Last year, I decided to try out Destiny 2 for the first time. I had dabbled a bit in the original Destiny on the Xbox One years ago, but quickly lost interest in the live service looter shooter. My conclusion was that those types of games were not for me. Yet when I played the free version of Destiny 2 with an open mind and took time to explore what the shooter had to offer, I became enthralled with the game. So much so that in January of this year, I purchased the Upgrade Edition on Steam that included the Forsaken and Shadowkeep expansions. Fifty dollars well spent…or so I thought.
Throughout this year, I have put in one to two-hour sessions in Destiny 2 here and there. This is a game that I kept returning to because it was a delight to play. As an online live service game, I had experienced very minimal lag or connection issues. And with all the content through the two expansions, I always felt that I would have a wealth of things to do each time I booted up the game. This was until the recent Beyond Light update completely changed the game and rendered it unplayable for me.
I had read for months about how Bungie was going to archive parts of Destiny 2 into a content vault to make room for its big update. Some articles and videos were pointing out that a significant amount of content would be gone from the game based on the update size. But I wanted to wait until Beyond Light was released before jumping to any conclusions myself. Surely there would still be a fair amount of content, especially for people who had spent money on the game. Unfortunately, what I discovered was the worst-case scenario. The Destiny 2 that had maintained my interest for the better part of the year was gone. And because I did not purchase the Beyond Light expansion, what was left was a bare-bones, demo-like shell of a game that wasn’t even worth taking up space on my hard drive.
What Bungie did only helped to reinforce why I normally do not spend money on live service games as a rule. This year, I wanted to be more open to exploring new gaming genres and some of them were welcome surprises like strategy role-playing games and roguelites/rougelikes. Live service games have three major drawbacks. First, you always have to be connected online to play, so your game is useless if you’re offline. Next, because you have to always be connected online, you’re not paying for a game to own but for a game to access. This leads to the third flaw, which is that because you never truly own a live service game, you are totally at the mercy of the developers and publishers in terms of content and whether the game remains active. If the servers are shut down for good on the game, then the consumer is left with nothing.
All of my campaign and adventure missions vanished with the Beyond Light update. As I explored the game world, I found that there was little to nothing for me to do after the opening mission (which introduces the Beyond Light campaign). All of my mission options were behind a paywall for the Beyond Light expansion. There was no way I was going to pay for another expansion after the two that I had already paid for were taken away at Bungie’s discretion. What’s worse is that Bungie has stated that the vaulted content may not even return.
I totally understand how the “live service” concept works. Bungie is well within its rights to add and take away as it sees fit under this format. But I believe any time a customer pays for something within the live service, it should be accessible by the player for the life of the game. This is a good business practice within “live service” games. Nobody who bought the other two Destiny 2 expansion packs expected to be in a position where the only content available to them were public events and bounties. Maybe Bungie will bring back content from the expansions in the future, but I am disappointed with their current approach. It undermines a very good game.
My previous enjoyment with Destiny 2, my present fun with Fortnite’s Save the World campaign, and ongoing delight with The Division/The Division 2 had made me open to more online-only/live service games in the future. That was why I was considering Marvel’s Avengers at one point. But how Bungie has handled its recent update and Square Enix’s lack of updates has quickly brought me back to reality. I’m not open to purchasing these types of games in the future. If there isn’t an offline option that ensures that I can continue playing the game after it is not longer supported, then it won’t be purchased.
If you bought Beyond Light and are enjoying it, this post is not meant to deter you from it. What I am posting is based on my experience and these are my thoughts. They do not have to be yours. In the meantime, I recommend Warframe for gamers looking for something similar to Destiny 2. It’s on multiple platforms, free-to-play and certainly contains a lot more for consumers that don’t want to purchase another expansion.