The current New Light experience actually caused me to feel ashamed on Bungie’s behalf

That's a wild statement that I should probably lend some explanation towards, yes?

So I have a friend, this is a friend that I used to play a lot of video games with in our youth. We stay connected and try and find time to play some stuff together where we can, which is relatively rare given how adult life tends to go. The last few times I met up with this friend, I urged him to join me and his brother playing Destiny, telling stories of the things we'd gotten up to together, the raids I've ran, the story and how it unfolds, the upcoming expansion, and mostly the legacy of the developers.

See, this friend loved Halo. He knew the name 'Bungie', and that was the part of my sales pitch that convinced him really. Because he knew Bungie put out good games that he's never failed to enjoy. So, he downloads the game the other day and last night we got to play together. He excitedly made a Hunter, jumped into the game, enjoyed Bill Nighy's voiceover giving a rough overview of the travelers arrival. Got his Khvostov, fought his way through, reached Shaw Han, and I was able to join him.

His fun pretty much ended there, as he was bombarded with unexplained concept after unexplained concept, jargon after jargon, obscure UI element after obscure UI element. The wrong things were tutorialized – he didn't appreciate being told how to jump half an hour in, or being forced into fast travelling with the screen yelling at him if he didn't, while he still hadn't even been told what a fucking Fallen was.

My role eventually became just… answering questions. Obvious questions. Like why he should care about power level, what an artifact is, how seasons work, how bounties work, how quests are different to bounties, what he's even supposed to be doing. But that's alright Bungie, do continue to educate him on how to pull his ghost out for the fourth time. I realized I was basically doing the job of an actual tutorial, all the while hearing the joy and excitement drain out of my friends voice.

And you know what? I began to feel like a dickhead for hyping this man up about something that he was presently utterly unable to find any fun in. I, felt genuinely fucking embarassed, because of how piss poor of a job the New Light experience does at giving brand new players a reason to give a damn about what they're doing. I felt like I'd been selling him a bridge. He only even reached the Tower because he could tell how genuinely frustrated me and his brother was about the experience he was having, frustrated because it completely doesn't reflect the experience that we have, and therefore the experience we were telling him about. The sheer power of our disappointment in New Light was enough of an indicator of the actual state of the game that he got through.

I'm not a game dev, I don't have any suggestions as to how to fix it that aren't just hyperbolic and useless like "make it less ass", but the current state of New Light really isn't it. For every player you suck in, Bungie, I feel guaranteed that you alienate three more. You'd have alienated another if it weren't for me having to do the job of making the game seem attractive for you.

Has anybody else had an experience like this? Am I overreacting? What can Bungie potentially do, in your opinions, to help improve this?


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