Frontier Update #5: Big Changes

Things have been a little quieter than usual around here, and I should apologize for that. Rest assured, my desire to write has not been sated just yet. In fact, it’s that desire to write that I need to discuss with you, my wonderful readers.

Years ago, I co-produced a podcast and website devoted to nerd culture with a friend of mine. It lasted for about three years. The only remnants of it still floating out there is our Youtube channel, but it was doing alright for a time. It ultimately fell apart for various reasons, not the least of which was difficulty in finding contributors.

Recently, I had someone contact me via Twitter and offer me a writing job on his new website. Normally I would not be interested, but I gave him a chance to make his case and it turned out to be compelling. I ended up signing on with his crew as a contributor. I’ll be covering gaming, tech, science, movies, TV, comics, anime and plenty of other nerdy stuff. I’m also hoping to tackle Twitch and other multimedia. The site’s called Nardmode.com (nerd+hardmode) and I hope you’ll give it your patronage.

It’s a bit of an amusing turn-around. I’ve been writing for a long time, and it’s only the second time in my life that I’ve been asked to write.

So what does this mean for Frontier? A few things.

Firstly, I will continue to write Destiny-related creative works and post them here. They don’t fit in on a news site. I hope you’ll still come by and enjoy the story, Exotic Concepts and the upcoming Lore Breakdown posts.

The biggest change will be that some of the non-creative posts will disappear from this blog. I’ll be taking them down and reworking/updating them for the new site. I have to take them down for ad reasons. I’ll post a list tomrrow of what will be vanishing, and I’ll leave them up for a while so that everyone can get some last-minute peepers on them. I’d like to thank you for reading them, and I hope you’ll check out the new and improved versions once they post.

That’s it for now. Posting frequency might be a little wanting in the near future while I get all my ducks in a row. I’m also adjusting my story plans a bit to get to the good stuff sooner, and considering how to attack the first batch of Lore Breakdowns. Good stuff is coming, I promise.

Stay tuned!

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Destiny Is Not Done Yet!

One of Bungie’s biggest hurdles since its inception has been communicating what Destiny is. There are several facets to this issue.

First and perhaps most obviously, Bungie doesn’t want to vomit all sorts of far-flung promises and half-considered details all over the internet. Inevitably people will be disappointed with the final product, how long that product takes to get to them, or both. Gamers are a notoriously fickle culture (to put it as kindly as possible) so its usually best to just not tell us things. This was far less of an issue with the Destiny pre-alpha because once a fragment of the experience was out in the wild, the gestalt opinion of the people communicated concepts better than Bungie ever could on their own.

The second problem is now as people play Destiny, all the promises that Bungie made about the content don’t seem to be quite realized. This however is still an issue because…

DESTINY IS NOT COMPLETE YET.

Destiny is an MMO. Let’s call a spade a spade here, regardless of how much Bungie attempted to distance themselves from it. Everything one would consider as a trope of the MMO experience is present in Destiny. As a longtime player of MMOs, knowing how MMOs work has given me a leg up on understanding Destiny‘s mechanics. More importantly, as MMOs are constantly being iterated on, so is Destiny. That is a key difference between this game and almost all others you’ll find on consoles. No MMO is truly complete until the day the developer decides not to work on it anymore, and such is very true with Destiny.

What we have currently is what I’ve taken to calling a “skeleton” of a game. We’re playing the bones of it, banging away on it in a million different ways while Bungie learns in the background. They learn how to balance and fix and tweak. Months before Destiny’s release, Activision mapped out how the Destiny IP would be built for the market. Over the next 10 years, we’d be getting 3 Destiny games, each with 2 major pieces of DLC (called “comets”). For the first Destiny game (which we are playing now) we already know of our DLC future. The Dark Below expansion will be released in December and House of Wolves is set to be released sometime next year. One can also easily assume that even though a Destiny 2 and 3 will be released, they’ll be tantamount to mega-expansions, continuing to build and iterate on the core product.

Yesterday (Nov.7th, 2014… Happy N7 Day!) Bungie released their weekly update over social media. Bungie gave us a glimpse of how they’re digesting all the data and feedback we’re sending them and turning it into a gameplan. Destiny is still being built, and the voice of the playerbase is a major driving force, it seems. Our cacophony became a chorus around serveral issues, and lo and behold Bungie lays out many of them as im-progress.

Here are some things we’ve mentioned:
  • Channels for talking to matchmade teammates, if you so wish
  • Exotic weapons that are stronger and more interesting to upgrade
  • New gear to let you slip into something a little more Legendary
  • That which waits in The Dark Below
Here are some things we’ve kept secret, until now:
  • New shaders for your gear
  • Ways to preview items before you spend your Glimmer
  • Greater chances of “showers” in public spaces
  • Adjustments to some arenas that needed better traffic flow
  • New economies to equip you with upgrade materials
  • Fixes, patches, and other invisible technical evolutions
  • Some other tricks up our sleeve
  • Maybe even a more generous Cryptarch
    • (he’ll still be sort of a bastard)

While Bungie is quick to temper expectations about whats and whens, it’s clear they’re acting with all due haste and skill on building this game up. We can also assume that a number of ideas have already been slated for Destiny 2 and perhaps even 3 due to various reasons.

Where do we go from here? Play the game, try to break it if you can, and be active with constructive comments on the feeback forums.

What would you like to see added or fixed in Destiny? I’ll certainly be writing about what I want, but I’d love to know what you crave when battling in the frontier.