I often like to play new video games when they're new, but I am forever grateful for whatever part of my gut kept me from diving into the first Destiny until it was nearly a year old. I skipped playing the game when it was more boring, more barren, and more hostile to its players. These days, I'm feeling good about doing the same with Destiny 2.
Yesterday, the people who make Destiny 2 announced a May 8 release date for the spring 2017 game's next expansion. My colleague Jason Schreier, a reporter whose love for Destiny seems to track well with his pained enthusiasm for his beloved, beleaguered New York Jets, followed Bungie's announcement with an announcement of his own. On Twitter, he wrote:
It's weird, for the first time in 3.5 years, to see the announcement of new Destiny DLC and feel absolutely nothing.
What I feel is relief at sitting out another first year of a Destiny game. When I finally got into the original Destiny, the game had been patched and expanded several times. Year one players had essentially beta-tested a then-novel type of shared-world first-person shooter. When I jumped in, the game was on the verge of a 2.0 patch that transformed the way it handled character levels and quests. Within weeks, it received The Taken King, its largest expansion, which added more interesting missions and an intriguing, massive new area to explore.
It now sounds as though Destiny 2 has been going through months of problems with its disappointing first expansion, overemphasis on microtransaction items, and laundry list of other player complaints, many of which Bungie says they have fixed or plan to fix. They can go ahead. I'm learning the value of waiting.
These days, I'm thinking about the benefits of waiting on other games, too. I'm only now on the verge of starting Ghost Recon: Wildlands, surely the beneficiary of a year's worth of patches and DLC. I hear the indie Tooth & Tail improved a lot with patches, enough that I'm eager to finally give it some time. I'm the office weirdo who doesn't love The Witcher 3 and hasn't played past Novigrad, but I am sure that delaying my start of that game until they improved its inventory system helped me like it more than I originally would have. I wonder which other games have come out that may be much better months after they were released.
Destiny 2 was a game that people reasonably could have expected to be worth playing the day it came out. Players understandably assumed that what Bungie learned from the first game would apply to the new Destiny on day one. Instead, as another of my colleagues has chronicled, the new game has presented the same mix of PVP, PVE and PVBungie as the first.
From afar, I see Bungie making continued promises that they're going to improve their game. Where I sit, I might feel slightly silly about buying a game last September that I still haven't played, but I have plenty of other games to play. I have a hunch that come August or so of this year, Destiny 2 will be better than it was when it launched.