Dear Actvision,

You’re making it so tough to like you recently. I’m speaking about the fact that Destiny’s first DLC pack (The Dark Below) is confirmed as already being present on the disc whilst the second entry House of Wolves is rumoured also, at least in part, likely to be on there too.

You may well get the feeling after my Bored of Duty article that I am picking on you. Let me say this. I am not. It is only as was once a defender and fan of you that inspires me to write this, that and I read too many comics and have an inflated sense of social justice. Basically I’m not so much angry but disappointed. Plus I’m now skint.

I know you’re unlikely to read this and even less likely to care, but I shall try to speak plainly and get across what I want to say as carefully as possible .

It wouldn’t be half as galling if Destiny was worth £50 in the first place.

Firstly, I know Bungie made the game but it seems obvious to most that you, as the publisher and de-facto boss of Bungie determine the pricing for the DLC. Plus track record from Bungie’s previous work seems to suggest they were perhaps more inclined to generosity than you seem to be. So for now they are left out of it.

Destiny was cleverly built upon the premise of DLC milking

Destiny was cleverly built upon the premise of DLC milking

The pricing of Destiny and its DLC is all wrong. To those who bought Destiny full price, that is a £50 investment into your product. Regardless of what you might think, fifty pounds isn’t pocket change. Whilst you and the shareholders probably use the big 50 spot red notes for lighting enormous cigars or for wiping your behind on your puma shaped, gilded gold toilet, to some of us that’s still a lot of money and will have lost you a great many sales.

It wouldn’t be half as galling if Destiny was worth £50 in the first place. Objectively speaking and in comparison with other similar games, its lighter on content than Posh Spices lunchtime quinoa salad. For instance, when you look at open world games like Skyrim, Borderlands 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, its frankly laughable what a paltry amount of actual hard product you are offering.

Oh and padding out the content with daily raids which are basically the same level with a different boss, or same boss in a different (yet pre-existing) environment isn’t new content, its filler…like an ice cream sundae full of rancid squirty cream to add volume and give the illusion of value.

Destiny already contains more grinding than a stripper with chronic worms. The structure of the ranking system (which works reasonably well until level 20), is just so unnecessarily elaborate, like you and Bungie couldn’t decide between which ranking system you wanted…. so went with both. Like trying to staple a cat and dog together and expecting it will make a fully functional animal.

Grind memeThe DLC fares even worse. The Dark Below’s list of contents reads like a children’s short story about a lost mouse…. written in crayon on a crumpled fag packet. The fact that the DLC exists on the disc and uses most of the existing assets is pretty much inexcusable. This is the sort of behaviour which gets people talking about you when you aren’t looking, as Capcom found out using this tactic repeatedly. Is this the sort of reputation that you want for yourself?
You don’t get the plumber who fits your bathroom saying you can’t use the hot tap till you send him another cheque do you?

The Dark Below’s list of content reads like a children’s short story about a lost mouse…. written in crayon on a crumpled fag packet.

Peter Dinklage GhostIf the second DLC rumour comes to pass, then you will have likely lost a customer, sorry. Twenty quid per pack or the ‘bargain’ price of £35 for both isn’t cheap for basically a handful of missions. With this creeping and slightly disingenuous greed, you are starting to come across like the very same darkness that the incredibly bored sounding Bill Nighy and Peter Dinkalge are fighting, which is rather blackly comic if you think about.

If you look at the oft-compared Borderlands 2 DLC, the main packs themselves were not only great value but high on brand new content and the micro-DLC (Head hunters packs) which used the existing maps cost less than £3 each. Destiny on other hand is peddling old carbon-nano rope for big prices. For shame.

Borderlands 2's content to price ratio puts Destiny to shame

Borderlands 2’s content to price ratio puts Destiny to shame

I know you have shareholders and quarterly profit statements to satisfy but the customer shouldn’t be treated like a bottomless well of cash to exploit, they should be treated like supporters, as they are the ones that pass on the word of mouth, fill the coffers and make you successful.

People who buy your game are buying into your ideas and when you charge them 20 pounds for content that they already own (but can’t yet unlock), worth maybe a quarter of that you make a mockery of this relationship.

We are all aware of the commercial pressures you are under and to an extent how DLC makes up for losses from pre-owned or non-DLC buyers’ market or how successful games fund less successful and more critically beloved titles, etc. However, the gamer who buys this DLC shouldn’t have to subsidise Destiny for everyone else. As I said before (RE CoD), make the DLC reasonably priced and you may find that it actually sells more anyway.

With this creeping and slightly disingenuous greed, you are starting to come across like the very same darkness that the incredibly bored sounding Bill Nighy and Peter Dinkalge are fighting, which is rather blackly comic if you think about.

This place probably has more gaming content than The Dark Below...probably

This place probably has more gaming content than The Dark Below…probably

You should also be careful for your own sake. Destiny is not a perfect game. There are many admirable and fine things about it but some things don’t work that well (see leveling-up listed above) and now is the time you need to strike while the iron is hot and get people on board. If you price your gamers out of a MMO now, Destiny may struggle long term.

So here is my naïve but heartfelt plea. Actvision, please charge less for the DLC and actually try creating some significant new content next time. Alternatively, make the DLC worth the money, we are talking brand new planets, aesthetics and enemies and at least 10 hours’ worth of content.

You may find that what you give, you receive back many times over.

Yours sincerely,

The Marb

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Ed F

I am a keen amateur gamer who has always found himself slightly behind the times. My interest in gaming piqued with jealous looks at my friends copy of Duck Hunt on the NES all the way back in the early 90’s. Since then I graduated to a Sega Mega Drive of my own, a late 90s obsession with PlayStation One and then an ill-advised GameCube phase in the early noughties. Since my relatively late introduction to the Xbox360 in early 2009, I have being playing catch up. Among my other interests are comics, movies and boring my wife to death with talk of ‘cinematic tropes’ and ‘narrative arcs’. I am currently gorging myself on the next gen whilst keeping one foot in the previous one.

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7 Responses

  1. age says:

    Niche construction, social cognition, and language …

  2. Flash says:

    Agree 100% – received Destiny as a gift – what an obivous milking scheme. Don’t play it anymore and haven’t bought a single DLC pack… Leet this horrible disappointment die!

  3. someone says:

    I’d like to “like” Activision’s response because it is amusing.

    I don’t play Destiny anymore. It’s the definition of a time sink. I own games with REAL stories that are unfinished. If Destiny stays on its current path, I will likely not be taking part in the ten-year waste-your-life-to-get-digital-bs-goodies charade. More people should complain. The game is so much less approachable to the casual gamer than Halo it’s beyond laughable – just sad. Good luck!

  4. click bait says:

    No one is listening to your bitching. There’s no need for me to say STFU.

  5. Activision says:

    Hello Marb,

    First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to write a letter with your concerns to us.

    Let me just start by correcting a number of misconceptions.

    First, we no longer smoke cigars. We smoke e-cigars. Much healthier and means we can spend the money that we’d otherwise burn on hookers and blow.

    Secondly, I’m sure you will agree that if you want top quality, you got to pay top dollar. And our hookers aren’t cheap.

    Finally, the money you spend on the destiny dlc goes to a worthy cause. That’s right. Hookers. Better that they chow down on our beef than be forced to have to touch a poor persons meat.

    With that in mind, we are pleased to announce 7 dlcs – each of which will provide 1 piece of armor for a class you haven’t got and a reskinning of a number weapons and enemies. We’ll probably throw in a few new rooms here and there within the strikes. There won’t be anything to do in these rooms, but we’ll add them.

    To get round the issue of the investment required, rather than reducing the price, we’ll be offering repayment plans. That’s right you can get all the dlcs for a low, low price of £15 a month.

    Bungie, our bitch, have agreed it’s a great deal, because we told them to say so.

    No need to thank us. We only have the gamers well being in mind.

    Thanks again for writing and from all of us at Activision – fuck you!

    • G. Lehri says:

      Lmao! Okay who did this?!

    • The Marb says:

      Dear Actimel

      Thanks for your response.

      Never had you down as Vapers, you learn something new every day eh?

      The rest of this new strategy makes perfect sense and seems to be where things are headed. Perhaps you could try micro-transactions, within micro-transactions, with an added layer of micro-transactions to unlock those transactions?. A bit like the dream layers of Inception, with the gamers sat in limbo, greying away like an aged whippet until they go mad from the complexity of it all and move over to Battlefield instead.

      Love and hugs Marb x

      P.s Given how awesome that idea is…Can i have a job? Id love to sit on a yacht with all your hookers and vape till my lungs turned inside out.

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