All summer long, my husband and his gamer buddies (namely, his brothers, his father, and our friend Tim) have been buzzing about Bungie’s September 6th release of Destiny 2, so I figured it was high time I jumped on the band wagon and found out what Destiny was all about. Typically, I really don’t like first person shooters (FPS), and I especially have stayed away from online games mainly because I’m afraid of looking like a noob idiot in front of strangers. So it’s needless to say that this was pretty much my first FPS since Golden Eye on N64 (which came out 20 years ago), and this was my first online game ever. Nevertheless, I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants, and played Destiny.
For those that don’t know what Destiny is, the basic premise is that you, the player, are a “Guardian,” who wields the power of the “light,” chosen to protect earth’s last safe city from various other alien species; then there were 4 other expansions that extended the story. In addition to that, you can select from 3 different classes, either a Warlock, Hunter, or Titan (each have unique fighting styles), and then from there you can also develop 3 different subclasses that offer different abilities as well. On top of all of that, when you add the various weapon and armor options, the variations really are endless. Going into the game, I thought it would be simple: just shoot the aliens and upgrade my character. However, I quickly discovered it was much more difficult than that.
Practice Makes Perfect, but Equipment Helps A Lot
The first thing I figured out was boy, did I suck. I was most certainly a noob to put all noobs to shame. It frequently took me way too long to kill a single enemy because my aim was so terrible, but when you add that on top of having to move and aim at the same time, I was even worse. Thankfully, my very first day playing, my father in law jumped online to help me out. At the end of every level, his number of kills typically quadrupled mine, but he also had the advantage of a fully leveled up and equipped character. However, with my father in law’s help, I was able to pick up some decent equipment fairly quickly. I also had summer on my time to get the hang of things before my terrible skills would ever be seen by anyone not actually related to me. And with lots and lots of practice, and a total of 180 hours of gameplay, I eventually did get better. I’m still definitely leaps and bounds below most regular players out there, but I can proudly say that I no longer royally suck.
Friends Make Online Gaming More Fun
As somebody who has no friends (that play Destiny, that is) I realized the game is a lot more fun if you have friends online to play with. Yes, the game will pair you with strangers for certain missions that require a strike team (3 players); however, as somebody joining this world basically 2 years after everyone else, I was frequently left behind in the dust. In fact, this quite literally happened to me the first strike I ever tried to play on my own. My other two teammates jumped onto their vehicles and zoomed off to where they already knew they needed to go for the mission, so I did what any noob would do: I jumped ship and refused to play anything that grouped me with strangers until I practiced with people I knew first.
Thankfully, since I didn’t have any friends of my own on Destiny, my husband’s friends so kindly took me in and let me do several raids with them. I got lucky because these guys are pretty patient with me and are happy to explain things as we go. I do still get embarrassed at times especially during jumping puzzles when the entire group is forced to wait a good 10-15 minutes while I try to figure out what I’m doing, but it’s certainly not as bad as I thought it would be. Seriously–this was the reason I had psyched myself out of playing any online games before.
But again, these guys very well might be way nicer than other online players are. I wouldn’t really know since I only play with nice people.
Stranger Danger Is Real
And then there’s stranger danger. Throughout the game, typically on patrols or in the “social spaces” (which is where you also go to pick up missions, bounties, and equipment) there are tons of other players. Most of them will leave you alone, but I have certainly been invited by strangers to join their party or strike teams. I mean, I’m sure some of these people may very well be just like me and don’t have a lot of friends online, but as a cynic, it seems more likely that they’re just predators trying to lure me into a trap. Plus, I guess nobody has ever explained the concept of tact to some of these people because I’ve received some really strange messages. Call me old fashioned and paranoid, but I don’t talk to strangers online. Aaaand now I’m wondering what would have happened to Wade Watts in Ready Player One had he been as prudish as me. But, I mean, that guy literally had no friends in real life either, so I don’t think I’m being entirely unreasonable.
Online Gaming Can Have Social Benefits
One last observation that I made is that the internet and world of online gaming can actually be a great tool for friends that are separated across the globe. I had previously been hyper-critical of people who developed basically all of their social circles online, but now I see that there may actually be some merit to the argument for hanging out online. I know that some of my husband’s friends live in Florida, Iowa, and Idaho, and yet, we all are able to hang out online, playing games together. We may not be hanging out physically in the same space, and although I’ve never met any of these guys in person, I do feel as though I’ve become friends with them to a certain extent. The same goes for my husband’s family; we have his father up in Northern california and his brother in Washington. Oh, and then there’s also me and my husband. We like to play together online a lot, except he plays in the living room, and I play in the bedroom. It’s the real quality time spent together killing aliens that builds strong relationships, right?
Overall, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed playing an online game with others more than I thought I would, especially with an FPS at that. Sure, I had a rough start, but now I know why millions of people are gaming online. As my gaming addiction grows, I may become a shut in, but I definitely see more online gaming in my future! Comment below with your favorite online games or with recommendations for what I should try next!