Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions

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Destiny 2 receives intense criticism for its microtransaction practices.

Destiny 2 Faces Criticism as Microtransactions Take Center Stage

Popular streamer and YouTuber Aztecross recently released a video that has caught the attention of many. The thought-provoking video is titled “Destiny 2 has become a Microtransaction Hell.” Lasting 35 minutes, Aztecross expresses his concerns about the game’s current state. And he’s not alone in all this. Many gamers have also taken notice of what has been happening in Destiny 2 lately.

In the past few years, more and more content has been locked behind a paywall. Prices have been increasing. More ways for players to spend money have been introduced. Existing players are targeted with additional charges. And, of course, pay-to-win benefits. And thus, a lively discussion sparked about how microtransactions affect the FPS title. Joined by avid players and even Paul Tassi, let’s dive in and see what’s lying at the core of the problem.

Destiny 2 Is More of a Free-to-Try Game than a Free-to-Play One

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. Aztecross video

Since becoming free-to-play in 2019, Destiny 2 has never truly become a free-to-play title. Instead, it feels more like a free trial, offering a taste of what the game really is. For players who jump into Destiny 2 as free-to-play, completing the introductory quest grants them access to several activities. Namely, Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, Prophecy Dungeon, Vault of Glass, King’s Fall, the open world, and Dares of Eternity. At first glance, this may seem like a lot of content. But in reality, it’s merely scratching the surface of what Destiny 2 has in store. After all, players that don’t donate to the game won’t even get to play a campaign. 

In many other free-to-play games, microtransactions are primarily limited to cosmetic items. Meanwhile, the core gameplay content is made available to all without additional charges. Take Fortnite, for example. Even though players can purchase the Seasonal Battle Pass, they also have the option to earn it by simply playing the game. Cosmetic items found in the shop can also be acquired using in-game currency instead of strictly having to buy with real money. 

However, in the case of Destiny 2, players who play for free only have access to approximately 10% of the entire game.

Confusing and Fragmented Content

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. Aztecross video

Confusing Content and Bundles

One major point Aztecross raised is the game’s content fragmentation. This is one of the main reasons Destiny 2 has never been a newbie-friendly game. 

Over time, the FPS title has become a tangled web by sunsetting not only items but also locations and expansions. But other than that, for revenue purposes, the game’s content is broken into thousands and millions of smaller shards. Bungie then grouped them up almost randomly and made them into confusing bundles. Thus, making it difficult for new gamers to understand what exactly they should buy if they want to start their adventure. 

Adding to the frustration, no bundle that includes all the old content in Destiny 2 is available. This means that newcomers who make a purchase will need to keep buying additional content if they want to experience the game in its entirety.

Dungeon Keys

In Destiny 2, the dungeons have been a highlight of every new season as they are the seasonal storyline’s important beats. However, with the release of The Witch Queen expansion, the dungeons are no longer included in ordinary packages. Bungie has introduced dungeon keys, releasing two of them every year. Without them, players won’t be able to participate in these thrilling challenges. So, if one wishes to experience the dungeons, they will have to own the Deluxe Edition. Or, purchase the keys for 2,000 Silver.

And one can only acquire Silver by trading real-life money. As stated above, the dungeons are closely tied to the main story. And so, free-to-play gamers will feel even more confused about what’s happening in the game without access to the dungeon. 

Seasonal Pricing

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. Bungie raised Season Pass's price. Aztecross video

Starting from Season of the Deep, Bungie raised the price of the Season Pass from 1000 Silver to 1200. Talking in actual money, it’s only a $1-$2 increase. Not too bad, right? But let’s take a look at all three options available to trade real-life money for Silver:

As you can see, there isn’t an option to get 1200 Silver. So, those interested in buying will have no choice but to opt for the $15 bundle. Thus having to pay an extra $5

The situation is even bleaker for those using Microsoft and Epic Game Store for their shopping needs. There isn’t a $15 option there. After the $10, standing proudly next in line is the $20 option. And what makes it even more frustrating is players don’t have the opportunity to buy the Season Pass with real money directly. It has to be purchased with Silver. 

This case was the source of the community’s outrage in early May this year. Said practice is commonly employed by mobile games. Thus, drawing criticism for its resemblance to manipulative monetization strategies. The thing that ticked players the most is how Bungie raised the price. Many were, and still are, ready to pay for a $5 increase. But how the studio handled it has left many feeling tricked and deceived.

Events, Armor Sets, and Ornament

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. PlayStation x Destiny 2 Collaboration

Event Cards

Event cards were deemed lackluster, offering minimal rewards. According to Aztecross, the events aren’t even fun anymore. They are now nothing but three weeks of shopping spree. And that’s it.

Armor Sets

Regarding Armor Sets, the YouTuber points out the high price of the collab armor sets. $20 for a set is the state that Guardians are living in right now. However, Paul Tassi isn’t really on board with this idea. According to the Forbes journalist, it’s unlikely that these items will be sold for $2-3 in 2023. If the prices are too high, people simply won’t buy them. 


Paul Tassi also expresses his opinion on the topic of purchasing ornaments. According to him, buying ornaments directly from the Ornament application screen makes it more accessible. Unlocking purchased ones from Eververse is complicated and involves many steps. Tassi thinks that Bungie’s choice to not let players preview shaders on armor ornaments is not a scam but a technical limitation. After all, seeing how ornaments look with glorious shaders will boost sales and not the opposite. 

Bright Engrams

Bright Engrams often disappoint players with their lack of value. To the point that many consider them unnecessary and not worth the effort.

Shaw Han Quest

Additionally, Aztecross criticized the Shaw Han Exotic Quest. It locks the powerful PvE Exotic weapon, Arbalest, behind a paywall, instead of including it in the general loot pool as it should be. Unless players have purchased the latest DLC, they won’t be able to do the quest and get the gun.

Destiny 2 Is Approaching Pay to Win

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. Aztecross video

Lightfall Campaign Skip Boost

As the appetizer, with the arrival of Lightfall, comes the Lightfall Campaign Skip Boost. With $20, you can skip the whole Destiny 2 campaign, unlock the Strand subclass, and get a head start on various aspects of the game.

Early Exotic Access

Another noteworthy topic is early Exotic access. Provided through the pre-order of the Lightfall Deluxe Edition, those who bought it early unlocked Quicksilver Storm months before the expansion was even released. They were able to use said Exotic half a year earlier than those who purchased the base version of Lightfall.

Skip through 100 Battle Pass Ranks from Day One

And that is not even the worst. The most concerning aspect is that Bungie now allows gamers to buy the entire 100 ranks of the Battle Pass from day one of the expansion. This means that players can immediately obtain all the ornaments, emotes, shaders, and other rewards upon payment. The XP bonuses, in-game materials, weapon drops, and progression boosts are among these. If you think that’s bad enough, think again. Because even Exotic and God Roll Legendary Weapons are included. All with the price of $100.

Deepsight Activation

The last stop, for now, is Deepsight Activation. The quality of life feature was teased earlier this year. Designed to benefit returning players, it allows them to earn craftable weapons no longer available in the general loot pool. To acquire these weapons, players need the Deepsight Harmonizer. But here’s the twist. Players can only obtain them from Season Pass rank rewards. Three Harmonizers are available in the free ranks, and an additional three can be acquired in the paid ranks. There is no method to earn these materials in the game. So, without a doubt, gamers will have to resort to spending Silver to craft whatever weapon they like.

Destiny 2 Faces Intense Criticism over Microtransactions. Aztecross video

A Word about PvP

As Bungie spreads their forces to focus more on Marathon and Destiny 2 nears its end with The Final Shape on the horizon, the issue of monetization only becomes more and more severe. Let’s take a look at the PvP scene as an example. PvP enthusiasts have been requesting various features for quite some time. All the while, they invest hundreds of dollars into playing Destiny 2. However, their pleas have largely gone unanswered, with minimal progress made in improving PvP gameplay.

Enter Marathon. Surprisingly, the features that the Destiny 2 community has long been asking for are now materializing there. Dedicated servers, fresh maps, and a leaderboard system are finally becoming a reality. But unfortunately, not in Destiny 2 as anticipated.

Destiny 2 enthusiasts, if you are also concerned about the game’s current monetization state, Aztecross’s video is a must-watch. While not every point may resonate with all players, the growing trend of microtransactions in Destiny 2 warrants attention. Bungie has the opportunity to listen to player feedback and strike a balance between monetization and player satisfaction. But the question is, will they do so at the cost of revenue?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

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