Free-to-play online MMO looter shooter Destiny 2, released in 2017, is one of my favorite video games. I play it all the time. I have multiple characters. I own all the recent seasons. It’s fantastic. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned for the game’s future, as with each passing season, it seems to become more prone to breaking. In fact, as I write this very paragraph at around 4:00 p.m. on January 24, the game remains offline as Bungie continues to investigate the latest problem. Meanwhile, many players are hoping for a brand-new engine and game, likely in the form of Destiny 3. But things are never that simple.
Earlier today, Destiny 2 was taken offline across all platforms as Bungie investigated players losing progress on triumphs and seals, which operate like in-game achievements and challenges. It’s not the end of the world, sure, but just last week a few players reported losing their characters along with all their progress and items. And before that, it was a new mission not updating properly for players. And before that it was something else. In 2023, after years of updates, expansions, and more, it feels like Destiny 2 is starting to buckle under its own weight.
Taking a peek at Bungie’s official support account on Twitter—which often updates frequently to let players know about upcoming patches, server issues, and other vital info about Destiny 2—you can find a lot of tweets that amount to Bungie going “Welp, this isn’t working. We are trying to fix it. More info later.” Online games not working every day isn’t new and it’s not a problem exclusive to Destiny 2. But is starting to become a more prevalent issue with the aging shooter. Looking at that support account, a lot of the tweets about bugs or broken missions don’t have weeks between them, but just a few days or less.
Anecdotally, my time playing Destiny 2 lately has been buggier than ever. This new season brought with it both cool new heist missions and weird lag that I’ve never seen before. I still run into the problem of the game not counting every PvP match, making us play more to finish challenges and weekly quests. And I’ve just accepted that in-game bounties tied to kills, missions, or other activities won’t always update as they should. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I and other players I know have just gotten used to Destiny 2 not being reliable. And it seems to be getting worse, not better, as the game expands and adds more layers and systems.
Look online and you’ll quickly see players suggesting that Bungie needs to move on to a theoretical Destiny 3, a game that likely will happen—and is maybe in development already—but which hasn’t been confirmed. During today’s extended downtime, Destiny 3 was trending on Twitter as players argued over the shooter’s future and stability. For some, the idea of a new engine and fresh slate felt promising, giving hope it would solve many of Destiny 2’s problems. Others pointed out that a brand-new game isn’t easy to make or simple to launch, and would likely be missing features or content at release. Plus, there’s no guarantee it would fix all of the emerging problems.
Personally, I think a new Destiny would likely be a good move to eventually make. It could allow the devs to make something more flexible and able to handle the type of events they’ve spent years crafting and perfecting. But I also am not naive enough to believe it would fix everything or be easy to create. Still, I get the frustration players are feeling as Destiny 2 remains consistently inconsistent.
Like an old PC or blender, Destiny 2 mostly works, but it’s covered in duct tape, dents, and dirt. And every so often you have to kick it or mess with the cord to get it to start. Sure, it still rumbles to life for now, but you’ll probably need to replace it one day. And with Destiny 2, I get the feeling Bungie will be slapping on the tape for as long as it takes for Destiny 2 to survive through the end of its planned roadmap, which will likely see the final season arriving in 2024. Past that, well, I don’t know. Hopefully by then, the game will at least feel more stable and reliable, not worse.