Why I've left Destiny 2 behind and what's filled the gap

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep (Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny and I go way back. Right with Bloodborne, it was one of the first games I got for my PlayStation 4 back in 2015. I grew up with Halo, so I was excited to see what the developer behind that monumental franchise was up to. When it came to gameplay, Destiny was top-notch. Content-wise, it was lackluster until The Taken King came out, which brought the game back from near-death.

While by no means as much as community pillars, between both Destiny and Destiny 2, I have thousands of hours into the franchise. The latter was a major disappointment when it launched and I stepped away until the Forsaken expansion released. Year 2 was the best Destiny 2 has ever been and I loved the Annual Pass content (minus Season of the Drifter). But then Bungie and Activision split ways and Shadowkeep came out.

Growing disillusioned

Destiny 2

Source: Activision (Image credit: Source: Activision)

It all started with Warmind. After running the Leviathan raid every weekend with my clanmates and farming for DFA in the god-awful Curse of Osiris Nightfalls, I saw Destiny 2 was a very shallow game. Leviathan was a fine raid, as were the lairs, but it paled in comparison to King's Fall or Vault of Glass. It was quite clear from day one that the sequel had fallen far short of the predecessor and made many of the same mistakes.

I stuck with it, though. But even struggling through Escalation Protocol and doing the nine-man "hack" to get a reliable group together, something was off. The Crucible, the PvP arena, was a mess and even I couldn't get through the Competitive mode in Season 3; kudos to anyone who did.

Destiny 2 started to feel like a chore or a job, one for which I wasn't getting any reward, benefit, or compensation.

It was in the early summer of 2018 that I started playing other games, having grown tired of Destiny, fed up with Bungie for how they'd handled things. Then Solstice of Heroes came around and I jumped back in for that mess. I grinded out all three legendary armor sets and I still have the ship you earn as a reward, the Estival Excursion, equipped on my main character to this day. However, the joy of earning the best-looking armor soured after we learned that it was effectively useless a couple of weeks later when Forsaken launched.

Oh boy, Forsaken. This was Destiny 2 at its peak. I had nothing bad to say about Forsaken when I reviewed it for another site back at launch. Bungie finally told us a good, if basic, story that wasn't in lore cards and tabs. Seeing a character I really liked permanently die made me feel powerless when I'd been stomping on gods, armies, and the like for three years. The Dreaming City arc was a cool idea and gave you a reason to sign back in each week. The Last Wish raid, I hear, was awesome (I never got a chance to do it). Bungie knocked it out of the park with two new patrol zones, a boatload of new weapons (not to mention random rolls and the weapon slot rework), and hours of replayability with new strikes and Nightfalls.

Though there were hiccups with the Annual Pass content, like the first Forge in Black Armory being too high light level, I generally enjoyed what was on offer. Having never been a Gambit fan, I didn't enjoy Joker's Wild/Season of the Drifter, but it had some really cool stories to tell. Penumbra/Season of Opulence was fantastic and the Menagerie is still worth playing to this day.

Mounting frustrations

Destiny 2: Season of Dawn

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

So what's wrong? From the sounds of it, I really like Destiny 2, so why am I here complaining about it? It's Year 3 that has me frustrated. Shadowkeep, the follow-up to Forsaken, was a serious letdown. Returning to the moon and reunited with Eris Morn was cool and all, but it lacked the weight and drive of Forsaken. I had to force myself to keep playing, and that continued with the following seasons and culminated with the utter disappointment that was Season of the Worthy. It was early in Shadowkeep/Season of the Undying that Destiny 2 started to feel like a chore or a job, one for which I wasn't getting any reward, benefit, or compensation.

I want to re-experience the thrills of going flawless in Trials and getting my Blind Perdition (Adept), or figuring out Leviathan with my now former clanmates, or grinding through Gambit and Crucible to get Breakneck and Luna's Howl, respectively. I have some touching moments in Destiny 2, despite being a solo player.

Nothing lasts forever, good things most of all, so I of course know that playing Destiny 2 won't always leave me feeling great. But ever since splitting off from Activision and heading to Steam, Bungie seems to be struggling. Seasonal content has dwindled to the point of a minimally viable product and I don't see any reason to log in anymore except to melt people with my fully-upgraded Hard Light in the Crucible. Even that grew tiring after a few matches.

It's obvious that Bungie's focus is on monetization, something that the community has picked up on. There are far more Eververse (the in-game cash shop) items than there are for going flawless in Trials of Osiris or completing the new top-tier Grandmaster difficulty for Nightfalls. The only incentive Bungie is interested in cultivating is getting people to buy more virtual stuff. Yes, I get it, Destiny 2 is a live service game and Bungie doesn't have Activision's backing anymore. But it's sad when the community feels like things were better in the Activision days than they are in the independent Bungie ones.

What's replaced Destiny

Destiny 2

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

This time, my break from Destiny will end up indefinite. I don't know if I'll ever go back; I uninstalled it from my PC and I don't regret it. Part of me still loves the game, but it's time for me to let it go. So what have I done in the meantime since leaving the game behind? I'm glad I asked.

For my first-person shooter kick, I dove into Apex Legends. It feels much more intense than a Crucible match, the movement is far superior to what my Hunter can do, and it requires a different type of game sense. It's a stressful game in a good way, kind of like the Soulsborne series, and I love it. Normally, I don't like battle royales, but Apex appeals to me in some way I can't really describe. Whether the randoms I get stuck with are incompetent so I end up going it solo or I get slotted with a really solid team, each match feels completely different than the last. Some last a mere few minutes while others get upwards of 20.

I know that feeling guilty for not playing a particular game isn't a healthy mindset.

So if you're a recovering Destiny 2 player, maybe give Apex Legends a try if you haven't already. You might enjoy it. However, I don't spend all of my time on that; rather, I'm finally tackling my huge backlog of games. I'm not kidding when I say I have hundreds to play, even some PlayStation 4 titles like God of War. I've also been replaying some of old favorites, like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, probably one of my favorite games ever made. I'm also finishing games I started, but never completed.

For my loot obsession, I recently got into Grim Dawn, a spiritual successor to Titan Quest. Destiny always had that draw to keep going to get the loot, but an ARPG like Grim Dawn showers you with it from the start. From the outset, you get gear that's fun to use or looks good to wear, but each reward feels just as exciting. Killing a boss or hero enemy leaves me with such anticipation. On top of the loot, the build diversity is staggering and there's a lot of content. I grew up with Diablo II and Titan Quest, but it's been many years since I played either. Grim Dawn, meanwhile, feels like coming home.

Final thoughts

Destiny 2

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

The point I'm getting at is, play whatever you want to play. If you're in love with Destiny 2, then play it to your heart's content. But if you're disillusioned like I was, and still am, then maybe give it a rest and try something else. There's plenty out there for you to dive into, whether it's Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC, a loot-based game like Grim Dawn or Titan Quest, or something else that's caught your fancy. Or hell, expand beyond video games; I've taken up my love of foreign languages and studying philosophy again.

These days, we have a lot of options to fill our time, and some of them aren't obligatory. A game shouldn't feel like a chore, unless you're a streamer and your livelihood depends on it. I know that feeling guilty for not playing a particular game isn't a healthy mindset, which is why I made the difficult decision to step away.

It hurts to move on, especially if you have a lot of memories wrapped up in something. Sometimes, that's the best thing for you, though.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is a long-time gamer and PC hardware enthusiast. From the mid-90s on, he has constantly tinkered with computers and played every game he could get his hands on. Coming from a varied background, he found his passion in writing about Android in 2016, which also launched his writing career not long after. Now, Jordan is an avid gamer who just loves sitting down with tea or a glass of cold water to play whatever game has his attention (or he's reviewing), and he's lucky enough to make a living out of doing so. You can find him on Twitter if you want to chat: @jccpalmer.