Stranger Than Fiction: Xur’s Nemesis

 Published on: Mar 28, 2015 @ 19:11

This week the PlanetDestiny staff was bombarded by a few notable tidbits in the news, and though they don’t quite merit a full-fledged article, we thought it would be interesting to have a look at a few that are stranger than fiction.

And no, these aren’t just things dealing with Bungie’s new vault space update on the way (though that slips in there) or our feature in Bungie’s Community Spotlight (which we owe to all of you).

Nope, those don’t even hit on the craziest things we’ve seen. Like, who on earth broke our dearest Xur? How did one of the largest Destiny clans save an entire family? And what are the PS3/360 versions of Destiny giving up to get what the rest of us take for granted?

We bring you the most notable news below with some interesting links to further reading.

Xur’s Evil Twin

Like a thief in the night, most of us probably never even realized the drama that’s been boiling over Xur. His inventory has been leaked in the past by megamanexe4 and maimonguy, and Bungie apparently isn’t very happy about it.

So unhappy in fact that they fired Xur. Yep, that’s right, they gave our sweet tentacle-faced freak an unpaid vacation for the indefinite future.

How can we tell? Through that magical trudge of code and cryptic information we call data-mining. Data-mining is the process of looking into large databases of information to try and decipher some pattern that can tell us what Xur is programmed to sell on any given week. These Reddit users have been successful at finding out his secret inventory, until now.

xur nemesis

It appears Bungie has begun employed a ‘second’ Xur, according to megamanexe4, that they can alter on the fly, without need of a patch. This essentially means that on any given week, Xur’s inventory could be anything but random.

It’s a classic shell-game, but one with a different moral dilemma. Can we be upset when someone takes away what we weren’t supposed to know we had? I leave answering that to you all.

Further Reading: Kotaku’s piece delving into the events.

Destiny Dads to the Rescue

And then there’s a heartwarming tale of a member of one of Destiny’s largest clans, Dads of Destiny, and how they rescued his family from a proverbial Hellmouth. Kotaku UK reported that Joshua McClain lost his job in November of last year while his wife was only a month away from giving birth.

Add to this the astronomical cost of pregnancy, and it’s no surprise the McClains were severely strapped for cash come January, when they were forced to move into Joshua’s parent’s house in another state.

One night, with his newborn son beside him, Joshua broke down from a sense of hopelessness and reached out to his clan members. He set up a fundraising account on the Internet and the Dads of Destiny donated over $1000 and sent care packages of diapers, formula, and the necessities to take care of the McClain newborn.

And that’s the beauty of Dads of Destiny. They’re a clan united by common concerns with common goals: to raise healthy, happy families and enjoy the company of other Destiny players in what can often be a hectic lifestyle where casual play is often the name of the game.

And speaking of casual players, they’re more prevalent than we think according to the next article.

A Dying Breed

Game developers often complain about the woeful completion statistics of games they make, but a recent Forbes article delved a bit deeper into those trophy statistics for Destiny to discover that Hardcore players are perhaps even rarer than we once imagined.

Based on PS4 stats, only 16.9% of players have maxed out a Warlock or Hunter subclass, and even fewer have maxed out a Titan. That means over 50% of the millions of active players have never maxed a single character subclass.

Add to this the fact that less than 20% of players have ever completed a raid, largely considered the best post-level-20 content available, and author Paul Tassi points the finger of blame at what he calls “The Gulf.”

Once players reach level 20, they are essentially thrown into a gap of content, which makes leveling a pain most players simply aren’t willing to stick with. If this is the true cause of such poor end-game completion stats (and let’s be real here, some people just pop in a friend’s copy to test it out – never touching the thing again) then Bungie has their work cut out for them to improve the mid-game experience.

Special thanks to Reddit user btg7471 for compiling the stats:

  • 31.1% have equipped a piece of exotic gear.
  • 23.8% have worn legendary/exotic armor in every slot.
  • 24.2% have earned max vanguard marks in a week, while just 16% have maxed their crucible marks in a week.
  • 23.1% have reached rank 3 with the vanguard.
  • 19.2% have completed a raid.
  • 16.9% have maxed out a warlock or hunter subclass, and just 15.2% have maxed out a titan subclass.

… And speaking of the game experience, it appears older console users will have to make do with less when the next update hits.

Downgrade Your Upgrade

As we saw in Bungie’s announcement of increased vault space, sometimes compromises must be made.

For PS3 and Xbox 360 users, in order to gain more vault space, something else has to get thrown out the window. Namely, comparing gear from the equipment screen. Yep, to get those extra spaces for guns and gear, we’ve got to give up the ability to see stats at a glance before switching out those helmets and chest pieces.

Why? Well it apparently comes down to memory limitations. In order to use memory for increased vault space, it has to come from somewhere else on the PS3 and 360, which unfortunately means something else has to go.

old console holding destiny

Bungie also briefly talked about hardware limitations in a Ride Along, in which they mentioned that more ambient life such as animals weren’t included because of hardware restrictions.

It brings an old question to the fore again: how does developing for two generations of hardware affect the product on offer?

We’re curious to see what this means for Destiny 2, whether Bungie will decide to support the old systems when that game inevitably hits store shelves.

What do you think – good business sense to maintain support for older consoles, or better sense to focus on a single user experience? Let us know in the comments!

Senior Designer Leaving

Finally, it looks like Bungie will be losing Josh Hamrick, a senior gameplay designer. He took to Twitter to announce that he was joining Bethesda in the future.

Power to the People

Do you know of any other stories of how Destiny has broken the boundaries of a video game? Shoot us an email, comment, or tweet at us because we’re always interested in the ways a piece of fiction becomes non-fiction, affecting us in strange and fascinating ways.

And who knows, it might even be featured in the next “Stranger Than Fiction” article!

But in the mean time, we’ll keep descending into that pit we call the Internet for things that are interesting and finding the best of the best so we can bring them to you.

If you stumble upon your own while traversing the arid plains of Mars or those verdant hills of Venus, please let us know.

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.