[PODCAST Episode 268] With 'Shadowkeep,' Bungie Is Catering to Destiny's Most Hardcore Fans

As we enter Destiny's seventh year, Bungie finds itself at a crossroads. Long-running franchises are often driven, to some degree or another, by their perceived audience. Are you designing a game to draw in new players? Do you cater to the people that have stuck with you from the beginning? Is there an in-between? We discuss the decisions Bungie made with Shadowkeep and much more on this episode of Waypoint Radio. Make sure to listen to the end of the podcast for a few announcements from the staff. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pa7myy/with-shadowkeep-bungie-is-catering-to-destinys-most-hardcore-fans

The bewildered confusion about Destiny’s new campaign structure and Rob’s accidental electrical scam escapades had me in stitches.

These perspectives for Destiny are valuable though, because most of what I see in articles about Shadowkeep and New Light are geared towards either veterans who are still playing or complete newcomers, whereas, I dare say, there should be better resources for those in-between.

As a highly active D2 player I also want better UI for things. I preferred it when the director had missions / weekly milestones right there, and to be able to sort quests by type (weekly, exotic, gear, vendors) would be a huge help, but at least they separate quests and bounties now.

Anyway sorry to get on the Destiny soapbox, great episode along with the bittersweet news that already has its own announcement posts, much love to Austin and Danielle.

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I can think of no better ending for this particular podcast than hearing Austin drag Francis Fukuyama.

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Forever props for dropping the MXO reference in this podcast Austin! <3

As a person that bought forsaken in july i sadly found all my progress in the forsaken campaign lost and have to restart the entire campaign, also several DLC related missions have vanished from the map! The experience for someone who wasn’t max power wasn’t smooth to say the least.

Things like the power going up to 750 for everything in forsaken, or the waste of sooo many resources in sept for weapons that got auto leveled to 750 in the switch really left a bitter taste in my mouth but i’m still solo’ing away … Ultimately it is destiny at the end of the day.

With Rob bringing up the “Ancients” in Breakpoint, it’s probably a time to point out that ever since AC Odyssey the Clancy games (except for The Division which some collectibles in Wildlands establish as a separate universe) have been established as part of the greater Ubisoft Cinematic Universe. So the “Ancients” might very well be those ancients from AC and if you wanted to think of Wildlands as a toned down Far Cry crossover then that’s more or less on the table.

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Grateful for Austin and Rob’s recognition of the lapsed Destiny player who’s Only Here for the Story, and the practical advice to save us from Austin’s mission-hunting plight.

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The Destiny newcomer/returning player discussion was amusing to me because I tried the game for the first time yesterday before listening to the pod, and was incredibly confused once I got to the hub. Can’t even figure out how to start what I think is the newcomer quest line. I don’t doubt things will become clear once I’ve plunked around with it for a bit but for now, hearing even returning players be confused is satisfying, lol

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I think the game just wants you to follow the Destiny icons, which appear to be the main campaign. Still a bit confusing, but that’s how I’ve been muddling through.

On one hand, the new player experience really should be better than this. On the other, burying curse of osiris in the ass end of nowhere where you’d never think to look for it is absolutely the right move.

I had to ask around on the Waypoint discord and actually no, you’re not in the Destiny 2 campaign at all. The game will never put you into the main story. You need to go talk to some NPC named Amanda to start the campaigns, or you will never set them off.

Yeah its uh. It’s bad. The new player experience is really tremendously awful, which no effort put in to explain anything about the setting or what you’re doing. Which since I felt very much like New Light was supposed to court new players and potential subs… what the hell, Bungie.

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I think another thing that’s a bit frustrating with the new player experience is that it’s hard for existing players to really give people help and guidance in how to navigate everything, because nobody who has played Destiny 2 from the start has gone through whatever the new player experience is. I’m actually considering deleting one of my non-main characters and just using it to play through the beginning again to see how they do try to on-board new players, so that I might actually be able to explain things to new players with some context.

It’s really weird because the base Destiny 2 campaign structure was good as it was, maybe a bit linear of go-to-the-one-available-icon but it had a through-line with defined and direct mission markers that any new player would understand. Assuming every new player just wants to play the new stuff without any guidance otherwise is a strange choice, especially burying it within a character who no one would ever think to go visit.

I would’ve put the legacy content (again, weird, it’s main content, just story) directly on the director; either as an icon a-la crucible or strikes, or in a tab labelled campaigns where you could mark one as active and have icons show up as normal, tracking progress in said tab. Optional, unobtrusive and easy to access, not tucked in a corner in the Tower.

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I just need to point out that whatever weird magazine scam Patrick was getting solicited is literally the plot of the 2016 indie film ‘American Honey’. I don’t get the specifics of the scam (and didn’t love the movie, personally) but didn’t realize that was still a thing.

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I tried out Destiny 2 for the first time yesterday and I’m honestly incensed at how bad it’s new player experience is.

My experience was that I load in and a little robot talks to me and tells me to grab a gun, and that they’ll get me to to the city. Cool, I get a ship, I get to the city.

Everything immediately stopped making sense from there on. The game told me basically nothing from that point on. It just put waypoints on NPCs that I knew nothing about, who told me nothing about themselves. One of which told me to do a strike, gave me some dailies which would give me some currency (currency which I still don’t know the use of), and sent me to a strike called “the gun runner” or something like that. I had no idea what I was doing, or what was going on, or who the NPCs talking at me were, or why I should care.

After that I found a different NPC that sent me to some other NPC on Earth. At which point I thought to myself, “Ok, cool, this must be the main story, surely it will all make sense”.

Then that third NPC gave me more daily missions, one of which involved making “orbs of light”. So I said fuck it and went back to Monster Hunter.

It was maybe an hour of playtime, and it was the most confused a game has made me in recent memory. Hearing Austin talk about his experience made me realize that it would have only gotten more confusing from there.

I can’t help but shake the feeling they really are just trying to bury everything that isn’t the most recent content, which is WILD to me. I understand that by the nature of MMOs, the newest stuff is always going to be the most important. I get that, I’ve played FFXIV since it’s first expansion. But burying even the story of old content just feels like the game yelling at me “NONE OF THIS MATTERS, AND SOON, SHADOWKEEPERS WON’T MATTER EITHER”.

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Yeah, this was pretty much exactly my experience poking at it for a couple hours. It is really quite bewildering.

So I managed to kinda work out what I was supposed to be doing. More specifically, how I was supposed to activate the three introductory quests. They are mostly straightforward once you isolate them in the quest log and read their descriptions, the issue for me was that the NPC mentioned above dumps a lot of systems on you at once before I had the chance to think about it.

Doesn’t help that the waypoint system in that area loads up with like three other non-story mission types, plus these daily gathering quests. So even with the main quest in that area selected, it’s not obvious which it is which had me thinking that there wasn’t one.

So yeah, a combination of information overload, busy design and content milling. I think it’d be a lot better if they had you go through the first introductory quests before hitting you up with the rest of the systems.

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Does anyone have that new player FAQ Patrick talked about in 269?

It’s simple. You’ve got the light. The big ball in the sky. And then you’ve got the darkness. The triangle spaceships. One’s good. One’s evil. Presumably.

But maybe there can be no good without evil? Really makes you think.

But check out my sweet assault rifle with an ornate magical quilt wrapped around it.

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It sounds like the original opening to Destiny 2 has been removed completely, which seems truly wild given I found it to be one of the most evocative parts of the game.

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As someone who played Destiny 2 without having touched Destiny 1, the opening was awful and very nearly put me off entirely.
Dragging myself around at a literal crawl without having a good idea of even where I was supposed to be going, resulting in getting turned around, going the wrong way and having to double back more than once was not a fun time.
If they’ve got rid of that, great.

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