Fan feedback is transforming ‘Destiny’ for the better

Destiny raid

There was a lot of hope for “Destiny,” the $US500 million franchise from the folks behind the enormously popular “Halo” series.

But following the game’s launch in September, a lot of criticism was hurled at Bungie: There was no real story to speak of, it was too repetitive, there was limited matchmaking, and there were plenty of game-breaking glitches and questionable design choices. Fans were, in a word, frustrated.

Some fans stuck with Bungie — to the tune of over 3 million people as of October 2014. They kept playing the game, exploring the world and cherishing the game’s positive elements while holding out hope that Bungie would fix some of the major issues from the laundry list of bugs and head-scratching design decisions. And in recent months, Bungie has delivered for those fans.

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The addition of the mobile vault lets players swap out armour and weapons from other characters — without ever needing to open the game. You just need a smartphone or computer. Dave Smith/Business Insider

In late February, Bungie released a patch that balanced out weapons and introduced a vault system that lets you easily exchange gear between your characters without even opening the game — you can do it all on a smartphone or computer.

Since then, Bungie has tweaked aspects of the multiplayer experience by making ammo more scarce and thus more valuable, it’s expanded players’ vault space for storing weapons and armour, and it’s even added support for colorblind players by improving colour-driven gameplay elements.

And on Wednesday, Bungie revealed the motherlode of additions coming in its second expansion pack, “The House of Wolves,” coming May 19.

Among the additions, including new weapons, gear, and game modes, are several changes that “Destiny” fans have been craving for a long time, including a way to exchange all materials, and the ability to upgrade all weapons and gear to the maximum cap: This will allow for much more style variety in the game, since players could previously only choose specific pieces of armour if they wanted to reach the maximum level, thus making most players look alike.

The thing is, these changes would not have happened were it not for the “Destiny” community speaking up on Bungie’s forums and on the “Destiny” subreddit.

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The ‘House of Wolves’ reveal on April 22 was hosted by Bungie game designer Christopher Barrett, community manager ‘DeeJ,’ and popular Twitch user ‘Gothalion.’

“This sub has been a great place to listen,” DeeJ, Bungie’s community manager, said in a Reddit post on Wednesday. “Keep talking to us. People at the highest levels of Bungie want you to have fun playing ‘Destiny’.”

DeeJ has said multiple times that he and his team repeatedly visit these forums to see what players are talking or griping about, and he even maintains an open forum that asks people to leave their top three “wishes” they’d like to see happen in “Destiny.”

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This is ‘The Ram,’ a new exotic helmet coming in the ‘House of Wolves’ expansion on May 19. Bungie

Even with its warts, “Destiny” marks a new age for video games: No longer is a game set in stone. Glitches, bugs, and even design choices can be tweaked or totally revamped, as players will soon see in the “House of Wolves” expansion, which will indeed affect other players that don’t purchase the DLC. Players and fans have been waxing poetic on “Destiny” since the announcement because being able to dynamically improve this video game is something magical, and players love that they’re being heard. 

Bungie has previously said many times that “Destiny” is a 10-year game: There will be many expansion packs in the future, as well as future standalone games — Bungie is already hard at work on the “Destiny” sequel, even though players will reportedly be able to transfer their characters from one offering to the other.

But new content is all well and good: What’s going to keep “Destiny” a hot game for years to come is how Bungie interacts and adapts to its community’s wishes. And if “House of Wolves” is any indication, the future for “Destiny” is pretty bright.