So, I got Destiny 2 in the end. For various reasons, but mostly because I’m weak, and because everybody seems to be banging on about it and, actually, I’d quite like to be a part of that, thankyouverymuch. Now I’m an adult (at least legally) and the only barrier to rocking up to this particular party is owning a certain game (i.e. – there’s no “fuck off James, you’re not invited” type unpleasantness at the door), I might as well take advantage of that loophole, innit!? Even better, I’d moved a few of my commitments around ensuring a pretty free day today – so having spent waaaay longer than I’d have liked tracking down a copy yesterday, downloading updates and whatnot ahead of time, I figured Monday would be a great day to get to grips with Destiny 2, right!?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrongity fucking wrong.
See, even though I’d had the foresight to download updates and shit in advance, not in a million years did it occur to me to fucking Google whether a game I wanted to play solo would be undergoing “Server Maintenance” – but upon loading up my new game on my only free day this week, I was helpfully informed that, actually, I was shit out of luck. Because of fucking Server Maintenence. Even worse, said fucking maintenence happens to span exactly the time I’d dedicated to getting a feel for the game – free from interruptions – and which would ultimately give me a decent chunk of material for the First Impressions piece I was hoping to write. I mean, I did get material, I guess – just not really the kind of stuff I’d have liked.
In fact, my first impressions of (and reactions to) Destiny 2 were:
I mean, what the actual fucking fuck, Bungie!? Look, I get servers need maintenance and shit, but do it over-fucking-night you fucking fuckmuppets. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of this always online bullshit anyways (precisely because of crap like this, as it happens) but surely it makes more sense to do your maintenence in the middle of the night and not, like, during the goddam fucking day. Any day. I’m sure there are people playing Destiny at stupid o’clock, but I’d be willing to bet everything I own that there’d be a full-on fuck-ton less of them than during the goddam fucking day. Any day. Notwithstanding the fact the game’s been out for all of 10 minutes, and that you’ve designed it so players need to grind every freakin’ chance they get, how in the hell is doing server maintenance for a full fucking day acceptable? If you’re going to make your game one that straight-up won’t fucking work offline, surely it’s on you to do that shit when it affects as few people as possible. And that’s NOT during the fucking day. Any fucking day.
For. Fuck’s. Sake.
Still, rage aneurysms aside, my day – or at least some of it – could be salvaged, I figured. I’d actually bought another couple of games yesterday (see again; I’m weak) and whilst I’d not downloaded updates for them, I reckoned I’d get on with some other stuff for an hour-or-so whilst they were downloading, and then get to playing them. Sure, I’d lose an hour of actual Gaming time, prob’ly – but that’s not the end of the world, right!?
Wrong. Wrong. Fucking WRONG.
See, the other game I went to play (For Honor, if anybody’s interested) required an update of 30 gigabytes. 30 fucking gigs. On a physical copy of a Game. Given my ISP’s a lying sack of shit, that’s going to take upwards of five hours to download, so that pretty much rules that fucker out for today too. Which means that today – the one day I’ll get to really play for a week or so – will not be spent actually playing stuff, but instead looking at Bungie’s website for updates and/or watching For Honor’s glacial download progress on my PS4.
So, at the risk of sounding like every old person ever, when did everything get so shit!? Back in my day, you bought a game, you stuck it in your console and you fucking went ahead and played it. I get Games are ongoing processes in a way they weren’t, and I get that the online elements have added complexity to the ecosystem…but honestly, this is all just a load of bollocks, isn’t it!?
When did not being able to play a solo campaign because of server maintenance become acceptable, and when did we start to shrug at waiting for a 30 gigabyte update (30 fucking gigs!!) for a new, physical copy of a bastard game?? I mean, a big part of the reason I became a regular Gamer in the first place was because they allowed me to just turn them on and dive into their worlds whenever I wanted, and whenever I had some freetime. I didn’t have to pre-plan and allow for the chance that an update would take a week to download, and I didn’t have my single player shit messed with because Devs insisted on the tyranny of an Internet connection and dicked around with it during the fucking day.
And here’s the really weird thing, Gaming’s going backwards compared to other media.
Back in the day, if I wanted to watch a TV programme I liked, I had little option but to watch it when it was broadcast and, with the exception of videotaping it, if I missed it – tough shit. Eventually, Tivos and DVRs made it easier to record and then watch shows at our own convenience – and with features like “Series Record” it made us all less at the mercy of schedulers (and advertisers). Then, seeing how consumers embraced exactly this element, services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu came along, essentially giving us full control over when, how, and how much TV and film we consumed. In turn, old school TV networks eventually emulated this, offering on-demand/catch-up services in order to not become obsolete in the newly evolved marketplace. Long story short, passive media – the stuff that used to be fed to us on a schedule not of our choosing – is pretty much available for us to jump into whenever, wherever and however we want. In general, it’s hard to overestimate how revolutionary this is, but watching shit is now done with a freedom that was unimaginable just a decade ago.
Games, on the other hand, have gotten more restrictive. Sure we can download games without leaving the house, and we’ve recently seen a few attempts at “Netflix for Games” type services, but my freedom to play a game when and how I want is going backwards. As a kid, I’d often play a game for an hour whilst I was waiting for kid’s TV to start, but nowadays I frequently find I’m watching programmes on Netflix whilst I’m waiting for my Games (or consoles) to sort their shit out. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve turned a console on to fit in a bit of Gaming only to find that the entire time I had available to play was lost waiting for a necessary patch to download. Likewise, getting chucked out of a Game because of server issues has become a frustratingly regular occurrence, even when I’m just plodding along in a solo campaign, and that’s something the eleven year old me would’ve found Batshit fucking crazy. Like, for realz.
Again, I get that games are massively more complicated and complex nowadays, but honestly, when the rest of the media we consume is offering more choice, versatility and freedom, isn’t it a bit worrying that Games are offering less – both compared to other media, and compared to Games back in the day!? Obviously I’m particularly pissed about it today – I’ll admit that – but in general, I find it galling that I’m increasingly finding it somewhere between difficult and impossible to play Games when and how I want. Today represents a particularly unlucky conflagration of circumstances, sure, but the bottom line is that I’ve just lost the only real Gaming time I’ll get this week – and for circumstances entirely beyond my control – and the whole fucking point of games is that they’re there to fucking play.
And, if you can’t play them, they’re not fucking games are they!? The copy of Destiny 2 I bought yesterday is currently as much a shitty Frisbee as it is a game, and it’s currently about as much use to me as a Patio Heater on the surface of the fucking Sun. Likewise, in terms of the Gaming fun it’s currently providing me, the physical copy of For Honor I acquired may as well be a goddam tea cosy. I bought two physical Games yesterday, yet the amount of play I’m getting out of them today is exactly Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Sweet fuck all. And for two different, yet equally infuriating reasons.
I mean, seriously….. Fuck that for a laugh, right!?