'Age of Triumph' only serves to highlight Destiny's biggest shortcomings

This 'send off' event before Destiny 2's release later this year encourages us to look back fondly at Bungie's MMO, but not everything is worth the second look.

Bungie has just released its 'Age of Triumph' live event for Destiny, the game’s final live event and major update before the release of Destiny 2 later this year. Meant as a final send off for Destiny, this live event includes a few new missions, updated raids, gear, and mission modifiers.  'Age of Triumph' does in some ways commemorate the time players spent with Destiny by revisiting old areas and rewarding players for it. Unfortunately, by asking guardians to return to older material, players are also reminded of the problem that has plagued Destiny since its launch: a general lack of content.

Over Destiny's lifetime, Bungie has often resorted to a rinse-and-repeat method to try and keep the game fresh. The studio periodically altered things like loot drops and enemy types for existing quests and missions in hopes of retaining Destiny's player base, which has dwindled considerably since the launch of Destiny’s last expansion. One only needs to look at the threads on the Destiny subreddit around recent Bungie updates and news now versus a year ago, to see that both the number of people actively discussing and interested in the game have fallen off noticeably. But with how the base game is designed, Bungie seems to have few choices to liven it up any other way.

Comparing Destiny’s prerelease footage with what was released in 2014 makes it very apparent that Bungie’s ambition for the game was never fully realized. The most likely reason for this are the internal troubles Bungie appeared to have late in development. Kotaku's Jason Schreier has reported that there was a souring of the relationship between Destiny’s writing team and senior staff due to disagreements regarding the game’s story. This falling-out led not only to employee departures but also to significant cuts and alterations to Destiny’s story, and consequently, the content of the game was also altered to fit this new structure. What was left after all this cutting was a much less impressive game than was initially promised, and Bungie was forced to make do with what they had.

Bungie’s compromise was to reintroduce this cut content later on through the game's expansions. Unfortunately, this meant the studio had to stretch its material even thinner.

The best example of this is Destiny’s first big expansion in 2015, The Taken King. With the expansion’s release, fans hoped the new material and tweaks would reinvigorate the game. But as with the original game, this content dried up quicker than anticipated. Some players surmised that this was because the Dreadnaught zone (above), which was a large part of this new expansion, was originally planned as part of the base game. Bungie was then forced to reuse this playable area over the course of the next year, leading to dissatisfied fans who were hungry for more.

For many, the hope is that Destiny 2 could serve as a perfect reset point for Bungie. There may be some cause for concern, though, as Kotaku has reported that if Bungie were to delay Destiny 2 out of 2017, Activision, the game’s publisher, would gain a sizeable number of Bungie shares. Bungie was quick to state that there is no such agreement with Activision or any other company. Whether this deal exists or not, the rumor has worried fans that cuts similar to those seen in the original game could happen in the sequel. However, this remains speculation: as of now very little is known about Destiny 2.

Based on what we have seen, I am personally excited for Destiny 2. At the very least, Bungie seems to have taken the story and universe in a much more ambitious direction. Until Destiny 2’s launch, however, we are left with 'Age of Triumph,' which much like Destiny itself promises to celebrate and reward our achievements in a satisfying and memorable way. Most likely, though, we will just be asked to complete the same activities we have done a dozen times before, leaving us with that familiar feeling of dissatisfaction, wanting something more than what a few Atheon deaths can fix.