Even a return to Titan can't bring me back to Destiny 2
Season Of The Deep is on, and I am still off
I always knew I would one day be tempted to return to Destiny 2. After three years and several thousands hours of playtime, last February I hit my limit on the garbage MMO that this phenomenal FPS is trapped inside and uninstalled. But I still adore parts, including its striking sci-fi landscapes. So when I heard the latest season was returning to the alien ocean moon of Titan, one of my favourite spots, I was tempted. Oh I was tempted! But now Season Of The Deep started yesterday and Titan is here and no, it's not enough.
Season Of The Deep sees the Saturnian moon of Titan return after vanishing in November 2020. In the game's story, Titan was one of the places which vanished from the solar system as The Darkness moved in. In reality, it was one of the many bits of the game removed and locked in the Destiny Content Vault as Bungie attempted to manage the development challenges of a game that had grown too large for them to handle (they have since stopped removing expansions, at least).
Now, the story goes, Titan has reappeared. Deputy Commander Sloane (last seen donning Golden Age power armour and settling in for a long fight after refusing to evacuate Titan) needs help to salvage tech from its methane oceans and commune with a mysterious giant worm to gain intel for the fight against The Witness. This includes a new activity where we dive down through alien waters which teem with lurid life. This should appeal to me.
My opinions on the sea are well known and I adored Titan in Destiny 2. It's a scattering of rigs and gleaming Golden Age arcologies standing above crackling waves, now overrun with Hive dens and Eliksni scavengers, a sign of how far humanity fell in The Collapse. Several missions descended deep into an arcology, through lush parks and stunning residential spaces, leading to a glimpse at something vast swimming past. I guess we now know who that is: Ahsa, Sloane's new pal.
It's still not enough for me. Honestly, I'm thankful that Titan is only returning as a limited space for set activities, not the free-roaming Patrol zone it once as. If Titan had been the focus of a full expansion, rebuilt and expanded into the space I wish it had always been (large chunks didn't have anything to do on Patrol), ah that might have got me. I do want to revisit the arcology. I do want to dive underwater and admire alien anemones. I do want to meet the worm. I do want the cool-looking new Taken guns. But it's not enough to get me past the endless guff of Destiny 2 the MMO.
It's not just that you need to grind to get great guns or play the best parts of Destiny 2 (like Grandmaster Nightfalls and day-one raids), though that certainly is a huge part of my discontent. It's that every single system is wrapped in live service MMO clutter of bounties and quests and timegates and resources and crafting systems and... even if you refuse to engage with all that, and you don't care about getting 'god rolls', the guff is still everywhere and will not let you forget about it. Even the new fishing minigame, which should be a lovely chill time, requires bait which drops as a reward from other activities. Destiny 2 cannot conceive of the idea that you might do anything simply because it's fun.
None of these MMO systems are ever interesting or rewarding. They do not help you, they do not challenge you in a meaningful way, they do not require you to make difficult decisions, they do not feel respectful of your time. This all exists simply to occupy you. It is a huge shame that one of the best first-person shooters is trapped inside such a bad free-to-play MMO, especially one which still charges £80 for the annual expansion and its season passes.
Ed and Liam felt much the same when they played Destiny 2 for Inventory Space, their video series exploring live service games.
Season Of The Deep is live now, running until the 22nd of August. See Bungie's Season Of The Deep subsite for the big overview and the patch notes for over 7000 words on a great many changes.