It was around this time last year that I decided, after a few updates, that it was time to check out Destiny 2 again. I enjoyed the game at launch, enough to buy it again on PC at least. Like many others, I bounced off for a bit when I had done pretty much everything I could do in the vanilla release. At the point of my return, Curse of Osiris had been out for a few months and Warmind was just over a week away. I got a few friends together, set course for Mercury, and was pleasantly surprised. The game was faster, fresh, and now had additional end game content to complete. I spent that whole week grinding for the Power soft cap and then jumped right into Warmind upon release.
What had started as a curious look to see what had changed over the past few months turned into a lifestyle. Destiny stopped being just another game and became a destination. I finally understood the game’s appeal, the idea of the “Destiny hobby.” Every day I would hop on and start grinding away at any bounties I had left over. Once I finished those, it was on to grinding the Lost Prophecies. Never in my life had I played a game where I had a routine. Sure I played competitive games like League of Legends or Overwatch, but Destiny 2 had more than those games.
Destiny 2 was evolving, always adding something new to work toward, something new to learn. Instead of hopping from match to match, I spent time tearing away at the darkness engulfing the system, trying desperately to be strong enough to actually finish the damn Escalation Protocol. I ran strike after strike, getting faster with each completion, to the point that even the Nightfalls no longer felt daunting. I didn’t just get stronger because my Power was increasing, I was getting better. Suddenly, I wasn’t intimidated by events like EP, even if I wasn’t quite as strong as the event would have liked me to be.
It was also around this time that my personal life started taking a turn. I was stressed out from work on a regular basis by things that should have been in my control but weren’t. I always felt down, depressed, and just looked forward to the day being over so I could get back to Destiny. I could just hop on Discord with my fireteam and forget about the day. As things got worse, Destiny was always there as a place where I could continually improve, continually grow. It also gave me some much-needed stability in my streaming. No, it wasn’t a sudden boon to my viewer count, but it was a game my chat and I could rally around. As others kept tuning in to watch me play, they eventually wanted to play.
I remember when we finally had enough clan members to run the Leviathan for the first time. The raid had obviously been out for months at this point, but we decided to try it without any guides. It took hours to figure out all the mechanics, but it felt amazing to be figuring out the puzzles and gradually made our way through. When we finally got Calus down to his final health bar, I remember us desperately firing away, too scared to lose and too determined to give up. Desperate, I activated my Sentinel super, tossed my shields and charged ahead, pounding away, praying I would do enough damage. His final attack went off as he fell to pieces and we just sat there, dead, wondering what would happen next. The next thing we know, we all revive and get to loot the final chest.
We still look back fondly on that raid, especially me. When Destiny first released, Bungie challenged us to “Become Legend.” I got to do that, my clan praised me for dealing the final blow when all seemed lost, for saving morale and the run. It was one thing to finish the raid, but to be the one to do it, that’s a feeling that I’ll never forget, the feeling of being a legend. Dozens of raids later, that legend continues to grow, again, running them faster, more efficiently, beating tougher raids and just itching to jump into the next challenge. It turns out, that challenge wouldn’t be another raid, but another new mode in Forsaken.
I have a frustrating past with the Crucible, one that I’ve probably taken to Twitter more times than I should have (sorry @Bungie). For the most part, I did my weekly bounty and little more in PvP unless I had a weapon I was working toward. I found the PvP to be too chaotic, but Gambit, well, that was a different story. Initially, Gambit was a frustrating mess of Sleeper Simulants and adjusting to all the new supers added with the new expansion. After some of those growing pains were put to rest, I became a devout follower of the Drifter (long before Season of the Drifter would make it cool).
I had no serious draw to the titles you could earn in the game, but I had slowly been pecking away at Wayfarer being that it was seemingly the easiest one. Once I realized I was starting up Destiny and going right to Gambit, I knew I had to be a Dredgen. I slaved away at the challenges, slowly earned all the gear, and even met a few cool people along the way who helped me complete some of those various challenges. Gambit forced me to adapt and change the way I approach the game. As someone who didn’t like PvP, the invasion mechanic was too important to ignore. When our invaders weren’t up to snuff, I had to step up and get the job done. Gradually I came to embrace my role as a reluctant invader and began to thrive in the role.
I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with Gambit, but I could show you exactly where an invader would spawn in any zone and could even help influence where they would spawn when they did invade (until Bungie added additional spawn locations). I was calling shots and taking command in a way my clanmates weren’t used to seeing from me, but I was ready to own Gambit. All that was left was to grind out that final Infamy reset to claim both the Ghost shell and my title. Let me tell you, it felt great to wear that title, and it doesn’t feel any worse for wear all these months later.
And yet, there was a part of the game I hadn’t yet “conquered,” and I think you already know where this is going. I had tried desperately to enjoy the Crucible, but unless it was Iron Banner (don’t ask me why I like Iron Banner so much, I have no clue) I just got frustrated and moved along. However, things changed when season six started. The Crucible pinnacle weapon was an SMG and I love SMGs. The moment I saw the Recluse I once again knew I had to have it, but unlike completing my first raid or taking command in Gambit, I knew I was at a disadvantage this time.
The Recluse required me to play competitive PvP, a mode I only ever played maybe a dozen times and had only ever known defeat. Sure enough, I came to know defeat all over again. I repeatedly got my ass handed to me during the early portion of the season, to the point where I was convinced I would never get the gun. For the first time in my Destiny career, I was defeated and it ate away at me. As the weeks passed and I figured that the top players were getting back to where they belonged, I decided to give it one more honest shot. It wasn’t easy and it sure frustrated me sometimes, but slowly I climbed the ranks, each day getting a little closer to the coveted Fabled rank. I watched as I earned Valor resets and challenges rack up, but all the while I was laser focused on that damn SMG.
The day I hit 2100 was one of the most satisfying days I ever had with this game. I finally had something from the Crucible to show my prowess, and along the way, I gained an appreciation for Bungie’s particular brand of chaos. The Crucible still frustrates me to no end, but I can fight back now. This all came to a head today when I finally managed to unlock the Redrix’s Broadsword. Sure, the gun may be past its prime a bit, but the fact still stands that I earned it, another Crucible challenge conquered and something I never thought I’d get the chance to wield. Add another mark to my legacy.
In the last year, I’ve put over 1200 hours into Destiny 2, more time than I have ever invested into a single game, let alone in a single year. Destiny has provided my life with some much-needed consistency at a time where I desperately need it. Video games have always been my escape of choice, the thing I do when I want to feel better or feel accomplished. Destiny has given me a place to build a legacy, one I can share with my friends and one that will continue to grow as the game evolves. Video games are my passion, but Destiny is a passion within that in a way no other game has been. I’ll still get frustrated and I might still take to Twitter sometimes, but I’ll always come back because, for all its flaws, this is the game I want and need. I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you Bungie.