Thursday, 1 October 2015

Destiny Diaries - An Introduction

I’ve been gaming for twenty eight years. I love gaming. It’s my primary hobby. I am now a father of a two year old boy and a five and three quarters (as she’d have me tell you) girl. So my gaming has now become somewhat unpredictable. As a result I’ve recently had to cut down on the number of game franchise that I follow. In August 2015, I cancelled my order of Destiny: The Taken King.

I hate first person shooters. Doom was freeware that came with one of my first PCs way back when. I enjoyed it, I loved it, it was too bloody hard and I stopped playing it. I didn’t play another FPS until February, 2011. I’d watched a friend play through most of Killzone 1 and 2 and I liked what I saw. The sci-fi elements, the story and role playing game-like leveling system. So when Killzone 3 came out, I bought it and I played it to death. I finished the story mode and I spent months on the online mode. It felt like an RPG, it wasn’t too hard and most importantly, it wasn’t that competitive.

Despite giving FPSs a wide birth up until now, I was aware of the culture that had grown up around Quake, Counter Strike and Call Of Duty. It was pretty much eSports before eSports were invented. There were people that spent their lives on these games. And the phenomenon of little kids totalling owning everyone in the game and shouting obscenities at anyone who didn’t match their unmatchable skill levels. It was a world I didn’t understand and it quite frankly intimidated me. If I ever was interested, I still wouldn’t go near it. Killzone 3 wasn’t like this. It was friendly and accessible and everyone leveled up a little at the end of every game, no matter how bad you were. It felt like there was progress. Then came Killzone Shadow Fall. I got it bundled with my PlayStation 4 on release day. I think I played it for a day and then I traded it in.

I honestly can’t remember what drew me to Destiny. It was obviously very well marketed and it had it’s roots in the mysterious Halo background. I’ve always been a PlayStation guy so have never played Halo, but knew it was huge and everyone loved it. Also PlayStation pushed Destiny hard. More than I’ve seen them do so in the past with any game. Regardless. I was in. I pre-ordered my copy and absorbed all the hype.

I’ve been playing Destiny since it’s alpha stress tests, back in summer of 2014. I loved it. I loved it mish mash of sci-fi and fantasy, the worlds, the design, the sound, the music. There was so much to do. I played through the story, I completed bounties, I felt like I was doing well, I even enjoyed the player versus player. Then I hit a wall. The Light wall. For those of you who don’t know, in the original Destiny you could only level up to level twenty with normal experience points. Then you could only level up if your armour was good enough. Each piece of armour had a Light rating and this would add up to give you your Light level.

It was a long slog. I don’t have many real life friends who play video games and even fewer that play Destiny. Being a dad limits my time on the PlayStation and so to this day, I’ve never done a Nightfall or a Raid. I just simply can’t organise enough people together to do them. I know all about the forums and the sub Reddit and the “find a fireteam” sites. But waiting around to find people to do something that’s going to take more time than I’ve got right now to play, I’d rather just do some strikes thanks.Also I encountered some of the old school FPS negativity when it came to players bemoaning noobs. And as far as Nightfalls and Raid were concerned, I was most definitely a noob. Everyone else was crowing about soloing Nightfalls and having done the raids so many times, it was “easy”. If I’m being honest, it kind of put me off trying. I was so proud when I got all three (one of each class) of my characters to Light level 32. Only ever buying exotic item from Xur when everyone was cursing him on forums for selling the same old thing, I had just about enough Strange Coins to buy one thing a week for one of my characters. I only had a Gjallarhorn because Xur sold it during the last week of year one. And then it was made redundant.

Back when I was enjoying the game more, I bought the season pass and so graduated on to The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansion packs. They added just enough to keep me playing. But I finally put the game down when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came out. After a three month break of Destiny, I decided to give it up. I cancelled my order of The Taken King.

Then I watched a YouTube clip of The Taken King. And another and another. I watched the Bungie Twitch reveals and IGN and PlayStation Access previews. I was back in. I pre-ordered again and took to YouTube gaming for the week before release day. Here I met a wonderful man going by the name, Dammed_Prophet. He told me and the other viewers that it was okay to be in your thirties and a dad and to be playing Destiny. It was okay if we didn’t have as much time as the eleven year old kids who are stuck to their consoles day in, day out. As long as we’re enjoying ourselves. We don’t have to measure our success against all the other players. We just enjoy what we get out of the game. We’re playing for ourselves, not for other people. And that was it. I’m a fan for life. Bungie you need to get this guy in as one of your ambassadors. He’ll do the trick when it comes to my demographic.

So there you have it. A little introduction to my Destiny Story. Not the archetypal one, but familiar enough to a small minority I’m sure. It’s now week two of year two of Destiny. I have three level 40 and nearly 230 Light level characters. I’ve finished the story with all three and am finding so much to do with all the new quest lines. And it’s here where my story will pick up next time. Over the coming weeks and months, for as long as Destiny hold my attention and then again later when I inevitably come back to it, I will be chronicling my adventures around our solar system in the distant future… Or at least the ones I have in my living room with my trusty old PlayStation.

by BloggyDave

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