Back in September of 2019, I was still high off of my recent purchase of a PS3, the first console I ever personally owned. I was a senior in high school and excited to jump into this glorious new frontier of console gaming that my friends were now seasoned veterans of. Naturally, I wanted to immediately be a part of the gaming community, experience the next big thing alongside everyone else for the very first time. I didn’t have to wait very long, because just a week after my purchase of a PS3, the world was introduced to a game that would change the gaming landscape, for better or worse. Destiny was being touted as “The Halo Killer”, you couldn’t talk about gaming without hearing Destiny pop up somewhere, and as a kid giddy with a newfound obsession for gaming, I was ecstatic to be able to finally be a part of something big. Then came the fateful day, September 9th, 2014. Destiny’s launch. Everyone in my friend group was on the tips of their toes just waiting for the final bell to ring, and run home to jump online and meet up together in a bright new world. Which it truly was, for a good week then the euphoria began to slowly fade away and what we were left with was a broken shell of unkept promises and inflated expectations. Despite this, unfazed me still continued on throughout Destiny’s life cycle, I came back upon each expansion and with each new addition to the Destiny universe, I felt more and more justified in this decision because the content being pushed out molded the game into something new, something improved. All this left me with greater visions of what a Destiny 2 could be, and when the title was finally announced, I along with the rest of the Destiny fanbase were convinced that Bungie and Activision had learned their lessons from the launch of Destiny to its end, and would integrate what they learned into Destiny 2. We were convinced that launch Destiny 2 would start from the highpoint that the original Destiny left on. The destiny hype cycle repeated itself, and on launch day I and my friends were there, counting down the seconds until we would be entering what would finally be a bright new world. Yet the Destiny cycle continued to repeat itself, Bungie had delivered to us a game that reverted from the highpoint of Destiny’s The Taken King expansion, to a state similar to what the original launch Destiny looked like. Despite how excited I allowed myself to become for this game, I could not bring myself to accept this game for what it was, a lesser product than what we deserved. So, upon completion of the campaign, I shelved the case never took another look at Destiny 2. At least not until Shadowkeep dropped, and Bungie decided to turn Destiny 2 on its head.
I could never quite shake the idea that the reason why Destiny 2 launched the way it did and turned out the way it did, was because Activision saw unlimited potential for money. Release a base $60 game as barebones as can be, 6 months later release a paid-for DLC expansion, repeat a few months later, and then within the second year, rebrand and release an even bigger and more expensive expansion that finally brings the game to where it needs to be. In hindsight, I have to respect the hustle, because not only did this strategy work for the first destiny, they were able to replicate it with its sequel. Yet behind the scenes, no matter how successful Destiny 2 was becoming, there seemed to be some bad blood between the developers Bungie and their Publisher Activision because in January of 2019 it was announced that Bungie and Destiny would be completely severing ties from Activision. This announcement was shortly followed by Bungie’s plans for the new future of destiny, a complete relaunch as a free to play title whose only paid content would be the big yearly expansions, and alongside this new relaunch formally called “Destiny 2: New light”, would be the inclusion of Cross save, the ability to take your account from platform to platform without having to start from scratch on a new guardian each time you switched platforms. It was truly a new and exciting age to be a Destiny player. It was precisely the thing needed to bring me back into the ecosystem. If you’ve ever dropped a game for an extended period of time and then gone back to it later, you probably are aware of just how disconcerting the entire process can be. Everything is so familiar but so alien. You have to relearn mechanics but the process is generally pretty straightforward, you just have to jog your memory a little. Destiny 2, however, is a different beast entirely, not only did I have to relearn mechanics and systems that I haven’t experienced in two years, the fact that Destiny 2 is a constantly evolving and changing game meant that there were two years of brand-new mechanics and systems to learn. The amount of time I spent just going through the menus attempting to grasp exactly what was going on probably exceeds any amount of time I have ever spent on any in-game menu. The experience was completely overwhelming as a returning player, there were currencies upon currencies, Bounties, Dailies, Weeklies, Triumphs, Strikes, Gambit. I was being assaulted with possibilities upon possibilities and I had no clue as to what to attempt to tackle first, however, I did know exactly where I wanted to get. Raids. Raids are the ever-allusive endgame extravaganzas that I have only ever heard the tales of, and I knew that one way or another my goal was to become “Raid Ready” so that’s where I started. In order to be Raid ready when I first jumped back on the Light level requirement was around 940. Destiny new light starts you out at light level 750, despite being absent from Destiny for a while, I was still aware that light level is tied to the level of your equipment. The higher the level of your equipped equipment, the higher your overall light level is. Now that I knew what I had to do; the difficulty was in how to do it. What activities would net me the best gear to level me as fast as possible? I had no clue how to do it, or where to go. But I knew I was on my path to becoming raid-ready.
This is how I began down the rabbit hole of Destiny 2, its the beginning of a journey that has eaten up dozens and dozens of hours of my life within the last few weeks, a journey that has yet to conclude. A journey that will not end until I am raid-ready.