Just two short weeks ago, Destiny 2, one of the most highly-anticipated games of 2017 was released. While the original Destiny had a passionate fanbase, it did have its fair share of detractors disappointed with how the end product came out. Naturally, there were many folks who had a few qualms about jumping into the release of Destiny 2. The sequel, while fixing much of what was wrong with its predecessor, took some questionable steps backward as well. The most vocal of which, is definitely the new microtransaction system.
Destiny 1 had a microtransaction system as well. Players would spend real-life money on an in-game currency called Silver, and then use that currency to purchase cosmetic items like Sparrow mounts and emotes. With the release of Destiny 2, Bungie took a new approach to the system, and it has sent fans into a rampage. Many news outlets were angrily writing articles on the system talking about how it wasn’t fair, took away parts of Destiny that made the game fun, and has made Destiny 2 a pay-to-win game. The official Destiny subreddit is rife with posts asking players to boycott this system, also claiming it delivers an unfair advantage. Some of that talk has died down in the weeks after launch, but many still have a major issue with this.
Destiny 2 again allows players to purchase Silver for their real-life money, only this time, besides items such as the Sparrows and emotes I mentioned before, players can now purchase shaders, which are one-time use color changing items for your gear, and legendary weapon and armor modifications. Shaders are what have been receiving the brunt of fans’ grief, as in the original Destiny, shaders were not consumable. You could switch them on and off at any time if you felt the need to change up your fashion statement. In true Destiny form, Bungie took one step forward and two steps back with shaders. They can now be placed on individual pieces of gear, to change only that item’s color, while in Destiny 1 shaders changed the colors of every piece of armor the player was wearing to make a more uniformed color scheme. That sounds great and all, but there are a lot of fans who wish to regularly change colors depending on what kind of tasks they will be performing. Not that shaders do anything besides change the way your Guardian looks, but some folks just want that option for customization. Now, if a player wants to utilize a shader, they have to think twice, because they will lose that shader upon using it. To make matters worse, folks can spend real money to get shaders instead of putting in work to grind for them. Bungie claims this system was implemented to promote gameplay and searches for specific shaders, but to many, it feels like a lame tactic, attempting to pad out the amount of time an individual spends playing. Couple that with the fact that shaders can be simply bought in-game, and you have a recipe for civil unrest in the Destiny community.
As for the Legendary armor and weapon modifications, this is where folks believe Destiny 2 is becoming pay-to-win. Weapon and armor modifications do pretty much exactly what you’d think they do. They add new stats and buffs for the player once attached to a particular item. Legendary mods do the same thing, except they boost the Power Level given to the item they are assigned to, and the all-important Power Level is what launches players closer to doing well with endgame content, such as Nightfall Strikes and raids. Players are upset that people can seemingly just pay some of their hard-earned dollars to boost themselves into the most sought-after areas of the game without really working towards it. Understandable, as Destiny 2 is a grind, and you really have to work to gain access to these more difficult challenges.
Originally, this article was going to be along the lines of what has already been all over Reddit and other websites: complaining. But after spending more time with Destiny 2, I’m discovering that this microtransaction system is really not that big of a deal, and has been blown out of proportion by those who voicing their opinions on this matter. Fans have made it out to be something it’s not, because Destiny 2 is not simply a store where one can pick and choose the items they want. Everything is random. Players use their Silver to buy Bright Engrams, which is what gets decoded into cosmetic items. What you get is based on 100% luck, so theoretically, I could spend $100 on Silver and never get the elusive Salt Bae emote I want so badly. In turn, I can’t just go to the Silver merchant and pick out which shader or armor mod I want. This new shader system does suck, it’s not anywhere near as bad as some players have made it out to be when it comes to relying on real money to get desired shaders.
Weapon and armor mods have also become victim to exaggeration. While I agree that being able to purchase these Power Level boosting upgrades is leaning toward the wrong direction, again, they are completely random. Even then, I don’t find it to be that aggravating. In the WWE 2K games, I can choose to purchase an add-on called an Accelerator for a few bucks that unlocks everything for me; wrestlers, arenas, championship belts, etc. That’s my choice, and is nothing more than a time saver. I have no qualms about comparing the WWE Accelerator to paying for mods in Destiny 2, but even then, at least you know exactly what you are getting by purchasing the Accelerator, and you don’t have to purchase it more than once to get what you desire. Obtaining mods through Silver purchases is simply a time saver and a money waster. But hey, who am I to tell folks what to spend their cash on?
Unfortunately Destiny 2 has become the latest victim to incessant nitpicking on the Internet. While gamers voicing their opinions will always be a constant in cyberspace, it is important to remember that opinions are subjective, and nine times out of ten, there is more that lies beneath the surface than what angry gamers on internet forums are raging about at the moment.
If you have not done so yet, check out Josh Finney’s review on Destiny 2. For more on the latest games and Destiny 2, keep checking back right here at Geeks+Gamers