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Destiny’s New Character Progression: Will It Bring Players Back?

Nearly a year ago, millions of players jumped into Destiny and shot their way through the story to reach Level 20, the game’s maximum level. What they found however was that after Level 20, Destiny’s upgrade system changed into a gear-based system which heavily relied on luck. Complete Destiny’s endgame content such as the Vault of Glass raid, and hope to get a pair of boots or a helmet to upgrade your character. Each piece of gear had a specific Light level – obtain enough gear with maximum light your character upgrade could reach another maximum, level 30. As confusing as it is to explain, it was far more confusing for players, many of which stopped playing Destiny around level 25 or 26.

The hardcore Destiny players continued to complete the raid week after week, even creating multiple characters in the same class in an effort to increase their odds of getting all of the gear to drop. Others admit to praying to RN Geezus, the humorously fan-titled deification of Destiny’s random drops. The hardcore Destiny players can easily recall how many times they completed Vault of Glass in hopes of getting the helmet or gauntlets. The pursuit of gear to level up was not only confusing, but also time consuming. The releases of The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions made obtaining gear less time consuming, if not less confusing, but also pushed the maximum light level to 34.

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A number of casual Destiny players came back to Bungie’s shared world shooter, particularly with the release of House of Wolves as the expansion added some substance to the game’s oft-maligned story, but more importantly, players were able to reach maximum level without completing the Vault of Glass raid or Crota’s End from The Dark Below expansion. While the raids are arguably the most exciting aspect of the game, both Vault of Glass and Crota’s End require having a group of people willing to work together towards completion. This requirement sits opposite of the fact that there is no in-game method for searching for raiders to join you. Destiny’s “social spaces” are not as welcoming as they seem without a platform that facilitates connections other than each console’s messaging system. Additionally, much of Destiny’s endgame content lacks matchmaking, which the developer says is intentional.

With the upcoming release of The Taken King, the character progression system is getting an overhaul. At that point, experience points will be used to upgrade your character’s level, much like a typical RPG. This change is beneficial to all players because it does not limit how Destiny players can upgrade. Players that prefer playing crucible can gain experience while enjoying their favorite mode, those that do not enjoy playing raids or do not have friends to join them can enjoy the game’s strikes or The Taken King’s new story missions. With the change in progression those players that stopped playing at a lower level can now jump in and catch up with everyone else. As an added incentive, lower leveled players and new players will be given an in-game consumable item that will automatically raise them to a level capable of experiencing The Taken King content.

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Although not confirmed by Bungie, an anonymous source with ties to the developer indicates that Light will still be an in-game statistic associated with a character’s offensive and defensive abilities. While players who have reached the higher levels with ease due to the changes will have access to the game’s activities, those with higher Light stats will be more powerful. The same source indicates that Destiny’s endgame content will have recommended light levels. For example, a raid may require an XP level of 35 but would also recommend that your characters light level be greater than 200 – meaning that the raid would be more difficult for those with a lower light statistic. Gear with higher light statistics would be obtained through endgame components like raids and possibly Trials of Osiris. While this is also subject to change prior to release, if this information is true it beckons the question; is the change in character progression enough to bring casual players back in?

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Certainly, the possibility of being able to reach maximum level with your guardian is enticing for many, what happens when casual players and those who quit Destiny before the DLC, learn that light still matters? Personally, it is my opinion that the character progression changes along with the promised improvements to the story will garner a lot of interest in the gaming community and bring some players back. Unfortunately, I do not believe many of them will stick with Destiny if they will still be held at a lower status because they haven’t done all of the endgame content.

However, my opinion is based on information that is yet to be confirmed. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments below.

About Julius Council (59 Articles)
A native of Newport News, Virginia, Julius fell in love with video games the first time he laid eyes on Ms. Pac-Man. His all-time favorite game is River City Ransom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. He is a big fan of RPGs, Sports Games, Real Time Strategy Games, and all things Retro. Julius currently owns a working version of every game console ever released except Neo Geo AES and Turbo Grafx-16, both of which he plans to add to his collection soon.

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