With the resurgence of life-service games in this generation of video games, it's hard not to compare these new titles to one of the original life-service titles: Destiny. This franchise has evolved massively since its controversial launch in 2014.
The fact Destiny 2 has a sequel has certainly stirred the pot for some fans, however. Many argue that the original Destiny was better than the sequel due to loot systems or the overall tone. Others argue that Destiny 2 is better due to having much more content and aspirational activities than the first game. With Beyond Light on the horizon, now is a great time to look back on the franchise's roots and see how both games hold up against one another.
10 Destiny: Vanity
A major part of any loot-based video game is looking good while fighting enemies. Destiny 2 by no means fails in this department, but the overall art direction and certain design changes make Destiny's armor and overall cosmetics much more memorable.
Most classes had a semblance of realism to their design. Hunters used scavenged gear with a mix of cloth and metal, Warlocks use mostly cloth with some protective elements, and Titans have little cloth but wear sturdy armor. Destiny 2 abandoned this design philosophy completely. Warlocks are the best example of this, as they have many chest plates that resemble dresses with little armor. Worse, their shoulder armor is now determined by their chest slot instead of their arms, crippling cosmetic combinations that were otherwise possible in the first game.
9 Destiny 2: Story And Lore
Destiny's original story was a confusing, jumbled mess that relied too heavily on Grimroire entries to explain the plot. Destiny's Taken King expansion fixed the former without addressing the latter, which is where Destiny 2 comes in.
Lore entries are in the game, each story has a satisfying beginning, middle, and end excluding Shadowkeep. The main narrative of Destiny 2 might not live up to The Taken King, but this is easily excused when accounting for the hundreds of phenomenal lore pages and tabs that exist in the game. No matter how good the story was in Destiny's DLC, it always felt incomplete without entering an external website to read Grimoire cards. Destiny 2 solved this issue perfectly.
8 Destiny: RPG Systems
Part of the major disconnect between Destiny and Destiny 2 fans is the fundamental shift away from RPG mechanics in the sequel. Customizable Subclasses and leveling gear were crucial to keeping players connected with their Guardian.
Customizable Subclasses have been removed entirely in Destiny 2, although Bungie has stated the Stasis Subclasses will go back to a more robust system. Players might have eventually ignored gear leveling by using Motes of Light, but these systems are important for building connections with loot.
7 Destiny 2: Exotic And Mod Design
Despite the lack of RPG systems, Destiny 2 has done a fantastic job of providing an unprecedented power fantasy thanks to the design of Exotics, certain perks, and armor mods.
Exotics in the original Destiny ranged from build-enabling such as Nothing Mantacles to utterly useless as seen with Astrocyte Verse not functioning. Destiny 2, by contrast, has some of the best-designed weapons and armor in the genre. Dunemarchers, Orpheus Rig, Crown of Tempests, One Thousand Voices, and Devil's Ruin are just a few examples or instantly-recognizable Exotics that fulfill a certain power fantasy.
This extends to perks and armor mods as well. Generating Warmind Cells allows for a demolitionist playstyle that is much more customizable than the original Destiny could ever support.
6 Destiny: Meaningful And Varied Loot
Loot is a major part of any looter shooter, Destiny included. While Destiny 2 is plentiful with its rewards in comparison to the original Destiny, the number of ways players could obtain weapons and armor in the original far outshines the sequel.
Strike-specific loot, unique raid loot, Armsday weapons, faction packages, and global gear drops made for a loot system that had much less quantity but arguably better quality. Perk combinations aren't as impactful in Destiny as they are in the sequel, yet even mediocre-rolled weapons felt special due to the rarity of great items. This balance has been flipped on its head in Destiny 2 with so many god-roll weapons existing and readily available that loot has lost most of its meaning. It is unlikely gear sunsetting will fix this issue.
5 Destiny 2: PvP
Crucible is an integral part of the Destiny experience as it allows players to test their weapons out against other players in casual or competitive matches. Destiny might have a better roster of maps overall, but the weapon sandbox in Destiny 2 is much better than most give it credit for.
Nearly all Primary weapons except Scout Rifles can compete against other Primaries. A mixture of Grenade Launchers, Sniper Rifles, Shotguns, and even Fusion Rifles can be found every game instead of the Ice Breaker and Sidearm spam that plagued the Rise of Iron era of Destiny. Armor mods and certain weapon perks can synergize together to make any weapon or build work in the Crucible, something that was much harder to do in the original.
4 Destiny: Raids
Four raids are part of the original Destiny: Vault of Glass, Crota's End, King's Fall, and Wrath of the Machine. Destiny 2 has nearly double the number of raids yet most players only remember Leviathan, Last Wish, and Garden of Salvation.
Part of this is likely due to the loot structure in Destiny's raids. Every raid had iconic guns that shaped the meta in some form. Vault of Glass had Fatebringer, Crota's End had Black Hammer, King's Fall had Touch of Malice, and Wrath of the Machine brought Outbreak Prime and guns with modified perks.
The encounter design was much more focused on hero moments as well, ranging from wielding the sword to down Crota to juggling multiple mechanics with Aksis. Destiny 2's limited revive tokens and forced wipe mechanics all make raids feel more like exercises in team puzzle-solving than exercising quick decision making and gun skill.
3 Destiny 2: Content Variety
Content variety is one of Destiny 2's greatest strengths. There are tons of planets to explore, activities to partake in, raids to complete, dungeons to conquer, and competitive modes to enjoy such as Crucible or Gambit. The seasonal model has helped immensely by adding new activities to complete.
When players factor in Pinnacle and Ritual guns alongside titles, the amount of aspirational pursuits players can focus on in Destiny 2 is leagues above what existed in the original.
2 Destiny: Mystery And Tone
Destiny did a much better job expressing a setting that was long past its prime yet keeps on living. Perseverance and mystery were major parts of what made the original game so special. Players discovering how to enter the Vault of Glass, the uncovering of the Outbreak Perfected quest, and the game's original soundtrack evoke a sense of mystery that Destiny 2 desperately needs.
For all of Destiny's faults, it fully realizes the unique setting it presents players through its gameplay systems and exploration that would be mimicked time and time again by its competitors and even its sequel. None have succeeded in replicating the same magic as the original.
1 Destiny 2: Updates
On the opposite end, the actual game mechanics and post-launch support for Destiny 2 are much better than the original game. Taking aside the nostalgia and tone of the original, Destiny 2 has much more content to dive into and has a more consistent update model.
There is rarely a dull moment in this game except for the most dedicated of players who have spent thousands of hours in the game. The seasonal model and yearly expansions have made Destiny 2 the defacto looter shooter of this generation in terms of replayability and content variety.
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