This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m once more upset with Bungie. It’s why Shadowkeep’s Seasonal Content Is Not OK!
Seasonal Content?: So let’s get this out of the way first. I haven’t played Shadowkeep, I didn’t receive a review copy and I have no desire to get back into a game that I love to hate on, unless I get asked to do so. That being said the plan outlined about a month and a half ago by Luke Smith regarding future content with Destiny 2 is completely unacceptable in my eyes. It involves limited time content that will take tens, if not hundreds, of hours of player’s time and throw it all away forever. They gave an example using the Black Armory content, where it’d ramp up over the course of a single season (about 3 months real time) and by the end of it all the main activities introduced in that season would be gone forever, including all the loot and activities. That’s not okay in a game like Destiny. Fortnite and games like it get away with it because it’s a purely PvP game at it’s core. Sure you can ignore the competition parts and go complete certain Battle Pass objectives in a match, but that really isn’t what the game is about.
Destiny on the other hand is all about the power fantasy and getting cool guns. If they remove the ability to get certain guns forever that’s not okay. People who join late, or even people who have unfortunate circumstances in their actual lives that prevent them from playing during that season like say a hurricane flooding your home, are completely and utterly screwed over. It’s a weaponized form of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, and that’s a completely predatory and unacceptable practice on Bungie’s part. It proves, at least to me, once and for all that Bungie doesn’t really care about their player base and it’s one of the biggest reasons I’ll not be going back to Destiny 2 unless I’m asked to do so with a review copy. If I had lost the ability to gain Vex Mythoclast in Destiny 1 when The Dark Below launched I would’ve been incredibly upset and I know I’m not the only one who would feel that way.
Hey all I’m back with some thoughts on a subject that was often a topic I was asked about while I was taking a break for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s my Thoughts on the Bungie/Activision Split!
So did you see this coming?: Yes and no, honestly if I was some of the investors at Activision I’d have been pissed at Bungie for the absolute pathetic showing they gave us with the original Destiny. The Taken King was a big step in the right direction, but after that came the filler that was Rise of Iron and the absolutely atrocious Destiny 2. Forsaken was actually quite fun, but that was only for a few months and still was highly exploitative of Bungie when you consider how underwhelming Black Armory was. So while I was a bit shocked at the turn of events a few months back I wasn’t surprised that Activision wanted to wash their hands of the clusterf*ck that is the Destiny IP.
But it’s a good thing right?: Yeah I’m going to say it’s got the potential to be a good thing, but until Bungie steps up and makes a game that actually can take advantage of all that Destiny could be I’ll be only disappointed with them. The fact that the game still lacks good space flight gameplay after all this time and so many various ship models made by the artists is nothing short of a travesty. I’d like to go around the solar system using my Thousand Wings and go back to various places like the Cosmodrome from the original Destiny. The fact that they bothered to tease it and didn’t let us go back to old locations is a travesty, and insulting to many players.
Honestly the whole losing all your progress from Destiny 1 to Destiny 2 was just as insulting, and while some say making a clean break is only a good thing I would beg to differ. If they were forced to make guns that outdid older ones like Midnight Coup or the IKELOS shotgun just to give the gameplay variations it’d only better the game in the long run. The fact that they continually add old guns like Thorn or Thunderlord to the game was just as much an insult as not letting us keep them.
I’ll be honest, I don’t see Bungie recovering from this in any conceivable measure in the next year and possibly never. They just lost all their Marketing and additional studio support that they had received in the past and used in “expansions” like Curse of Osiris or Warmind. They’ll need to work five times as hard with just the people they have on hand, and that will take away from the development time that could make Destiny 3, or whatever the next installment will be, better.
When Bungie split off from Microsoft, in a move really similar to what happened with Activision, right down to the people in Bungie HQ cheering, they pretty much fell off the map and weren’t seen for years until Destiny was announced, and even then the game we got years after that announcement was so far from expectations that it was a huge let down. I’m expecting the exact same thing to happen again, and while I can hope I’m wrong it’s not a large hope.
I’m back with a familiar topic for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about why Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure!
Black Armory?: Black Armory was the first DLC drop after Forsaken launched for Destiny 2, and it was a massive middle finger to the player base once again. There were many things I had faintly hoped Bungie had learned from in the past, but apparently five years into this series they still make really stupid mistakes.
Like what?: They decided to make the first new activity of the new DLC an activity that even people who had the very best gear the day before the DLC released couldn’t complete without being highly skilled premade group despite flaunting the ability to match make the activity andlocked it behind a tedious grind. Black Armory wasn’t like past DLC that included Story Missions, Strikes, New Vendor Gear, New Exotic Armor, or Crucible Maps, instead it included none of those things, and just added a new activity and a raid that was locked for a few days after it’s launch that started off at a new gear level that was vastly over the previous cap. They included no ability to catch up for those who hadn’t reached that previous cap, so those who were just hitting 500 power level were still unable to even contemplate doing these activities until a month or more had passed depending on their luck. This has been lessened with a recent hotfixed change that made Prime Engrams drop more often up to the 600 power level cap, but that’s a really shitty bandaid that doesn’t fix the issue with RNG deciding to give you the bird and still requires players to grind constantly.
The fact that the very first activity was geared for people at 630 power level was a big fat screw you to the player base considering the cap was 600, and getting 1 or 2 increase in power level is a serious grind for everyone at the level. People who had stocked up multiple bounties with Powerful Rewards and keys from the Raid could easily skip most of the grind and get a character past this with ease, but most people weren’t expecting to have to continue doing the same old content just to even think about doing the new stuff and still most likely fail.
This was a serious mistake on Bungie’s part, and instead of really creating a solution they hotfixed it the next day to give the activity a 5 power level decrease in total, meaning people had to spend only a day or two less in a very lucky week to get to that level. I’ve long held that Bungie has no clue how to properly communicate with their consumers, and this is another mark in the long list of proof I’ve been keeping of this fact. I had been playing Destiny 2 nearly daily since Forsaken up to the release of Black Armory, a thing that hasn’t happened since the Dark Below way back in 2014. That quickly changed when I was told to continue the grind just to do a new activity that wasn’t really all that fun in comparison to the work required to do it. I’ll be deleting Destiny 2 off my PlayStation’s hard drive once again and I’ll hope Bungie gets a clue in the future on how to treat their player base, but it’s a tiny hope now and I expect only more screw ups from them.
That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!
Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.
Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.
Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.
How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.
This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about why doing certain things pisses off players and how to avoid them. It’s all about The Importance of Timing!
Timing? Yes, Timing. It’s pivotal in making the most money and keeping your player base happy. It’s also why people hate Bungie so much in regards to Destiny and it’s sequels content, or rather lack thereof.
Keeping to a schedule: If you commit to a schedule, and especially if you do so publically and on record, you have to keep to it to the best of your ability. Bungie for example promised frequent content updates for Destiny and it’s various sequels, but it’s frequently and often quite lacking. In particular is the dearth of meaningful content being released regularly, which is always a death sentence for an MMO. It’s why Wrath of the Lich King was the last great World of Warcraft expansion before the disaster that was Cataclysm. The content drought was incredibly long in between Wrath of the Lich King’s final patches and Cataclysm, and that was unacceptable in terms of business. The fact that Cataclysm was highly despised as well did not help matters and led to a significant decrease in subscription numbers for the game. And by regular releases, I mean in periods of no longer than two to three months, which is the acceptable amount of time most games have content updates. Final Fantasy XIV has a major patch about every 3 months, and in between those patches are smaller content patches that add additional content. Compared to a game like Destiny 2 whose first content update post launch happened 3 months and was universally despised and you can see why timing is everything in business.
So what about other games? Well other games, in particular games like Fate/Grand Order’s NA client which is two years behind the original JP client, the community has a general sense of what the hell is going on and what is coming out when. That all went to shit when Aniplex decided to move the Paid Gacha pull, where you paid ~$30 to get a guaranteed SSR servant, two months earlier and left out on two highly sought after servants in that banner, Mordred and Jack the Ripper. It’s a move that would have been acceptable if that was an NA exclusive event, but it was a replacement for the typical New Year’s Paid Gacha that occurs yearly for the JP client. So it pissed off a ton of people, including myself. Not only would it have made a ton of business sense to have both those Paid Gacha occur, in addition to the delayed Anniversary Gacha that just happened a couple weeks ago, but it alienated and upset many people.
In addition Fate/Grand Order’s localization team seems to think that announcing content updates at Anime Conventions is a smart move. That’d be acceptable if they lined up to the expected schedule that the community projected, but they didn’t. They let the NA Client fall 4 weeks behind schedule just to announce an event at an Anime convention that at most .01% of the player base went to. It was just another insult in a long line. Such things could’ve been avoided if they remembered how important Timing is.
So that’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll close out with a quote from Wit from the Stormlight Archives that puts it best. “What is it we value? Innovation. Originality. Novelty. But most importantly…timeliness. I fear you may be too late, my confused, unfortunate, friend.”