Destiny 2: Steve's Review Part 2, The Grind

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Unlike some players, it takes me some time to work through most of the content available in a game like Destiny 2. I try to take things at a slower pace so that I can really get the most mileage out of the game and my time in it. When I finished Destiny, I was disappointed that there wasn't more of just about every part of the game. I still have some of the same pains with the sequel, but the fact is that there is a great deal more to do and keep my interest in Destiny 2.

Upon completing the campaign, I was turned loose to explore any of the planets I explored during the story. The activities available to any given post-campaign player are about the same as those in the first game, with a few significant changes to their overall relevance. The primary currency of any area in the game is tokens. Tokens earn you gear from special vendors on each world. Consequently, each planet has its own set of gear to acquire, each with a look and feel unique to that area. The European Dead Zone's armor, for example looks like something from the New California Republic, replete with frayed threads and old school gas masks.

Earning tokens is about as easy as it comes. Patrol missions, public events, strikes and side missions all earn tokens for their respective vendors, but at a certain point in the post-game, the vendors lose a great deal of their significance. Loot from the vendors seems to regularly drop a few levels below my current standing, meaning that I have to either dismantle or spend resources to infuse any weapons or armor that I get.

Some of the best every day rewards come from the public events. Each type of event has a specific and unnamed goal attached to it. Upon completion of that goal, the event becomes a "heroic" tier event. Enemies become harder to kill, and more of them arrive with high-level reinforcements. Complete the heroic level objective and the loot awarded gets similarly boosted. Most of the exotic engrams I've received in Destiny 2 have come from public events.

There are a few ways to earn higher level gear. Each week a new planet is named the flashpoint and completing public events on that planet earns a "powerful gear" engram from Cayde-6. Powerful Gear engrams drop at or above a player's current power level. Aside from the flashpoints, powerful gear can be earned by completing the Nightfall strike, participating in crucible matches, clearing the raid and contributing to your clan's XP.

All of these activities are fun and engaging, and with the notable exception of the Raid and Nightfall (though to a much lesser extent) are easy to find and get into within a few moments of loading into the game. This is a very welcome change for players like myself who can only dedicate a few hours of gameplay time throughout the week. This shift away from the small number of hardcore players has raised the ire of many a reddit user, but I think this was a move that had to happen in order for the game to survive. 

While I applaud the far more numerous activities in Destiny 2, I cannot help but feel that some are much less relevant to the experience once players hit a certain power level. Strikes, while entertaining, have not delivered any particularly fantastic gear in a while. I feel as though I have somehow outgrown their use.

The grind can be frustrating at times. While I don't play as often as some, I think I play more often than most. As the power level has gone up, it has become more and more difficult for me to find good quality gear that I can use. To some extent this should be expected, but it slows down so much after hitting 270 that I sometimes wondered if something was wrong with the engrams I was getting