Big Pic­ture Mode

In­dus­try is­sues given the widescreen treat­ment

EDGE - - SECTIONS - NATHAN BROWN Nathan Brown is Edge’s edi­tor. Due to time con­straints, this page was writ­ten ex­clu­sively dur­ing Destiny 2 load­ing screens

Nathan Brown is clock­ingc in on more vir­tual jobs thanth ever

Here comes Destiny again, then, and with it goes a chunk of my life. My wife now un­der­stands that our evenings to­gether have a fixed fin­ish time so I can link up with the raid group with­out keep­ing ev­ery­one hang­ing around; I was 20 min­utes late last night, and got the kind of re­ac­tion from the gang that you’d ex­pect if you’d just need­lessly messed up on the fi­nal boss for the 30th time in a row. Ev­ery­one has to agree on a time, work­ing their ac­tual lives around their vir­tual ones. All of us have com­mit­ments in the bor­ing real world, and so punc­tu­al­ity in Destiny is in many ways as im­por­tant as be­ing able to shoot straight.

While I played the best part of 1,000 hours of Destiny, I haven’t had this sort of reg­u­lar, nightly re­la­tion­ship with the game for a while. And so I’d sort of for­got­ten how it takes over; not just in terms of the with­er­ing glances I get from my wife when I tell her it’s Destiny time, or in the way I spend the day idly think­ing about how strate­gies might be sub­tly re­fined. Com­mit­ting to a game like this means fol­low­ing its sched­ule; do­ing things as they be­come avail­able, or be­fore they run out.

There’s a lot more to do in Destiny 2 than there was in its pre­de­ces­sor, so I’m still try­ing to work out how it’s all go­ing to fit. But Tues­day’s the day of the weekly re­set, so there’ll al­ways be at least one run at the raid, on my main char­ac­ter, that evening. In the event we can get clear times down to an hour or so, as we have with pre­vi­ous raids, maybe we can squeeze in a run on one of the alts. Then there’s the weekly Night­fall strike to run on all three char­ac­ters – one on Tues­day if we’ve been ef­fi­cient in the raid. Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day will be spent mop­ping up those, then tick­ing off Destiny 2’ s other ac­tiv­i­ties that yield level-rais­ing gear. That lot’s enough to keep me go­ing un­til Fri­day, when Xur, the wan­der­ing, ten­ta­cle-faced vendor, turns up with an over­coat lined with shiny ex­otic guns, and Tri­als Of The Nine, the fright­en­ingly com­pet­i­tive week­end PvP mode, kicks off. Maybe by Sun­day or Mon­day evening I’ll have run out of things to do, and can sim­ply play the game for – gasp! – fun.

Ob­vi­ously I en­joy the game – I adore it, in fact, and wouldn’t go through all of this if I didn’t – but Destiny is struc­tured in such a way that the most ef­fi­cient way of play­ing it is to go all in: to have three char­ac­ters and play for at least a cou­ple of hours a night. It’s mad, re­ally, but it’s far from the only game to do it, nor is it the sole game of its kind in my life. Puz­zle & Dragons makes ma­te­ri­als used in evolv­ing your pow­er­ful mon­sters avail­able in dun­geons that only ap­pear one day per week; a spe­cific evo­lu­tion might re­quire a drop from a daily dun­geon that could take a cou­ple of months to come up in the ro­ta­tion. There have long been games that have en­cour­aged a daily rou­tine – An­i­mal Cross­ing is the ob­vi­ous one – but in­creas­ingly games are be­ing de­signed around the con­cept of hav­ing you log in ev­ery day and giv­ing you some­thing dif­fer­ent to do each time.

There are mer­its to that, of course, and de­vel­op­ers’ mo­ti­va­tions are ob­vi­ous – even no­ble. The best way of keep­ing a game off the trade-in pile is to build an ecosys­tem around it to en­sure steady en­gage­ment, and the most straight­for­ward way of do­ing that is by build­ing a sched­ule, stag­ger­ing your con­tent drops and re­freshes over the course of the week. Thanks to mo­bile games, daily ac­tive users, or DAU, is one of the most im­por­tant mea­sures of a game’s suc­cess. No won­der that our re­la­tion­ships with such games in­creas­ingly re­sem­ble a school timetable.

There’s home­work, too. I’ll fre­quently look up Puz­zle & Dragons dun­geon de­tails on third­party web­sites be­fore they launch, plan­ning ahead, team­build­ing and the­ory craft­ing so I can hope­fully clear them quickly when they ar­rive. My phone buzzes with mes­sages from the Destiny crew through­out the day, work­ing out who’s avail­able, what time we’re go­ing to meet, and who we can sub in if some­one’s not around.

At times you won­der whether it’s all get­ting a bit much. In and amongst all this I also need to be a hus­band, fa­ther and magazine edi­tor. I have plenty of other games I ought to play. And at some point, I re­ally need to get some sleep. You worry that maybe a hobby is be­com­ing a habit; that a pas­time is start­ing to re­sem­ble a pro­fes­sion. And now I think of it, per­haps a monthly col­umn is trans­form­ing into a four-weekly cry for help. Still, there’s no time to worry about that right now. It’s Destiny 2 re­set to­mor­row, and I’ve tons still left to do.

The best way of keep­ing a game off the trade-in pile is to build an ecosys­tem around it to en­sure steady en­gage­ment

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