Festival of the Lost returned to Destiny this year, but not without issues. New loot generates excitement in the Destiny community. The initial excitement quickly turned to anger when players discovered that the loot is hidden behind a paywall. Festival of the Lost is now being referred to by the community as Festival of the Cost.
People are angry, really angry, and for good reason. Festival of the Lost is a “free” event put on by the Bungie live team. No one expects Festival of the Lost to be as in-depth as a paid DLC, but the manner in which the quests and loot plays out is not good. Technically, Festival of the Lost is not truly free. Players fund all live events in Destiny through micro-transactions made at the Eververse store, so we will use the term “free” for this article very loosely.
In Festival of the Lost, What is Free, Really?
Free means zero cost to the consumer. The definition of free is: (adverb) without cost or payment. The first rule of economics according to my Econ teacher is, “Nothing is free; if someone or something says it is free, they are trying to sell you something.” The microtransactions in Festival of the Lost are proof of this saying. Hidden behind the microtransaction paywall is two amazing Ghost shells, a Sparrow, two ornaments for the Bad JuJu pulse rifle, and a number of new masks fashioned after Destiny characters and villains. Don’t get me wrong, the social spaces look great. The new loot looks great, but what good is new loot if players can’t get it by ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME.
Bungie wants players to play the game and take part in Festival of the Lost. Bungie created a fun but short questline that tasks the player with wearing masks and performing feats. Completing the questline won’t get players a cool new Ghost wearing a ghost costume, though. Fill up the bag with candy over and over, but not one of those new pieces of gear will ever be yours. Players do get some consumables that last for twenty minutes and maybe a shader or two for your characters, but that is it. No Ghosts. No Sparrows.
Hence, Festival of the Cost.
Instead of questing for great and fun new loot, players go on a quest for their wallets. This is the endgame with Festival of the Lost. If you want any of the cool new items Bungie has created, better break out your credit card. In Bungie’s defense, these items are all cosmetic in nature and are not “pay to win” type of items, but what is the point of having quests in a loot game if there is no real loot for completing the quests? It is bad enough that everything worth getting is micro-transaction connected, but the situation gets worse. All of the items, masks, sparrow, ghosts, ornaments, have only a random chance to actually drop when you open up the Treasures of the Lost bag.
Members of the Destiny community spent large amounts of money just to see what the drop rates were, and the evidence is not good. Other members, like @Teawrex, outline how much he had to spend to get the Jealousy sparrow and how micro-transactions have changed in Festival of the Lost from last year. The randomness of the drops has resulted in some players spending double or triple the cost of any of Destiny’s DLC, or even the full game itself just to get one item.
Where does Bungie go from here?
Bungie is a studio that listens, so here is a “free” piece of advice: Don’t make your purchasable loot RNG based and tie it to microtransactions. Make the loot and gear purchasable separately. A better idea would be to make it obtainable through completing the quests that invariably drop with these live events. Destiny is a game all about grinding for loot, so make the quests feel worthwhile and give the players a chance to obtain these items in-game. One thing is for certain, the current model is a frustrating one that feels designed to rob the consumer. This is not a good model.
What do you think?
This article is purely my opinion. I love Destiny, and on the whole, think that some of the content in Festival of the Lost was great. The broom-sparrow is hilarious. New dialogue by Eris and the reactions of Saladin when you wear his mask make me laugh. The social spaces look incredible. However, throwing money at the screen for a chance at loot is something I don’t love. What do you think? How would you change things? Leave a comment below and make your opinion heard. I would love to hear what other people think and feel about the current state of microtransactions in Destiny.