I suppose it was inevitable that, with Bungie giving players so much access to select portions of Destiny over the last couple of months, questions would start to be asked about just how big a slice of the final game we were getting. With the recent confirmation that the PvE part of the game will have four worlds – Earth, the moon, Mars and Venus – with one area for each world these concerns have significantly intensified. With a level cap of 20 and people able to breeze through the Alpha/Beta/Reallykindofademo-a Old Russia story content in an hour or so, concerns have abounded about how much game people will have to enjoy before hitting the endgame limit.
In response, Bungie Community Manager Eric ‘Urk’ Osborne dropped in on NeoGAF – the home of mature, reasoned videogame debate – to assure fans that the game will not be lacking in stuff to do:
“Destiny‘s pretty big. It’s the biggest game we’ve ever made, by far, and we’re sort of known for making games you can play for months, years and even decades if you’re a little bit dedicated”
A bit exaggerated for sure, though it is true that the Halo games have seen long lifespans – in their competitive multiplayer, which doesn’t address concerns about Destiny‘s single-player/co-op longevity. Osborne continues:
“If we’re fortunate enough to have you playing months after launch, you still (sic) find lots of compelling stuff to do. That will manifest itself in a myriad of ways, from straight up content to cool activities we’ve yet to show off… Destiny is philosophically built to support every type of player, and all modes with ongoing activities and events. We look at it quite a bit like television programming, as opposed to a singular film, as we had in the past”.
So, Bungie are planning to add content to Destiny long-term, presumably in the form of MMO-style paid DLC expansions. This is pretty much as everyone was expecting, though it still doesn’t really address the question of how much content will be available at launch. Osborne also addresses concerns about the levelling:
“Beta was water wings. Level 8 is nothing. You barely scratched the surface, and it seems like some folks had fun with what was there. If you did, good news. More soon.”
So, a basic affirmation that there’ll be plenty of content for people to play without actually specifying anything past what was already assumed.
Personally, I highly enjoyed the Alpha and Beta and am looking forward to getting stuck into the final version. However, the point that Bungie are either dodging or missing entirely is that this game is primarily appealing to people who want a persistent, loot-based experience but aren’t interested in competitive multiplayer – those of us who can pour hours into Borderlands or Diablo or solo MMOs just for the fun of levelling our character and finding new and more gloriously powerful shinies. People want to put hours into this stuff, which is why things like the low-sounding level cap and fewer than expected story-based areas cause concern. DLC expansions are all fine, as long as the actual game you pay $60 for has a reasonable amount of life on its own.
That said, the game is showing a ton of potential, with stuff like the random community missions doing a great job of promoting social play without forcing people into the PvP meatgrinder. Bungie have certainly earned the benefit of the doubt at this point, so here’s hoping that they’ve built Destiny to keep everyone nice and busy for a good long time.