[~15,000 words total]
[~8,300 words for all drafts put together]
[~4,000 words for “final” draft and final thoughts (this is really all I expect anyone to read)]
So, over a year ago I raged against how terrible and stupid Variks’ dialogue is in Destiny’s Prison of Elders. And to put my money where my mouth was I said that I would write my own version of Variks’ dialogue. Then I just didn’t.
For the longest time (over a year) I didn’t feel like going through the effort. Then about a month ago I suddenly felt like accepting the challenge I had given myself. So, I wrote my own version of Variks’ Prison of Elders dialogue which is much better than what actually appears in the game, although that’s not saying much considering the originals (“Kill them dead.”)
Here’s a brief post about an interesting moment in a level of the real-time-tactical game Myth 2: Soulblighter. The level is called “Into the Breach” and it involves you trying to get your troops to infiltrate the motte-and-bailey castle of a traitorous baron who is creating an army of Thrall (essentially zombies with axes).
In what amounts to the mission briefing, the narrator mentions how in the night he and his comrades saw an army of 1,000 thrall leave the castle and march off towards a friendly village.
This bit of narrative is reflected and reiterated in a moment in the level itself.
Most games change their difficulty by making the enemies more numerous or more powerful. But, I always like it when games designers do something unique and off the beaten path. Which brings me to something that happens in at least one level in Myth 2: Soulblighter, developed by Chicago Bungie. (I know System Shock 2 did some really cool things with custom difficulty settings, but I never got to play it and I certainly can’t play it on the computer I have now.)
Myth 1 & 2 are some of the best games of their kind, of all time. No exaggeration. They were real time tactical games (no base building, no resource gathering, just armies) that were ahead of their time with 3D terrain, real physics, and weather effects. In my opinion, they were far superior to their RTS counterparts Warcraft, Total Annihiliation, and Command & Conquer due to Myth’s heavy reliance on quick thinking under extreme pressure. Friendly fire was “on” for all units and you couldn’t get new units, which forced you to be very tactical and intelligent in how you played the game.
(Gaming history sidenote: All Bungie products have acronyms on them that stand for actual phrases; fans figured them out and Bungie confirmed them. On Myth the WACCSMD stands for Warcraft and Command & Conquer, Suck My Dick; and on Myth 2 the TATRTSTS stands for Total Annihilation True Real Time Strategy Totally Sucks. HA HA! Game developers had real spirit back then. Can you imagine modern Washington Bungie doing something like that? No way, it wouldn’t be PR friendly.)
ANYWAY, let’s get back to talking about game difficulty.
There is very little backstory for the Cabal, and what’s there is vague. I’ve looked at pretty much every piece of concept art online and in the book “The Art Of Destiny”. I’ve read every grimoire card. I’ve read almost all the flavor texts for items and weapons and armor.
I’ve found very little, or a lot, depending on how you look at it.
This post is a critique and criticism of the Variks dialogue we saw in Bungie’s Twitch reveal of the Prison of Elders.
Note, this is a rage post. I throw down some opinions here. In some parts am I overreacting? Probably! And I’m okay with that! It’s healthy to rage every now and then.
Also, I intend to make a second post in the future where I put my money where my mouth is and rewrite Variks’ dialogue myself.
So, I recently saw the Prison of Elders reveal on Bungie’s twitch. You can find recordings of it all over youtube if you haven’t seen it already.
As I watched, a realization slowly began to dawn on me: Variks’ dialogue is the most moronic, imbecilic, talentless, pointless, worthless, vacuous, idiotic crap that I’ve ever heard, seen, or read.
A while ago I delved into the Lore behind the Hive, fueled by revelations found in old concept art. I decided to give a similar treatment to the Vex, although I use mostly grimoire cards and item flavor text to figure out what’s really going on with the Vex.
Check out Part 1, where I look at visuals, level design, enemy design, etc.; Part 2: where I look at things like story, weapons, and whether it’s worth buying; and Part 3, where I talk about how things were named in Destiny
I made a reddit post about this that is a little more succinct, but doesn’t cover all the same topics.
I believe that the overarching narrative of Destiny is actually an inverted, or reversed, retelling of the story in Pathways into Darkness, one of Bungie’s very first games. Basically, I think that Destiny is the PiD story told from the perspective of the monsters in PiD, and that the heroes in Pathways into Darkness are the villains in Destiny.
If this is true, then this let’s us make some predictions about the future of Destiny’s overarching story, although not about its gameplay or anything like that.