When Destiny was first announced I wasn’t that intrigued. A new, space shooter from the creators of Halo? Surely that should be something I should have been immensely excited for? Well, here’s something to shock you dear TiX reader. I don’t like Halo. There you go, it’s out there in the open. I don’t like, and never have liked Halo. I played the first game, obviously, and tried the multiplayer madness of Halo 3. But it has just never resonated with me.
I suppose the problem is my age. And my rapidly failing reflexes. I am not old, but when the days of first-person shooters were all the rage, I was in my early thirties, and my attempts at competing in these twitch shooters left me angry, annoyed and feeling bereft of any skill whatsoever. I constantly finished bottom of the leaderboards, which led me to pick more single player, story based experiences as my gaming habits. The sometimes toxic behaviour of certain elements of the player base of any online shooter also further reinforced that decision.
There have been games that have tempted me back to shooters, but any attempt into multiplayer led back to these dark feelings, and I often finished a multiplayer session questioning why I gamed. Not just the multiplayer aspect, but all gaming in general. Like it was childish and a waste of time, as critics of the hobby still like to point out. It really had that much of a detrimental affect to my wellbeing. Some shooters, like Titanfall, were notably different and enjoyable, as they were so much fun I didn’t mind being at the bottom of the pile, and sometimes I actually found myself getting closer to the top as the controls and mechanisms started to gel with me. It also probably had something to do with the Grunts, as it meant I could get some kills in!
But that’s where Destiny came in. I fell for the hype and initially purchased the game for the single player campaign. Yes, the much maligned story mode was what dragged me in. But I was then confused. What were these “Strikes” I was reading about on social media. Then there was the light level, and strange coins, and glimmer, and grimoire. As quickly as I fell for the hype I was lost. It was too confusing and I didn’t understand it all. My son was hooked, and he talked constantly about Xur, about the upcoming raids, and what new exotic engram he’d got and, with his enthusiasm rubbing off on me, I realised that I had not given Destiny enough time and energy.
So I forced myself back in, but to start with it was still very much a single player experience for me, despite being part of a large gaming community, as most friends had chosen the PS4 for their next-gen console. So, I soldiered on alone, and the more I played the more I learnt, and the more I started to understand.
Then, one Facebook message changed everything, and I didn’t realise at the time that it would also change my gaming habits for the forseeable future. I had heard about the raids, both from my son and from social media. But again, they were still a confusing part of Destiny for me. But that message was a call. A call from raid virgins. Who were two people short of a six man team. None of whom knew anything about what the raid entailed, but wanted that experience. And I answered that call.
So, a few days later I found myself in a party with 5 other, unskilled and curious Destiny Virgins. This was in September 2015, about the time that the third raid, The Kings Fall, was being released. But we weren’t interested in The Kings Fall, we were going for the Vault of Glass. Late to the party I know, but we were going in at the start. What followed was a great deal of late night sessions, swearing, laughing and messing around whilst we attempted to solve the many puzzles or worked out how to kill certain enemies.
At times messages would pop up, informing us that we had the Mark of Negation. Eh? But we figured it out. Then there were the oracles, and we figured those out. Then the wonderful part where you had to find your way through the maze with the Gorgons. If you’ve done it you’ll have been through what I was experiencing. It was fun, it was joyful, it was exhilarating. But the most important thing was that I was working together with others to solve problems. Not trying desperately to shoot them. The Vault of Glass was completed, along with Crota a few weeks later. Then the Kings Fall was attempted, until unfortunately work schedules and real life got in the way, as it does occasionally.
But, thats where I changed as a gamer. I had my first positive experience with Co-Op multiplayer and it was for me. Now I play Rainbow Six, GTA Online & Rocket League on a weekly basis. But always when I am part of a team, whether battling AI, or against others. And my headset that was barely used has now been replaced many times over. It also seriously started my love affair with Destiny. I was still playing daily, up until the release of Fallout 4, and then, when others were sinking all their time into that masterpiece I was still sinking days into Destiny.
And, in the coming days Destiny 2 is being released. This time I will be there from the start, striking and raiding on a very regular basis. And I won’t be alone. My team will be there with me.