then head out on the town. It won't be a big one though. Just hangin' out with friends. Have a few drinks, but don't get to wild. Just chill.
Wake up with a sprained ankle, no memory, a pineapple on your night stand and a strange girl lying beside you.
Ok, so that last part might be a bit far in context here (no actual pineapples were found in the making of this article) but the story is so familiar.
Destiny has been a bit of an enigma to me, but at the same time, something I fundamentally understood without even touching the game. I knew before it came out that it would be that MMO experience - grind, experience, level, repeat - just in FPS form. Not overly my cup of tea.
I swore off MMO's at the conclusion of my time with Runescape. That, combined with the fact that FPS's aren't usually my go to style of game, made me sure that I wouldn't enjoy it.
Yet, that niggle.
Nearly every week, an article in my feed would talk about Destiny. Every now and then I'd see a tweet or a facebook post mentioning Live or PSN names, looking for Destiny companions. A coworker, who doesn't play games that often, would talk about strikes and patrols (what?) from time to time.
Months after its release, it was still interesting to a whole host of people. I often compare this to Elder Scrolls Online - a game that was meant to replace Skyrim as the fantasy open world king - which, since a few weeks of it being available to the public, is barely ever mentioned. The social persistence surrounding Destiny seemed to be not just a part of gamer culture - it was carving out its own specific niche. That FOMO was creeping in.
You know what? I'm going to try it.
I'm going buy it in the Boxing Day sales. I'm going to put it on for a few hours, check out, learn what it's all about. I'm probably not going to like it that much. I'll probably get sick of it after a while - I've heard it's repetitive. I might not even make it to the level cap of 20 before I give it up.
Yeah... That's not what happened.
The thing is, as nearly everyone who's ever played Destiny will tell you, it's exactly what I thought it was. It's repetitive. The story is meh. The content is limited. It is literally the same thing, over, and over, and over, and....
I smashed through 30 hours in 4 days.
Coming out the other side of this Destiny bender made me feel all sorts of interesting things.
Why do I play this game? Why do I keep coming back? I don't even know if I can describe it. I've struggled with being a completionist before - no, that's not it. It must be because I'm playing with friends - but why do I keep playing for hours on my own? It's gotta be the level progression, gaining better gear - um, I've been stuck on level 24 for ages, with no legendaries in sight. What the hell?
After realizing I'd just played nearly 8 hours straight one night, I felt... groggy. As I'd go to bed - yep, that's it. I'm not going to play any more. What's the point? I'm just grinding. Where is the fun part? I'm not building up to something, some final battle to which I can happily put the game down and say "I'm finished".
You already know what I was doing the next morning.
Destiny seems to be both exactly what it is, and also more than the sum of its parts. It is both unique and unoriginal. There is no other game like it on the market today - yet every system at play is in games 5 years older than it.
Any game I play all the way through has to have a gripping story. I'm a sucker for a grand adventure with fantastic and memorable characters. I love magic and medieval weaponry and political intrigue.
Destiny is none of this.
How does this game draw me in so?
The only conclusion I can come to is that Destiny captures that feeling of video game "magic". There is something unexplainable about it - it's just fun. It's just like the first time you pick up a game that ends up living with you for a lifetime. Unexplainable.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
While the game doesn't have a a subscription model accompanying your play time, expansions are costly - especially when you're late to the game. $70 upfront, then another $40 for the current expansions, with more purchases to come. Is it really worth all that?
That, plus the fact that my free 14 day PS+ subscription will be running out soon, is enough.
The commitment needed to continue with this type of relationship is not something I'm willing to give. How will I ever have time to do anything else (read: play other games) if I have this one holding me down?
I'm afraid the MMO experience is not for me.
It was a whirlwind. A fling. A haze of experiences and memories you can't quite grasp. But now it's time to return to the real world.
I don't know how the pineapple got there. But it was delicious.