In months leading up to Destiny 2, my only time with Destiny itself was spent with a friend whom I convinced to buy both an Xbox and the original Destiny just so we could play together and prep for Destiny 2. As I drifted off towards other games, predominantly Dark Souls, I found my hype for Destiny 2 dwindling considerably. Would I be as excited when it came out as I was when it was announced? I didn’t think so for a long time.
And then, while running through the story missions with that friend, something happened that reminded me what Destiny has always been about.
We had just started the final story mission of the House of Wolves storyline and spawned in on Venus to go after the Kell of Kells. The moment I loaded in, though, I saw at the bottom of my screen ‘The Vex have taken control of a sync plate’. ‘Holy shit,’ I thought, ‘I can tell this guy about VoG.’ Aloud, I said, ‘Dude, follow me.’
It turned out that a full fireteam wasn’t heading into the Vault, it was just two people – one Titan, one Warlock. They were getting overwhelmed so my friend and I hunkered down on the left plate and held it while they took care of the other two. It took a while, but the gate to the Vault finally opened and, in the meanwhile, I was busy narrating the story of the Vault – both within the game and outside of it – to someone who didn’t realise how much lore Destiny has until I introduced him to the grimoire cards and began to point out connections between different things.
When the spire finally formed, both the Titan and the Warlock came over to the left plate. We waved at each other, danced for a bit, and then we went our separate ways – them into the Vault, towards the Conflux of Time itself, and us to Skolas. We brought down the Kell of Kells and I hope they showed Atheon the business end of a Gjallarhorn.
But it was that moment of intersecting stories that really stuck with me. Destiny is at its best when it gives us, its players, the opportunity to create stories together. I’ve had the privilege of playing games with a kid from France who stuck it out through a 2v1 of doubles when his partner rage quit on him; an American soldier in Kuwait, who was running strikes during his time off in the barracks; a bunch of extremely cheerful gentlemen from the Middle East who were playing Archon’s forge for the first time and were thoroughly excited about every new legendary that dropped; a group of chaps who were all doing King’s Fall hard mode for the first time before ROI for the book achievement – that was a 9 hour raid which we never finished because we were too tired after too many attempts at Oryx, but it was still the best raid I’ve ever played.
I even have stories around my loot. I accepted a random invite from a blueberry on the Dreadnaught a week or two ago and we ran the Nightfall – Bond Brothers, if memory serves – in complete silence, throwing ourselves that those enormous ugly contest winners until we finally beat them down. I got a 400 Twilight Garrison off of that and, although I almost never use Garrison, it’s in my inventory still. The first Nightfall I did with my friend gave me Universal Remote which, again, I’ll never use, but I keep for the memory of the five million times we died to Hive Boomers because Arc burn was in rotation.
I have dozens and dozens of stories like this. Of people I’ve met, briefly, and made memories with simply by doing something that we have a shared love and affection for. Destiny is the only game I’ve played that’s given me this and it’s the memories that I will carry forward with me long after Destiny’s servers close down for good.
What I’m going to miss about my loot from Destiny 1 isn’t just using it – I’m going to miss the story of how I got it, because that’s worth infinitely more to me than anything else in the game. And this is also what I’m looking forward to in Destiny 2. New stories, perhaps with some of you reading this. New memories, as amazing and as fond as the ones I’m taking away from Destiny 1.
Because that is what Destiny means to me – it means memories and stories that happen entirely at random, entirely by chance, and most certainly couldn’t happen anywhere else.
I like to think that those two Guardians making their way into the Vault, after killing Atheon, will one day look back at that time and say, ‘Hey, I wonder what happened to those two guys who helped us open the door.’ And that is the greatest achievement of Destiny – the best stories of this game are the ones that we have made for ourselves.