For a game that encourages interaction, Destiny needs to help you communicate better.
I was one of the many who played the Destiny beta last week and I too found it to be a wonderful experience. Bungie knows how to craft a sci-fi world that looks to be rich in lore and story telling. Destiny was also very mechanically sound and it felt good both exploring the world and shooting the bad guys. For all the good that was in Destiny there were still several aspects that I found to be a little lacking.
Although Bungie has denied calling Destiny a MMO the game certainly does borrow from that genre. It’s online only state with everyone inhabiting and exploring the same over world and special, instanced spaces for missions are all classic marks of a MMO. I am reminded a little bit of the game Defiance, the MMO/TPS hybrid. In both games there are story missions, explorations and special missions to partake in all over the game map. Destiny also features a wealth of loot to find in the form of weapons and armour that, just like any good MMO, will keep people grinding away to get that ultimate piece.
Bungie may call it a “shared-world shooter”, but the influence of MMOs is certainly there. It is lacking one crucial piece however, social interactions in Destiny were horribly limited. To be fair when you were grouped up with players you could all communicate with a mic, though I never heard anyone speak on any of the missions I played. Beyond the simple emotes of point, wave and dance there was no way to communicate with other players not in your fire team. The lack of a proximity voice chat or ideally a text chat I found to be a very odd choice for a game that was channeling so much of the MMO style.
Granted I am not always interested in talking to the random strangers I meet in games but it would be nice to have the option to say “thanks” when one revives me or say “good job!” when we successfully take out a Devil Walker in a public event. It was extremely frustrating to play the one Strike mission available in the beta and have no way of communicating with my teammates. I suppose it wasn’t too bad because the mission itself was not terribly hard and by the end of the beta people knew exactly what to do.
Destiny is a game that will be compared to MMOs whether Bungie wants it too or not and at least right now it is far too difficult to communicate with other players. I appreciate that Bungie is maybe also trying to cut out on the annoyance that is constantly listening to whiny players who do nothing but spout profanities and offensives jokes but there has to be a better way than limiting communication to only voice chat among a three person fire team.
Honestly as I played through the beta I could not help but think that all my complaints about communication could be solved by a simple text chat system. Text chat is the standard for PC games and while it’s no where near as prevalent on consoles pretty much any keyboard with a USB connection would take care of any typing needs. Or there are other peripherals you can buy to make typing easier on a console. This was just another item to add to a list of why I wish Destiny was also coming to the PC.
Destiny is a great game that I enjoyed every minute I played during the beta and wish I could play more. But it’s very poor communication system needs to be addressed before the final release of the game. It is one of the few negatives I could find but it is a very important one.