Destiny is one of those rare games that I find it difficult to get out of. On any given weekend, unless I have a review lined up, I’m usually playing Destiny. Sometimes, even when I have a review lined up, I’m playing Destiny anyway.
This story – and the others that will follow it – is why.
Every Friday evening, and whenever I’m home early on weekdays, I log on to The100.io looking for games. For the most part, I’ll jump in wherever I think I might be able to hold my own and actually be of some use. Which is why you won’t see me on Trials of Osiris or Iron Banner. It’s only if I have a very particular itch that needs scratching, that you will see me running straight into someone else’s bullets in the Crucible.
On this particular occasion, I knew more or less what I was looking for. I needed to complete a Nightfall as part of a quest, and I was looking for someone who was willing to have me tag along on theirs.
Unusually, I found NotYet4 – who was kind enough to let me name him by gamertag in this article – whose game no one had signed up for yet. This is unusual only because I haven’t seen a whole lot of empty Nightfalls. Whenever I’ve checked, almost consistently, raid and Nightfall requests are full up.
Excellent, I thought. And promptly joined.
But, as is my custom when I join a game, I issued a warning. I haven’t done any of the raids (my first time through Vault of Glass was in the week of February 1, 2016) and it was my first Nightfall. So when I’m doing something for the first time, I’ll tell the person whose game I’m joining before the game actually starts.
The subtext is fairly simple – I might die. A lot.
So far, amazingly, no one’s objected. NotYet4 didn’t object either. And, when I told him it was my first Nightfall, he said only ‘Good’.
I promptly began to overanalyse. Was it an eye-rolling ‘Great, I’m saddled with an idiot’ sort of good? But fortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of time for me to think about it – in a very short time after the message, I was invited to the Nightfall. And two, very pleasant gentlemen introduced themselves.
(I didn’t get the second name, unfortunately – if you’re reading this and you know what I’m talking about, drop me a message, will you?)
It was pleasant, friendly chatter. NotYet4, in particular, was actually excited – excited! – by the fact that this was my first Nightfall. ‘You never forget your first Nightfall’ he said, sagely and with very good cheer. Then both proceeded to tell me about their first Nightfalls, and it was good fun all around. But his words stuck with me.
‘You never forget your first Nightfall.’
I’m happy to report that he was right. We ran an uber-tough version of a Strike that I’m actually quite familiar with – Cerberus Vae III, to kill Valus Ta’aurc – which was a relief.
I had my ‘moment’ when both of my companions died, in the area where we had to take out three of Ta’aurc’s four lieutenants. Over the headphones, they told me where they were. One was up a ramp, near the tower entrance. I ran up, under fire, and brought him back. The second was trickier because enemies had spawned everywhere and I was essentially soaking up gunfire. Mere seconds before he was back up, I got taken down.
“Crap,” someone said over the headphones.
“Don’t worry, I got this,” I said – but I had somehow muted my mic, so this line was entirely wasted.
You see, I was running a Sunsinger Warlock for this exact reason. And my super was full. With a press of a couple of buttons, like a phoenix from the goddamn ashes of my own corpse I resurrected myself and promptly brought our other companion back.
“Wow,” I heard over the speakers. “Not bad for your first Nightfall.”
“Yeah, that was really good.”
And then both promptly thanked me for bringing them back.
At this point, I was grinning like a maniac.
It honestly didn’t feel like I had done something significant. Support is a playstyle I enjoy, and it’s a role that I’ve been unconsciously filling in Destiny. Keeping an eye on teammates when I can, flanking enemies and assisting on kills, reviving as much as possible, using a Sunsinger build that buffs the team when I drop my super – that sort of thing.
But it felt incredible to be acknowledged for it – for something as simple as a revive.
A few moments later, I went down and was revived as soon as the timer allowed it. “Thank you,” I said. A cheery, “You’re very welcome,” came swiftly back.
We continued on, faced Valus Ta’aurc and brought that hulk of a monster down. I got a legendary drop, and my first pair of 300+ light equipment – 310 Bindcaster gauntlets. NotYet4 was pleased with my loot, too; noticing and commenting on it. When time came for us to end the game, thanks were passed around and everyone agreed that it had turned out to be a pretty good game.
And it was, it really was. The loot was good, sure, bringing down Ta’aurc again was fun, but neither of those reasons are why I’ll never forget my first Nightfall. For me, it’s simply that the company was outstanding.
NotYet4 and the other excellent dude weren’t just good at the game, they were good people. A genuine pleasure to play with, happy to be able to share their experience with someone new, and able to – by the mere fact of their presence and good attitude – make the experience of Destiny significantly better.
It’s because of people like them that I’ve been enjoying Destiny so much over the last few months. Because, most remarkable of all – in my experience, at any rate – is that people like NotYet4 are the rule in Destiny, rather than the exception.
And the sense of team is positively overwhelming. Even when paired with strangers – sometimes especially then because there’s rarely any chat. It’s just people who know the Strike, doing what needs to be done, watching each other’s backs. And its the sense of teamwork and unity of purpose that keeps me coming back to Destiny, for Strike after Strike, day after day, week after week.
I recently went through Vault of Glass for the first time, have played the Heroic strikes a bunch of times, went through Prison of Elders once and through it all, I’ve never ceased to be amazed at how friendly, how welcoming, how all round nice everyone in Destiny is.
(For the record, I logged back onto The100 a day later and found out that NotYet4 had found me on the site and given me karma. I now have one full karma point to my name, which is an enormous step up from zero, really.)
For years – fifteen to twenty, in total; the entirety of my time as a gamer – I haven’t bothered with multiplayer. I had epic storylines in single-player games, what did I need other people for? All I knew of multiplayer was the deathmatch, and everything that UT and Quake had to offer. None of the MMOs World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Neverwinter, and what not really caught my eye. What, I used to ask myself, is the appeal of multiplayer, and of playing with other people?
After Destiny, I understand. After Destiny, I’m not just playing stories written by other people. Now, I’m creating stories of my own. And it’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to play with the right people. With good people. Who, simply by being there, make the game better.
So if you’re playing Destiny on the Xbox One, look for onebesottedfrog. If you find me, come say hi. And then, let’s go make some stories together.
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