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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 (opens in new tab) 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 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.

16 Comments
  • In general I've made a conscious decision to stay away from games like Destiny. Takes forever to level up/grear up.... I just don't have/or want to put the time in. Exception being if a game has a decent story to go along with those mechanics. Diablo 2 was great back in the day... For shooters I just want to be able to pick up a game and be on equal footing gear wise as everyone else. Apex is great for that. Titanfall is another really fun game.
  • Well Destiny 2 actually does have a great story and takes in fact very little time to level up these days. So I have no idea why you would be avoiding it, especially when it costs zero dollars to play the first three main storyline campaigns.
  • Is the story good though? I did spent some time on Destiny 1 (main driver was to spend some time chilling with my brother) and didn't find the story very engaging. Yes it is free to get into now so I could pick it up, but there is still the issue of playing catch up to everyone who has sunk countless hrs. into the game. I guess with my limited time I would rather spend it on other games.
  • Yeah, you burnt yourself out on the game. That is not the fault of the game, that is the fault of yourself. As per usual for those that play one single game too much and then will never take responsibility for doing so. BTW Apex Legends is what happens when you take everything that made a certain game great (Titanfall 2) and remove everything well done about it. Everything. Then you monetize it in as terrible a way as you possibly can. For those that do not agree I would suggest you actually play Titanfall 2. Talk about an underrated game, my god.
  • The Titanfall games are great, agree. Apex is great as well though and wouldn't say it simply stripped away all the great aspects of Titanfall. I would say it narrowed its focus on some of the aspects which make Titanfall great and built a solid game around them. It would be cool though if they expand it going forward to introduce more of the Titanfall aspects. One aspect of Titanfall I really enjoy is the non human controlled grunts you can mow down. It always feels like you are engaged during the match.
  • I don't know that I completely agree with that. Like others, I was really, really disappointed in the original Destiny that I removed it shortly after starting to play it. In contrast, I've been playing Elite Dangerous for well over four years with no signs of slowing down. I played Day of Defeat for over 6 years before I switched to Elite Dangerous. If for some of us a game is bad, the game is bad--no amount of trudging through it is going to improve that. For me, Destiny was just bad.
  • My wife made the comment that Destiny 2 looks like a chore the other day when the new event started. It's just a bounty, medal grindy mess. I might be done after this next season if they don't get their house in order.
  • I just started playing a little over a month ago. I bought the season pass, but doubt I'll buy another. Like your wife says, it feels like a chore half the time. When the story is there, I really like it. But, most of the time, I feel like the story doesn't exist, and you have to focus soooo much on the right things to do (with very little guidance) to level up, and repeat certain tasks over and over and over and over again. Why the F do I have to spend an hour every time I fire it up to go and acquire bounties for the day? Especially with the insane load times? The firefights are fun, but unless you spend 100s of hours (that I don't have), you can't really be effective . Pretty sure I'm done after this season ends.
  • I do agree Destiny has changed for the worst. The split has had negative effects on the game, the everse store is ridiculously overpriced. These seasons do feel grindy and even the exotics you get from them arent the best and dont add much incentive to change my loadouts that i use for pvp and pve events. But i dont agree that going to Apex Legends is a good choice. That game is also boring and repetitive, i didnt play destiny for its pvp aspect (though i have most items from it). At least Destiny has lore and a background and campaigns where as Apex is just getting dropped off and finding your way to the center without dieing over and over and over again. Still, Destiny needs to find a better place, hopefully next season will be better and the new expansion that, lets face it, is coming in fall lands like Forsaken did and not Shadowkeep.
  • It took you that long? I moved on after Destiny 1. It was such a bad experience, it didn't last 6 months installed.
  • I see rambling like this all the time from players that spend every waking moment of their lives playing a game and then complain about the same game after they get tired of playing it. If you are tired of playing it, stop playing it and complaining about it. I have played Destiny since the beta for Destiny 1 (5+ years ago) and i continue to play today. What I've found during this time is that after you rush to complete various bounties and quests to get the next greatest gun or armor, you miss out on the other nuances of the game. Have you completed every triumph for Destiny 2 in every season? Have you gathered up all of the exotic armor and weapons? Have you found all of the investigation items in the game? Things like that are what make the game good and keeps the storyline alive. If you rush to fly through every raid and spend all of your time playing PvP, you are wasting your time. There are more elements to the game than that. I have over 105 days off playing time since D1. During this time, I have completed a master's degree, an Ed.S., had 2 children, and still play a few hours a day around life. I guess the short of it is that if you make the game your life, you will die just like the game bosses. Play in moderation and appreciate the value of every game your have purchased. It's your money.
  • While I agree that it isn’t healthy to make any game your life I completely disagree with your take on the nuances of the game. The things you mentioned are the B.S. checklist style things they add into the game that don’t bring anything to it other than giving players some mundane task to complete. Have you ever really been excited to complete the triumphs? If so I take it back but going and playing 30 matches of gambit while doing some specific thing is not what I would call fun. It is articles like this one that I think need to exist to illustrate the issues with the game that many are feeling. I stopped playing the game halfway through Shadowkeep because the story was literally two missions and just bounty grinding for a new reward system that I feel no one asked for or wanted. I put over 3,000 hours into D1 and had a blast but always felt that D2 sucked except for a few bright spots. I uninstalled the game and moved on to my backlog but that doesn’t mean that players such as myself should just be quiet as you suggest. I’m still hoping they can turn it around and maybe come back some day. Get off your high horse though as you aren’t the only educated person that plays video games.
  • Ok? If you've played destiny as much as you say you have, you'd know that the current state of it overall is not the worst it's been. There are significant problems (eververse being too prevalent, bounties being too much in the forefront, no vender refresh in a long time) but by no means is it worse than the first year of Destiny 1, as far as content goes. As respectfully as possible, just take a couple weeks to a month off. That's what I've done many times just because the burn out is real. Bungie will inevitably release a major upgrade to the game like they always do and the cycle will continue. This article is right on track with how slow this game gets over the spring and summer. Just step back for a bit.
  • Oh my God you've got to be kidding me all of you schmoes that like destiny 2 need to get off the bandwagon and try Warframe. It blows destiny 2 out of the water 10 times better of a game if you never played it you definitely should.
  • Yeah, Warframe is significantly better, although I did just start playing Destiny 2 only last week, and it's fun for what it is. I'm going to enjoy playing it with friends. The grind in Warframe is pretty insane though.
  • My story is much the same as the author in that I walked away during Shadowkeep due to the lackluster story campaign that was a whopping two missions long if memory serves. The monotonous bounty grind and checklist style nature of the seasonal model just killed all desire to play the game. I had some unfinished projects that needed a lot of hand sanding to complete and I had been putting them off to play D2 with friends. I remember signing on and loading into the tower and before I even loaded in I shut the game off as it occurred to me that I would actually rather work on sanding those projects than play the game. It probably won’t happen but for me I would come back if they completely drop the seasonal model. I would rather have one or two good pieces of content per year than the seasonal content being released now.