What is it?

Destiny is an online first person shooter created by Bungie Inc., the company formerly known for its HALO series of video games. Published by American video game publisher, Activision, Destiny is an ambitious project intended to span a decade’s worth’s of content.

Become Legend

My Hunter main, whom I’ve affectionately dubbed “Robot”.

I like Destiny. On some days, I love Destiny and go on binges playing it. On other days, I despise Destiny and it frustrates me to no end. I’m currently on an extended break after I realized I wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I should have given the amount of time I invested in it. I rarely was satisfied after a gaming session, but rather I was exhausted and disappointed in myself for having wasted hours of my life.

It is not surprising why the game appeals to many. While not being a true massively multiplayer online game (MMO), it does incorporates many of the addictive elements found in the genre. Things like character customization, rewards and promises of rare, powerful weaponry and armor, as well as cooperative and highly competitive gameplay. While repetitive (A staple of MMOs), it’s always a good time playing with friends on your journey to become legendary.

Fight evil and look good while doing it

There are three player classes in Destiny. Not only do these classes come with their own set of abilities and nuances but also a specific look to their equipment. Titans wear full body heavy armor. By comparison, Hunters have lighter armor, while Warlocks are distinguished by long coats. Furthermore, each class is denoted by a visual accessory to further differentiate themselves from fellow players of the same class (Referred to as Guardians in this game):

  • Titans can wear Marks, which are essentially waist sashes.
  • Hunters can wear Cloaks, though unlike the traditional definition, they’re more akin to hooded capes.
  • Warlocks can wear Bonds, which are upper arm bands.

The three primary class types of Destiny. From left to right: Hunter, Titan, Warlock.

Also of note is a character customization component to change your Guardian’s facial features and hairstyle, among other things. It’s not really of much importance as you are constantly wearing your helmet and are in a first person point-of-view for much of the time. You may see the faces of others and yourself in the non-combat hub areas of the game, but you can also choose to hide your face behind your helmet 100% of the time.

Character customization, a staple of MMO games.

Being a game with similarities to MMORPGs, one would reasonably expect some form of transmogrification, a feature very prominent to the genre. In layman’s terms, it’s simply changing the appearance of player equipment to that of other equipment. Destiny does not offer any such thing at the moment, making the player rely on other means to individualize themselves.

“Shaders” are used to apply different colour schemes and patterns to a Guardian’s armor. Each shader is a combination of one of more colours that are pre-applied to different areas of the equipment. Generally, the colour combinations tend to be quite contrasting and sometimes a complete eyesore. What’s interesting is how desirable some of the rarer shaders can be. One in particular called the “Blacksmith” can sell for exorbitant prices on eBay. It was only available to those who pre-ordered and purchased an unrelated Activision game: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Same character. Same armor. Different shaders.

“Emblems” are backgrounds for player nameplates. These identification nameplates are the first thing one sees to distinguish players before their respective characters are even seen. Certain emblems can represent players of certain skill levels. Myself, being not particularly talented at the game, use emblems for purely aesthetic reasons as opposed to representation of pride or skill. Like shaders, emblems vary by rarity.

Just a few of the many, many Emblems for user nameplates.

While the visual customization elements of the game are not too extensive, one could still spend a decent amount of time on them over the course of play. Even the least fashion conscious individual will undoubtedly find a lot of appeal in this form of virtual fashion. Real-life style takes time and effort to learn and to pull off properly. And there are additional variables such as body type and disposable income, both of which can be significant factors in one’s foray into fashion.

This is not to say that people are lazy or hopeless. Virtual fashion in video games is simply more easily accessible and cost-effective. Many games these days allow for full customization of a character avatar’s physical attributes, from facial features to body types. Outfits and colours can generally be obtained through short-term effort in-game as opposed to with real-world money (Though paid DLC outfits are unfortunately becoming more commonplace as companies seek to gouge find additional revenue streams). Overall, the ability to change one’s look on a whim, within seconds, is quick, simple and instantly gratifying, whereas it can be quite the process in real-life.

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Virtual fashion in video games is simply more easily accessible and cost-effective. Right quotation mark

Wear your support

One of the perks of being a big name publisher or developer is being able to tap into other areas to supplement one’s game releases. One such area is merchandising where toys, figurines, books and small accessories are appealing items to loyal, hardcore fans. Officially licensed clothing has always had potential for some interesting and creative capsules, but understandably, it has to cater to the tastes of the audience.

In the video game community, graphic tees are king, so it’s no surprise that the majority of Bungie’s apparel line consists of t-shirts. I’m generally not a proponent of graphic tees and avoid wearing them as much as possible. In my (very, very personal) opinion, the best graphic tees are as subtle as possible without overt references to companies, their products or overused jokes. Regardless, I think these shirts look decent, consisting of simple graphical assets (Many of which are direct from the game itself) though the Destiny logomark is prominently displayed on the back of all the shirts. There are lines for men, women and youth.

Graphical t-shirts make up the majority of Bungie’s apparel line.

Two of the more interesting items in Bungie’s apparel line include:

  • Bicycle jerseys. This just seems like such a quirky clothing choice given the audience. Given the asking price, I think it would have made more sense to include more hoodies, another staple of gamer fashion. Or perhaps customizable wearables. The jerseys are available in Men’s (Short-sleeved and long-sleeve) and Women’s (Short-sleeved and long-sleeve) sizes.
  • The Nepal shirt. This was a limited time offer where proceeds would go to relief efforts of April’s devastating Nepal earthquake. What was interesting about this item was that not only did you get the t-shirt itself but also digital in-game items as well. Specifically, a shader and an emblem of similar colours to the shirt.

The one year anniversary approaches

In a little over a month, Destiny will celebrate its first birthday (The game originally released on September 9, 2014). A controversial (Due to pricing concerns, volume of content and developer arrogance), though anticipated expansion will be released about a week after the one year anniversary. Over the past few months, Bungie has been met with some growing pains as the company tries to meet the expectations of its user base. Game balancing is a contentious issue with certain weapons causing unfair advantages. Cheating is rampant as are server disconnects (Very significant for an online only game and one with a sizeable competitive player base).

Regardless, the game is generating quite a bit of revenue for Bungie and Activision. There are even promotional tie-ins with non-gaming companies such as Red Bull and Taco Bell, something few but the biggest of game releases are afforded. The user base will only continue to grow and replace those dissatisfied and who have left. And for the fashion conscious Destiny player, that means more shaders, more emblems and more officially licensed clothing for years to come.

Destiny is available on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. An expansion titled “The Taken King” will be released September 15, 2015 to coincide with the one year anniversary of the project.