Solving Destiny’s Story Dilemma

Published on: Mar 18, 2015 @ 19:31

Back when Bungie was working on Halo games, there were a flood of novels, anime, and offshoots that took the story and ran with it. While I confess I never read or watched them, I was always intrigued by them.

When Destiny came around, I wasn’t expecting much in terms of storytelling; I had read plenty of reviews and sarcastic remarks about the paper-thin plot.

Now, looking back, I must say there are things that Bungie has done incredibly well with the story in Destiny. But I’m also disappointed.

I’m disappointed because for everything they do well, Bungie has some major shortcomings in the story department.

There are some silver linings, which I’d like to consider first, but then I want to discuss the major weaknesses, give a few ideas on how they could be handled, and then open it up for your opinions – because I’m just one man with one perspective.

What Bungie Does Right

It’s all about the atmosphere. Destiny has it in droves, and this shouldn’t surprise us. Bungie’s design sense has always been rather impeccable, and design is about telling a story in the product itself.

When you first fly your sparrow to Venus and see a green sky filled with geometric constructs, it’s undeniable that something significant – some race far beyond ours – has discovered a power we’ve only dreamed of. As you stare at the giant Traveler, haggard but still shining as a beacon of light over the Tower, you can’t help but wonder what brought it to Earth and what purpose it holds.

This is the magic of world building. Bungie understands that every environment can tell a story, that layers of events can be communicated simply in the design of a building or the creatures that inhabit it.

destiny story environment

When I walk into the Hellmouth and see the Hive besieged by Fallen, my reaction is literally, “Ohhhh snap!” I have no clue why the Fallen are invading, but something in me just trusts that there’s significance in the act.

But sometimes it’s not enough to trust. Sometimes we want to know why. Which leads to some ways Bungie can explain why without intruding on the core experience.

What Needs Improvement

Now, I’ve never been a developer on a major AAA release. I don’t have a clue what technical walls might block Bungie from fixing what they have. I’m a layman, but let’s be honest, most of us are laymen who have at least played games (especially FPS’s and MMO’s) that handle story telling in innovative ways.

You know it’s a good story when the game immerses you into the experience, causing you to feel compelled to find out what’s going on – you care about the world you’re in.

So with those as a background, let’s look at some shortcomings and how they can be improved.

Where’s My Lore?

Oh, that’s right… it’s buried on Bungie’s website. Now I can understand the financial and marketing reasons behind putting Grimoire cards on a website. Generating traffic to and from an online presence is significant for businesses, and developers are desperate for a way to move players from a game to their website.

But aren’t there enough compelling reasons to keep players on their site now? Forums, Clans, the Vault – the time is ripe for moving Grimoire cards to the game, and it’s desperately needed.

As players, we should be excited about that little “New Grimoire Card Acquired” message, but now all I think is, “One more thing I won’t ever see…” If they were embedded in the inventory, then players could read them during loading screens or while they idle in the Tower.

Besides, you can only try to jump on those orange Tower awnings so many times before it gets old.

No wait, that never gets old.

destiny story moon

Brick Wall Syndrome

Call me crazy, but I kind of like Eris Morn’s deranged exclamations in the Tower. And who hasn’t perked up an ear when she croons, “Six of us went down into that pit…  We failed. You cannot.”

While Bungie has created some interesting characters, there’s a basic flaw with the system. When you play a silent protagonist, all these characters become a string of monologues. No response, no challenge, no humanity. We learn more about people by their interactions with others than by their quant speeches, and I guarantee if you put Eris Morn and The Speaker in a room together and just pressed record, you could watch that thing for hours.

Imagine starting the Crota’s End raid and Eris Morn is waiting at the bridge in a heated argument with the Speaker about how foolish the undertaking is. Want to rush ahead and just ignore the dialogue? No problem. But if you want to see those two go at it, then it’s one more way to learn about this world and the people who inhabit it.

Plus, you could melee their faces and throw grenades at their feet, and who doesn’t want that? Better yet, they could react to it!

destiny venus story

Let Me Be Clear

For two weeks I thought Mars and the Black Garden were one in the same. Peter Dinklage kept mumbling, “It’s the eye of a Gate Lord,” and I’d say, “Thanks Tyrion Lannister! I already got one of those like five missions ago!” as I shot some more enemies.

When it’s the penultimate story mission in a game, and you don’t even understand what you’re doing there or what it is, there’s a problem.

I’m all for mysteries. They are great for setting up sequels or expansions. But when the entire plot is wrapped in obscure terminology inadequately explained you feel like everything is one disjointed mess.

This problem comes down purely to writing. Sometimes a word might be more immersive, but less understandable. I can hear people talk about the Black Garden with hushed tones until they’re blue in the face, but if they don’t tell me what it is or the impact it has on me then how am I supposed to care? Which leads to the final recommendation.

destiny ghost story

Characters We Care For

Who are we supposed to empathize with in this story? We only fear what can harm us. We only hate what has taken something from us. We only love what makes us smile or laugh or adds to our lives.

So again, who are the characters we can care for here? The closest thing is probably our Ghost – that constant companion who guides us everywhere and cracks jokes about the Cabal’s rudimentary security systems.

But in order for us to feel emotions, we must have more interactions with our Ghost. Now imagine that companion gives us more commentary than, “The Vex/Cabal/Fallen/Hive are coming!” as he shoots light beams into some hunk of metal. Imagine he were to crack jokes as you take out the Archon Priest in under one minute with a barrage of sniper bullets. Imagine he flies around and shoots beams of light in the eyes of enemies occasionally? Our Ghost has a personality – you can see it in the dialogue – but why not actually act out that sarcastic wit?

And we really should start some online petition to see our Ghost shoot beams of light in Omnigul’s eyes. It would make her even more desperate and wicked, while helping a lot with Ghost’s appeal as a character. He shoots beams. We laugh. Bungie kills him off. We feel sad.

That’s what good characters are made from.

Your Perfect Story

So we want to know your opinion. Are there bits of lore, storylines, or characters you just desperately want to know more about? Do you have some ideas on how Bungie can maintain our freedom as players while still delivering a compelling story?

Nobody wants another cutscene that we can’t skip, but we could all benefit from real connections with the people who inhabit this gorgeous world they’ve created.

Sound off on what you hope to see most in the story going forward, both in expansions and when Destiny 2 rolls around.

Taylor Bair

I write about the intersection between the games we love and the lives we live. When I’m not working on websites and marketing projects, I’m writing with a hot cup of chai tea in one hand and a computer in the other. Makes typing exceedingly difficult, let me tell you.

  • Davis Benson

    A forum user by the name of CentauriAlpha67 has done an admirable job of filling in gaps in the lore and creating memorable characters. Maybe PD could do a feature about their work? (I am not him/her)

    https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/823422/100917029/0/0

    • Taylor Bair

      Great idea. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to look into it here soon!

  • Nick McCulloch

    I think linking actions to rewards would help build a story for guardians. You kill heaps of fallen your mark/bond/cloak represents that. achieving secret and difficult achievements relating to how you play the game effects how you receive item drops. Killing lots of certain types of enemies increases chances of getting a certain exotic or legendary drop. Then when it drops it resets the count. Not talk in just a couple of hundred kills talking thousands. It shouldn’t be a way to farm exotic s just a way to distinguish your character. Little things like that build your love of your own character and can also influence how we interact with each other

    • Christian

      I couldn’t agree more. When everything In destiny is the path to the same thing, it makes it hard to enjoy the variables in certain missions. It would completely change how Raids, Strikes and Loots works. Knowing you have an expert Hive slayer on your team, with all the appropriate loot for killing hive would be invaluable on the Crotas end raid. It would make sense to integrate some of the Raid Weapons outside the raid, giving players who worked hard to fight a certain enemy more initiative in a hive based challenge, and so on.

      • Niklas bomber

        well the problem with “the more i kill ___ the better loot i will get” means a buch of people will just go to the moons first mission and grind when the hive come out

        • Christian

          True. But I’m sure they wont have any issues making sure methods like this slip through he cracks. I expect it would be more like “Complete All Missions on the moon on “Hard 30″. ” or “Defeat all hive Ultras on “Hard LV 34” (An ultra high difficulty to truly test the strength of guardians)

          I’d hope they’d make the challenges more difficult rather than time consuming, which wouldn’t be too grindy. My favourite part about Destiny is the raids, because for the first few times, they are genuinely really, really hard. They need to give people a reason for people to play the story on stupidly high difficulties. It gives players a reason to test themselves and truly try to “earn” some good loot (:

          • Niklas bomber

            what would be interesting is if there was a puzzle in the HoW coming out that the answer was in one of the missions before it like, the kell ____ on the north star and the right door for the kell would be a door involving the north star, that would make you want to do the mission and not just spray and pray it

  • Ambient

    I pretty much agree with everything you said, though for different reasons. Really, the story itself was fine. The problem was it’s presentation. For a game so heavily dependent on dialogue to drive it’s narrative, Bungie seems to have put little effort in actually making sure that dialogue was coherent enough to carry the weight they put on it.

    For example, the Speaker’s infamous ‘I could tell you….’ speech. Most people seem to have taken that as Bungie almost trolling us. ‘He could tell us? But…Wait, he’s not going to?!’ In reality, it was an overly convoluted way of him saying that we know The Traveler was crippled by the Darkness in a great battle, but the exact nature of the events in question are merely tales and legends used to frighten children. And then to shorten the conversation, they immediately followed it up with the whole ‘but now the children are frightened anyways! The Darkness is coming back!’ It’s just bad writing through and through.

    It’s pretty much the same when we meet the Stranger on Venus. ‘I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain..’ is widely derided, and rightfully so. Apparently, she has had time to watch us fairly consistently, but then she doesn’t have enough time to offer even the briefest explanation of herself. I get that they wanted to keep her motives and true identity a mystery, but a single badly written line to wave away all the questions until a later date isn’t one of them.

    And then it only gets worse from there. She asks us if we have ever heard of the Black Garden. Rather than say ‘No’, and then having her give a brief explanation of these leg, we get a flat ‘We’ve heard the legends’. Of course, she gives us some details. It’s the birthplace of the Vex, and what lies at it’s heart is the ‘greatest threat to us all’. Of course, rather than expand on this, she suddenly comes out of nowhere and reveals that it’s destruction will allow the Traveler to heal without any prompting or explanation afterwards. It felt like it was just tacked on at the last minute as an afterthought. And despite the momentous importance of what she just revealed, our Guardian just essentially shrugs. Again, terrible writing.

    Pretty much all of Destiny’s major problems in the story department could be solved if they hired someone capable of writing competent dialogue. The narrative itself was fine. Simple, straightforward, but solid. Even the lore contained within the game was incredibly interesting. As for the Grimoire, I could personally care less if it’s in game or not. I use the application so often nowadays that it’s not that big of a deal to pop in and check it when I unlock something new.

    • brimike

      I think it woold of been cool to save Eris from the hellmouth or some other circumstance.

      • Rob Holden

        Are you kidding? That lady is bat-sh*t crazy! There aren’t enough shrinks left in the entire world to help her at this point. 😉

        But I like the idea of showing up at the start of the Crota raid by the bridge and seeing the Speaker and the Stranger arguing the merits of the suicide mission, and maybe the Erin showing up to distract the Speaker while the Stranger spirits us away to start the Raid, but with some logic built in too. If it’s a party of Level 32’s on Normal, it’s not a suicide mission and should be a cakewalk. If it’s a party of 20-something trying to do Crota on normal though, include the other cut scene (if you’re going to make us stare at the screen and wait anyway)

        or a Raid, sanctioned by the Queen, wherein two of the major Enemies are trying to team up with us against the third, only to find out that it is a double/triple cross as the Queen’s brother is colluding with the third party and sways all three to ambush the party in the Raid. (I’ve been dying for a piece of the Queen’s brother! lol)

  • Sumire CorpseGrinder Muroto

    Could we please just get some of the things thst are only in grimoire into the actual story?
    Where’s my Ahamkara boss fight?

  • Quark

    I wouldve like to have seen an exotic bounty for all exotic weapons. Give them dialogue and make them obtainable from a different source instead of the bounty guy. imagine hunting down an ahamkara and having the choice of spine, skull, or claws (or the future hunter boots Unremarkable bones) to craft the ahamkaras remains into. Or how about a quest to memorialize the battle of twilight gap and being given the choice of either your classes respective alpha lupi armor (light beyond nemesis for warlock) or gjallarhorn to craft the armor of the fallen guardians into, and actually be the guy to fulfill the lore behind those exotic peices. perhaps it would be too much of hassle to change to that system in destiny 1, but i think it could be done in destiny 2. Recieving items with lore behind them completely at random just doesnt makes sense to me.

  • Sawyer Greisen

    I definitely want to see and hear more about our factions. The grimoires give some great tidbits as to their general goals, and implies some sort of civil war between them that nearly crippled the city, but we never see any of this in game. I’d like a better reason to support New Monarchy than high strength armor and the fact that Hideo is the only non-creeper faction rep. Give the players something to align themselves with.

  • KingLouieV

    the mistake they made was that an mmo is supposed to be open world but it really is just a circle… a very depressing circle.no like its so depressing you’ll get depression just from going in the circle like why bungie why?

  • Pidge

    I would agree with your comments and suggestions along with those of others who have replied. But what I find most disappointing is how the story and the missions seem to contradict each other. Especially in dark below where we go on a series of missions to prevent Crota from being summoned only to see him appear anyway. Didn’t we already prevent his soul, fist, heart and everything else from being summoned when we killed Omnigul and other dark below bosses??? Don’t get me wrong I am glad we get to fight Crota but then the story should have told us that despite our valiant efforts we were too late to prevent his arrival. At the moment the storyline has potential but it’s execution and packaging feels a bit rushed in a bid to get the title out.

    • Surgtech

      From what I understand is that we did prevent him from being summoned on Earth. When we do the raid, we actually end up traveling to his realm to kill him.

  • Brian Krause

    Yes I really want a story mostly an Epic but that’s probably asking for too much.

    But I still want to see a connection that ties in on everything i do in the story. Because most of the time it’s like mostly side quests than story. Cryptarch missions? Tower missions? If you noticed the story is mainly made up of side quests and the ones with the cutscenes that seemed to connect doesn’t really give a certain atmosphere or expression it’s like a “go do this n that” kind of story.

    I already have a story I came up with but I heard someone was willing to fix destiny’s story for the next game. I’m hoping it goes well otherwise I’ll send mine and hope it could save this game.

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    Can we all agree that it’s too late to salvage the ‘story’ of Destiny 1 at this point? The only way the story can be improved in tangible way now is in the actual true sequel. All forms of addons, be it accessing grimoire cards in game or additional tiny ‘story’ missions from the expansions, will all be moot point since it never server any ‘story context’ nor excitement to the game. I think the author hits it right on the head, i also thought that the black garden is in Mars as well. Also, the game is filled with intriguing lore but the plot of the destiny game is as thin as a whore’s hymen.

    It’s as saying that a Mr.X’s family has a rich and intriguing family history that stretches all the way back from the American Civil War but Mr.X is a vegetable, doing nothing all day but laying down in the hospital bed. That’s what the current state of Destiny’s story is…A vegetable like Mr.X.

    Nothing short of a full revamp (like a sequel) can salvage it.

  • TheDaywalker

    Improved (visual) customization.
    Beit the colour of your ghost, armor, weapons etc. Everyone looks more or less the same these days. Take an example on other MMO’s, I’ve spent countless hours farming stuff i dont need in World of Warcraft to get a mount or visual upgrade.

    And i loved the idea of Nick McCulloch; visualization of achievements. Killing e.g. 50k hive gets you e.g. shoulderpads with spikes and a fallen skull on it. Killing X amount of Vex does something visual to your double jump etc. Killing 15k wizards might give you a fiery glow, such as the Necromancer animation in Diablo 2 (champ select screen). Do something special and get a super saiyan dance move.

    Tiny things make such a difference when all you see are the same load outs.

  • Yan Gasperazzo

    I would love for the Bosses, as Crota and Atheon, stay screaming and calling us names. Like, “You broke into my sanctuary,” “You will fall on my anger!”, “You fools!” and so on.

  • Edwin

    For my next ghost I want a mix of my ghost and claptrap 🙂
    I will name it DubstaGhost 🙂

    Mm-this

  • Incaink

    I was discussing this just the the day actually, I really like how they handled Eris but yet again, it’s a shame how they DIDN’T utilise her. She has such character with her weird outbursts at the tower, and I really enjoy the way the story delops with her and how her comments changes – especially after you’ve defeated Crotaaaaaah(!)

    What’s I’d have loved to have seen was her down on the moon with us as we enter the Dark Below, maybe even drop down with us then freak the shit out when the Hive start coming out the godamn walls. My favourite line from her was ‘bring me the eyes’. It felt sinister and I started to question what was really going on here. That could carry into the raid, the further you progress the deeper you see her insanity runs. Maybe when we wipe we can have a ‘Snake? Snaaaaaaaake?!’ moment from Eris as all hope is now lost. I want it to feel like we fucked up and things are desperate.

    With the vault, if you’ve read the grimoires, you’d know that Kabr is the lovely gent responsible for the shields used to kill the templar. I’d have loved to have seen Kabr at the tower, telling me about the vault and giving me missions in the run up (maybe during that godawful time between level 20-26 when it’s just a plain loot grind…) give me time to look up to kabr as the kinda guardian I wanna be when I grow up before a final ‘meet me at the Vault’ only to arrive and find that he got crushed by the Templar but in his dying moment left the one thing that would let me defeat the Templar/Atheon. Damn it Kabr, if you’d just given me more time! You’ll regret this Templar, DO YOU HEAR MEEEEEE?!

    So yeah, give me NPC guardians, show me Toland, Osiris, Kabr like you did Eris. Let me see who I can become then take them away from me so I feel like I lost something. I want to feel epic but who am I epic in comparison to? The postman? Well, he is pretty epic I suppose. Though, at least I know what a Xur is…

    • Taylor Bair

      I love everything about this. Somebody make this man lead writer for this game!

  • Space magic can’t unlock doors

    The story, or lack there of, is unfixable at this point…it is such a joke and point of ridicule that no matter how good it could (big could here…) get in the future people will always remember how bad it was at the start…at their first impression.

    I also believe it will not get any better, because Bungle either has absolutely no idea what kind of story the’re trying to tell and/OR the original story they meant to tell all along legally can’t be used because it is or contains the intellectual property of former employees who left Bungie during the games creation.

    Destiny will go the way of COD and Assassin’s Creed- they’ll pump out near carbon copies with little innovation or major changes years after year, dlc after dlc, UNTIL they stop seeing a profit from it. Seeing how COD and AC are going…that will never happen…sad.

  • Michael Farago

    With all the fantastic gameplay that Bungie has created, it’s almost a pathetic oversight to how they’ve portrayed the story. People can argue that the grimoire are a fine substitute, but i’ve been playing for about 5 months and i’m still only around 2200. What’s the cap at? I think it’s around 2800 or so. So even if i spent the time to read every entry (and i’ve probably read 1/3 of what i have) i would still be missing a ton of the story. And the arduous task of unlocking 100% of the cards has only been achieved by a select few.
    Also, looking to the cards, i’ve read a bunch on some of the exotics i have unlocked, and those story’s still seem to be missing a bunch. Maybe i’ve been spoiled playing games that force feed the story down your throat, but the polar opposites of this spectrum aren’t really the greatest options.
    My last point, is there were/are tons of opportunities for Bungie to expand on the story/lack there of. Has anyone else watched the swordbearer cleave crota’s head clear of his shoulders and said “Oh i guess we’re done.” Or blown up atheon and thought “Well i guess that’s nice.” The strikes at least have a quick monologue congratulating you from killing omnigul. And the Story missions have the same treatment. The raid’s could have used some sort of treatment. Even if it was just some offhanded comment by your ghost.
    Just thoughts, ideas and some rambling.

  • Grymwulf

    I see what Bungie was trying to do with the story here. They’ve admitted that they were heavily influenced/inspired by the Dark Souls series (look at the Heart of the Praxic Fire robes, for example), and the way they attempt to tell the story in Destiny is very similar to how Dark Souls tells its story, though I don’t think that Bungie pulled it off the way Dark Souls pulled it off.

    In Dark Souls, if you haven’t played it yet, you are thrown in to a world where nearly everything is a mystery to you. Throughout the course of the game, you are able to piece bits of the story together by reading item descriptions and speaking with NPCs, who hint darkly at bits of the story. It’s actually a very fresh and compelling way to tell the story, a method that really encourages player exploration and research. I feel that this is what Destiny tried to do, and failed.

    Aside from putting grimoire cards online (which I feel is a mistake driven by marketing tactics, as you say), I don’t feel that the Dark Souls approach works for a game like Destiny. Destiny is a game that is supposed to span a 10 year time period, with new content being released all the time. Because of this, Bungie really had to space out the story, providing only miniscule pieces of the story to begin with (I mean, there’s still 8-9 more years to go! They can’t give it all to us now!) The mistake Bungie made was in not giving players enough of a story to chew on, enough mystery to solve, or enough of a reason to care to stick around for the other 9 years of story.

    Like I said in the beginning, I see what Bungie was trying to do, but it doesn’t work with a game whose plan is to stick around for 10 years. Dark Souls had a mysterious story, but it was all contained in one game, not trickle-fed over the course of 10 years. Gamers are not that patient, and in fact are some of the most impatient people I’ve ever met.

    • Justingoska

      I think one of their mistakes too was that the game does not have the crucial elements of a story. There’s not really a clear conflict and there’s no resolution.
      There’s also no climax, I’m pretty sure everyone’s reaction after playing the Black Garden for the first time was “Wait, that’s it?”
      The game has such awesome lore and so much style. I just wish they did more with it in the game.

  • metalman5150

    Great read! Excellent post!

  • illwill

    With the size of the device team , they should be able to (and is kind of a cop out) create a small room a library at the the tower that you can access your cards as well as hold back stories of the legendary original stories of the original exotic weapon holders , key battles of the past , Warlock studies , storyline etc … just one lil NPC in one lil room …

    • summoner ranger

      what it could be they did not think it was big deal so come back do it would be harder

    • Nicholas

      I’ve been asking for a Library or a terminal in the Speaker’s room that would flush out the lore for a while. There is an amazing amount of content in the grimoire cards and the art book that I believe would be amazing if it could be accessed in game. Not to mention Bungie probably has books upon books of content that they should include to enrich Destiny’s story.

  • I want to know who some of these legendary guardians/characters were that get mentioned here and there: Kabr, Praedyth, Toland the Shattered, Ahamkara, et al…I see their names everywhere, but why?

    • Justingoska

      Ahamkara was a lizard monster creature. It was hunted to extinction, but there’s some armor made from its body parts in the game.

      • Oh wow, I would never have guessed that, given all the freaky quasi-spiritual quotes that go with the pieces. Thanks!

  • ceedoubleyou

    “When it’s the penultimate story mission in a game, and you don’t even understand what you’re doing there or what it is, there’s a problem.”

    I completely agree. When I did the BlackGarden mission, I had no idea that it was the final mission. It felt to me like they were just getting ready to finally clue us in on just what was going on. Then abruptly, it was over.

    I love playing Destiny, but unless you spend a few hours reading the Grimoire (and I recommend that everyone try to do so. It’s actually very enlightening), there’s no way on earth to have even a half a clue as to what story it is that Bungie is trying to tell.

    • MakkinjeM

      They did it a lot better wit TDB imo, when purely focussing on the story-telling aspect. Including the main goals from the first time ever you set foot in the DLC story, and actually going through progress being confronted by Omnigul in several missions. It’s completely clear you’re aiming towards Crota, taking down it’s strongholds (of which Omnigul is an essential one). The only really vague part was Ir-Yut. except for gear carying its name, it should have been included in the story just like Omnigul. They could have confronted you with both wizards in those aformentioned story missions, making clear those two witches are the most essential minions of Crota (You weren’t able to take em down anyway in the missions so). Now you were playing the raid, and Bam; there was Ir-Yut being the last, and most important great adversary before you challenge Crota Himself, while hardly being mentioned ever.

      And that still hasn’t solved that completely unpredictabl, and unclear end of the original story, which indeed was very unclear as to what story it is that Bungie is trying to tell.

      I never even heard of Atheon, until I was confronted with him in the Vault of Glass.

      It felt like this:
      “we are the mighty Vex, we rule time, we have some great minds who all communicate with each other through litteraly everything, and oh yeah by the way; in your face! We also had a spare god of time confluxes. Take that for a Raid Boss”

      That story needs to be revamped completely imo.

  • Shane

    While the story is probably the most glaring issue with the game, there’s a beacon of light to their methods. While I have not read all of the Grimoire, there are others that have. They’ve taken great pride to dissect the information and provide a ton of background information that I had no idea about. Don’t believe me? Check out the Guardian Radio Network(not a shameless plug. I have no affiliation whatsoever) on their podcast and each week they do an “audio grimoire card” where someone voice acts out the card. They then provide insight and background lore to flesh out that card.

    The really interesting thing about it all to me is that this game has a, dare I say, phenomenal story. The unfortunate part is you have to find out this info outside of the actual game. I challenge anyone that says the story sucks to seek out those who have put their efforts in researching the story and just absorb them. If you’re not floored by the overarching story and what it could mean for the franchise, then Destiny is probably not a game for them/you.

    And as a side note, could how the story is fed to us in bits and pieces, and forcing the community to seek out the answers, be by design?

    • Taylor Bair

      I’ve heard the argument, and I think there is certainly some design to putting the grimoire cards a bit out of reach. But I don’t think it design for the right reasons. They could easily be placed in the Tower somewhere (with voice acting similar to how that podcast seems to handle it) for easy access, but instead are gated behind an added step that most will never take – which is sort of sad.

      But yeah, I agree that there appears to be a phenomenal story in there. It pushes the entire community to research (if they can be bothered to care) and figure things out as far as they desire. I’m just not convinced Bungie knows how to tell the story themselves. Lore does a spectacular job of world building, but it doesn’t do much to make us sympathize or become invested in that world. At some point Bungie has to go beyond Lore and start connecting with players in an immediate, meaningful way.

      I hope they do so, because if they can manage to create characters as compelling as their world, I’ll be hooked for a long time.

    • DBMgamer

      That was actually the reason I got into making the videos that I did. People in several different communities saying Destiny has no story. I have done about 20 videos explaining and exploring the universe Bungie created (shameful plug). I personally would like to see Destiny get the same treatment as the Halo series in terms of the Sci Fi novels. You would have no limitations as far as drawing individual characters tales, and as long as it remained cannon in the game it would help to fill out plots and create jumping points for new plots in DLC.

  • Rockotzu

    I think they could add a dog with some “misterious eyes” in the end of black garden or after u beat crota, to make us thinking “ohhh wait there could be more, what could be???” lol lol lol

  • TheStackTrace

    My suggestions mostly come from bits and pieces of what others have said with a few nuances of my own. First and foremost, I think Destiny is a great game, or I would not be putting the time into it that I do. I also believe there is a lot of untapped potential, which also keeps my hopes up for the future. The atmosphere in-game is great, everything from the visuals to the music pull you in.
    I remember awhile back to where that post was released supposedly from an ex developer who talked about the decisions of the larger organization to remove/and or not include a major story line. Whether that was fake or if there was any truth in it at all, somewhere along the lines the decision was made to not include an immersive story experience within the game. I think we can all agree that was a mistake, or at the very least the strategy failed due to lack of a coherent storyline pulling events together. If this is to be as single chapter in a much larger universe of story, the story needed to be more complete. As a few folks have said, first impressions are important, so not sure if there is a fix for this, other than to figure out a better way to include the grimier and to make the decision to improve with each new release (which hiring a lore master is likely a good first step)
    As far as the game mechanics, as with most of the community I have a number of ideas that I see as improvements, but the one I will put down is regarding exotics. I remember awhile back at least one person bringing up the point that Xur should not be selling exotics( I feel they should not drop at all), that these items were worthy of quests. Having Xur sell exotic quests would be great, allowing folks to obtain exotics, removing complaints from folks who believe that exotics purchased form Xur are not “earned”, etc. Not only would it increase the fun of obtaining exotics, but players would truly feel rewarded, just as you do when you complete the Thorn bounty. Taking it a bit further, it would be great for every X number of levels reached for Vanguard or a faction, that you would be rewarded by being able to choose from additional exotic quests.

  • Juan DeFuca

    The first part of your article mentioned the Books and animated films for Halo. In my opinion making some of these tie ins would be excellent for Destiny. Who wouldn’t love to watch or read the story of the Exo Stranger, or see a movie about the Queen defeating the Kell for the fallen house, and then how the fallen broke into the prison of elders to free the Archon Priest. For that matter, all of the strikes could use a backstory film. A single web series or 5 minute episodes could cover everything. What people won’t visit a website to read, they would visit to watch as a movie.

    Also, all of your ideas are good. They did a good job with what they did, but they needed to do more. The

  • Honestly I think Destiny’s biggest mistake was using so many big name voice actors who have often very regulated schedules so adding a cut scene to just add some story with any of the bigger names causes issues as you have to wait to record the audio of the named actor. Even if you record a temp track of audio as a place holder if the voice actor reads it slower or faster or with greater inflection for various points can further set back any changes in such a situation. Hopefully since they’ve said they’ve learned there lessons from Dark Below we see some further changes and added exposition. I’d love to have some conversation trees with the NPCs why should I care about the factions why should I work with the vanguard let them try to convince me.

  • Justingoska

    I’d like to see a plot where you meet survivors outside of the city and help them with their problems or maybe even assist in ferrying them to the city, especially if you’re part of New Monarchy.

  • Niklas bomber

    Now thats a good statement i will say that out of all the bungie games i’ve played destiny feels “short” of a story, but this is mainly due to the fact that this is the first game you didnt have a “character”, halo you have Master Chief there fore you have a start with a character to go into a story, for destiny everyone acts different from one another so you cant do some of the story there, this made a slight void in a lack of a character base, however you could cover with more outside characters like the “stranger” or the queen and have them interact with the character more

  • Kenshiro Genjuro

    Lot of good ideas here. The Bungie protagonist who never says much can be a problem as much as an asset, and dialogue and actual “character” has to be developed through other characters. I really like the notion of seeing short, incomplete exchanges between The Speaker and Eris…just enough that reveals there is a deep rift between them but not enough to simply blow what that rift is all about.

    Back in the day I lambasted Bungie for overdoing the storytelling in Halo 2’s campaign cutscenes. Although intellectually it was stellar in construction, in execution it droned on and revealed too much when a lot of what sucked me into Halo 1 was the deep sense of mystery. Halo 1, whether intentionally or not, discussed several things ambiguously in such a way that it teased you with details that drew you in. You wanted answers and couldn’t wait for more. Destiny doesn’t do that terribly well, nor has anything else Bungie has released post-Halo 1. Halo 3 had a decently good idea to have terminals you could access, and not that they were the first to do that but I would much prefer that over this Grimoire cards nonsense. In either case though, stories that draw people in best (in my mind at least) are the ones that make you question how that world came to be in that state, and as they progress reveal answers in ways that actually create even deeper questions, even through several sequels. The spectator is kept on the seat of their pants wondering what will happen next, in contrast to a story that is fleshed-out too much too soon and can essentially be predicted long before you get to the end. Bungie is close to having the formula right, but maybe more problematic than not quite executing it that way is that none of it happens smoothly in-game. The fun-factor of Destiny is extremely high and the story, just like Halo, appears to be intellectually very impressively constructed. It’s just a problem of proper integration and pacing thereof for the player.

  • Major Tao

    I posted my reply to Taylor’s article on the Bungie.net Forum.

    https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/110098873/0/0

    • metalman5150

      A picture can truly be worth a thousand words.

    • Taylor Bair

      Nice read! Thanks for linking it

  • Josh

    Personally, I think that they should have gone with a Library in the Tower. You’ve been dead “a long time” so it would make sense you might want to research of the new stuff that’s happened in the time since you were corpsified. The Grimoire should have been placed there along with known events that have transpired and recorded, like the Battle of Twilight Gap. Then some Guradians could be come Librarian-Guardians and spend their time, chlling with a book.

    • Yes this so much, plus some fun animations for reading in the vault. Perhaps sitting down and opening a book or your ghost projecting the written material while you read. Something to emphasis your reading/listening to lore cause they need to add audio lore into the game too. The fan audios are awesome but in game would be great.

    • Ryan

      Yes I agree with all of this, why didn’t they ever have something like this in the first place?From my comment above you will see my mention of the gate behind where Xur is currently located in the tower,they could have had this Library,Archive whatever you want it to be called situated beyond this location.

  • Ryan

    Well in the story mode there was several mentions of the Ai named Rasputin, first in the cosmodrome in the tower, then Mars, and later the Seraphim vault, now why were they never really much part of anything else?

    And what about the Stranger?When you meet them on Venus, in the cut scene they can be seen replying to someone else’s questions and your ghost questions who they are talking too, and they reply “I was not talking to you little light” who were they talking to?

    Also what about what looks to be a closed gateway behind where Xur is currently located in the tower?Why was there never anything beyond there where guardians may currently enter?

    • panthersnbraves

      I love the Stranger, and wish we could learn more about her story…

  • suckpatrol

    To put it in the most succinct way possible… the whole dilemma Bungie created is that there’s no clear conflict, no clear tension, no clear resolution, brought to you by an unclear story. I spend most my time playing being told what to do, what to collect and kill, what repetitive inanimate object my ghost wants me to scan, with absolutely no incentive for exploring out side of hidden chests in their spawn locations. Feels like there’s no soul to this game outside of the gunplay, certain gear/raids, and social settings. Just feels f*$king hollow.

  • Kareem

    One thing that would would work for me is putting the grimoire cards in the tower in some sort of area that would have a library…Bungie could put a kickass concept art with Some visual effects (dusr, wind, water flow,..etc) and have a narrative of the card..I would definitely check that out specially that they’re very well written. Also, why not add more grimoire cards in return for completing new challenges. At least it would give me and anyone who wants more lore to EARN their treat.

  • Turncoated

    I can relate to this article on so many levels, if there’s anything that Destiny is missing its a more detailed story line. As a personal experience the only reason I log on to play destiny anymore is to complete bounties in the hope of getting an exotic bounty & to maybe do a raid or nightfall once a week to see if I get more loot to upgrade my already acquired exotic weapons. It has no longer become as immersive as it used to be and it reaches a point of stagnation too fast. I would give it up if I didn’t see the immense potential and have the hope that one day Destiny will become everything that it can possibly be….or “No Mans Sky” becomes everything Destiny is not (open universe, fp spaceship control, worlds that aren’t known to us, more interactive worlds, clearer missions, less repetitive missions, the list can go on…) aside from the crazy abilities and seemingly endless space magic.

  • Jeremiah M Wallace

    Hello my fellow Destiny family i think it suck how we play all day doing strikes and farming then we get an item that we can’t use that suck. So why is there no trading between friends that is very important to a lot of fans of this game please consider doing this to keep us die hard fans playing and just remember the game Division is on its was what are you going to do to Destiny to keep people from leaving once division hits the gaming field.

  • Kylo Ren

    The Grimoire cards were due to Joe Staten leaving the company and taking the story with him, with such short time to rebound from such a huge blow they were forced to higher a writer to create the stupid Grimoire Cards system. Who the fk wants their story to be told outside of a game on cards?!?!

  • LiL-D Da Prince

    I would like the people in the tower to say thanks for protecting us, not just welcome back… Share their stories on how they survived and why aren’t they gaurdians themselves or if my rank with one faction is higher have the others try to bring me to their side or hate me…. I really care nothing for the final city nor anyone in it and that is sad to me… The only reasons I goto the tower are bounties and xur for heavy ammo.