Games of the Decade: Destiny was at its best when we cheesed it

November 27, 2019
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To mark the end of the 2010s, we’re celebrating 30 games that defined the last 10 years. You can find all the articles as they’re published in the Games of the Decade archive, and read about the thinking behind it in an editor’s blog.

When I think back to my time playing Destiny, I remember the ways I exploited it, cheesed it, or sometimes even broke it before I remember the times I played it as Bungie intended. I remember the loot cave, a simple hole in a rock that spat out endless waves of Hive – and, as a result, endless waves of shiny engrams – before I remember one of the Strikes. I remember turning off the internet to try to get big bad Dark Below boss Crota stuck in the kneeling position so someone could slice up the sitting duck with a sword before I recall one of the public events. And I remember spending hours and hours and even more hours running into a boss room, blasting the boss to bits with a rocket launcher, nabbing the exotic engram he dropped, then blasting myself to death in order to reset the encounter, before I remember what I had to do to hit the light level cap. The cheeses were many, the rewards delicious, the memories eternal. Were we cowards? Or just bad at the game? A bit of both. And we didn’t care.

Playing Destiny in the two years after it came out back in September 2014 was a punishing experience, but it was always a memorable one. And Destiny was at its most memorable when people came together to play in unintended ways. Things like the loot cave told the story Destiny so sorely missed. Bungie’s plot was torn to shreds in the run up to the Destiny’s release, but memes meant we cared about the empty vase characters like Commander “the Fallen are crafty” Zavala. The Mysterious Stranger had no time to explain why she didn’t have time to explain, so players explained how to cheese Destiny in her place, posting guides on YouTube and on reddit for the entire community to gobble up with a ferocious hunger I hadn’t seen since the early days of World of Warcraft. Destiny ended up being the water-cooler video game Bungie and then-publisher Activision so sorely craved, but we weren’t talking about the Traveller’s fate or the Speaker’s motivation. We were talking about Dinklebot telling us that wizard came from the moon, and excitedly recounting how we were up all night cheesing the Summoning Pits from the safety of the room outside of the boss room, using the Ice Breaker sniper rifle and its self-replenishing ammo to slowly but surely wear that big ugly ogre down.

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