Destiny: stop farming and start playing

By Brenna Hillier
24 September 2014 07:54 GMT

Destiny farming secrets are among the hottest on dits in gaming today, but Brenna can’t understand the obsession.


“I don’t understand the rage. I don’t feel like the game owes me a full set of Legendary gear. I don’t care that I haven’t got there yet.”

Destiny isn’t universally popular, and a couple of the most frequent criticisms are closely interrelated. You can play Destiny like any other shooter, burn through the story missions in a day, do all the Strikes, hit the level cap and feel that you’ve done it all. The endgame isn’t well explained, and if your only goal is to keep watching your level counter tick upwards, you may feel there’s little point in pursuing the matter further.

Try to push on and you hit a bit of a wall; in order to keep levelling up (you’ll need to be level 26 to try the Raid, and the highest difficulty seen so far is 28 for Nightfall events) you need to collect gear with a rare stat boost – Light.

This is where things get nasty. Players who invest plenty of time in the game will have been levelling up at a rapid pace – it’s genuinely not hard – and suddenly their progress will slow right, right down. You only need 11 points of Light per post-20 level, so you can easily climb a few ranks with rare drops, but after that you’re going to need Legendary gear.

The problem is that Legendary drops are rare, and aren’t tied to bosses or mission goals, so there’s no guaranteed way to earn Legendary gear just by doing missions and Strikes. Legendary engrams, which fill your heart with hope, overwhelmingly decrypt as Rare items or materials, which is painful, and on those rare instances when they do yield an item, it may be class-locked – to a different kind of Guardian than the one you’ve been building up for 30 hours.

If you’ve been grinding for hours and hours on the lookout for Legendaries and scurry off to the tower with your hard won loot only to find you can’t use it, well – that’s gonna upset you. I get it. It happened to me yesterday. I can’t say I was pleased. I wasn’t pleased when one of my clan mates opened a chest and got an Exotic, either. I would like all the nice things for myself, please.


But I don’t understand the rage. I don’t feel like the game owes me a full set of Legendary gear. I don’t care that I haven’t got there yet. At this point in time, having done absolutely no grinding or farming (I just took a week off to go to Tokyo, in fact), I have two pieces of Legendary armour and a Legendary rocket launcher. One I bought from a Vanguard Mentor. Two of them were engram drops; one of them decrypted from a Rare, a nice counter to the dozens of Legendaries that turned out to be Rares.

I just hit level 25 today, as a result of unlocking an upgrade to my Legendary boots, which increased their Light stat (this happens, by the way). I think I’ll probably be at level 26 by the the weekend, and am hoping to join a few clanmates and take on the Vault of Glass. So, how am I going to get there?

I’ve been reading and writing about Destiny almost non stop since launch (minus a week to tramp around Chiba and occasionally lie in a bath mainlining seaweed potato chips and vending machine beer). I’m part of quite an active and communicative clan. Every night I jump in and chat with friends who tell me all the best farming spots. I know all the tricks: the cave. The four Majors near a cliff. The Chest runs. The Patrol-and-Bounties-in-a-Fireteam grind.

Here’s the thing: I’m not going to do any of that. I’m just going to play the game.

I know, right. It’s shocking. I’m just going to play the game, because I enjoy it. I enjoy shooting dudes in the head (our clan motto is “shoot them in their silly faces”, my multiplayer battle cry). I enjoy exploring the environments; the day night cycle means every visit may result in a new, spectacular view, if you stop to look. I enjoy the tense cat-and-mouse game with bosses and a crew of skilled players.


“Why are you farming for a full Legendary set? Is it because you feel umbrage over the fact that other players have things you yourself don’t have yet?”

I go kind of zen when I’m just tootling about doing Bounties and Patrol Missions all very relaxing, and I have a lot of fun when I get in over my head (I sometimes like to solo Heroic Strikes for practice) and I’m really pressed to complete a goal I’ve set for myself. I like chatting with friends, and sometimes, when I’m tired, I enjoy not chatting with friends, but shooting alongside them anyway. (I enjoy showing them all the Gold Chests and Dead Ghosts, too.)

I like the fact that there’s a new Heroic Story Mission every day, and that there’ll be new bounties waiting for me. I like checking the shops for new gear, and working out which Legendaries I will buy when I have the cash, because I want my build to be all about grenades. What I’m saying is: I’m not bored of doing this stuff just because I’ve already done it once, and since there seems to be no end to how high you can turn the difficulty up, I don’t imagine I will be for quite some time. There will always be new challenges to face.

Eventually, though, I suppose I’ll hit a point where my character cannot progress any further; where the Legendaries and Exotics I collect aren’t better than those I already have. When my character is completely maxed out and pimped out, and I have honed my skills to match, so that I have conquered everything I could ever possibly hope to conquer. Then Destiny will be over for me – until the next expansion or special event.

I’m not looking forward to that. I don’t want the fun to end. I don’t understand why people are in such a rush to get there. I don’t understand why they’re so frustrated that they’re not there yet that they scream in rage over the mic when they get shitty engrams. I don’t understand why they will stand for hours shooting into a cave in order to get equipment marginally faster than just playing the game allows, when playing the game has the advantage of not being tremendously boring.


Last night I met a random obviously farming a Chest run in Mars. I wondered if he was on an Exotic Bounty (there’s one that requires you to open chests on Mars) so I went through the necessary rigmarole in order to speak, and asked him what he was doing.

“Farming,” he said.

“What are you farming for?” I asked, meaning “what loot are you trying to get?”, but I think he took my question existentially.

“I don’t even know any more,” he said, and logged off.

Why are you farming for a full Legendary set? Is it because you feel umbrage over the fact that other players have things you yourself don’t have yet? Is it because working towards getting a full Legendary set gives you an end goal which the otherwise freeform endgame experience doesn’t provide? Is it because you really, really want to do the Raid, even though the Raid is just – more of Destiny, a game you disdain playing so much you’ve tried to find a way to do the absolute minimum of it?

One last question:

What are you going to do when you get there?

Brenna is a misanthrope and doesn’t accept PSN friend requests or clan applications from outside meatspace, but you can admire her godly form on if you like.

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