Now That I've Got A Baby, It's Harder To Enjoy A Game Like Destiny 2

I had a baby nine months ago. As you might expect, this has significantly changed my relationship with video games, at least temporarily. It has made the Nintendo Switch my favourite console of all time, because I can play it both on the big screen on the occasional evening and in my hands during naptime/train journeys/stolen moments hiding in the bathroom whilst my partner deals with the baby.

It has also drastically reduced the time available to me to play games -- which, given that it is literally my job to know about games, is a smidge inconvenient.

Most of all it has erased my ability to join in with things like Destiny 2 -- time-limited, communal gaming experiences that rely on having several hours of uninterrupted game time at specific moments of the day. The whole world seems to be experiencing the first weeks of this game together, and it's all passing me by.

My friends and colleagues are all miles ahead of me in Destiny 2, prepping for raids and optimising their gear whilst my very, very tired partner and I work our way through the story together.

An old, dear pal gently declined my request to join his clan because I won't be playing it seriously enough, which although true is a pretty damning summary of my situation.

I'm dead weight now. I'll never catch up.

Before starting Destiny 2 last week, I had a read through Kirk's long and very useful Destiny 2 tips guide, and when I reached the sentence "After a couple of days, you'll probably only be equipping legendary and exotic gear," I made a noise that was kind of a combination of a bark of laughter and a despondent sigh.

A couple of days? I've still got some green gear equipped, FFS.

I nipped into the Crucible for the first time over the weekend and got totally monstered by a bunch of people with a power level of 250+. "The game's only been out for a week!" I found myself yelling.

"Don't you people have jobs?" (The irony, of course, is that the Crucible negates level advantages, so it should theoretically be one mode where not being able to play much shouldn't make a huge difference. Unfortunately, I'm not very good.)

Speaking of the story, I have no idea what's going on. I played quite a lot of Destiny, mostly because I have an older stepson who is obsessed with it and it was pretty much the only thing I could ever persuade him to play together, but the story and characters always sailed over me.

I do know that there are aliens and that they have come to Earth and fucked with the Traveller but, beyond that, I'm just pointing my gun where I'm told to point it and having a good time.

After the second in-game cutscene, my partner turned to me and asked who all of the characters were. I realised that I mostly didn't know, and then spent 20 minutes Googling all of it, which then meant we had to bail in the middle of the next mission because naptime was over.

We now skip the cutscenes, because our playtime is so limited that we don't have time to watch five minutes of earnest sci-fi proclamations that we don't understand properly anyway.

I love that the characters on the Farm have lots to say for themselves, but usually we have to cut them off and run to the next mission before the baby wakes up. I am more tired mercenary than heroic Guardian right now: where do you need me to go, what am I supposed to be doing, and how quickly can I get it done?

Not me.

This is all especially annoying because Destiny 2 is properly good now, and I really wish I could be experiencing it with everyone else, rather than weeks late. (By contrast, I spent about 30 hours on Destiny in the first week and didn't even particularly enjoy it, mostly because Destiny just wasn't good until the Taken King. It's true. Don't fight it.)

There are some things I know that I'll never experience: I doubt I'll ever make it through a raid, given the time and concentration required. Even if I did make it through a raid, somehow, there is no chance that I'd be able to find or appreciate all its many secrets.

Our U.S. colleagues have called Destiny 2's first raid the coolest thing that Bungie has made so far, and I'm never going to be able to play it.

My issue isn't the time it takes to level up in Destiny 2, or to complete the campaign. I'll get there, eventually, and I'm sure I'll have fun along the way.

But by then most of my friends will have moved on to something else -- you get the Destiny megafans, but most people will play this for a month or two then get bored, maybe popping back for the DLC.

The whole point of Destiny is as a shared social experience. So it's not just that Destiny requires this giant chunk of time upfront to get anywhere near the 'real' game, but that it requires it in a squeezed timeframe.

This runs through the whole structure. The requirement that a Raid must be completed before each Tuesday's reset seems lavishly generous to the maniacs, but might as well be a sign saying 'don't bother' for parents.

Xur's weekly merry-go-round of treats is for people who can take the time to check him every week. I'm told that there's a cavalcade of daily, weekly, location-based and other challenges unlocked at level 20 and it feels like I'm being showered with ice creams at the North Pole.

Destiny doesn't just want your time, it wants it now, and it wants it at regular intervals throughout the week. Who is doing the playing here?

A gun I will probably never unlock.

Of course, none of us can play everything. We all have to pick and choose, especially between games that demand a huge chunk of time. I've managed to spend close to 100 hours each on BotW, Persona 5 and Stardew Valley this year, so I'm obviously not starved for brilliant video games.

But they're singleplayer games I can play in little chunks. Destiny 2 represents another way of playing games that totally shuts out a large percentage of the population -- people with families, demanding jobs or other life stuff that they can't ignore.

More and more of the games industry is functioning like this, driven by the success of MOBAs, lessons learned from the age of MMOs, and games like Destiny that successfully combine the set-piece shooting that was once confined to single-player FPSs with the Skinner-box addictiveness of the loot cycle and a steady drip of new content.

You have to give so much of your life to games like this. They are not there to fill odd moments, but EVERY moment.

Games like Destiny give you more back the more you put in. The in-jokes, the lore, the exotic gear and indeed everything beyond the moment-to-moment shooting only mean anything to people who've put a lot of hours in.

I think that excludes me, now. This is hardly the world's greatest tragedy; there are still hundreds of games a year that suit the way I can play. But I'm going to have to adjust to the fact that Destiny 2is not one of them.


This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.

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Comments

    Have a 9 month old son myself. Also a 3 year old daughter and another son at 2. Havent been able to really play games like I used to since the first was born. Raiding for hours on end? Haha not a chance in hell. Kids usually have me up around 4-5am every morning.
    Keep reading about the Destiny 2 raid and am thinking am just going to have to watch videos of others doing it.
    Taken me till yesterday to even get a character to 20 and I know people that have 3 at 20 all around 290 light..

    Last edited 21/09/17 12:18 pm

      Once I cottoned on to the basics of levelling Power, it became a lot easier. Short version: There are stages you work through, and take advantage of to maximise your growth.

      Blue drops max out at 260ish, vendor rewards (ie tokens and gunsmith parts) cap out at 265, and purple mods become a lot easier at 280.

      By working to those limits, you can make it pretty straightforward to get to a decent level.

      I farmed PQ's, boss loot crates, and patrols, mostly in EDZ, to 260, then handed what tokens I had (I wasted a lot at 200, DONT do that) which got me close to 265. That's where I am right now, and just working on crucible and milestones to grind to 280. Hopefully mods give me an easy boost at that point, then its farming again.

      For those that have multiple toons, the fact the tokens have a cap will have meant they just passed them on to their alts, and made the grind a lot easier. They would also have potentially had a lot of +5 mods, which would have made things easier as well.

      Heres a more complete rundown on how to level power - https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/09/how-to-level-your-power-quickly-in-destiny-2/

        Last I checked blues will keep dropping at increased lvls as your power rises.

          Havent seen any drop past 261 so far with a power rating 270ish, but happy to be wrong on that. I haven't spent any time in strikes or the crucible since hitting 260, so if they drop there, sweet.

          But loot drops and PQ rewards from the general zones haven't gone past that for me, nor have vendor reward or world drop engrams gone past 265. The only things that have gone past 265 for me have been milestone handins to Hawthorne and Cayde.

            Speaking as someone with entirely too much time in this game already, once you break 270, blues will start dropping above 260, and stay at around 8-10 below your max power - low enough to be mostly useless, but high enough to make up the difference if one gear slot falls way behind the rest. Same thing will happen with purples once you break 275-ish. Source: Have 302 warlock, and blues/legendaries/faction engrams are dropping at 292.

              Yeah, I got some milestones done last night (sidenote: dusklight can be a real pita to find in EDZ) and progressed a few points, and started to see the ratings go up on blues. As I said, was happy to be wrong on 260ish being the cap.

              But as you say, they were 10 points below where I needed them to be, so in the end not much use. 260 for blues and 265 for purples may be a soft cap rather than a hard cap, but in the end it does the same job. They stop being a realistic source of increasing your power level.

              Nice warlock by the way.

              Can you imagine the work that's going to be needed to hit the 350 hard cap? Is it even possible before an xpack?

            Depends if they raise the cap - there's currently a hard cap of 300 on everything, and the only reason people are getting higher is because legendary mods add a +5 to that, so the current effective cap with full modded gear is 305. I really like the soft-capping on normal drops, personally - I've had no bonds drop from any of my luminous engrams, so being able to keep it 5 below my average (infusion ignores mods, so you can infuse a 292 blue into a modded 293 (ie, a 288+5) to get a 292+5, effectively a 297) means it doesn't weigh me down as much as it would if it were stuck at 260/265 just because of crappy RNG on the drops that really matter.

            Bungie will probably lift the cap a bit when the Prestige raid comes out, but they might not - 290-310 sounds like a good range for a hard mode if the max gearing stays at 305. I don't think we'll see the cap raised to 350 before the first DLC, maybe not even until the second.

            Assuming that they do raise the cap to 350 and don't change anything else - normal drops keep their softcaps, and luminous engrams, nightfalls, raids and trials drops and exotic engrams remain the only way to get better gear... It's definitely possible - I don't PvP, so I'm missing out on potentially 3 luminous engrams and Trials rewards every week across my 3 characters, and I've had no issues breaking 300 in a little over two weeks. another 50LL would take another 5-6 weeks, but the first DLC isn't until December, so even without taking advantage of every possible powerful drop, it would (in theory) definitely be possible to hit 350 before the first DLC.

              I thought exotics came with a 350 cap, or at least some of them. If so, in theory you should be able to grind past 300, and pull yourself up by the bootstraps a little, but its not going to be much. Maybe 3 or 4 points. Right now 350 is going to be out of reach.

              Not there myself yet to see, so theres every chance I'm wrong on that exotic cap.

              Its something that gives them wriggle room though. Add in a raid every other month, tweak the suggested level by 5 or 10 points, and slowly raise the cap. They're going to need to be doing something like that as they go along anyway, or risk people getting bored. Classic MMO problem - keeping max content gamers active.

                My exotics are currently decrypting at 302 (297+5), so it's definitely slowing drastically the closer I get to 305. Powerful gear rewards are all dropping at 300, so that's really my only source of upgrades at this point.

                The message on the "infuse" node for all exotics and legendaries does say that they can be infused "up to 350", but there's nothing in the game at present that will drop above 300 base power (ie. 305 with mods), so there's a hard cap at 305. I expect that this "up to 350" message is future-proofing for the content up to the first DLC, and will be increased as DLC gets released... but I really wonder what they have planned between now and December - if it's just the hard mode raid, that means there's a huge difference in gear requirements between normal and hard.

                ...a raid every other month...
                I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that ain't gonna happen. We don't even know if December's DLC will have a raid at all; and D1 only had four raids in its 3 year lifespan. Hopefully they'll be more frequent in D2, but I'm not going to get my hopes up just yet.

          Blues cap at 260. Purples at 265. Exotics are not capped. To get past 265, things such as Flashpoints, Call to Arms, Nightfalls, and exotics will get you higher level gear.

            This is incorrect, as at light level 299 my blues are dropping @ 285. I haven't played this game for 2 weeks so unless they patched this unfortunately your statement is untrue.

    Isn't this the part where you tell us that pay to level mt's are the best because people like you exist? Rather than denouncing the industry practice of taking away simple cheats in order to exploit people in the authors situation? 😋

    "Don't you people have jobs?"

    I find myself saying this every time a big game comes out, people are finished and moving onto the next thing and I'm only 3 hours in. I've come to accept it now though and like picking up older games on sale a year or so later.

    Also, some people really can't have jobs with the amount of hours they pump into some of these games.

      Also, some people really can't have jobs with the amount of hours they pump into some of these games.

      Sure they can. Prior to my partner and kids I was working full time and still managing about 8 hours play a day during the week then 12 or so per day on weekends. I know lots of people that do that amount or very close to it and have full time commitments. A lot of people just organise paid leave/holidays for when these games come out anyway. Lots I know took 2 weeks for Destiny 2 launch.

        Agreed. If you don't have a crazy social life and you don't have kids, you can fit in a lot of gaming.

          yep back when i was in the ADF, we finished at 1630 and id go and play from then until 1800 when the mess opened, then start back up again until midnight and go to sleep, monday to friday, except on thrusdays because it was either payday or movie night

      Also, some people really can't have jobs with the amount of hours they pump into some of these games.
      I would wager that most die hard fans would take annual leave for release and smash it til they were at a point they were happy with. Just a suggestion.

      There's two lines of thinking to that: "I'm an adult, no way can I devote that much time to a game." and "I'm an adult, I'm going to plan ahead and make time for a game I've been looking forward to for a long time."

      Yes, we do have jobs. We just find time in our schedule to do stuff. That's how you get to max power and have a life.

    This is more a case of "children consume all of your time" than "games ask too much".
    And becoming a parent is your choice to make, ideally an informed one.

      Enh. Some games are disrespectful of your time (especially the UbiSoftGame(tm) with all its collectibles), and others can only rise above mediocrity when played with a dedicated crew (eg: Destiny).

      When criticisms of a game are met with, "This is why you should find people to play with!" then that game is likely just not going to be any good for various types of gamers.

      Not all games do that. There are very good games that DO respect your time, can be played in short bursts without being rogue-likes, and can be enjoyed to their fullest without needing friends.

        Agree with this - this is one of my biggest gripes with microtransactions added to games - the devs/people will often state how items bought with virtual currency can be bought in game, whilst undoubtedly true, it usually means you have to spend an extra x hours just to unlock stuff through padding and drip feeding of a currency to convince you to buy it.

        That and the 'how long does the game last' question trend that seems to have devs padding games out. I understand where people are coming from, games are expensive and a 60 hour game sounds better value than a 20 hour one - but it comes down to experience for me; I'd rather play the 20 hour that maybe leaves a good impression/me wanting more than a padded 60 hour that bores me rigid and has me wondering when it'll end. Works both ways of course, when you have travesties like 'The Order' come out with it's teeny campaign compared to a Witcher/Skyrim/Persona.

        I often find that i'm more likely to buy dlc for the games that don't pad are respectful with my time too, the add-ons for the Witcher 3 were no brainers as an easy example.

    I feel ya Kezza. I have an almost 2 year old myself. It's really hard at first. But once you can get them into a good sleeping routine (there are many evidence practices that are really effective) then you can get some good ol fashioned gaming time in. It gets better. Hang in there. Many of us have been in your position.

    Ps: here is a link that explains the sleep technique I was talking about. It took our daughter only 3 days to adjust. She went from taking 30-45 mins to put down and then waking up 2-3 times per night to taking 2 mins to put down and then sleeping through for 11 hours straight. It is SUPER effective.

    http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/controlled_comforting.html

      Routine is key to having game time to play. Not just sleeping for kids but time between you your kids and your partner. I currently have 3 year old and a 6 week old. I currently have my 6 week old in a wrap while I game on pc. She sleeps better that way and also gives my partner 2-3hours break without having to check. Little win wins make all the difference. Point being you will find ways that will work for you and it's not impossible to get that game time in :)

    So having personal responsibilities inhibits your ability to play video games? What a revelation. News story of the year right here

    When Destiny came out I had a 3 year old son and a 9 month old daughter. Consequently, I never really got into Destiny until last year a couple of months before RoI was released. The issue for me was there was hardly anyone around to help me out with Taken champions. Luckily I discovered the100.io and things picked up.

    Whilst I found a clan through the100.io that helped a lot, when RoI dropped having young kids meant that I fell behind and it look me a long time to get raid ready. My clan was busy with the raid whilst I worked on the campaign.

    The raid itself was always a frustration when I was finally ready. Always running out of time before reset. Having to rely on checkpoints because 2 hours was the best I got each session. Often I'd have to use multiple fire teams to get through.

    To get around the kids "issue", my gaming sessions were often very early in the morning. Pretty much no one in Australia in their right mind would be awake so I mostly played with Europeans.

    Now Destiny 2 had dropped I'm I've put in a little over 2 hours. My power level is a whopping 51. I'll catch up eventually but I hope I don't get booted from my clan before then.

    I feel your pain Keza! With three kids, time is very limited. If I can't save the game at any time or pause then I don't bother.

    XD Standing desk with a monitor, you can thank me later when your thumbs and legs are sore and your level 270

    Me and my friends are busy with school and work, yet we were able to reach max power and complete the raid. Just find some time in your schedule.

    Last edited 11/10/17 12:26 pm

      To be fair, school and work are things that you can leave to some extent when you go home.

      Children, particularly your own, are a different matter entirely.

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