By boatorious 15 Comments
In mid-2004 I sat down to play the WoW beta for the first time. My only previous MMO experience had been six months spent in Final Fantasy XI. Two hours later I logged out of WoW, and, in some sort of fugue state, wrote down twenty-three reasons that WoW was better than FFXI. WoW was a revelation.
That list is lost to time, sadly (along with four years of WoW screenshots that would be even cooler), but in anticipation of House of Wolves next week I thought I would tell you the biggest ways that Destiny is better than WoW and every other MMO that I've ever played.
First, I know Destiny is not truly "massively multiplayer". But as someone who played WoW for four years, I can tell you that the number of times I said "there's a ton of people here, cool!" was very small, and was also dwarfed by the number of times I said "there's a ton of people here, [expletive]!". To me Destiny is exactly like a massively multiplayer game except it removes that irritating part where all the people are killing the guys you need to kill.
(Second Disclaimer: I haven't played WoW or any other MMO since 2011, so some of my comparisons may be out of date)
1. Enhancement by Omission
Destiny has no group loot, no auction house, no mail, and no trading between characters. Every piece of loot is dispensed directly from the game to your account and ne'er shall it depart those confines. This is much to the chagrin of the Destiny community.
Did I mention Destiny has no account hacking, no scamming, and no loot drama? Nobody is forced to spend hours selling crap on the auction house to afford upgrades. Destiny has neither gold spammers nor gold sellers nor the auction house jockies (that muck up the market for other players on their way to accumulating millions of gold coins).
I miss the interaction a little (it was sad that I couldn't mail my son a few neat weapons when he started) but the game is so much better for dodging all those giant problems.
2. The Combat
I remember a specific incident during my last days of WoW. I was doing a daily quest. I flew to a village, hopped my gnome warlock off my helicopter, and started dispatching bad guys.
That sounds kind of fun. But here's what it really was:
Find an enemy. Press Tab to select. Press 1 for spell. Jam 1 to cast spell again. Jam 1 again to cast spell a third time. Jam 3 for finishing spell. Run up to (now dead) enemy and double-click to loot. Find next enemy and press tab again until you wish you were dead.
Low-level enemies in Destiny are still fun to kill and they can still kill you if you're reckless. Turns out shooting computer guys in the head is way more fun than pressing tab, then pressing 1, then pressing 1 again.
3. It's A Really Light Time Investment (For An MMO)
I played Destiny for about twelve hours a week for the first five months it was out. In that time I had two max-level characters, one max-level-minus-one character, and minus one or two weapons had everything I wanted in the game. According to the destiny tracker I had around 13 days played.
Most of my WoW characters did not even hit max level in 13 days played.
In Destiny I have only every played with pick-up groups. I still have beaten both raids on the hardest difficulty a dozen times combined. A raid usually takes no more than 90 minutes. I beat the final boss of the latest raid tier with a pickup group in my third week.
In WoW I only ever raided after finding a suitable guild. Eight hours of raiding a week was considered "casual". It would still take a couple months to clear a raid, assuming the guild didn't fall apart first.
Now that I have kids I have so much less free time than I used to. Even if I wanted to play a traditional MMORPG I just wouldn't have the time to progress much. It's great that Destiny's small enough that I can still do everything (multiple times!) in my limited playtime.
4. One Big Server
When I was playing WoW I had the same conversation in real life at least a dozen times:
me: (something WoW)
other person: You play WoW, that's so cool! I play it too!
me: Oh that's cool, what server are you on!?
other person: (Not Your Server)!
me: I guess we'll never play together, ever!
other person: Nope!
Destiny has one big server instead of having hundreds of regional servers like WoW. I've run raids with teenagers from the UK. I even ran a raid with a duder from the UK and guys from the west coast. I can play with anyone who plays Destiny on the Xbox One. It's marvelous.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the expansion next week. I don't know if I can really get back into Destiny. But I know I had a ton of fun the first time around.
Oh, and if any duders want to play the expansion on Xbox One next week, feel free to send me a friend request (Boatorious). I usually play from 8-10 EST.