The landscape of Destiny in Year 2 is indistinguishable from its Year 1 counterpart. Traditional DLC packs have been thrown out of the window and replaced with Live Events. With poor management; an unsatisfactory engine; and publisher pressure have all been accused as the culprits, microtransactions most certainly play a large role. But microtransactions don’t mean anything if no purchases them. Which is why if you purchase microtransactions in Destiny, you’re part of the problem.
Destiny changed after the release of The Taken King expansion. In Year 1, the vanilla game, The Dark Below, House of Wolves, and Taken King all released. It was a model that was suited well for the 10-year plan Bungie originally had. But that original plan has been scrapped.
“Instead of it going Destiny, DLC1, DLC2, Comet, DLC1, DLC2, they’re actually just gonna go [big] release and then incremental release. So it’ll just be Destiny, Comet, Destiny, Comet every year. It’s basically just switching the game to an annual model.” – via Kotaku
Instead of creating two DLC packs full of new locations, strikes, raids, and the expected content of a traditional DLC, Bungie has now decided to take the F2P approach. Content releases are now free and the primary revenue source has been shifted to microtransactions. Events such as Festival of the Lost, SRL, Crimson Days, and the upcoming April Update are all examples of this new model. While the free price tag is nice none of these have added significant, or new, content. SRL featured altered existing maps with a few checkpoints thrown in. Not to mention it wasn’t a permanent mode. Crimson Days lowered the team count to two and added a new “Broken Heart” mechanic. Again, it was not permanent. Lastly the April Update will only be altering existing activities such as Prison of Elders, strikes, Kings Fall raid, Court of Oryx, and more. Most of the alterations being nothing more than a few number increases on gear.
Microtransactions have given Bungie the freedom to not create any substantial content. and can we blame them? A true DLC pack takes time and a lot of money to create. You have to make new locations, new gear, new mechanics, a new story, new dialog, new enemies, new weapons, and pay employees to do all the work. All while hoping people purchase it! While this new model practically eliminates all of those risks. Live Events simply alter existing content, and maybe a few new pieces of gear, tick up a couple numbers, and of course add in new microtransaction opportunities. Since the content is free it’s almost a guarantee the existing fan base will check it out. Sure they might now buy it, but if you know anything about the F2P market, you know the “whales” make all the difference.
Destiny is almost entirely made up of whales. The game has been dead for some time now. Streamers, YouTubers, and some of the most dedicated players have abandoned the game until new content arrives. That new content is the Live Event releases. The player base that exists at the time of a Live Event release is likely filled with whales. Why? Because the only gamers that bother to go back to Destiny are the hardcore players. And hardcore players don’t mind investing in their game of choice.
So in comparison to the traditional DLC pack that costs a lot of time, money, and isn’t guaranteed to even sell; Live Events offer very low risks and the potential for even greater profits. Take the Dark Below for example, a $20 DLC pack as a standalone. Another player could easily spend $20 on 2000 Silver (the microtransaction currency). That may seem like a lot of currency, but when you take into account that the 3 emotes released during the Festival of the Lost event (Boo, Zombie Dance, Monster Dance) cost a total of 1500 Silver it starts to seem like less of a bargain. That doesn’t even include the slot machine item called Treasure of the Lost Mystery Bag which awarded random RNG based items. And this is all just for one event. SRL featured 600 Silver worth of new emotes and 600 Silver worth of slot machine items. Crimson Days featured 5 emotes worth 2200 Silver in total. And of course the April Update was revealed to have even more emotes for our purchasing pleasure. They even laughably added the Eververse Trading Center to the Reef. Now you can conveniently purchase microtransactions without having to fly back to the Tower. Thanks Bungie.
My hope with all of this is that the Fall expansion and Destiny 2 will be more polished and full of more content. It seems that one of Bungie biggest issues with Destiny has been their management of time. If all of this extra free time allows them to make the best content possible for the upcoming expansion and more importantly Destiny 2, then at least there is one silver lining.
But if you’re satisfied with these lackluster content drops, then by all means purchase emotes to your hearts content. But if you’re like me and want to see real content added to Destiny, I would suggest thinking twice before buying that next dance that will replace your old dance and soon get replaced by a future dance. It’s enabling Bungie to not bother adding real content. If this trend continues for the rest of the 10 year plan, it’s going to be a long and boring trip filled with minor changes and major emotes.