Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Smith: Avoiding ‘Destiny 2’

I’ve played enough good games this summer to fill my review docket for the next couple months.

But the game everyone asks me about is the one I have no intention of playing — “Destiny 2.”

I almost did, just for the sake of this column. I accidently ended up with two rented copies from my online rental service and even inserted the disc into my PlayStation 4.

Like the original “Destiny,” teaming up with other players is the key feature in this first-person shooter/online role-playing-game. Because I had no desire to play with anyone, I figured I would run through a few levels of the campaign to get a feel for “Destiny 2.”

Instead, I was greeted by a mandatory six-gigabyte update. The only thing I could do was stare at the title screen, unless I wanted to wait six hours.

“I didn’t.”

To be honest, I was relieved. I threw both copies of “Destiny 2” into outbound envelopes, happy to get the game out of my life. As good as the “Destiny” games are, MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online games), are a tremendous time sink.

If you plan to play “Destiny 2,” don’t let me stop you. The reviews have been excellent, and I’m sure the praise is deserved. The original “Destiny” is the smoothest first-person-shooter I’ve played, and I hear “Destiny 2” feels even better.

But I still harbor unpleasant memories from the first one, and it has nothing to do with the game play.

A gaming prison

Like most of the gaming world, I was infatuated by the first “Destiny” when it was released in 2014.

I spent a couple months running missions with random players.

But then I started playing with a friend, and the nature of the game changed. It was fun for a while, chatting about old times while mindlessly blasting aliens. But he’s a much more talented gamer than I am and already had bested the toughest parts of “Destiny” with a squadron of equally talented players.

I was invited to play along with the squadron, and that’s when the game stopped being fun. I loathe the idea of scheduling my free time, and that’s exactly what I was doing. Playing with a large group of people requires scheduled meeting times. It requires cooperation. Most of all, it requires some gaming competence, especially when it comes to memorizing enemy patterns.

I’m a slightly above average gamer on my best days, and far below average when it comes to “Destiny.” Scrambling around an unfamiliar play field while following curse-laden orders reminded me of my fourth-grade basketball tryout. Since I had never watched a game of basketball, I barely knew which end of the court to run to. Parents were angrily shouting “rebound!” “rebound!”, but I had never heard the word in my life.

When the tryout was over, I didn’t even want to look at a basketball. Much less play it.

By the end of a “Destiny” mission, my nerves were nearly as frayed, and I repeatedly apologized to my teammates. Undeterred by defeat, they wanted to play these hours-long missions again. And again. And again.

I felt trapped by a game I no longer enjoyed, so I quietly snuck away, never to be seen on the “Destiny” servers again.

Paying to play

Part of the reason the original “Destiny” was so popular was the ease of access. You paid an upfront fee for the game, maybe purchased the expansion packs a few months later, and that was it. You were free to enjoy the game, without any additional expense.

Now I’m starting to think “Destiny” was the first act in a long con by Activision, the publisher of the game. The stench of micro-transactions (buying in-game loot for real money) pours from “Destiny 2,” and lot of longtime fans are understandably angry.

Micro-transactions for an online series as popular as “Destiny” were an inevitability, but the way those purchases are implemented is underhanded. In the first game, players had the option of coloring their armor and weapons with shaders, which was perfect for groups who wanted their own team colors. Shaders would pop up randomly as an in-game reward and could be used forever.

Those shaders are still in “Destiny 2,” but you can use them only once. Unlike the first “Destiny,” they work only for a one piece of armor, such as a helmet, a chest plate, etc..

You still can earn these shaders through game play, but the odds of you getting what you want to complete a color set is pretty slim. You either can grind for loot for countless hours or plunk down some real-life cash. Even then, you’re not buying a specific item. You’re buying a randomized loot box, which may or may not have what you want.

That sounds like online gambling to me. And “Destiny 2” is far from the only culprit. Most big games are stuffed with micro-transactions these days, including the highly anticipated “Middle-earth: Shadow of War.” It seems paying $60 for a game isn’t enough anymore.

I’ve been playing games long enough to recognize corporate greed when I see it, and easily can ignore the useless extras. But the majority of gamers are children, and their impulse control is slightly worse than mine.

Avarice is eternal, and there always will be corporate conmen looking to blur the line between gaming and gambling. Pinball machines were outlawed in New York State from 1940 to 1976 because store owners couldn’t resist turning them into gambling devices.

I’ll be a gamer my entire life. But I’ll never trust the well-funded middlemen who push my favorite product.

Smith: Avoiding 'Destiny 2' | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now