By: Anton Mac
Let’s be honest. Destiny has barely any story to it yet there’s so much that Bungie can dive into; like the eternal combat between the Light and the Darkness, how the guardians came to be, or even just the backstory of the plucky Cayde-6.
There’s so much potential story content that isn’t touched, that it has pushed away many players after they’ve invested the bare minimum number of hours to get their moneys worth, but what about those who are still playing. 3 years later and the game is still going strong, with thousands of players currently logged on in their quest of loot, headshots, and triumph. Why? While I can only really speak for myself, Anton Mac, I truly believe the answer lies in the emergent narrative that Bungie has intentionally or (more likely) unintentionally created.
What is emergent narrative? Emergent narratives are stories that are not authored by a single/multiple people, they are stories that emerge from the interaction between players and the systems that govern gameplay.
This is exactly what Destiny has done for me. After investing over 3 years / 1000+ hours into this game I can honestly say that this is the best 7/10 I’ve ever played if only for the war stories I hold dear. Ask anyone who has played the game for countless of hours. Those tales would consist of many different things, including but not exclusive to: friendship, rage, & triumph. Mine is no different. It involves a rag tag team of raiders, we call ourselves Ninja With Attitude (we couldn’t get “Ninja’s With Attitude”).
This team included 4 Titans, 1 Warlock, and 1 Hunter (myself). The story takes place during the launch week of the 3rd raid called King’s Fall. With my team being experienced raiders at this point in our Destiny careers, we figured that we would go into this new challenge blind. No guides, no videos, no help. After about 2 hours of coordination between solving problems, defeating a boss, and an extremely annoying jumping puzzle (looking at you Joeinferno), we’ve finally made it to another boss, named Golgoroth. Golgoroth is a large ogre like being with a somewhat complicated sequence in order to defeat it.
Long story short, when the opportunity arises, a single guardian has to capture the monster aggro while the rest of the team shoot one of 6 orbs to produce a buff that allows the team to do maximum damage, rinse and repeat. Took a while for the team to figure that out, but we did, only to continually screw up. Two hours, just short of 100 team wipes, and a few cans of energy drinks later and we are still not any closer to defeating the beast. We take a short 5 minute break, then get right back into the action.
Things are going great, or so we thought…
There is a mechanic in the game called Enrage. This means that a timer has started and if the boss is not defeated then it is an automatic team wipe. This is exactly what happens, Golgoroth becomes enraged. We start freaking out because the boss has a small sliver of health left. All of our planning up to this point has gone out the window. Everyone continues attacking as we do not have enough time to get a new team buff. As the hidden enrage timer is counting down, we start to realize the edges of our screens are turning black, closing into the middle. As this happens I yell out in panic, “throw everything you got at it!” Everyone does just that. Whitesican (my L.A. homie) is blindly shooting his sniper, my girlfriend (Aniica) & brother from another mother (Joeinferno) use their supers, and myself along with good friend and RPG master Villainousvoxx are quickly running out of ammo and using whatever we can get our hands on. Our hearts are pumping, shouting at the top of our lungs late in the night hoping that this is it.
The screen is almost fully black and the team becomes silent at our perceived defeat until…
A pained scream from Golgoroth fills our heaphones. We shout triumphantly! We finally did it. Golgoroth the Ugly is defeated.
Here’s the video of us defeating Golgoroth (unfortunately voice chat was not included)
To this day, when people ask why I continue playing this game, I recount this exact story. Destiny for me has become more than just a shooter, it has become about the story of the human hunter OMGitsAnton, and his journey with his friends throughout this (not so vast) universe.
Speaking with many people about this topic, some say they’ve had similar experience with other titles such as Last of Us, Pokemon, World of Warcraft and many more. What about you? Can you think of a game that has given you such an immersive and emergent narrative as Destiny has for me?