I’ll preface this piece by explaining that this isn’t another “Waaahh, Destiny’s rubbish, why do you play it?” style bit of writing that’s plagued games sites since the game released. I adore Destiny, I’ve sank a frankly distressing amount of hours into the game and a jump into the end game content is an absolute prerequisite of every single weekend. That said, I’ve spent enough time fighting not only against Atheon, Crota, and their respective minions that I can see for the multitude of improvements Bungie have made to Destiny’s experience and economy, they’ve still not quite got the end game rewards system quite right.
Let’s start with a flashback to those early days in the Vault Of Glass. For any regular Raider it soon became apparent that you weren’t just battling Atheon and some (glitchy) new mechanics, you were also pitched in an eternal battle against a far more deadly enemy; RNG. Our weekly descent into the Vault garnered more frustration with every single attempt, as yet again the game refused to grace us with a crucial piece of armour needed to raise us up to the giddy heights of level 30. To put this into context, one of our community has finished this Raid countless times on both normal and hard difficulties, yet has never seen the arm pieces drop for him. Similarly, I’ve never seen the Fatebringer, Found Verdict or Praetorian Foil appear in my inventory, yet I have Chatterwhite and Atheon’s Epilogues spilling out of every orifice. On the other hand, I’ve seen another community member, who shall remain nameless for fear of reprisals against them, complete the Raid twice and receive a full set of the armour.
With the arrival of The Dark Below and Crota’s End we were promised by Bungie a ‘fairer RNG’ and, at first, this did seem to be the case. Armour seemed to drop with more regularity than previously, and level 32 looked to be a much easier goal than the previous cap. It soon became apparent that this wasn’t the case. In order to level up this gear, the player needed a specific material that was only obtainable via Crota’s End. If you were lucky, and I mean really lucky, you could obtain 12 pieces of that material per Raid, however to level up fully took 63 pieces of that material. I know of many people who created extra characters around this time, purely on the basis that they needed the extra weekly attempts to grind the materials needed to raise their main character to 32. On top of this, there was still the occasional battle against RNG. The aforementioned friend who never received the Vault Of Glass leg pieces reacts in stunned disbelief every time he sees a player drop Hunger Of Crota, an extremely useful rocket launcher, as despite countless clears he has never been presented with one. Myself, I’ve reached the conclusion that the game simply does not want to give me the Crux Of Crota, an item needed to receive The Dark Below’s much desired Exotic weapon, the Necrochasm.
Last week saw the arrival of the latest piece of Destiny’s expansion packs, House Of Wolves. Despite adding a new mechanic enabling players to upgrade any of their old Legendary items to the new higher light level and obtain the new level cap of 34, plus much easier ways to obtain the materials needed to upgrade any item, we’re still battling our adversary RNG. The object of our frustrations now are Treasure Keys; a random drop from Ether Chests throughout Earth, Moon and Venus, potentially upon completion of the Queen’s Wrath bounties, and from the new end game content, the Prison Of Elders. In order to obtain a drop from the main allure of the Prison, a large treasure chest at the end with the chance to obtain Exotic items and Queen’s Wrath weaponry, one needs to have previously received a Treasure Key. Problematically, there is no way to guarantee receiving one of the necessary keys. For example, last night I opened 16 chests and didn’t receive a single key. Thankfully, I managed to get one via completion of the full set of Queen’s Wrath bounties, and i opened the chest at the end of the level 32 Prison Of Elders, but now I’m in a quandary. I don’t feel like it’s worthwhile taking on the higher level Prison without having a key in my inventory, but to get a key I will need to repeatedly, and potentially fruitlessly, farm Ether Chests which has so far delivered little but frustration.
On top of this new gating method to receiving top end items, there’s also the fact that the end chest has no guaranteed rewards. You could easily pick up items previously received such as I did when I received my second No Land Beyond, a gun which has been the subject of utter derision throughout the Destiny community. No longer are we simply battling RNG, we’re now battling RNG for an opportunity to battle RNG, and I believe this to be patently unfair.
Also in House Of Wolves is Trials of Osiris, an end game mode aimed for PvP players. The ultimate aim of Trials is to obtain a flawless scorecard of nine wins and zero losses, and this grants you access to a ‘secret’ location with special elemental weaponry. To be realistic, very few people will ever get to use these guns. A flawless scorecard is no easy task to obtain, especially when there’s people out there who dedicate their lives to PvP modes.
I believe there to be two simple solutions to alleviate this new frustrating grind; firstly, guarantee the player a Treasure Key for completing the six weekly Queen’s Wrath bounties. This alone is a time consuming process, and a reward at the end would make the process feel more worthwhile. If the player then wanted to go on to farm Ether Chests in an attempt to obtain more, that’s their decision, but at least guarantee players who put the time into completing the ‘jobs’ the chance to obtain endgame rewards.
My second idea is more controversial; If a team obtains a 9-0 scorecard in Trials Of Osiris, lock them out for the remainder of the event. I fully appreciate the argument that in order to reach the pinnacles of loot one should defeat the best opponents the game has to offer, but what incentive does it give people to attempt the mode when they’re concerned they’ll come up against a team who spend every evening decimated all comers on PvP? The playing field should be levelled, allow teams of a similar ability to come up against each other.
Do you agree with what I’ve said? Do you think that the end game reward system is still unbalanced, or are you happy the way it is? Let me know below.