Destiny Microtransactions: A “Friendly” Debate

So about a week ago now a nasty, horrible, awful rumor surfaced on the internet that Bungie would soon allow players to purchase heavy ammo packs with real money as opposed to picking them up in game or using a heavy ammo synth purchased with in game currency (such as glimmer).

Thankfully this rumor has since been proven to be nothing more than a big steaming pile of Dreg droppings by none other than Deej (Bungie Community Manager) over on his Twitter account, see below Tweet for his very concise response.

 

Now even though it proved to be false this rumor sparked some rather interesting discussions amongst Xbox One UK staff, so we thought we would bring our sides of the argument to you in a public forum to get your thoughts.

WARNING: The anti-mircrotransactions side of the argument is being made by a slightly unstable, rage-filled, coffee fueled Scotsman by the name of Stacey Knowles, the Xbox One UK Review Manager. Why does that warrant an emboldened warning? You’ll see…..

Stacey’s Thoughts

“This is it. This is the end.  Or, at least, the start of the end. Actually maybe not the start. This is, um, the end of the start of the end. That’s it. We are at the end of the start of the end.

Destiny’s huge; it has polarised gamers and became a real marmite experience, but it’s huge. An ambitious (arguably only partially realised) project from Bungie, a developer with almost mythic status in the industry.

Many saw the act of throwing off Micro$oft’s shackles – shackles under which Bungie completely reimagined an entire genre of video games and made consoles the true home of FPS games, don’t forget – as an act of rebellion. “Bungie will return to its gamer-friendly roots. You’ll see! You’ll all see!”

No. No it didn’t. Whether these are the decisions of a fattening developer entering its middle age, or of an evil overlord publisher pushing its own agenda, in the end it doesn’t matter. (Ironically, Microsoft are giving away all the DLC for their flagship Halo for free, and micro transactions are handled with subtlety whilst in game rewards remain generous and frequent.)

Destiny’s Guardians are getting the short end of the stick.

First, there was the announcement that micro transactions were coming but they will only be cosmetic, and not alter gameplay. Then, Bungie was asking you to pay not to play Destiny – recognising that year one content is a bit of a grind and taking £25 from you to skip it, even though you already paid for it. Now, there’s the possibility that some real game-affecting content – heavy weapon ammunition – might be hidden in part behind a pay wall.

“Destiny’s great – you can have three different classes of gun! Oh, but you’ll need to keep paying to use the one with the biggest bang.”

Bungie’s been up front – not one of their strengths – in that they want the micro transaction revenue to continue to develop content for the game. But let’s remember that the game was sold on the promise and premise of an ever-expanding open world in the style of an MMO, with regular content drops and updates over a ten year plan.

What is clear is that getting out the year one content and up to and including The Taken King took its toll on the developer, and the content plan for Destiny has changed radically since TTK launched. Destiny has one of the best shooting mechanics around and that thirty second feedback loop is never, ever, less than fun.

Bungie has proved that a FPS MMO can work. They are damn close to proving that they are the wrong people to makeit work.

Maybe The Division will… oh. Ubisoft.

But you know what? Come Tuesday you’ll find me in the Iron Banner, Guardians. I still believe.

Stacey is a Destiny addict who has no plans to give up any time soon. I mean, he could. If he wanted to. Any time. Any time at all. He really could.”

Destiny-Gets-a-Ton-of-New-Screenshots-and-Gorgeous-Sky-Time-Lapse-Vid-446238-2

Ok, if you don’t see why that warranted a warning you might be as unstable as Stacey (which is a worrying thought in itself). While I do see his point I would say he’s being ever so slightly melodramatic, who’d have thought a Scotsman with severe coffee and Destiny addictions could be over-dramatic?

Why do I think he’s being a tad TOO dramatic? Let’s get into that.

Bryan’s Thoughts

Are Microtransactions really as bad as some of the Destiny community would have you believe?

Yes Bungie did state there wouldn’t be microtransactions. That turned out to be false, microtransactions happened. Yes Bungie said the microtransactions would be purely cosmetic and wouldn’t affect gameplay. That turned out to be true and no game altering abilities are available from Tess and her little kiosk of cosmetic delights.

But! What if this heavy ammo packs rumor had turned out to be true? Would it have really had a game altering affect? Yes of course in the broader sense it would have, it would have left you at the advantage of always have heavy ammo at hand, which is of course something you can’t do with glimmer, black wax idols and ether seeds….oh wait a minute….no….you definitely can absolutely get heavy ammo with those in game forms of currency.

So this game altering micro transaction wouldn’t have been game altering at all. The only thing it would have altered is the bank balance of people willing to pump their hard earned cash into a video game for virtual ammo for a machine gun, rocket launcher, sword or fusion rifle because that makes perfect sense doesn’t it!?

The microtransactions we have could be so much worse

Right so we’ve established it would be nonsense to have a microtransaction for heavy ammo (or any other synths for that matter)? Or would it? What if that microtransaction ammo had added perks over standard Heavy Ammo Synths? For example what if it didn’t have a cool down timer as per conventional synths meaning you could constantly nail Golgoroth and the War Priest with the Sleeper Simulant with no concerns about running out of ammo, or what if, God forbid, those “Premium” synths could be used in PvP? Those would be HUGELY game altering and alienate a massive percentage of Destiny’s fan base who are in it for the PvP aspects of the Crucible, whether it be standard playlists, Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner or special timed events like the upcoming Crimson Doubles.

Bungie want Destiny to move forward not leap back

With all this in mind are Bungie likely to introduce something like microtransactions for ammo synths? No, probably not. Could they however introduce microstransactions in the future for other items? Exclusive exotic weapons perhaps, armor not available through conventional game play or maybe even completely new subclasses with OP crucible based stats? Maybe we could see these additions but again I’d place my bets largely in the favour of “No that won’t happen” camp and they will keep microstransactions purely cosmetic as originally promised.

Although we must remember when considering the viability and possibility of game play altering microtransactions it isn’t just Bungie that would have a say in the matter it would also be Destiny’s publisher Activision and nobody knows what Activision will do from one day to the next.

So whilst Destiny perhaps didn’t live up to it’s initial expectations the developer must have realized they took a huge leap forward in securing the faith of their loyal fan base with the expansions of last year, the Dark Below, the House of Wolves and especially The Taken King which is seen by many as Destiny fulfilling the potential of what it could have been from the start. A lot of aspects of how the game is running now are considered a success, from the infusion system which allows lesser items, such as the initially lowly 1000-Yard Stare (bought or dropped at around the 280 mark), to transform into absolute Hive and Taken destroying machines of war. Or the method of collecting the elusive calcified fragment from the straight grind of collection all the way through to destroying Oryx in the King’s Fall raid whilst also fulfilling the challenge requirements.

Overall Destiny has come a long way in the past year and it isn’t likely that Bungie will let that progress take such a huge backwards step in the form of microtransactions that have a direct influence on game play. In fact they want the franchise and the studios games to go to bigger and better places and fulfill many as yet unmatched promises according to their new CEO so they aren’t likely to sabotage that by driving away loyal Destiny players.

Don’t listen to that angry Scotsman

On a final note we must take into account: Stacey’s opinion isn’t valid because he promised to do raids with me last year, we’re 28 days into 2016 and I’ve still not had him in my fireteam in the Tower let alone in a raiding party! Such a let down”

 

So there you have it two sides of the micro transactions argument, one that’s slightly out there and one that tried to be a bit more rational and grounded. While those are the thoughts of two of the staff at Xbox One UK many of the other staff had different opinions on the matter which I’m sure means you, our readers, will have even more varied responses to the idea of game changing microtransactions potentially making an appearance in Destiny.

Would you welcome those sorts of transactions with open arms (and an open wallet) or would you shun Destiny as another title with so much promise and so much unfilled potential that will never be met as it got to greedy?

Let us know in the comments and as always keep  with us by joining our Facebook group, liking the Facebook page, following us on Twitter and popping over to our forum too!

Bryan O'Shea

I was going to update this to say that I had recovered from my Destiny addiction. Unfortunately Rise of Iron has since happened so yeah.....

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