I woke up last Wednesday to gaming news reported as if it was an international crisis. Destiny’s “loot cave,” it seemed, had been shut down. Just what the hell a loot cave was and what it signified was something I had to find out.
After reading several reports on Kotaku, I had gathered all the information I needed. Once, throngs of Guardians stood shoulder-to-shoulder, firing blindly into a small pocket tucked underneath a hillside. It seems people would assemble here day after day to endure a repetitive chore that held no joy but promises of ample rewards.
The gathering that would form was akin to the back alley frequented by Arlen’s neighborhood residents in King of the Hill – people who dutifully showed up day after day and acknowledged each others’ presence with solemn nods. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many a beer was cracked open with one hand while another held the controller, blasting away mindlessly into the tiny hole.
Hours after soaking up this information, I happened to take a walk down the street to where my little brother lives close by. He recently bought an Xbox One, and as much as it pained him to do so, he had to give up his prior obsessions in the process: his 360, GTA V, and Skyrim, in favor of new ones like Destiny.
When I arrived at my brother’s house, lo and behold he was there, at the hillside, blasting into the dark cave. He had a morose expression upon his face, and he looked up at me with no traces of his typical enthusiasm. “It’s just not the same,” his face seemed to say. An online companion joined him momentarily, but quickly lost interest and left the area.
What, then, drives people to this madness? What sort of game design creates a troop of mindless zombies, who would rather stare into one small crevasse than explore several planets worth of vast areas?
At the heart of this surely mentally-unhealthy behavior lies a deeply-flawed understanding of game design. Fixing all of the problems therein will take years of player feedback and careful fine-tuning. As it stands now, though, Destiny has many lessons to learn from its predecessors. Continue Reading »