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A Short Look Back at Some Changes in Destiny

Pretty soon Destiny, a game about equipping small boxes, will change in a lot of big ways. Players who were there since the beginning know that Bungie’s interstellar adventure has been transformed significantly since players first saw the wizard (which came from the moon). Today, in anticipation of the 2.0 patch, I’m going to detail a few of the more interesting changes.

Originally, Bungie gave players the option to seal subclass choices.

Those familiar with the subclass sysem in Destiny know that it affords classes a wide array of choices such as equipping certain grenades in different situations at will. In the Destiny Alpha, each character class had an option to seal these choices permanently. Your character would apparently receive a stat bonus as a tradeoff of this sacrificed customization. Imagine that for a second. If you made this choice, no longer would you be able to switch your codices in order to increase agility while jumping platforms in a raid. Special abilities (such as the self-reserrection perk on the Warlock) would be locked once this decision was finalized by the player.


You weren’t able to re-roll anything (other than Iron Banner weapons).

Remember how it felt to finally nab that Hopscotch Pilgrim knowing that securing the gun itself would open a world of possibilities in pursuit of the perfect roll? Those days did not exist before House of Wolves. It’s kind of hard to believe now, but there were times when receiving a legendary weapon would actually be a disappointment. The feeling shame as you deleted these weapons, whom fate had tarnished was remedied by a re-rolling system similar to the one in place for Iron Banner weapons. Interestingly, many complaints about dwindling weapon parts, which were once a very abundant and relatively useless resource, have arisen since then.


This ability to customize weapons can be seen as a hint regarding what of direction Bungie wants to take with Destiny. By relying completely on RNG derived stats previous to this change, Destiny seemed to be catering to the hardcore philosophy of grinding it out and dealing with whatever luck-driven results came from player efforts.

Legendary Engrams Didn’t Always Yield Legendary Gear.

There was once a time where legendary engrams actually caused a lot more anxiety when the option to open them was beckoning the player. Before a relatively early change, the most evil man in the universe (also known as The Cryptarch) would often make your nightmares reality by turning your legendary engrams into blue equipment or resources (strange coins too). Now when you turn in a legendary engram you can rest assured that it will be legendary or exotic without fail.


The Day the Loot Cave Died.

The loot cave in the Skywatch of the Cosmodrome was one of the first community rallying points in the vanilla release. Because of the desire to obtain legendary gear as efficiently as possible, people would stand in the same place as a group and fire at a cave (about 50 yards away) where enemies spawned in the hopes of seeing a purple engram drop in a sea of green and blue. Bungie noticed this and, not wanting players to spend their time playing a literal slot machine (which is a complaint about Destiny, in general, even today among its vocal critics) changed the rate at which enemies spawned to deter this kind of farming. At the location, they placed a monument to all guardians, courtesy of the game’s true villain, the cryptarch:

The Bad Juju was once really The TERRIBLE Juju.

To be frank, a lot of the more revered weapons in Destiny sucked out of the gate. The Thorn (yes, it’s true) and Bad Juju were really awful before patches over the course of time brought them up to speed. In addition, weapon types have gone through what I like to call “the king of the hill” lifecycle where certain types would dominate before being nerfed into oblivion to make room for a successor. At the beginning, shotguns were EXTREMELY powerful (similar to now I guess) and Bungie instituted a patch which made them severly lacking for quite a long time. Pulse rifles, in contrast, were TERRIBLE. Now weapons such as Red Death and Felwinter’s Lie are among the best options in the game. It seems Bungie has had a tough time actually balancing all weapon types so that none truly feels superior to another and it will be interesting to see if this will be remedied with the promised changes coming to The Taken King.


Despite my on-again/off-again relationship with the game, there is no question that I have spent a great deal of time playing Destiny. I have met a lot of fantastic people, collected a lot of glimmer and have witnessed what I think can be called a one-of-a-kind experiment in game design. As the game continues evolve in ways that are very distinct from its origins it will be interesting to look back on how it was to be there in the tower in those early weeks – weeks where we all wondered if it was worth buying Gjallarhorn from Xur.

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