What Destiny 2 could (and should) learn from Borderlands 2
As Destiny 2 continues to suffer due to community discontent, Bungie should look back at Borderlands 2 to see how it did the looter-shooter right.
Destiny is a franchise that has struggled to consistently impress its player base ever since the original game in 2014. Both Destiny and Destiny 2 have been heavily criticized for lack of content, reuse of assets, slow post-launch support, and a slew of other issues. Though the recent Warmind expansion for Destiny 2 improved some things, the community is still disappointed in the state of the game overall.
Read: Destiny 2 Warmind review
As Bungie struggles to win back the trust of its players, it should look back to Borderlands 2, another looter-shooter, to see how it can improve. Here's why.
Well designed grind
One of the problems people have with Destiny 2 is that the grind (endgame) is too short and doesn't give players incentive to play. This was because the first Destiny had a grind that was painfully long, but Bungie overcorrected the problem in the sequel. Paired with the fact that the game also struggles with poor enemy design (usually, enemies are both repetitive and too easy to kill), you have a recipe for the dissatisfaction the Destiny 2 community currently feels.
Borderlands 2, however, found a middle ground. After beating the game, you can play again in True Vault Hunter Mode, which scales enemies to your level, adds new types of foes, increases enemy health, alters drop rates of equipment, and increases your level cap. Since there are several new features, the grind to get more skills and loot feels positively different from the regular campaign. In addition, the grind doesn't feel too short or long. This keeps players playing, but doesn't make it feel like progressing takes a lifetime.
Plenty of post-launch content
Both Destiny 2 and Borderlands 2 launched at similar times of the year in 2017 and 2012, respectively, with Destiny 2 coming out on September 8 while Borderlands 2 released on September 18. At the time of writing, eight months have passed since those dates. In that time frame, Destiny 2 has seen two DLC releases, while Borderlands 2 saw eight. Additionally, Destiny 2's expansions have only taken a day or two for players to complete, while the majority of Borderlands 2's require several.
It would be one thing if the Borderlands DLCs were negatively received, but they were highly-praised overall. Meanwhile, Destiny 2's are considered by most to be average at best, and disappointing at worst. Borderlands 2 also sold expansions at a lower price, typically $9.99 as opposed to Destiny 2's $19.99.
The fact is, Borderlands 2 delivered a higher amount of new content at a lower cost than Destiny 2 has in the same time frame, and that DLC was better received. It's likely that the developers have a wealth of resources based on the franchise's record breaking sales, so there's no excuse for this.
The Destiny franchise is well-known for reusing assets. Examples of this in Destiny 2 include using enemy models from the first game, repeated use of the same skins for guns, and most recently, the Warmind DLC reused assets from the first game as well as campaign areas for Strikes. While reusing some assets is fine, advertising "new content" and then copy-and-pasting a lot of old content is not.
This is a problem Borderlands 2 never had. Very little was copied from the original Borderlands game when creating the sequel, and almost all of the enemies, weapons, characters, and environments you see in both the base game and the DLC were created completely from scratch. This made the title feel like it had true variety, unlike Destiny 2.
What do you think Borderlands 2 got right that Destiny 2 has gotten wrong? Hit the comments and sound off.
You can play Borderlands 2 as part of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on Xbox One for $59.99. Destiny 2 is also available on Xbox One for the same price.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.