On Thursday, the Destiny franchise was changed forever as Activision, the game’s publisher split away from Bungie, the game’s developer. And although Destiny has been widely perceived as one of the most well-known titles of the past decade, the game has undeniably been on the decline ever since the second installment of the franchise failed to meet expectations when it came to both sales and content.
What hurts even more is the fact that the game’s latest expansion pack, Forsaken, was actually well-received by the game’s playerbase. In fact, some would go as far as saying that the expansion was the best omen that the franchise had seen in quite some time. However, with a strong amount of the playerbase from launch dropping the game, Forsaken was unfortunately one of the quietest achievements in gaming in 2018.
However, with Activision jumping off the Destiny boat, Bungie now holds 100% of the rights to the game when it comes to both development and publishing. And while it’s no secret that Destiny has been struggling to gain the traction it once did, perhaps with Bungie in the driver’s seat entirely, we could see the franchise take a turn for the better in the immediate future.
The minute I saw that Activision and Bungie had split, I couldn’t help but think of Blizzard and its relationship with Activision- one that has caused plenty of stir within the communities surrounding Blizzard’s beloved games. However, the game in which Activision seems to have the strongest reach would have to be World of Warcraft, a franchise that has taken a turn for the tumultuous in the months after the release of the game’s latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth.
And while Destiny: Forsaken might have been a quiet, unnoticed gem that was unfortunately overshadowed by poor sales and unfortunate timing, BfA has been perceived almost universally as nothing short of a hot mess in terms of longevity and durability. While I personally enjoyed the game for a while after the initial phases, it’s been tough to defend the expansion in recent weeks, as the lack of things to do has left me (and much of the playerbase) thirsting for new content.
Circling back to Forsaken, an expansion that was decent but lacked the playerbase to support it- it’s important to relate this to the future stages of WoW, as we may see strong content come out of Blizzard in the coming weeks with a large fragment of the game’s population not even there to see it. Now, as we approach the long awaited launch of the Battle of Dazar’Alor, along with the looming release of Patch 8.2, it’s possible that Blizzard might put out some really exceptional, intriguing, and most importantly, fun World of Warcraft content for the first time since last August. However, with what feels like over half of the playerbase leaving the WoW community in the past 3-4 months, perhaps we might encounter a Forsaken situation on Azeroth.
Of course, it’s important to tamper our expectations when it comes to new content for BfA, but things have to get better eventually, because they truly can’t get much worse. I can’t recall a weaker point in WoW’s history than the one we’re going through right now. The community is starving for something to do- a predicament once thought impossible after the flood of content we were given at the launch of the expansion.
And now, as more and more players unsubscribe from the game, there’s a good chance that things are getting sweaty over in Irvine, and that World of Warcraft is looking like a lost cause for Activision. Maybe (it’s a long shot) we’ll see Blizzard’s parent company jump off a seemingly sinking ship before it’s too late- resulting in a creative turnaround that restores total control to Blizzard and the developers who I want to believe truly love this franchise (I told you it was a long shot). With the game on a seriously concerning decline, it would certainly take a creative miracle to return WoW to the state it was in just 2 years ago- a miracle that WoW desperately needs.
If Bungie is any indicator, there’s a chance that Destiny, a franchise that has been bogged down by numbers and figures, could finally be allowed to roam free in a creative sense once Destiny 3 begins production. Perhaps the next WoW expansion may share a similar fate- free of sales and marketing bogus. It’s a pipedream- I know – but we can still hope.
Photo Credit: Destiny, Bungie, Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft