Community Review: Destiny Week Two

Since nothing of note came out last week, I thought it might be interesting to do a second Community Review of Destiny. Mainly because many people have tried to convince me that it's a completely different game after level 20, and that it transforms again once you've hit the end game.

And the interesting thing is this: two different sets of people are telling me two very different things.

On the one hand I've got friends claiming that Destiny starts at level 20. They claim that's when the game becomes way better. For someone like me, who is still loving the game and crawling towards level 12. That's reassuring and gives me motivation (not that I really need it) to keep playing/

But I also have a second group of friends who claim that Destiny completely stalls at around level 20. That the levelling system transforms and becomes a bit borked. That the loot system is unfair and broken.

What say you? I say either way we're continuing to talk about Destiny. I say that it confirms my theory that Destiny is a keeper and we'll be playing (and complaining about) Destiny for a long time to come.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.


    I think that it's a typical near-launch title. It's pretty good until something new comes along and I'll still play it, but yeah... I don't think it's great. I feel compelled to grind out items to get to max level (I'm currently only at 23 thanks to not finding items unless I'm grinding that damn cave!). And yep, I find the level system post 20 to be annoying.

      Probably some truth to this. First couple weeks (sometimes even a month) of a major release and it's all people talk about. Ask anyone who's not a Pokemon fan how long they felt that time dragged out where people simply would not shut the hell up about it. But a month later? Nothing. ADD Internet had moved on.

      What say you? I say either way we’re continuing to talk about Destiny. I say that it confirms my theory that Destiny is a keeper and we’ll be playing (and complaining about) Destiny for a long time to come.

      It's only a couple weeks out, Mark. Think about the saturation bombing the front page gets on Mario Kart 8, Bioshock Infinite, Dark Souls 2, hell, for a while it looked like The Sims 4 was going to do that; didn't have legs, though, by the looks. Dark Souls 2 dragged out a while, though.

      Give it a couple weeks and I suspect the conversation will move on again.

        Give it until Smash Bros western release.

      I actually haven't felt the grindy side to Destiny's end game all that much. Probably because I've been doing lots of PvP once I hit 20. My suggestion is team up with peeps and the party chat will keep you entertained enough to not feel the grind of doing anything for too long =]

      I will say this though, the strikes/dungeons (especially the heroic versions) as they are feel incredibly tedious. They just aren't fun, there's nothing more to it. The bosses are massive bullet sponges and being one hit KO'd by most boss abilities isn't fun.

        I team up with people a lot. PvP just isn't my bag (and I feel I shouldn't HAVE to PvP to get better items, but that's just something I have to live with as games get more 'onliney').

    Since nothing of note came out last week

    No Hyrule Warriors love?

    Anyway short answer to my thought is I do not like the post game. The grind for marks / gear can be excruciating if you do not like to do PVP and let's not even mention that some, if not all, exotic weapons require you to perform extremely well in PVP games. The only way you can get some nice gear is to shoot bullets into that cave and even then you might be lucky enough to see a Legendary Engram turn into a green item.

    I loved Destiny up until level 20 but unless they make a few tweaks to the post 20 system I probably won't be going back to it.

    Last edited 22/09/14 11:12 am

      Vanguard armory has Legendaries and if you do the strike playlists you tend to get at least a few blue engrams and the odd purple, plus vanguard marks to buy gear. Also guaranteed exotics from Xur each weekend provided you have strange coins. You'll get a few of them each day just doing anything in game basically.

      To each his own however, your opinion is far from the minority, but I find the core gameplay so compelling that it's not much of a grind anyway. The story was incredibly disappointing though.

    The game plays exactly the same at level 20 as it does at lower levels. You now earn gear with light that levels you up even higher, but mechanically it's pretty much the same experience. The guns you use are the same, the abilities you use are largly the same (yes, you can unlock some options at higher subclass levels, such as replacing hunters double jump with blink, but it's still the same grenade + melee attack + special kind of gameplay), the enemies you fight are the same and the places and missions you fight them are the same. You do the exact same PvP arenas, missions and strikes you did while leveling up, and while the missions and strikes are high level and have modifiers on them such as spawning more enemies, you still do them in largly the same way as you did before.

    There is raiding, but that doesn't unlock to level 26, and at the moment it's only one raid. I haven't done it myself, so I couldn't say if it's a whole new experience, but having hit 26 myself I think the claim that the game doesn't start until 20, or changes drastically once you hit 20, is ridiculous.

    That isn't to say playing at 20 isn't fun. The shooting mechanics are as solid as they've always been, just don't expect some sort of grand new experience once you hit the soft cap.

      The raid is pretty great. Some of the Kotaku AU clan went in there and I think we had fun. Going in blind without reading strats, trying to figure shit out and learn it.

      It'll be interesting to see if that opinion changes after growing more powerful, practiced, and getting it 'on farm status'.

        How do you join clans??

          Not in-game. You have to go to the website. First you apply to a group. When you're accepted into a group by one of the leaders/officers, the group has a number of clans in it, which you can then elect to join. For example, in the KotakuAU group, they're separated by platform - Playstation and XBox.

            Just joined myself, not 'in love' with the game doing it solo, pretty keen to try this out with other people. Only about lvl 11 atm, can't help but feel this game wasn't meant to be played alone

        I should really check out that clan.... Pretty much soloed (And mute matchmade) my way to 25, being social might be a good idea.

          I recommend it. I've been playing a lot with a guy who was simply randomly inviting everyone at around about his level, hoping to play with someone else, and we've been killin' it since. Meeting new people can be good. :)

      Oh man, the raid.

      THE RAID!!!

      So good.

      Really demanding co-op.

        Agreed! I loved it. It was hard and challenging and really demanded team work.

        Also it was not a simple tank and spank sort of boss fight! The labyrinth gave a nice change of pace, and the platform jumping was also fun.

        The 6men team size is perfect. You can't carry people that are not paying attention or willing to communicate. This also makes me glad that Bungie took the approach to not allow matchmaking for raids. It would be impossible to finish the thing with 6 strangers not cooperating.

        Other than the raid, I love the PVP matches and even patrol are fun. Although I would like to have the option to have a lvl 20+ patrol to make it a bit more challenging.

        I reckon most people that are not having much fun on the game, are trying to roll it solo. This is a game that you need a team or people to talk while you kill stuff.

        Get a clan, have fun.


      "Grand new experience" it is not, but it certainly is very different, depending on how you approached the sub-20 content. I went through the story missions solo, doing strikes when I hit the right level, and then finished at 18 and was confused by the end-game, which seemed repetitive and dull. I had no idea why I'd bother to keep levelling. Got to level 23 pretty much by playing strikes in an effort to figure out what I should be doing... then saw the interest on here regarding raiding, and read up on endgame activities. So I picked a goal ("I want some of that legendary gear"), and did everything I could to work towards it.

      I'd imagine MMO veterans would have anticipated this type of endgame, but as an MMO noob myself, and as someone who believed the "this is a shared world shooter, not an MMO" marketing spiel up until level 23, the difference is night and day.

    nearly maxed both subclasses for my titan has been a dream run, i haven't farmed, i have just ran threw the story on each difficulty and have pickup legendary rares and exotic bounties, i found that when i play medic/body guard for low levels on the story line run i get mad rewards, i call it destiny's karma 8) - DarkenTre rolling his destiny solo since beta

    Last edited 22/09/14 12:02 pm

    Tbh, they should've foreseen people reaching level 20 in a week and done something about it such as raising the level cap to 30, 40 or even 50. Granted that would've meant a shedload more armour, but if the game is to be around for ages then you don't want people standing around waiting for something new to do after a week of playing. Once you're fully kitted out in legendary & exotic gear, what's there to play for until the next raid is brought out?

    In saying that, new raids and strikes are good. I was disappointed in the new crucible mode (forget the name) that just had the (two?) vehicle maps on.

    I'm keen to see what the DLC brings with it, but in between now and then, there's a 3 month period in between now and then. I'm still keen to play right now, but variety is the spice of life and I can see myself getting bored if there's not a great deal of stuff introduced.

    Which ever way you look at it the story is very weak. I know the campaign is just supposed to be a primer but there is nothing epic until you start doing the strikes and raids - and at higher levels.

    I'm enjoying the game - but unless Bungie make it worth the grind in short order much of the community will move on to the next big thing - or return to what they were playing before.

    Already have a level 27 Warlock with all legendaries and an exotic gun. I'm done with with this game until it gets patched with more content and a better look drop. I feel they punish loyal players with so much grinding and so little rewards.

    Holy shit, Mark. Mark, holy shit.

    Maybe it's because I've never played an MMO/loot driven RPG due to the core gameplay being clickity-click or having shitty gunplay (Borderlands) but, holy shit Mark, I love Destiny.

    A bunch of us have been trying to tackle the Vault of Glass and it's been one of my favourite gaming experiences ever.

    Exploring with your buds and trying to form strategies on the fly and the elation, Mark, the ELATION, when you beat a boss as a team. Holy shit. YOU EVER SEEN A BUNCH OF SUPER SOLDIERS SNEAKING THROUGH SOME CAVES AND RUNNING AWAY FROM ENEMIES!? Incredible.

    Shooting stuff with that Bungie magic hasn't gotten old for me and loot is grindy but for good reason. I've always got something to do.

    If grinding out marks in PvP for (metal) gear ain't working, you can just focus on PvE and get some killer Vanguard gear.

    Holy shit, Mark.

      Rocket launchers are an important tool in the kit of the stealth operative.

      That section was hilarious... Five super soldiers, slowly advancing out of the cave... Coast is clear... move a bit further... what's that sound...? Oh, shit, it's a [tiny floating thing that's actually kinda cute, really]! Shit, run! Flee! Run and hide! Back to the safety of the cave!
      Super soldiers, my arse :P

      I'm also experiencing the addictiveness of an MMO for the first time. Persisted with WoW until level 34 or something and gave up - too repetitive, gameplay was boring, story was nonexistent, no friends to level with, and was looking down the 25 more levels of that before I could join my friends. That's not for me. But Destiny? The gameplay is fantastic, and while the end-game is a bit grindy, the gameplay itself is enough thus far to keep it fun, and every upgrade (despite being far less frequent than they used to be) is extremely noticeable. Also, the end-game is only 20 levels in, so it's not a four month project to get there.

      Plus, the regular content additions seem to indicate it'll keep improving, if the raid is any indication. Looking forward to the Queen's request this week :)

        no friends to level with

        That right there is what makes or breaks online games. No matter how awesome the game, it will get boring if you're playing with randoms... and conversely, even a shit game can be fun if playing with a group of friends

        I have 7 years of of my life (and well over a year of actual online time) invested in WoW. But ever since my group of friends stopped playing, I can't bring myself to play solo. I tried with Wildstar, and while I think it's an awesome game, it extremely dull alone. These are just generic traits of RPG games.

        I'm willing to bet that most people who play Destiny solo will give up at the next big game release... those with raiding groups might hang around longer.... then it's up the developers to continue providing content as blizzard has done for almost 10 years.

        Last edited 22/09/14 1:53 pm

          I played the entire story solo (except the last mission), and had no problems - level pacing was perfect. Story was a bit minimalist, but the setting has so much promise of untold lore. I got my co-op fix mainly from PUG strikes, occasionally teaming up with people I met through Kotaku for patrols or strikes, and eventually joined a group I met on here to go raiding.
          I have little doubt that had I not joined up with the Kotaku AU group, and met and played with people on here, I'd have likely not bothered to get to level 20; and had Mawt not invited me to join them, I'd have contented myself with level 24, and accepted I'd likely never get to experience the raids.

    I've hit 20, completed every story mission and every strike, but i'm still having fun doing patrols, completing bounties and grinding for engrams. Once I've fully levelled both of my Titan subclasses I'm going to start a Warlock and do the whole process over. I'll get tired of it eventually and the game itself is light on content for now, but Bungie are going to continue unveiling more of the game as time goes by and not just via DLC. We're going to start getting bounties from the Queen this week, which I assume means we get to explore the reef.

    As always with Bungie games, the strength is in the core of the shooting game, and that remains solid and satisfying. I've already spent more time playing this than any other game this year (barring maybe the countless hours of sailing in Black Flag that frankly I got a bit sick of after the 25 hour mark) so it's obviously doing something right. People are whinging about it on the internet but I don't have time or inclination to go and argue with them because I'm busy playing Destiny.

    It could rain legendaries from the sky and people would still complain they aren't getting the drops they need.

    I'm having fun so far (L14 Hunter), but I can't see this game keeping my interest too much longer. I'm not really a PvP kinda guy.

      I frankly really dislike the Crucible, but that's a problem with people in online gaming being selfish assholes who just care about finding the cheapest way to effectively ruin everyone else's good time.

      I'm going to stay clear of it until it's better balanced. If never, then, oh well. Vanguard gear 4 lyfe.

        I've found that's the case in a lot of online games - min-maxers dictate the game balance, and make it practically unplayable for casuals. And that's not just PvP, but PvE games, too. They use an optimal, boring and repetitive strategy to gear up faster than they should, and then complain when they hit the ceiling and there's nothing to do, so the designers rebalance to give them a challenge while screwing over everyone else.
        Bungie seem to have hit this on the head with the weekly mark caps, the inability to farm the daily/weekly heroics rewards, and the unpredictability of the loot system - I've spent perhaps one of my 48 hours in game farming, and I don't feel underpowered at all.

          Go check out the treasure cave, those people literally just engram farm to play the numbers game instead of progressing at the moment.

          Personally I have fun just mucking around doing bits and pieces of whatever, though have been actively trying to complete bounties each day.

            I know, I tried it for an hour, got 20+ greens, five crappy blues and extremely bored. But, hey, if they want to spend hours shooting fish in a barrel, that's their choice.

        I didn't realise how big PvP would be in Destiny. Kind of disappointed how much it's required as I generally dislike arenas. Love the co-op fireteam strikes though

    I've dinged level 20 on saturday, I still need to finish the main story ... but it definitely seems like there's not really a way to get above level 20 without either being massively lucky with your loot drops or having to grind. It's great that the community have found several decent loot farming spots to counteract needing to run strikes or pvp continuously on the hopes that something good will drop.

    It definitely brings up some issues with how bungie planned the end game scenarios considering the raids are level locked and the only way to get to them is grinding out the same 5 strike missions or pvp if you didn't want to resort to farming. I do wish that they allowed me to allocate points between subclasses, I'm trying to run a defensive tank build and it's a real shame that I can't take points from my striker subclass since I'm never going to use it.

    Personally, I think the game stalls entirely once you hit level 20 and basically nosedives into the sea of mediocrity unless you're super into the raid scenario and even then how many times can you do the same raid before it becomes stale? It's still a good game, but I can't help think that it's being used as a springboard for destiny 2.0

      Once you hit lvl 20 you can start doing the strike playlist as your guaranteed to get Blue mission rewards and by doing the lvl 22 playlist you can get lvl 20 blue armour which when a full set is upgraded brings you to lvl 24.
      From there though things go downhill, you either have to spend marks on armour (but you might be saving marks for weapons or a new shiny sparrow), or to just get lucky with engrams.

      Just play, strikes and crucible playlists will start getting your blues rather quickly which should push you up to around 24.

      24 acts as a second soft cap, that's as far as you'll get with rare gear and I was there for four or five days, then I hit vanguard level 2 bought a few pieces of legendary gear and jumped up to 25 pretty instantly, just barely shy of 26.

      The levelling isn't linear by any stretch of the imagination, but that's the main difference.

    I have not had dinner in a week for playing this.
    PvP is kinda necessary for advancement after 20, but I like the PvP. Slow going if you don't tho, a bit even if you do.
    I think it is something I will play a lot if other peeps are and sporadically in the long term for pvp and new content.

      I guess it's all how you play, I managed to hit 27 on my hunter with barely any pvp (he's still rank 0 with Crucible) but then I faction grinded vanguard for my gear since I've had terrible luck with drops, so it kind of evened out.

      PvP is definitely NOT required at any point to progress...

      Which is great because the PvP is god damn horrendous.

      Seriously bungie...what the hell happened?

    I am at level 24 and I think I am leaning toward the 2nd group. The loot system is too random and illogical. The end of mission/strike rewards do not justify the time spent.

    What keeps me going back and playing is the people I met. I have lots of fun with Destiny's co-op. But in reality it's just a above average shooter with MMO elements (or the other way around, depends on your point of view).

    Now, if you excuse me, I am going back in and try to find that elusive legendary loot with my friends.

    Once you hit level 20, it becomes Farming Simulator 2014 since the only way to stay competitive is to constantly farm mats and gear. The game actually becomes interesting since everything becomes unlocked (well, game modes I mean) but there's a strong focus on playing to grind, rather than playing for fun. Replaying through the campaign three times to level the different classes is also really tedious.

    Last edited 22/09/14 11:48 am

    The game does not change at level 20 in any significant way. It's just that to make the most of it after that point, with the tougher missions, you really need to have friends to play with and do the difficult strikes. Single player becomes almost pointless progression-wise - you need to be in it just for the fun of the gameplay for single player.
    That the loot system is unfair and broken.I can't say this is true entirely, at least not for the average person playing on their own or some casual co-op, but it might be for those teams conducting difficult co-op strikes only to be often rewarded with very little. If you pull them off you certainly deserve more. I'm sure it can be a slap in the face to go through these missions and be excited to have gotten a legendary engram to decrypt only to have it be something of a lower tier. Otherwise the loot system is fine and you have to spend the time to get the really good stuff.

    Got two Guardians on the go, a level 16 or 17 Titan (can't remember) and a level 9 Warlock. Haven't even finished the story once. put it down last Thursday and haven't touched it since, because work and Disney Infinity. I've done a few missions on Mars, so I don't think I'm too far from the end, must get back into it tonight.

    Reached 27 last night and I'm still having an absolute blast. It's been a while since a game has made me stay up til 2 or 3 in the morning and I'm sitting here at work itching to get home and attempt the raid with some buddies.

    I see a lot of people complaining they have to grind to get loot or that it's hard to gain levels post 20 ... And well yeah that's the entire game, dont expect to be handed exotics simply because you logged in. You might get lucky at the end of a crucible match but don't rely on luck, get out there and grind your vanguard / crucible rep or be left behind.

    See you out there guardians.

    Honestly unless you in a core team of friends the game just gets boring at 20... fix the damn chat system already im sick of trying to do heroic strikes and not be allowed to communicate with the people im matched with ffs.

      I haven't had a chance to try it, but what happens if you start a strike and immediately turn around and invite your matchmade teammates to your fireteam? Do you get kicked back to orbit, or keep playing what you're playing but now with chat?

        I havent even figured out how to invite non friends haha >< not the most intutive UI.

          Get another player in your sights and press right stick. That targets that player, and then if you do any of the D-pad gestures it will be "at" them ("Bondles dances with rethilgore" instead of "Bondles dances.") If you have someone targeted like that you can add them to your fireteam. It's either a nav mode option or under Start > Roster, can't remember.

          You can also find nearby people by going to options, then roster (L1). Moving the cursor over their name and hitting X should allow you some options such as join fireteam (if they're set to allow public) or invite to yours.

    I've been watching my son play it a little. All he seems to be doing is hanging out around some cave and shooting at it...

    It certainly changes dramatically once you hit 20 - depending on what you expected, it can be quite a shock.

    The major problem, as I see it, is that for levels 18-25, there's no new PvE content - you can do Vanguard strikes for levels 18/20/22/24, you can do the daily heroic story, the weekly heroic strike (if you can rangle two friends to join you), or redo missions you've already done on a harder difficulty until you get the better gear needed to level up. It's all rehashing content you've done before, so it's a bit of a grind - the difficulty change doesn't really "add challenge"; it was challenging when you did it the first time at level 12, and now everything's level 24, but you're also much tougher, so it evens out.

    I saw the RNG hell that was loot system, and decided to focus on Vanguard strikes to earn marks buy legendaries... I now have two legendary gear with maxed XP, and no mats to upgrade them. Looking forward to raiding, and doing each daily heroic story on the level 28 setting as they arrive, to maximise the upgrade mats I can get each week, to get me beyond 26, but it'll take a while. Doing bounties as well, for the XP and the Rep, and working on an exotic bounty that's asking me to commit Hive-genocide on the moon, for an exotic hand cannon.

    Screw the RNG, I'll make my own luck. :P

    Edit: Exotic bounty requires PvP on the third step. Oh well, nevermind then. I'll pray for one more strange coin and decent exotics this weekend.

    Last edited 23/09/14 12:03 am

      Soloing weekly heroic strikes can be an interesting little challenge, only managed to do the level 22 ones so far though. The 26 kicked my ass so badly in the first room that I gave up...

      (Though I've seen footage of someone soloing the nightfall...)

    You do hit a bit of a wall at level 20 -needing to get gear with light to level further, loot is so RNG, sometimes it trickles and sometimes it pours -but I found 21-24 to be relatively smooth with 24-25 being a bit of a wall again. Once you hit 26 you're pretty much at the point where level advancement is easy, you just have to farm the mats to upgrade your legendaries/exotics.
    The way loot works reminds me alot of Diablo 3 just after launch, pre 2.0 when loot was terribly painful to farm.
    The game itself is seriously fun, especially with friends -as others have mentioned. Having comrades in arms to chat to while playing makes you nearly forget about loot farming -until that rewards screen comes up empty!

    Im a bit mixed. To tell the truth the only reason I got it was because I literally could not think of anything else to play. I have only done the first strike and the am on Venus at the moment playing single player only. I don't have any interest in PvP and the story is a little bit...ok i haven't even listened when the cutscenes are playing (which is strange because I am completely a story driven gamer) but I feel invested in my guy enough to get him to level 20 and get some good gear on him.

    level 22 and just finished all the missions last night so now I have nothing left but the grind. We'll see how long this lasts before I burn out ;)

    Once you reach 20, it becomes a gear grind, pure and simple. I'm waiting for more stuff that comes from expansions.

    Last edited 22/09/14 12:45 pm

    Posted in the WP thread;

    I have not done the cave or the moon farm yet; i'm level 27 with Legendary set (bought with marks) and exotic helm (coins) and exotic shotty (bounty) of the few legendary engrams to drop I have got crap each time, and have resorted to buying the stuff I need to progress with marks... however now progress has stopped as I need a boatload of high level crafting matts to progress...

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