Since Destiny came out it had the inevitable comparisons to Halo. This makes sense in a way because some people see Bungie and immediately assume they were going for Halo 2.0. I don’t think this is a fair comparison though, since Borderlands is probably the more similar game.
It’s a game people aren’t quiet sure how to classify, and that’s fine. Bungie tried making something different that’s a little bit like multiple games. It’s something brand new and what I can only assume is the start of a new franchise.
Sticking with the Borderlands comparison, the biggest difference between the two, and probably the most welcome for me, is you get far less loot in Destiny. That’s not to say the loot is any worse than what you find in Borderlands, you just get a much lower number of items compared to its brighter distant cousin.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Borderlands 2. I thought it was a massive improvement over the first one, which I admittedly couldn’t get into. Borderlands 2 was funny as hell, played really great solo and with a group, and had one of the best villains in recent memory. But the biggest problem I had was there was too much loot.
This sounds odd, since that’s half the point of the game (“shoot and loot”). But after a while you get sick of sifting through the 6 items that just flew out of a trash can. Sure you could ignore it, but your brain keeps telling you to check it out, see if there’s an upgrade in that pile.
Penny Arcade even made a comic about the loot amount, with Gabe referring to the game becoming an “arrow comparison simulator”, referring to the green and red arrows showing increases or decreases in stats, respectively. This is how I started to feel too not too far into the game.
I felt like this started to break up the flow of the game. Instead of running from one firefight to the next, you often spent the next 5 minutes attempting to figure out if a weapon was actually an upgrade or not after you blasted everything. This wasn’t every time, but enough to be noticable.
Destiny does this differently. You typically gain loot at the end of each mission, or occasionally during battle after killing something. You have a chance to get loot when finishing a PvP match as well. The stats are simplified as well, which removes the “arrow comparison simulator” entirely. Weapons have Attack Ratings and armor has Defense Ratings, nice and simple. Each weapon has its own rate of fire, recoil, and all the expected characteristics, but you’re able to identify what is an upgrade at a quick glance, rather than needing to analyze 5 different stats with varying increases and decreases.
With most of the gear business being handled outside missions and PvP matches, the flow of the game remains uninterrupted. One of the bigger things I like about Diablo 3’s latest additions is loot doesn’t drop from anything except the final boss in Greater Rifts. You blast your way through things without having to stop and grab everything, taking care of it at the end as a final reward.
So what’s the point with all this? Quality over quantity I suppose. More is not necessarily better in cases like this. We’ll just have to see if Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel decides to change things up or keep its loot as is. Either way I’ll be grabbing it on whatever Steam sale hits first after its release.
9/16/2014 UPDATE: After playing with Destiny a bit more the Halo comparisons are accurate, but not quite the way many people were using them. The PvP is very reminiscent of Halo, in a good way, and just makes for a total mish-mash of Borderlands, Halo, Mass Effect, and a little bit of Diablo. Still enjoying it though.