Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why Can't I Be By Myself: The Woes of Playing Destiny as a Recluse

It's taken just under two weeks for me to start my adventure, but I decided to pop in Destiny tonight and give it a whirl. I played the public beta when it was available, and it greatly raised my views of the game. Prior, I had almost no interest in the game, primarily because impressions of the game billed it as "Halo meets Borderlands". While I'm a fan of the former, I can't get into the grove of the latter; that's coming from someone who owns Borderlands 2 across three devices.

Since I had played the beta, I whizzed right through the first mission, met my Lil' Dinklage Ghost, and flew off to the Tower. I did the few bits of loot gathering, equipped what I had, and blasted off into orbit to go off to my second mission. It was here that I found a feature that was either missing in the beta, or something I glanced over: privacy settings.

Sweet Thor, thank you!

You see, I'm the sort of person that prefers to play by myself. For a game such as Destiny, I would want to enjoy it at my own pace. I would feel like a burden on those in my party, as I like to slow it down, enjoy the scenery in-between fights, and just...take it slow, something shared by Kotaku's Mark Serrels. I changed my settings to "go the fuck away" and launched into my second mission, and wouldn't you know it, someone had loaded up right next to me, level 3 and everything.

Mother. Fucker.

What happened? Did I not save my privacy settings? Let's go check, and...nope, it's still set to (my preferred name of) "go the fuck away". Why am I getting paired up if my fireteam is set to "closed"?

I ran off to Google and did a bit of research. Knowing that Destiny has always been billed as an online game, I knew I would face some resistance here. It's primarily the reason why I went back on my word of buying an Xbox One "at the earliest" when Titanfall came out; no single-player, no purchase. Going as far back as December of 2013, IGN had an interview with Jason Jones from Bungie, who says, and you bet your ass I'm block-quoting this:

"You absolutely are going to be able to play Destiny by yourself and have the same kind of fun shooter-experience that you could have in a single-player campaign."

So what gives? Why was I paired up with some joker when I dropped into mission 2? Maybe, just maybe, it was a fluke? Let's reload this mission, and...


"Go. The fuck. Away"
You're shitting me? This time, I see a level 25 player not 4 feet to my right. How in the hell am I getting this disproportionate player levels with me? Why am I not able to enjoy the game by myself? What's the point of privacy controls when they don't work? I kept Googling and trying to find an answer, and...I can't. There is no answer as to why there are people still being dumped into a game with me when I want to go at it alone.

When I hear the term "Lone Wolf", I think of Bungie. Why, you are most likely asking? It reminds me of the playlist of Lone Wolf from Halo 3 when it's a free-for-all match; no teams, just you beating the shit out of the rest of those in the match. It's a tad ironic that I'm using an online multiplayer ranked playlist as a reference point when I'm bitching about the inability to play another video game alone, I will give you that one. Regardless, the point remains that Bungie and Lone Wolf go hand-in-hand with me, and the fact that I can't do that in a Bungie game is incredibly infuriating.

Suffice to say, the game is back in it's envelope, on it's way to the GameFly distribution center, so it may wind up in the hands of someone who will actually enjoy this. Until Bungie implements a way for me to go it alone 100-fucking-percent, my pathetic level 2 character will stay in Bungie's servers, untouched, and I shan't be playing Destiny again.