Why Is ‘Destiny: The Taken King’ Punishing Gamers Who Walked Away?

I wasn’t offered a review copy of Destiny: The Taken King. I can’t imagine why that would be. Nonetheless, I’d heard good things about The Taken King, that it essentially fixed all the issues that had infuriated me the first time, and I was more than willing to put down some money and give Bungie another go.

After all, you just had to buy the DLC, right? It’s not like you would have to re-buy the game or anything! Except… you kind of do! In fact, if you want to play Destiny at all now, you’d better either be starting on the ground floor, or able to spend a lot more money.

Because I bought the game on PS3, I technically own it on PS4, and so, yesterday, I downloaded it, and while I was waiting, I poked around on the PlayStation Store to buy the expansion. It was marked “Currently Unavailable,” which struck me as odd. But fortunately, there was an explanatory link: I couldn’t download the current DLC, because I hadn’t spent $35 on the other two sets of DLC. All right, so I should just buy the game all over again for $60, right?

The DLC requirements were mentioned… on an FAQ buried fairly deep on Bungie’s site. You won’t find it, or even a link to that FAQ post, in the legal language on The Taken King‘s official site, though. And you won’t find any reference to being unable to upgrade by just re-buying the game at all.

If that weren’t enough, Activision and Bungie have quietly been cutting off players who can’t or won’t upgrade, and a quick poke around the game’s servers confirm as much. So, even if you abandoned Destiny and wanted to pick the game up again, you couldn’t.

If this were Destiny 2, which is what The Taken King is in all but name, I wouldn’t be remotely bothered by this. Heck, if they’d cut the price of the other two sets of DLC to $10, it’d just be a poorly packaged sequel.

This, though, is a whole other level. The attitude feels, a lot, like the people behind this game think that we somehow owe them because they’ve finally perfected a game they’ve spent a year very publicly fixing after millions of people paid them $60 for it. I’m aware that this is aimed squarely at the players who stuck it out; after all, they’re the ones who kept paying.

But I’m not sure that’s a great message to send. It feels a lot like only the people who have proven they’re willing to pay $80 a year in installments are allowed on the playground, and you have to pay $60 to learn about that policy in the first place. In other words, if you buy Destiny, you’d better be completely committed; otherwise, the people who took your money will take your game away.