Destiny: The Taken King Leaves Players Who Didn’t Upgrade Behind

Destiny: The Taken King Leaves Players Who Didn’t Upgrade Behind

Are you a Destiny player with no interest in buying The Taken King? You might want to find another game to play.

As it turns out, The Taken King doesn’t just add a ton of excellent new stuff to Bungie’s ambitious MMO-shooter — it also locks out much of the old content both in PVE and PVP. Vanilla Destiny players can still access all the original story missions and raids, but they can’t do heroic strikes or nightfalls anymore. And because Bungie has totally revamped the way playlist strikes work, players without The Taken King can only run through the relatively useless level-20 Vanguard Legacy playlists — a big departure from the last incarnation of the game, which offered different tiers of playlists that anyone could access.

In the Crucible, while anyone with The Taken King installed can play through all the old modes and then some, vanilla players are stuck with three types of PVP playlists: Classic free-for-all, classic 3v3 (Skirmish/Salvage), and classic 6v6 (Clash/Control). If you don’t have The Taken King but only want to play one of those 3v3 or 6v6 modes, your only option is to pick a playlist and bail every time you get the one you don’t want.

Also, as you might expect, Destiny players who haven’t upgraded to Year Two can’t get the new subclasses, shiny gear, and cool quests that ship with The Taken King, which runs for $US40. Vanilla players are also stuck with the old level cap of 34.

On one hand, this feels like a no-duh move: Of course people are going to have to buy all the expansions to keep up with all the stuff that Destiny‘s developers tweak and add every few months. And from what we’ve seen so far, The Taken King is well worth the asking price, even if previous DLC has been a bit lacking.

But for Destiny players who aren’t yet sure if they want to upgrade — or can’t afford it yet — it’s something of a slap in the face to see half the old endgame content suddenly disappear. On September 14, anyone with a copy of Destiny could play a variety of crucible modes or take on the nightfall and weekly heroic strikes; as of September 15, they can’t. Quite a few people aren’t pleased about that, and they have taken to Reddit, forums, and Kotaku‘s email inboxes to get out the message. (One Redditor has put together a good compilation of all the stuff that’s locked out now.)

Bungie’s forums are full of Destiny players complaining about this problem in colourful ways.

“Is this even legal?” writes one player. “Say you buy a couch for 100. After a year the company you bought it from comes to your door and asks you 40 dollars extra for the couch and if you buy it you get a nice pillow. You say you don’t want to pay. They saw your couch in half and take one half with them… That’s how I feel about TTK so far.”

“I didn’t buy the DLC for Elder Scrolls Online yet, and the total content that was taken away, or that I am locked out of as punishment is NOTHING,” writes another player.

Of course, Destiny is very different than other MMOs in a lot of ways, and many of the changes brought with The Taken King are huge, much-needed fixes to problems the game has had since it first launched last September. But Bungie never warned anyone that they’d be locking old players out of so much of the game, which is one of the main reasons so many people are upset about this paywall.

We’re dealing with growing pains, here. And the folks who didn’t upgrade are hurting most of all.


  • wow thats some massive bullshit right there! Hell for get TES:O, even in WoW if you dont buy the lastest expansion the only thing you dont get access too is the stuff from the expansion ( new areas, higher level cap, new class/race option). from the way the article is talking it sounds like everything thats come out inbetween release and TTK is now only for people with TTK which im pretty sure would be illegal

    • Read the EULA, you said it was fine when you started playing. I haven’t read the EULA, but I’m sure it’s in there.

      • Kind of a dud to say what you’re telling @thyco when you yourself haven’t even read the EULA. “Being sure it’s in there” Isn’t concrete evidence.

        Expanding on that, they quite possibly didn’t have this covered when the standard edition came out. However they have the rights to update it whenever necessary – it’s quite possible that they’ve updated it since Vanilla / TDB / HoW to cover their ass.

      • EULAs aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to consumer rights. The consumer had zero bargaining power in determining the content of the EULA – it was either take it or leave it. Courts are willing to vary or remove contractual terms if they are unfair for the consumer. Leaving that aside, hiding a clause in the EULA that goes against everything the consumer would expect from any given game (i.e. that content wouldn’t be removed after purchase) is arguably misleading and deceptive conduct, as well as a breach of the statutory warranties as to quality of goods, unconscionable conduct etc. If people feel strongly enough about this, they should be knocking down the doors of their state-based departments of fair trading as well as filing claims in the consumer tribunals in their states.

  • I’m going to start by saying that I have already bought “The Taken King”.

    But…this is really disappointing. I bought Destiny on release and was really disappointed with how underdeveloped the game was in many ways (I wasn’t alone). Bungie upset a lot of loyal fans because of this, who would now reconsider buying another of their games on release. Year 2 offered them an opportunity to apologise to fans and bring them back to the game.

    Instead, they further aggravate these people by cutting off functionality and limiting their experience, which in the base game is already limited. Take a leaf from CD Project Red…once you have given a great game for the base price, give the player more and more.

  • Meh, this is pretty well what most online games do. You can still access the content, you just have to go about it the long way. It’s $70, it has a lot of content, get real jobs, and quit whinging

    • I have a real job, as do countless others with valid opinions. I’m not putting $70 into a game that appears to me to be an overpriced DLC/Expac, especially when A) I have already put roughly $150 into it with the Standard Edition & Season Pass and B) there are 3-4 other games coming out in the next 2 months that I’d *heavily* prefer to invest my time with.

      It just doesn’t seem like a smart and wise move from Bungie to release it like this to their ‘Loyal and dedicated Consumers’ who also, in their own words, helped shape the game from Year 1 into what it is now in Year 2. It could be that it’s Activision pulling the strings in this regard, but when they release new Expacs for WoW, it’s more along the lines of $30 – $40 per expac for more content, not $70.

      Edited for typos.

      • You’ve made a really valid point mate…Bungie is only as powerful as Activision allows them to be. If you think of the COD games (Activision), which year on year are basically expansion packs of the same game, over and over again, it seems to be a part of their business model. It could be that Bungie wanted to release this differently, but they were forced by the powers that are.

      • Exactly right. When Destiny first came out they didn’t tell consumers they’d need to not only buy the game, but pay an additional amount in the second year in order to keep playing the same content that they bought in the first place. I’ll assume for the sake of the argument that some, if not all, of the content that is now taken away from year 1 owners was in the game from the start.

      • It could be that it’s Activision pulling the strings in this regard

        It’s almost 100% certain that it’s Activision that’s pulling the strings in this regard, and letting Bungie take the flak for it.

    • What are talking about? The only people with time to play this bloody game have no job!

      I lie of course but seriously, it’s a laundry list disguised as a shooter.

      • though a bit late, I just had to say that As a Programmer I do and enjoy Destiny. I don’t care about spending the extra money. After spending alot of time comparing games like Diablo, WoW and WarFrame. Destiny has something that those other games don’t. Not quite sure what it is, but it’s great and worth all the money.

        And the best part is I do have a great Job that lets me buy all those great expansions.

    • Guild Wars 2 made the base game free, and the only thing it locks out (ahead of the expansion) is you get fewer character slots, restricted chat and trading (to prevent spamming, scamming, etc)

    • Its people like you that are the reason they can get away with ripping us off like that. Yeah its a great DLC and has a lot of stuff, but it aint worth $70

  • I bought “The Taken King” and I’m really impressed with it so far. Just finished the main questline.

    That said, I don’t agree with what Bungie have done. Surely there must have been a better way to do this. Make two separate playlists for example. One for TTK owners and one for vanilla owners. I understand the game must grow and I’m glad of all the extra content this time around, but to me this is nothing more than locking content needlessly in order to force people to buy the new expansion.

    Not cool, Bungie.

    • I am continually surprised that it keeps looking like Bungie hasn’t asked Activision if it can borrow some WoW folks for a while to error-check their MMO-related design strategies.

  • I have Vanilla Destiny and the previous 2 expansions. I got so fed up with the mediocrity of the game that I never even played the HoW expansion (which – silly me – i bought with the season pass at launch). When I read about the new changes in Taken King, I thought that I might give Destiny a shot again. After all, it looked like it was finally becoming the game that it initially promised to be.

    Then I saw that the cost of the Taken King expansion was $70AU. I have never been so angry at a gaming company before. This is simply outrageous. Seriously people, just stay away from this mess. Do not let these companies get away with such outrageous pricing.

    • Where are people getting this number? It was never $70, it’s $40. Even if you’re confused and are talking about TTK Legendary Edition (the disc for new players that comes with the base game and all 3 DLC), that was still only $60 at release. Even now it’s $50 in stores and as little as $30 elsewhere.

  • If one was new to Destiny, would there be any point in buying the original destiny game, or would you only just buy The Taken King?

    • You would just buy The Taken King. My flatmate bought the Legendary Edition from JB in Hamilton, cost $110 I think.

    • Just buy the Legendary Edition which comes with the base game and all expansions. AU$79 and worth it.

    • I think the price difference between the 2 is practically nonexistent if you are buying it from scratch. 99 for legendary edition taken king with all the bells and whistles and DLCs.
      A quick scan over the playstation store and it looks like the vanilla game no longer exists. Even if it were though, you would also be looking at 2 DLCs at around $40 or so, if you are buying it, grab the taken king, it is more cost effective

    • James_m has the right of it.

      Taken King’s content only becomes available for you once you’re level 25 anyway, meaning you have to go through some of the original campaign.

      Perhaps as a consideration to new players, the original campaign has actually been shortened somewhat. (Not that it was ever any more than a weekend’s worth of content in the first place.)

      • If you buy the legendary edition, you get a shard or something that instantly boosts one character to level 25 🙂

      • Well the quest threads have been aligned to give you the core elements of each “story” as well as shifting one hive-related mission to Eris’s quest chain since it had nothing to do with the prime storyline which,after the Cosmodrome missions (which are effectively the tutorial) mainly focused on the Exo Stranger’s vendetta against the Vex and your mission to destroy the heart of the black garden so the traveller can, presumably, begin to recover.

        There are a number of side missions which I assume will unlock for new players but that I, as someone who’s already played the entirety of the year 1 content multiple times, was not prompted to re-play.

        Side note: everyone gets a “spark of light” consumable which instantly elevates a new character to 25 so you can opt to jump straight into TTK content right away. As someone with three characters already at 34 it’s completely useless to me, but I guess it’s useful for newcomers.

    • It would be pointless to buy Vanilla Destiny now. HOLLY SHEET! Just think of all the copies EB games must have as ‘preowned’. Anybody with half a brain won’t touch them given the new deal. Bet you EB management are more pissed than half the burnt players…

    • There’s three versions you can buy, depending on what you already have. Prices are from PSN (rounded up $0.05).

      $70 gets you The Taken King IF you have Destiny plus the major pre-existing DLC expansions..
      $100 (“Legendary edition”) gets you The Taken King INCLUDING the original Destiny and its expansions.
      $120 (“Collectors edition”) gets you The Taken King, including the original destiny and its expansions, plus some extra items/skins. The items include stuff which has some sort of XP accelerating effect, so you may or may not find them worthwhile.

      If you don’t already have Destiny you want either the Legendary or Collectors edition.

      As far as I can tell, if you already have Destiny + expansions, and want the extra items in the Collectors Edition, you would effectively be paying an extra $50 for them (being the difference between the standard and Collectors editions.)

      The people I really feel sorry for are the people who are not getting The Taken King and are on slow/low-cap internet – since these people will have paid for the HUGE patch to the old game accompanying the upgrade, and been rewarded with a reduction in playable content. (And a replacement of Peter Dinklage with Nolan North, I suppose.)

      Interesting factoid: Destiny’s rating is 5 stars on PSN, 2 stars on XBox Live. I assume this is a legacy of protest votes concerning the publishers’ preferential details towards Playstation customers. As far as I can tell, there is still a difference, in terms of a few extra pack-in DLC items, but they’re pretty minor.

  • Let’s be realistic though, the only people still playing destiny are the ones that are going to get the expansion anyway…

    • Well as somebody who hasn’t purchased the expansion I can’t see the point of checking out the changes to see if I want to buy the next part of the game because it already feels like upgrade or GTFO scenario.

  • I was THINKING about getting TTK later…but screw that. Dedicated day one/beta player who watched as countless masses got access to content who did not buy the two poor DLC packs…then this. I log on to check out what is new and get a feel for it only to get SLAPPED. Seriously, not only wasn’t there anything new to look at but half my fraggn end game is gone. (Yes, I know “Salty tears, cry baby, STFU and buy it” and all the other crap Destiny Fanboyz cry) Then again I am glad that they have shown their hand early, rather than investing more $$$ and hours into this game.

    It may be good, but after the crap they served in year one you think they may have discounted it a little more for those of us who already owned everything.

    Uninstalled and into Warframe where I have some friends waiting.
    Also, maybe a little less PS4 time so I can BINGE when Fallout 4 drops.

    Sorry Bungie, but it was a dick move.

      • For Aussies, yeah, but everyone is still playing the same game instead of being split across different titles. This was always going to be the plan for Destiny. It sucks that people without TTK are now locked out of certain activities, however, if you’re still playing at this point, why wouldn’t you buy it? Think of the dollar to hours of entertainment value.

  • No doubt TTK is making Destiny A LOT better as I am enjoying it much more than the original. But I still question the pricing.

    And now this? Taking away old content? That’s just not right. As mentioned in the article, is this legal? Someone needs to look into the EUA with a fine tooth comb.

    Having said that Activision and Bungie must already have the legal side of things covered otherwise they are just asking for a lawsuit.

      • Not necessarily, could easily demand a refund according to consumer law, but would have to ask an ombudsman.
        If it’s still under warranty then definitely because now it’s broken – fix or refund.

      • Not necessarily, but it will likely forever be undecided because people don’t want to waste $$$ and time going to a tribunal or a court about something that ultimately can be fixed for the low low price of $70. A philosophical question: is the law still the law if it is not enforced? For an excellent jurisprudential journey of discovery read Hans Kelsen’s The Pure Theory of Law, and his discussion of the Grundnorm in particular 🙂

  • It really is rubbish that people can’t enjoy the year one content as it was without the TTK content, and I hope this is less the rule as time goes on. For the time being I’m prepared to put this down to the fact year 1 was a bit of a hot mess and they’re sweeping it under the rug.

    That said, I really can’t recommend Taken King enough. It’s excellent.

    • It really is rubbish that people can’t enjoy the year one content as it was without the TTK content,

      The issue here though @kermitron is the fact that we are essentially revisiting the drama of when TDB was released, where people were upset where they couldn’t do the Weekly Heroics, Nightfalls and Difficulty Levels without purchasing TDB. Bungie at the time stated that they wouldn’t be locked out and would still be able to do the content. However for the week when it was TDB content on the rotation, those people were locked out.

      It’s the exact same situation, albeit in a bigger sense. I don’t doubt that TTK is great now – it’s in a great spot for new people to pick it up. As I stated in my comment further up the thread though, I (And others) can’t justify the purchase of it.

      • The current situation is actually worse than people being locked out of Nightfalls and Weekly Heroic strikes/Daily Heroic story. Under the old system there would be a new max-level strike playlist that included the DLC strike(s) and without the latest DLC you could not access it.

        I think after TDB when the level cap was raised to 32 there was a level 28 strike playlist (I want to say Vanguard Roc?) and when HoW came they gave us Vanguard Dragon, which was level 30. With the base game you could still play up to level 26, Vanguard Tiger IIRC. There was also level 20, 22 and 24 difficulty, I think. It’s been awhile since I did anything but Roc or Dragon.

        Under the present system, there are only three strike playlists:

        Legacy, which is level 20, a middle-tier list which is level 36, and a heroic list which is level 41. If you have all the year 1 content but not TTK, you only get access to legacy, which offers no challenge to the majority of players and wouldn’t drop interesting loot. It’s really there just as an alternative to selecting the strikes manually.

        On top of that obviously people are going to be locked out of dailies and nightfalls as well.

        Destiny had an extremely rough year 1 which Bungie would clearly like us all to forget about as soon as possible.

  • Full disclosure: I own TTK

    I haven’t liked the decisions Bungie has made, but I still love playing Destiny with mates.

    I personally think not buying TTK is the way to go as it gets you off the Destiny addiction so you can go and play other games. I should have made the break, but it’s too late for me. SAVE YOURSELVES!!

  • It hasn’t. I decided to start a new character and see how much better the whole experience was.
    It’s not that much better and TTK broke as much as it fixed. The campaign is actually worse to play solo then it was before. And patrolling as a low level player is virtually impossible. It’s improved, but as a console gamer who has played ARPG’s before it’s still mediocre. Worse still it doesn’t respect the time of its players.

    Never played an MMO before, but it seems pretty clear that designing one for console was going to require re inventing or reimagining the genre. Destiny doesn’t do that so much as it threw a bunch of features togeather and is surprised that it doesn’t work

    That said. It has the best accessible 3d platforming outside of a Mario game, and shooting stuff is really fun. Definitely recommend it. But buy physical so you can get something back for it when they ask you to buy it all again for destiny 2

  • @thefong sorry but this is not “pretty much what most online games do”… new content comes out you pay to access the new content or you don’t. They don’t lock you out of old content you already paid for and should have access too.

    • Nobody is being locked out of content. They’re just removing old content from the auto find playlists. You can still manually make a group, and manually run them. WoW has been doing that for a decade, and no one complains about that.

  • Yeah, couldn’t agree more. I also wondered whether it was legal to strip away a large chunk of content people have already paid for, but then I’m sure they have a well paid legal team that covered that.
    I just think its wrong, and I’ve lost a lot of respect for bungie by what they’ve done with TTK. They’ve gone from one of my favoured devs, to one that I probably won’t be buying a game from in the future.

    • I have an issue with metacritic as a whole, I think it’s a rubbish site that is borderline corrupt with the way it weights reviews, what they consider proper critical reviews etc., but that stems from a dislike of grading games on a 1-10 scale in the first place.

      In this particular issue it seems that the site has been spammed with negative reviews complaining about the paywall issue so they’ve swept those away because they’ve nothing to do with the content of the game itself – which seems to be the case with this particular complainant, based on his screenshot of the google cache of the page. Whether you agree with Bungie/Activision’s business model has no bearing on the content of the game. Take that discussion elsewhere.

      For the record I’m equally as annoyed by the plethora of 10/10 “omg best gaem evar” reviews that make no effort to explain why it’s good. That kind of crap is why metacritic is worthless. It reminds me of when Mass Effect 3 got review-bombed by thousands of people before it even came out because details of the ending leaked and caused an internet shitstorm.

        • Even if that were true, which in terms of the actual content it isn’t, that has nothing to do with the current version of the game which incorporates the Taken King.

      • Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing Metacritic at all. But it’s worth remembering that publishers do take interest in Metacritic. There was that whole thing when Destiny came out about what score Activision had stipulated Destiny must achieve if Bungie wanted a bonus etc. Because of that I just thought this post was worth sharing, not as a truth, but for consideration.

        • My biggest issue with it was Obsidian missing a bonus because they got a metacritic rating if merely 83, just shy of the 85 they needed. Basing financial compensation on such an arbitrary scale sucks.

      • Shrug. I think it’s a symptom of customer reviews effectively counting as a ‘vote’.
        It really should be ‘recommend’ or ‘don’t recommend’. When counted over thousands, the extremes will average out over time to be very similar to the Steam system.

  • It’s all well and good for those people with obsessive compulsive disorders who kept milking the half assed content in the original Destiny over and over to get better items, but for people who just played through the actually content of the game, there’s now LESS content than ever. That’s horseshit, the actual content was never good value to begin with.

    All this sh*t should be MUCH cheaper. Have a look at how a company like Rockstar treats their customers with a game like GTAV. IMO Bungie haven’t provided sufficient content of sufficient quality to justify the money people have ALREADY given them, now they’re taking content away from people who don’t give them more.

    You’re all free to make your own choices, but make no mistake Bungie continues to exploit people who play Destiny in the same way that mobile developers often do. You might enjoy it, you might be happy to hand over whatever they ask, but you have been f*cked and you will continue to be so.

    • Activision’s gotta make back all the notes it dropped for Destiny’s marketing campaign. How else can that happen if it doesn’t prioritise gameplay systems over content? 😛

  • Its not just a $70 DLC, its only a $70 DLC if you own the two prior DLCs. It took me a while to work out why I couldn’t buy Taken King from the marketplace (aside from the full version), reading the fine print states the DLC is only available to those that own the others already.

    Vanilla -> Taken King is $110 (season pass + taken king) or as DENAz kindly posted, trade vanilla into EB, have them price-match with Target for around $58.

    I can’t honestly recall any other title thats made me feel so ripped off for being an early adopter and buying Destiny on day one.

    • Cynically, Activision is saying that if you are still playing Destiny now as a year 1 purchaser, you like the game enough to tolerate being forced to pay more to access the same (plus additional) content. They would have carefully calculated how far they could go in pissing off the year 1 customers I reckon.

      • I know, they should just be looking at companies like Rockstar and CD Projekt Red rewarding their customers. Even Blizzard made massive changes with their “loot 2.0” patch to Diablo III for free, which isn’t far off the updates here.

  • It should be handled like Dialbo 3 and Reaper of Souls(RoS), if you dont buy RoS you cant,
    -play the new game mode
    -play the new class
    -play the new story act
    But you can
    -get the exact same items/gear (for the most part theres some exclusive to the mode that comes with RoS) as those who have RoS
    -play with people who have RoS aslong as they play story mode with you
    -Still get to the max level and beyond and use the skills that came with RoS
    -keep up to date with the latest patches such as the loot 2.0 system so your gear isnt completely out dated
    -still enjoy the game, and if you like what your playing buy Ros to enhance it

    I feel like this is a good comparison cause RoS was Diablo 3’s taken king, it completely fixed the damn game, D3 sucked before RoS and Destiny was meh and had lots of problems before taken king. The difference though, majority of changes in RoS didnt block of vanilla players or take stuff away from them. I get that they dont want you accessing whats new without paying but that should be it.

  • I’m really bumbed out about this. I just can’t bring myself to pay $70 for the TTK. I guess I’m just jaded because I feel like I payed to be a beta tester.

  • I’m not often an early buyer on games. I was so excited for Destiny, pretty much bought a PS4 just to play this game. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ripped off. I would love to get back into the game, but it just feels like I’ve had my pants pulled down by them now. I have been reading about how The Taken King is really great but I feel like I’ve already payed way too much money for what Ive received. The early adopters are always the ones that get shafted in the end and yet they are the reason why the developers still have jobs and can improve the game to make more money 🙁

  • Day one player who never raided so just a strike and crucible player. Just logged in to play now….dont have taken king…. was shocked with what i was now locked out of. Being unable to raid and do all that group content previously made me feel like a second class citizen already. Also made me think dont buy taken king at tha price as possibly more content ill never play as no mm. Save ya money for star wars battlefront and all the inevitable dlc you’ll need to buy there. Thanks but no thanks bungie. They will be quite happy as they got the game plus first two dlc’s out of me. Disappointed but at same time quite excited about going back to more traditional shooters.

  • It pisses me off that not only is half the game gone, but all of my legendaries and exotics that grinded for are pretty much null. So along with half of the game being gone, it’s like I’ve been rest back down to zero. Gotta love that “Requires Taken King” for everything you hover over or “Requires Level 40”. Fucking Bungie.

  • i just got destiny for xbox 360 and i dont have the taken king and i want to do strikes but i have no friends to do them with

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!