On June 6th, Destiny 2 did something it's never done before. And that, combined with some other factors, have dragged me back to a game that, honestly, I thought I was completely finished with.
There's a spaceship in Destiny 2 called The Almighty. Players first encountered it all the way back in the vanilla campaign, and for the (roughly) 3 months prior to 6th June, it had been hurtling toward The Last City on a collision course. I'd skipped the last season of Destiny 2, and I think the one before as well - I'll be honest, I'd sort of lost track of what was going on in the details. I still read the occasional news article though, and when I saw that Bungie would be giving their first Fortnite-esque world-changing event a go, I knew that I just had to see it. I logged in and pottered about for an hour or so before returning to The Tower and watching it all come down. As it was, it took a while and was a bit underwhelming for the most part - with the final moments being by far the most impressive as the burning wreck of the spaceship burned in the atmosphere before slamming into the ground near the mountains.
My son was watching all of this, though - and it's mostly him that I blame for what came next. A day or so passed, and I was sitting at my desk when he sidled up.
"So," he said. "1v1?"
"Which game," I asked. He paused for a moment - probably calculating the odds of 'yes' being the next word out of my mouth if 'Fortnite' was the next word out of his. He can't have liked them, because he said "Destiny 2. I choose the weapons, you choose the map."
Ten minutes later, we were aiming Mida Multi-Tools at one another across the expanse of Exodus Blue. It was a map which I was surprised to see - it was one of my favourites in the original game, and I had no idea it had been added into the sequel. It surprised me to see how well matched we were as he shot my Titan through the head from the opposite side of the map for the fourth or fifth time - in my time away, his skill had level had risen while mine had ebbed away through neglect. I won that contest, but the my margin of victory was narrow - and I'm not ashamed to admit that in the days since, he's handed me my ass on several occasions. He's working on getting his Revoker now - a pinnacle weapon that I don't think I'd be able to obtain if I was given a hundred years to do so.
Unhappy with how close that result was, we wandered into the Crucible - Destiny's longstanding PvP mode. After a long time away and with about a week left in the season, I found myself playing with nothing to lose. I had no season pass to level up, no pinnacle weapon that I could possibly aspire to. With nothing to chase and nothing to prove, I broke out an old Dire Promise hand cannon and a Hard Light exotic auto rifle and went to town. 26 kills and a handful of points captured later, I found myself having a lot of fun.
When I put it like that, it makes it sounds as though I'm surprised. As though the idea of having fun playing Destiny is a revelation. I'm not, really, and it isn't. At this stage in my relationship with the game, my return to it as predictable as a junkie's inevitable relapse. I've played - and walked away from - Destiny enough times to be able to recognise and appreciate the honeymoon period even when I'm in the middle of it. Walking away and coming back is probably the single best piece of advice I can give to players who grow frustrated with it - because if you wander away for a while, you're clear to be awed by it all over again when you come back. It's still beautiful. It still feels like nothing else. The other good thing about wandering away for a while is the complete removal of the fear of missing out that, I think, drives a lot of players to stick with the game even when everything else about it is screaming "TAKE A BREAK." I've missed out. There are things that, realistically, I'm not going to be able to do - and where once that would have bothered me to the point of maybe putting me off, this time around I find myself not really being concerned. The community has moved on, my clan has shrunk dramatically with most of the most active Destiny players leaving to form a new one - which is fair enough. What that grants me though, is the space to prioritise. The space to pick and choose which bits of content I want to engage with.
The first thing I did was head back to my Bad Juju exotic pulse rifle quest and finish it off. Bad Juju was the first exotic I got in Destiny, and I used it a lot right up to the day that I moved over to Destiny 2. Picking that gun back up and firing it endlessly into oncoming thrall was one of the best feelings I've had in the game in a long time. I've been spending a lot of time in the Crucible, even wandering into the competitive PvP playlists. And best of all, in my son I have a partner in crime who's ready to wander into all of this stuff with me.
We've picked up season passes. Both of us. As I mentioned, he's after his Revoker. I'm slowly working toward my Recluse, and I'm eyeing up my Luna's Howl too. I have a long way to go on both, assuming they're still there for me to earn by the time I get through the quests. I'll keep going toward them until I stop having fun - at which point, I'll wander off and try other things until Destiny pulls me back again. With the roadmap confirmed all the way to 2022 now, I'm sure there are several more breaks and returns in my future.
See you starside.