Bungie wants to take your money so you don’t have to play Destiny
Here at xboxoneuk.com we feel we have been pretty even handed when it comes to micro transactions. We recognise that they are a part of the gaming landscape and love them or hate them they are here to stay.
With that in mind we have not angrily marched, pitchforks and burning torches in hand, to the doors of every developer who has implemented them. We have looked carefully at each decision to use micro transactions, examined the thinking behind it, and reached what we believe to be a fair conclusion against each. For example, here’s our take on their implementation within Forza 6.
Right now there’s little that’s more divisive in the gaming world than micro transactions. We see this mechanic falling into one of three categories:
- pay to win, where steep difficulty bumps make it all but impossible to progress without dropping some real world cash (yes, YOU, Candy Crush) or pay to have a competitive advantage not available any other way
- purely cosmetic features that don’t impact on gameplay (Yes, Destiny, we all know it’s the dance from Thriller even if you can’t call it that.)
- time savers, for those who simply don’t have time in their busy lives to amass enough in-game credit.
Forza seems to fall into the last category – as far as we can tell there’s nothing that tokens give you that can’t be earned in game. We’re okay with this – there are no hidden payments here to catch you out. You play for a couple of hours to get the credits you need, or you pay your money and hop straight in to your shiny new supercar. And if you really don’t like micro transactions, Forza lets you disable them in the options.
See? We do approach each example with an open mind and if a developer can prove to us the implementation has (at worst) no negative impact, we will support it.
With that said, sharpen your pitchforks and light those torches, friends. And can someone please look up Bungie and Activision on the GPS?
Here’s why we are marching. With little fanfare, three new Destiny add-ons slipped onto the Xbox store on 8 December.
Each pack effectively awards you a Spark of Light – the consumable that shipped with The Taken King (TTK) allowing you to boost a single character to level 25. This meant new players could jump straight into TTK without the year one grinding.
On the face of it, these seem like perfectly reasonable purchases: you have a low level character – or a brand new one – and you want to play through the better bits of Destiny (the Raids and TTK) without too much grinding. It is a short-cut for those too busy to play through the boring bits, surely?
Here’s the kicker. Each level pack is £24.99.
Yep. Twenty-five of your Earth Pounds so you don’t have to play Year One Destiny.
So, whilst the nature of this micro transaction (and there’s nothing micro about it, believe us) is similar to that employed within Forza, there are a couple of aspects here that leave us picking our teeth up from the carpet after the kicking Bungie and Activision has just given us.
Firstly, it’s pretty universally agreed that Year One of Destiny is a horrible, horrible grind. It’s also pretty universally agreed that The Taken King addresses nearly all of the Year One problems. Accepting those arguments, with these level packs Bungie is making us pay TWICE for content that’s just not very good. Once for the game, and once not to play it.
If Year One Destiny hadn’t been so horribly broken, there would be no market for these add-ons – it would have been fun to level your character. You wouldn’t want to pay such an exorbitant sum to skip it.
Secondly, there’s the price. Twenty Five pounds. For just a tenner more this week you can pick up Star Wars Battlefront (Deals with Gold). The whole game. All of it. And it’s Star Wars. For a fiver less, you can pick up all of Blood Bowl 2 (again, Deals with Gold). The whole game, all of it.
Instead of picking up one of those excellent games, you could spend £25 to not play Destiny. Our take is that Bungie knows Year One is broken and that, despite TTK, playing through the year one missions that are open to low-level characters just isn’t anywhere near as fun as it should be. Bungie knows people will pay to skip this, and they are making their customers pay through the nose for the privilege.
Shame on you, Bungie, shame. The cynical might suggest that it’s a sign of the times that a company can part ways with Microsoft and become more greedy.
Here’s a better plan. If you are new to Destiny and want to get into the action, don’t buy one of these packs. You will have one Spark of Light anyway, and if you want to play through on a second character, find a companion to shepherd you through. Running with a high-level character will allow you to gain XP and level up much more quickly. Spend just a few hours and have fun with a friend. It will be more rewarding and kinder to your wallet. Trust us.
- Previous Micro transactions: What Are They? And Are They Really Needed In Games?
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