It’s hardly a little known secret that of all the games I have played throughout my lifetime thus far, none have devoured so much of my consistent playtime as much as Destiny has. Since its release in September of 2014 this game has sat in my PlayStation 4 the longest out of any game I have ever played. I was always eager to corral through the planets, blasting the forces of the Darkness with my Guardian decked out in the latest gear and latest weapons. My ever trusty Gjallahorn (and now Iron Gjallahorn) at the ready, and otherwise whatever legendary Rocket Launcher I could stat roll to as close to the perks that mighty rocket had when it was essentially left behind during certain expansion updates. Every location, every piece of armor, every weapon has had a story to tell whether within the game’s lore or through personal experience. I was an Iron Banner fiend, grinding out win after win to acquire the best rolled Iron Banner armor set to show off to friends. I would solo end game activities for fun. I remember how excited I was when I first took on the Crota’s End Raid alone. Sure it was after it had already been done a thousand times over by other gamers, but the one time I did it, I felt personally rewarded.
It is of my own personal experience, and also in part due to its buttery smooth gameplay and addictive mechanics and encounters that Destiny sits amongst the top of my personal list of greatest games ever made. Having played it from the Alpha to the Beta and effectively acquiring my PS4 when the game dropped (I still own and utilize the Glacier White system it bundled with) Destiny has been an incredible experience since day one. I know I sound gloating and beaming with positivity but it wasn’t always that way. Destiny wasn’t always a great experience. Its triumph though is how it has kept me playing, and even with some mistakes made over the course of its time in existence, has won me back and challenged me to bring new Guardians to the fold to join me in the journey.
Destiny isn’t perfect by any means. Its story and plot to this day is for the most part pretty vague and even over the course of 4 expansions I still have no idea what truly is going on but I do know we’ve effectively stopped 5 major threats since the launch of the game. The Vex god Atheon was the first to go down and we followed that up by killing the Hive Prince Crota in the game’s first expansion, The Dark Below. The next major content update was called House of Wolves and it had us help the Queen of the Reef hunt down the Fallen who betrayed her, taking a journey into the Prison of Elders to put the Fallen betrayer, Skolas, down for good. The Taken King followed and it not only sought out to improve Destiny’s storytelling, but also offered the first sense of a cohesive universe tying together all the things we have done since day one. In this expansion, Crota’s father thirsted for vengeance upon hearing that we felled his son. Oryx, the titular Taken King himself amassed an army of great proportions and we took the fight straight to his doorstep upon his Dreadnaught, a massive ship and his base of operations. Six of us would defeat him and pump our fists in the air as his corpse burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere. Alongside this we got bits and pieces of lore and in game events that tied back to The Dark Below and House of Wolves and even a free update that brought the Prison of Elders to the forefront of play with the demanding Challenge of Elders. The Fallen didn’t sit idly during this time though. Ever since Destiny launched they have been clawing at the walls of the Cosmodrome almost as if they were looking for something. In Destiny’s final expansion, Rise of Iron, we found out just what that was as the Fallen broke through and discovered a secret that lay underneath our very noses. We saw a revamped and revitalized Fallen army equip themselves with a deadly nano-virus called SIVA that was buried by the fabled Iron Lords and seek perfection to their upgrades on their bodies. Their high priest, Aksis would go on to channel god-hood by becoming an extremely powerful adversary and we descended deep into a hidden lair within the Cosmodrome to take on what would be our final challenge in Destiny.
Despite all those incredible tasks and achievements, Destiny’s core reason for existing still hasn’t truly been answered. We have this mysterious Traveler who has given us life still hovering in the air and we still don’t understand why it came here other than to escape these vile enemies we now pursue on its behalf. There are still numerous enemies out there that we’ll probably deal with in the upcoming sequel Destiny 2 later this year and with the recent trailer reveal it looks like we’ll be getting more of a story in the sequel. It’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be dealing with the Cabal Empire as during the events of The Taken King we caught wind that an SOS was sent out from their general to their king. We also do know that Oryx has another son out there and I can imagine he won’t be too happy that both his brother and father have been killed by the Guardians. Despite all these epic events and encounters though, the main purpose and story of the game still hasn’t fully been revealed. Sure we get a lot of lore (that isn’t necessarily told through in game methods sadly) but the full story is roughly still a large question mark. I’m still wondering what has happened to the Stranger, a female robotic character who hasn’t been seen since vanilla Destiny and I’m still puzzled as to just what the exact purpose and origin of the Traveler is. Some of these things have been hinted at in the Grimoire cards that can be read online on Bungie’s website or through the Companion App on your mobile or tablet device but many within the community and even myself feel that the story need actually be told in-game.
This doesn’t ultimately translate to what Destiny was trying to do. Largely an experiment of sorts, it’s clear that Destiny’s true purpose was to forge the story amongst those who played it. It forced a social connection externally through various looking for group sites and maybe at times just randomly joining up with players internally within the game’s central hub, the Tower, by sending an invite or message to those who were meddling about in the Tower alongside you. From the Destiny Youtubers, to the Reddit pages to various message board forums many would share their experiences regarding how they cheesed an encounter or came across a hidden ghost or some sort of weapon or armor. Some would just recount Crucible experiences or how they solo’d a near-impossible Nightfall. I myself can share how I’ve become Destiny friends with people in other states and even countries, joining with them to conquer a Raid or dominate in the monthly Iron Banner tournaments. It’s become clear that the main story building is being done by the gamers themselves channeling their tale of what they have experienced to their friends or online. It’s a novel concept and one that sometimes works, but it became very clear through the vocal majority that we wanted an in-game story to go along with our personal journey. With The Taken King and Rise of Iron expansions we got to see more of a narrative effort from the game and it’s no secret that the two expansions have garnered the most praise out of all the offerings the game has brought forth. Story matters in a game and it was great to see a company respond to this and take an actual effort in its product to showcase this change. We’re fine building our own story but we also want it to reflect the events that happen within a game, especially one that blends Massive Multiplayer Online offerings with a First Person Shooter.
Destiny’s story may have been a mixed bag initially but as it grew it began to showcase an excellent narrative effort and bring the best out of all it’s in-game characters. Cayde-6 became a standout favorite amongst the gaming community thanks to his witty banter and off put relationship with Eris Morn and in the Rise of Iron expansion the Iron Lords themselves took center stage and their leader, Lord Saladin showcased why they became legends in the first place. Through it all, you forged your own Guardian’s journey and personal look whether it was being decked out in full Iron Banner gear or owning every Raid set armor. You took on impossible odds with others and felled powerful beings of otherworldly creation. Destiny was always about the Guardians journey and over the course of nearly 3 years of game time, it really was for me. It is a universe I exist in, complete with friends met in the game and even with in real life friends. We have journeyed through the Vault of Glass, plunged into the depths of the Hellmouth, taken on the Prison of Elders and so much more. Of course Destiny’s story is not yet done as Destiny 2 releases on September 8th this year. One thing has been a clear focal point and that is that Destiny has always maintained a strong penchant for giving and delivering us epic experiences and tantalizing us with rewards for defeating its biggest challenges. I look forward to reuniting with my fire team later this year and taking on Ghaul and his Red Legion and diving back into the universe of Destiny when its sequel drops. My Guardian will continue his tale, and I will continue to create it, probably while decking myself out in Ghaul’s armor after I destroy him in the next Raid. In short, Destiny’s greatest triumph is that it allows the player to forge their own story how they see fit. We become part of this world and grow alongside it and realize all along that we live up to the tagline of the original game.
We have indeed become legend.