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How Bungie has robbed us of our voices in ‘Destiny’

The Destiny beta is suffering from something that severely limitations social interaction between team players: having to invite them to a party just to voice chat.


The whole point of a Beta test is to work out the kinks and refine the rough edges of a game–to push it pasts its limits and run rigorous server testing. We get that things are going to be far from perfect and that this isn’t the final build.

But it appears Bungie has looked over something pretty big in a social-oriented game like Destiny–being able to easily communicate with other gamers.

Voices unheard: we need our voices for a full social experience

As it stands now, PlayStation Plus is required to communicate across PS3 and PS4. Not only that, but players cannot chat with each other unless they’re in a system-based party–that means taking the time to invite them to a party on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

If party chat is the only way to communicate with gamers, shouldn’t there be a streamlined option that allows you to quickly and easily hook up with your teammates?

Right now there isn’t one. In the Destiny Beta you still have to select someone’s name and invite them to your party, which can take a nice little chunk of time.

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140614100609

As we know in frenetic FPS matches, every second counts, and for game modes like Control, where communication with your team is paramount, jumping in without having some line of interaction with your teammates is suicide. Random players are getting punished simply by not having enough PSN friends or wanting to jump into a quick match.

Bungie has taken away our voices and made it necessary to navigate clunky, ill-thought-out interfaces simply so we can talk to our teammates. Most of the people won’t go through the trouble of accepting (and then waiting) to join the party, and because of this random gamers are getting a skewed and unbalanced experience.

Playing Control in the Iron Banner event without being able to talk to your teammates was sadistic and hellish in some parts. I wanted to inform my team that there were two enemies where I died, or that one baddie is sporting a full rocket launcher.


Taking away this critical function is delivering a negative experience and ultimately can ruin the experience for gamers. Instead of being provided the tools to make quick friends–which is all but impossible now–we’re forced to navigate the Bungie.net forums searching for fireteams.

Bungie’s reasoning for taking away this function is solid. They’ve basically said that some gamers are just toxic and their trash-talk can destroy an experience.

“One of the things that we’re doing for the first time ever in Destiny, we’re taking a different approach to voice chat. We know that, not just in multiplayer, that in general, when you get into a game with someone that you don’t know or someone that you’ve never seen before and may never see again, they have this power to completely destroy your entire experience and maybe ruin the game for you forever.

And so what we’re doing instead of having that…one in ten chance possibility of someone ruining your game, we’re effectively saying you only have voice chat to your fireteam. And we’re doing other things to let you communicate with other players, but it’ll be interesting to see howpeople react to it, for sure.

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140615171554

But there’s two sides to that coin: taking away proximity chat doesn’t just weed out the trash-talk and toxicity, it takes away from the same genuine social interaction that Destiny is trying to tap. Ultimately the social options right now feel awkward and unrefined–as they should, due to the beta–but I don’t think this option will change.

So be forewarned. If you venture into the Crucible you’ll basically be doing it alone, even if you’re teamed up with others. This isn’t the soul of team-based competitive action–this is robbing us of the very nature of what teams start out as: a group of strangers, all looking to have some fun.

If you’ve had a problem with this, be sure to let your voice be heard on our Reddit post or our post on the Destiny feedback forums.

That’s the magic of online gaming

We feel so strongly about these things because we care; we’ve been looking forward to Destiny since it was announced, and have been dreaming of exploring its interstellar secrets for months and months–but we want to do it with our friends, and have the chance to make new ones.

Don’t take that away from us, Bungie. We understand that you’re trying to protect us. But we’re Guardians; we’re tough, and we’ve been braving the wilds of online competitive gaming for years now. We want to be able to easily hook up with random gamers across the world and kick some Fallen ass–or just take a break and talk about how fascinating our day has been.

That’s the magic of online gaming: being able to meet someone who lives halfway across the world and relate to them. Destiny needs this to flourish; don’t restrict us to party-based interaction that hardly anyone but already-made friends will use.

Give us that freedom to interact with others so that together, we can make the galaxy a safer place for humanity. We are it’s last hope, after all…

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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