Destiny, the Game

can be a cruel, exploitative game. It is deliberately unsurprising in so many ways, yet brilliantly bold in others. It’s usually a lot of fun, except when it aggressively isn’t. One can’t stop playing. Destiny is an always-online first-person shooter from Bungie, the studio that created Halo. It’s set in our solar system, in the future, and puts you in the role of an anonymous Guardian, one of thousands of recently unfrozen action heroes. As you run around in the game, you’ll see lots of other identical Guardians going about similar tasks, each one controlled by a player like you. Well it has already gained popularity. There are always other people around. There’s always shooting in the distance. There are a number of heroes and you are one of them.

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All that shooting is glued onto a character-leveling structure a la World of War craft. As you play, the game provides regular drips of experience points, which allow you to level up, which in turn grant you new powers and the ability to access more powerful weapons. All you need to do is to shoot enemies, get XP, and level up. Shoot more enemies, get more XP, and level up again. Once you hit level 20, you go and shoot enemies, get new gear, and use that gear to level up. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

However, to play Destiny is to willingly give you over to a machine, a machine terrifying in the slickness of its construction and the single-mindedness of its purpose. You may find yourself hating this game as much as you like it, and unable to stop playing nonetheless. Destiny coaxes players into a carefully-wrought network of rewards, roadblocks, checks, and balances, pushing them ever onward into more challenging arenas while slowly rewarding patience with experience points, new abilities, and new weapons.

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Here’s how the Loot Cave works, the cave itself is located in one of the game’s sizable open levels. You stand outside and shoot the enemies that come out of it. If you kill all the enemies before they can leave, the game spawns more of them, creating an essentially unbroken stream of cannon fodder for you. Since every enemy killed has a chance of dropping some sort of weapon or armor, in about a half an hour the cave will be covered in gleaming rewards. Word of the Loot Cave spread fast, and if you visited the cave any time last weekend, you’d find a bunch of players sitting out there, mindlessly slaughtering the aliens inside it. The Loot Cave is what’s known as an exploit, a trick the game’s developers didn’t anticipate that allows players to bypass the game’s carefully-scaffold progression system and earn experience points and gear faster than the developers intended. That so many players would so eagerly latch onto an exploit like Destiny’s Loot Cave only makes sense, given the game in question. Destiny itself is brazenly, almost inhumanly exploitative, so it’s only natural that players would take every opportunity to exploit it right back. Destiny has exceptionally strong fundamentals..

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