Destiny 2 launched last fall to near-unanimous praise from critics, several accolades, and high anticipation from fans of the original 2014 game, but several incidents have plagued Activision and Bungie’s latest project since its release. With the game’s fanbase revolting against the Eververse store and Bright Engram loot-boxes, it’s hard to argue against the notion that Destiny 2 is pushing hard for uncapped monetization schemes first and player enjoyment second.
With several controversies already under the Destiny sequel’s belt, Wall Street analyst Doug Creutz penned a report citing that the game is “not in a good place.” The report draws a common thread between Destiny 2‘s fall from grace with waning player engagement through the many questionable design choices Activision and Bungie have implemented in the game, as well as their lack of urgency and transparency in responding to community concerns.
Some of the issues that have drawn player outrage include the decision to change once-unlockable shaders in Destiny into one-time consumables, barring off previously available in-game content with the release of the Curse of Osiris DLC, and secretly throttling XP earnings before stepping back (but not before covertly doubling XP requirements in exchange, therefore artificially making it longer to earn a free Bright Engram).
The “Dawning” event over the holiday season has also earned backlash by sparingly awarding free holiday-themed loot boxes, and again with the recent “Faction Rally” withholding tokens from players performing exceptionally well. These incidents have all occurred without the publisher or developer disclosing these details in advance, only doing so after fans have spoken out in droves upon realizing things were amiss, as though purchasing Bright Engrams is the only viable alternative to the lack of substantial in-game rewards. Possible plans for the game to soon incorporate a loot box-based progression system not unlike EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, as evident in a recent job posting at the studio, has done little to ease concerns.
As a result, prominent Destiny 2 content creators on YouTube and Twitch streamers are slowly withdrawing from covering the game on their channels. Creutz even pointed to a decline of viewership on Twitch compared to the original Destiny just last year, comparing Friday afternoon averages of 14,000-17,000 live viewers for the first game to 2‘s current figures of 4,000-7,000.
Bungie has promised in a recent Development Update to redesign Destiny 2 over the coming year in light of the accumulated criticism, with their first steps going towards retooling shaders. Only time will tell if the studio can manage to turn things around for the game throughout 2018.
In 2010, the Washington-based studio signed a ten year-exclusivity contract with Activision. The partnership grants Activision exclusive rights to globally publish and distribute the developer’s intellectual properties over that time period while Bungie retains ownership, leading to the releases of Destiny and Destiny 2. The contract is expected to expire in 2020.