A friend indeed

So for a year before Destiny came out, I was super excited to play the game. I pre-ordered it the day they demoed it at the E word. When the beta came out, I sat and anxiously awaited it to finish downloading so I could jump in – especially given that I had just a short period of time to check it out. When I got into it, I was impressed right away. The game looked great – easily one of the first games of the then “next gen” games that made real use of the hardware.

But then some of the realities started to trickle in…

I got to the beta level cap pretty quickly. That was disappointing. What was worse though, was that the story was basically non-existent at the time. Just a few lines of dialogue spouted out from Peter Dinklage. But even that (which normally would be a deal breaker for me) wasn’t the reason I was so dissatisfied. No, the coffin nail was the co-op aspect. The MMOFPS part. Now, I’m not an MMO virgin. I played WoW from the vanilla beta, through basically all of the content (missing some portions here and there). What was brutal was the nightfall areas. Getting stuck with people who you’ve never met, players who aren’t matched on some kind of skill level or some other relevant statistic. Nope, it was just a random match making system. Now, I’m not going to say I’m the world’s greatest gamer – especially not at any competitive level. You won’t see me at any Esports competitions. That being said, I’d definitely consider myself “hardcore”. So, knowing that my playing the game – my ability to progress and gear my character was hinged on playing with random people whose skill levels were likely not on my level – that’s when I knew the game wasn’t for me.

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Now, no matter how impressed I was with the mechanics of Destiny – and frankly, I’ve said it many times, I think Destiny is one of the best shooters (mechanically) that I’ve ever played – I struggled with actually purchasing it. I had written it off as a game I would likely never buy, regardless of how many people tried to talk me into it. And there were many.

But during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, the Legendary edition of Destiny dropped to 50$. At that price, the DLC alone is more expensive than the game itself. I had a co-worker and friend buy the limited edition console, and I let him convince me that picking up the game was a good idea. Even at that, it took some doing to convince me.

But I bought it. I know. I know. I have a problem.

Tonight marked the first time in a while that I’ve actually played a co-op game with a friend. Now, I played the living Hell out of Diablo 3, and by its nature, I played a lot of co-op. That being said – it isn’t the same playing with familiar strangers online. This was a genuine, I know you, you know me and we can plan to do some gaming together kind of occasion.

Running through the beginning, granted – not much of a difficult section of the game – was an absolute breeze. When the beta was out, the first Nightfall area was an unadulterated nightmare. People with sniper rifles rushing the boss…Inevitably dying, and in such a place that no one can save them. Would communication have helped? Maybe. But there’s definitely something to be said for playing with people you know and you know play well.

All this to say: Playing with friends is just the best. Clearing zones, having a good time and a good laugh. Just the best. The downside to the industry now is that it seems like only about 5-10% of the games are couch co-op. That’s what I really miss. But, I’ll definitely settle for knowing that a good player and a good friend is just a button click away.

– The Ego

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