As we close out this random whim of mine to enter shooter MMOs for this month’s Choose My Adventure, we clear out our list of games with Destiny 2, a shooter title that I didn’t expect to love quite as much as I did when it launched and one that also made it abundantly clear later on that I was unwelcome.
Indeed, I was there from the beginning, and even had done plenty of time in the original Destiny back on the PS4 days. It managed to merge together Bungie’s penchant for incredibly solid FPS feeling with some reasonably addictive MMORPG-like grinds, offering up a pair of flavors that at the time I had never really known were a thing that should be paired.
My tenure in the sequel was also pretty storied, from launch all the way to the Foresaken expansion, but after I had cleared that story arc, I found myself kind of lost, befuddled on how to chase power levels, and devoid of friends to play with. A return trip a few years later didn’t help, especially when I decided to try to get in to Shadowkeep and ended up just getting beaten down by the very opening mission, likely as a result of not having quite enough power to actually face enemies. And so it fell to my personal wayside.
Even so, I’ve always been wanting to maybe try to make a comeback, and since the Lightfall expansion has brought the shooter back into my line of sight, I was pretty happy to take on this week’s assignment.
As per the voting, I went ahead and started with a fresh character – a Warlock to be exact – and set on my way into the opening section. It started off pretty familiar in terms of a couple of its opening beats, but it very quickly started to change into something I didn’t recognize; the Cosmodrome was still the opening map, with the same ultimate objective of getting to the Last City, but there was a totally unique storyline that wove through the whole experience.
I have to say that this opening section was a lot more engaging than the one that I had played years back. Previously, there were maybe two or three missions and you were on your way to doing the rest of the questing, but it always seemed a little bit rushed out the door and underwhelming. Not so this time around, however, especially as it eased me into the abilities I had at my disposal and also tried its level best to keep me supercharged and powered up so I could use my new Warlocking skills with a bit more impunity than usual.
The tutorial wasn’t the only surprise for me. The Warlock ended up feeling like a much more interesting class than I had first supposed it would be. Sure, the Hunter has neat killshot skills and the Guardian was always a personal favorite, but the Warlock put out this interesting mix of self-sustain, brutal damage, and group-minded empowerment. A little bit of a DPSing support character. I like it!
Of course, as the headline suggests, things weren’t always quite that sunny. I had elected to stop doing the tutorial bits to do something else, and when I came back, the game instead started to try and get me into doing the Witch Queen expansion’s opening story. Which is weird considering that I don’t own that expansion.
After a few minutes – literally minutes, not seconds – the game decided to remember that to and outright crashed with some kind of unknown files error. Firing the game back up froze me in a long process while the game verified the files, which returned a file corruption error (but only after the ticker reached 100%). So I had to uninstall and reinstall the game a second time. And even that didn’t go as planned because Steam complained that a file was corrupted.
After the reinstall (and another wait while the game verified the files), I was back on the Cosmodrome where I had left off. And then the game crashed. And then it stabilized. And I was back on the hunt for a way to the Last City.
This was such a shocker to me because in all of my years playing Destiny and Destiny 2, I never once ran into any tech problems. Ever. Whether the PS4 or PC versions, the whole experience from start to finish was stable for me. So it was kind of alarming that things were garbled as they were.
Still, once the game decided to stop losing its damned mind, I was back to enjoying myself, getting acclimated to the new and recalling the familiar. I’m still a pretty good shot with pulse rifles. I’m starting to get better at the travel arcs of the Warlock’s explosive balls of pain. I’ve found ways to dress up my Guardian that weren’t there before (shaders used to be eaten with every use). And I might end up joining in on the Lightfall launch. Maybe.
The thing is, it’s been my experience that when it comes to grinding out things at the top end for Destiny 2, you’re probably never going to catch up if you’re not there from the jump. Perhaps something has changed in the time between now and when I last played, but the power level climb has been a rough grind to manage, especially when you’ve got no friends to play alongside with. Also, I don’t think I’ve got the skills to really go for some of the higher-end chases like the raids, and I damn sure am not going to go into the Crucible.
I don’t know, this game is weird to me. It’s enjoyable moment-to-moment but the gameplay loop that awaits is not a good time. But even with that assumed horizon in the distance, I still am glad that I got to play this one again.
As a matter of fact, playing it again is part of what’s happening in our polling. As you no doubt know, the games that were lined up have all been run through, and I ended up really enjoying myself in only two of them. And since we’ve got one more week to this month to get through, I figure a quick return trip to one of the games I enjoyed would be our first polling choice.
Which shooter MMO should we head back to for one more round?
- Warframe. Get back out there and mission run. (30%, 18 Votes)
- Destiny 2. Continue leveling up the Warlock. (70%, 42 Votes)
Total Voters: 60
Our second poll choice is about the next game we’re heading in to, and that game is Embers Adrift.
I was very kindly gifted a 30 day-long subscription access to this bit of sandbox MMORPG gaming, so I’m going to try and see how this works out for a CMA column. I appreciate that this is probably going to be a rough one owing to its group-centric proclivities, but I figure that, for at least a little bit, I should give this a bash. But that does require pinning down a starting role…
Which role should I roll on Embers Adrift?
- Supporter. Become a "combat medic." (34%, 12 Votes)
- Defender. Tank it up. (37%, 13 Votes)
- Striker. DPS time. (29%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 35
Polling will once again wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EST this Friday, February 24th, after which point I’ll share my final adventure and consider my thoughts on this subgenre in general. Hope to see you then!