First, you play Destiny. Then, you complain about Destiny. Then, you play some more.
That's been our process over the last few weeks, anyway. Several of us here at Kotaku have been playing Destiny regularly, and every time we play, we come up with more things we wish the game did differently.
Bungie has already improved the game's loot system and says that more fixes—like expanded chat options—are coming in the near future. So, I polled Luke, Tina and Jason on which issues we wanted Bungie to address first. We came up with 30 things. Some of them are small, some of them are big, but all of them would help make this game easier to play and more complete-feeling.
Two notes, before we begin: First, these suggestions are mainly for PvE play as opposed to The Crucible; we've been spending most of our time doing that, so that's where our focus is. Second, we have no idea how technically feasible most of these additions would be, or how much of a headache it would be for Bungie to add them after the game's launch. Doubtless some would be easy fixes, while others would require a huge amount of work and re-shuffling. But hey, we want what we want.
Ready? Let's go.
The title says it all, really: sparrow races, man! How in the world someone can put super awesome speeder bikes in their game and then not organize some way to race them is beyond me, but somehow Bungie did it. It seems like only a matter of time until the game offers some organized way to race our sparrow speeder bikes against other players, and we hope it comes sooner rather than later.
I have killed so, so many aliens in this game. Unfortunately, unless I want to leave the game and download the smartphone app, I can't tell you how many. I also can't tell you how many hours I've played, how many strikes I've completed, how many times I've died, or how many bullets I've fired. There should also be an easy in-game way to check stats like your Vanguard or Faction rep, for that matter.
At the moment, high-level armor doesn't really allow for any cosmetic customization. You upgrade it as far as you're willing to take it, but the armor itself doesn't change in appearance or allow for any customization of abilities. We'd love to see some sort of deeper armor customization — not just of appearance but of ability, or perhaps a "gem"-like system that lets us weld items onto our armor to gain additional buffs.
Similar to armor, it seems like at some point we should be able to customize our ships to better reflect our characters and our personality. Maybe place a cool turret somewhere, or change the color of your thrusters, or customize your paint job… it'd be nice to feel like our rides reflected something about us other than just whether or not we've been lucky enough to find a rare ship while doing patrols.
Each planet in Destiny offers a single starting point for patrol missions. We'd love to be able to choose our landing point, rather than have to navigate all the way from the Steppes to The Divide every time we want to go take out that Fallen Walker in the public event. Speaking of patrol missions…
One of the things that makes Destiny's missions more replayable is the fact that we can modify the level and difficulty to keep things challenging. Unfortunately, that's not true of patrol missions, even though they're still a good way to earn faction rep and complete bounties. We'd love to see a second difficulty setting—maybe just a single one—that kicks the base level of the grunts on each world up by ten or so levels. It'd require segregating players into one patrol zone or the other, but it would make patrolling so much more challenging and fun for high-level players. Maybe patrol missions completed in the higher-level zones could also pay better. I know, CRAZY IDEA, but just a thought.
About half the time we launch to orbit, we're not going to head to another planet to go on another mission. Rather, we're only passing through space on our way to the Tower to cash in bounties, decode engrams, and do whatever else. When we bring up our ghost in the field, two face buttons are still unassigned—it only makes sense that one of them could be designated a "Launch to Tower" button.
The Tower has a woeful lack of interesting things to do. "Find Xur" and "Turn on the Fan" are some of the closest things to actual activities, and it'd be nice if Tower could continue to grow and offer more and more things for players to do. Maybe some sort of goofy jumping puzzles, or a scavenger hunt, or at least some holiday-themed decorations and activities? Maybe turn on double-jump and let us do our own footraces? The soccer ball is cute, but hopefully it's just a start.
It's the strangest thing: No matter what her restock counter says, the Guardian Outfitter at the Tower never seems to get new shaders in stock. That's fine if you like Provincial Royale and Jester Apogee, but if you dreamed of trying out one of the many other shaders out there, you'll have to win them in the Crucible or in a random drop. We'd love it if the Guardian Outfitter would actually start getting some new stock, even if it was just once a week. It's amazing she's stayed in business this long, frankly.
It's nice that you can go to this site to preview a shader you're considering buying, but it'd be even nicer if Bungie built in a preview feature for shaders similar to how it lets you preview other gear. Surely there's space for a dressing room somewhere on Tower…
The clan system in Destiny feels like a very thin start—it'd be nice to see clans become more meaningfully integrated into the game, similar to other MMOs. It'd be nice to be able to create and manage your clan in-game, and even to have access to a shared pool of money or bounties. It'd also be cool if every clan could be given their own space on Tower (they'd all occupy the same area, of course) that you could customize, where people in the clan could go to hang out, get clan-specific bounties, that sort of thing.
The expensive legendary emblems are all pretty cool, but they also feel a touch haphazard and random, since they've all been designed by Bungie. We'd love the opportunity to design our own emblems, the better to help our clans stand apart. Bungie's offered that sort of customization in Halo games, so hopefully it's only a matter of time before it makes its way to Destiny.
It's great that Bungie is adding opt-in chat for crucible multiplayer and strikes, but it'd be nice to see something similar for proximity chat while out exploring in the world. If you find a high-level player while doing patrol missions and you're thinking of going on the Nightfall Strike, wouldn't it be nice to just ask them if they'd like to come along? Speaking of communication options in the field…
Destiny's built-in emotes are woefully undercooked. Dancing is fun, and should stick around, but the other three options are basically useless. Worse, they're inconsistent between classes, and each one occupies an entire d-pad button. This game direly needs a wheel's worth of emotes that are actually useful, some of which relay information through the other players' ghosts. "Help!" "I'm ready to revive." "Come here." "Go there." "Shoot that." That sort of thing. They wouldn't have to all be practical, though—as dancing has showed us, more goofy/fun emotes would be welcome, too.
While in-game chat options are nice, there should be a built-in emote system that actually facilitates communication with players who don't want to chat or who speak other languages.
Bad enough that Sony won't let us change our PSN names. (Seriously, get on that Sony, what the heck.) Whatever platform you're playing Destiny on, you can't customize your character's in-game name. Coming up with a cool name for your MMO character is a time-honored tradition, and Destiny should allow players to create custom names for each of their characters, rather than having them all operate under their Gamertag/PSN name.
We'd love to be able to show off our fabulous haircuts outside of the Tower. A helmetless option would be pretty cool—if Bungie wants to keep things "believable" they can always have players wearing rebreathers over their noses and mouths while gallivanting about on the surface of Mars or the Moon. But if they wanted to keep things "believable," well, maybe they shouldn't have included space magic and moon wizards, ya know?
Maybe you've grown tired of your funky blue hair or your white face-tats? Well, too bad. At the moment, Destiny offers no option to re-customize your character after you've created them. It's a feature that should be available in every role-playing game. If we're going to continue to develop these characters over the next ten years, we'd better be able to change our minds about how they look. For some set amount of glimmer, players should be able to completely change the look, race, and gender of their character without having to start from scratch.
While we're happy to know that we're undertaking this public event with xX_TheDoctor1986_Xx, it'd be nice to have an option to turn off other players' handles in-game. It'd be entirely optional—their level could still display, since that can be useful information, but it'd be nice to have more control over what shows on our HUD at a given moment. Speaking of that…
It is far, far too difficult to take good videos and screenshots in Destiny. This is a beautiful game, and it's been designed to take advantage of the social features offered by the new generation of gaming consoles. But every angle you try to get is covered in text and other junk, and the camera seems to actively work to crop your teammates out of shots. Destiny would hugely benefit from a HUD-free screenshot mode, as well as a good selfie mode. It'd be even better with the aforementioned helmet-free option, which would make every random battle look far more interesting and photo-ready.
At the moment, most of the best high-level activities—the nightfall strike, the raid, the weekly heroic strike—are limited to groups of three. Which is fine, but we'd love to see more solo-friendly activities outside of bounties and the daily heroic story mission. If a player just wants to play for an hour or two each night, there should be more than a couple of things for them to do.
It's clear that both of the coming expansions will bring new strikes, raids, and missions. But it'd sure be nice if the missions in those expansions could add some actual variety to the game, rather than simply having us defend Ghost as he unlocks all-new doors.
Here's hoping the new missions channel the sorts of challenges seen in the Vault of Glass raid, with enemies who buff and debuff, bosses that require careful strategy to defeat, and environmental challenges that test the limits of Destiny's long-distance jet-jumps. Show us what you've got, Bungie. We can handle it.
The lore-drenched "Grimoire Cards" are a funky system that feels unfinished—you unlock the cards in the game, but if you actually want to read what's on them, you have to visit Bungie's website or use the smartphone app. It's an odd decision that diminishes a lot of backstory and means that most players won't see any of it. Grimoire cards should be moved into the game somehow, either during loading screens or at a kiosk in the Tower, or somewhere in the menus. You wrote all that lore, now put it in your game, Bungie!
While it's nice that there are websites that let people hunt for teammates for the nightfall strike or the raid, it'd be even nicer if the game itself could feature that sort of tool. (And of course, even nicer if they could integrate matchmaking into every type of group activity in the game.) Failing that, a "beacon" system, perhaps, where you put out word that you're looking for teammates for an activity, then are given a list of potential matches to message and try to coordinate your schedules. This would also be great for assembling teams for specific crucible challenges, and so on.
It is absurd that Destiny doesn't allow players to skip cutscenes. Embarrassing, really. The Queen's Wrath bounties tasked me with completing the "Restoration" mission multiple times, and each time I did, I had to sit through the interminable cutscene where the Speaker talks about how the children are frightened anyway. I didn't really like this game's story the first time through, Bungie. Why are you making me watch it again and again? Furthermore, I like to plan and strategize with my team as a mission loads, but it's often hard to hear what we're saying while Ghost blathers on and on about stuff that doesn't really matter. Players should be able to vote to skip cutscenes, as well as Ghost's pre-mission briefs.
Everyone's done it: Looked at that amazing exotic auto-rifle in your inventory and thought, just for a second, what if I just pressed the breakdown button? Just for a split second. Just long enough to let the bar get a quarter way across. Why not live dangerously?
In truth, it's likely that someone or other will accidentally break down a legendary or exotic piece of armor and regret it afterward. It'd be nice if there were some sort of short-term undo option for breaking something down, like the buyback option most RPG stores offer.
It's much too difficult to access our inventories at the moment, particularly when under heavy fire on a high-level raid. It'd be nice to have an inventory wheel that lets players quickly access different weapon loadouts, ammo packs and other consumables, and check the status on various bounties. There's no reason we should be fiddling with in-game menus while taking damage from enemies.
If you wind up out patrolling with a friend and they have a (non-exotic) bounty that you don't, they should be able to share that bounty with you and have it turn up in your bounty inventory. You shouldn't have to return to Tower just to get on the same page. That would make it much easier to casually pop into your friends' game without so much worry about whether your short-term goals are the same.
Exotic bounties are cool and everything, but they're also time-sinks, and they shouldn't hog an entire spot in your bounty inventory for the multiple days it usually takes to complete one. Rather, exotic bounties should be relocated (maybe to the missions inventory spots?) so that players can still carry the usual number of bounties each day.
While we've all learned the basics of Old Russia and the Moon, it'd be nice to have an in-game map that shows our location relative to the overall world we're exploring. The map wouldn't have to give away secret locations or anything, but it'd be nice to be able to orient ourselves while we explore.
Look. We know it's an always-online game. We know that every player exists in the same space and time, meaning that no one player has the ability to pause time to go to the bathroom. All the same, there simply needs to be some pause option in Destiny. If you're playing solo, maybe the game just puts your character in an impervious stasis. If you're playing in a group, maybe you all "vote to pause" and something similar happens.
Regardless, Bungie: As adults with roommates, spouses, children, and pizza delivery guys occasionally asking for our attention, we cordially ask you to add some way to pause your fucking game. Thanks.
Item-trading is actually the 31st thing on the list, because we're not sure if we really want it. Sure, it's a standard feature in most MMOs, and it's incredibly annoying to get a legendary or exotic item for a class that you don't play. However, giving players the option to trade items with other players would significantly change the entire dynamic of Destiny's economy and post-level-cap play. It seems inevitable, but we're not sure that it would actually improve the game.
So, there you have 'em: 30 things we think Bungie should add to Destiny, and one extra big one we're not sure about. Given how much the game has already changed over the last month, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that some if not most of these things will be added at some point over the next year. Here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later.
I'm sure you all have your own tweaks you'd love to see in the game—and your own thoughts on whether item trading would improve or hurt things—so I hope you'll share them below.