It’s time for Bungie to stop pretending Destiny 2 is a free-to-play game


Destiny 2 is known for its one-of-a-kind FPS RPG mesh that players have fallen in love with. Many different studios have attempted to replicate Destiny’s success, but most have failed, failing to capture this secret formula that maintains the replayability and fun of the Destiny universe. That said, Destiny 2 faces a major issue that could impact both the community’s relationship with Bungie and the longevity of the game itself. Despite what you may see in a given games market, Destiny 2 is not a free-to-play game. It’s time to stop pretending.

In 2019, with the reveal of Shadowkeep, the community discovered Destiny 2: New Light, a free version of Destiny 2 that would allow players to experience a variety of unique gameplay experiences, either on their own or with friends. While it looks fantastic on paper, the free part of Destiny 2 is more of a demo of the full game, allowing players to go on a boring quest and shoot disappointing weapons.

What to do?

Image via Bungie

Let’s be clear: Destiny 2 is free to start, not free. To play and enjoy Destiny 2, you need the Yearly Expansion and Seasonal Content. While you can certainly play without these, you will hardly have to do anything. If, however, you do manage to use the free-to-play option, there is little to no endgame content to play and what is available is far too difficult for most free players.

A good example would be the recent release of the fan-favorite Vault of Glass raid, which was exciting due to its availability for free-to-play players. While the hype generated around this release was huge for both paid and unpaid players, the actual launch of the raid was inconvenient. The recommended raid power was really hard to achieve for free-to-play players. Maybe they could play the raid a few weeks or months after launch, but the first week was banned from free play, meaning most would miss out on the limited rewards like the ring and the raid jacket.

Another issue with the current state of free-to-play Destiny 2 is the method of unlocking other planets for you to explore. Instead of a story and world-building quest, you unlock other planets and destinations by collecting enough XP. This means players are forced to run around the Cosmodrome doing some of Destiny 2’s more notorious activities – patrols and bounties. There is no real quest progression system in the current free version other than the intro quest. Once the intro quest is complete, you’re asked to explore and unlock new places to go and new weapons to try out, but you’ll likely be interrupted by a buy screen whenever you try to do something. that looks fun.

What is happening?

Image via Bungie

The story is undeniably difficult to follow in free-to-play, often throwing tons of information into players’ ears through Shaw Han’s monotonous dialogue. While it is particularly difficult to establish the background for a game like Destiny, Bungie still struggles to attract new players to the fantasy world of space. Additionally, some of the story rhythms that free-to-play players learn will immediately become confusing if they decide to purchase expansions. For example, some new players may decide to simply purchase the latest expansion, Beyond Light. In doing so, they will most likely meet the Raven and have no idea who it really is, which will confuse the story even more for most players.

The problem with all of these deceptive and confusing story rhythms is how bossy it is. Many gamers mention their disinterest in the game because they don’t understand what is really going on. They are quickly introduced to somewhat essential characters, explained to them who the big bad is, and told to go fight the darkness. There’s no hook that free-to-play players can really hold onto, so there’s a good chance they won’t get trained and keep playing Destiny 2 after the first couple of hours.

Bungie needs to work on the free aspect of Destiny 2. As it stands, the free play experience is a complicated and confusing mess that lacks real depth or reason to play. The lack of true representation of the gameplay is overshadowed by lackluster cutscenes and shallow tutorial. Bungie has always had something special with Destiny, but the access point for new players is almost nonexistent. Instead, players are given the current state of free play, something that feels more geared towards selling copies of the full game rather than giving potential players a proper introductory experience to the world of Destiny.


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