Destiny Year One: Laurea Prima is not about rewarding veterans

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 8 July 2015 10:14 GMT

Destiny developer Bungie has unveiled its plans to honour its most dedicated fans, and by dedicated we mean anyone who gets on board before The Taken King launches.

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Oh boy, y’all: I’m pretty mad.

Overnight, Bungie detailed how it intends to reward Year One players. If you complete a series of Triumphs before September 9, you’ll receive the Laurea Prima emblem.

Even putting aside my frustrations with the paucity of this reward (an emblem are you kidding me) and the fact that nobody has any more bloody vault space for “exclusive” emblems and shaders and whatnot, I have two major complaints about the Laurea Prima scheme, to whit:

  1. It’s out of reach of some Day One players.
  2. It is available to any rando who picks the game up right now.

Let’s all try to keep calm as I expand on these points.

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Who counts as a Destiny fan?

The Laurea Prima has been positioned as a reward for true, hardcore Destiny fans. What makes a true, hardcore Destiny fan? Well, according to the Laurea Prima checklist, it’s people who have completed a number of challenges.

You know who won’t be getting this emblem? Me. According to the Laurea Prima, I’m not a hardcore enough Destiny fan to deserve this honour. I’ve never (and probably will never) defeat The Prison of Elders on Hard, and I absolutely will never win 100 Crucible matches. I’m not a good enough player for the first one, and I absolutely won’t even attempt the second; I have no interest in PvP – I have a philosophical objection to purely competitive multiplayer – and I’m rubbish at it. So.

This isn’t just about me, though, and probably if I could be bothered, I’d find some very skilled friends to carry me through the Prison of Elders and just sit in the Crucible reading a book and pressing buttons randomly until I racked up 100 wins (you can see this isn’t even really about skill).

There will be players with hour counts much higher than mine who are genuinely very skilled and dedicated Guardians who also won’t get the Laurea Prima, because they haven’t completed the raids on Hard Mode. Not everyone can get five of their mates together for however long it takes to tackle the raids, and using LFG sites to find randos can be a hellish nightmare of last minute drop outs and trolls, even assuming you can get a fireteam together. So that sucks.

There are dozens of reasons why a true fan and a hardcore player might not be able to tick off one or another of these Triumphs, and as a result, there are Day One players who will, for one reason or another, never get the one little bone thrown their way for all their months of fruitless Gjallahorn chasing.

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Sign up now, Kinderguardians

My second major problem with the Laurea Prima is that it does not acknowledge the dedication of Day One – and even earlier! – Guardians. There’s absolutely nothing in there about time spent playing, or how long you’ve been on board.

This is a bit of a disappointment for those of us who have been playing since Day One or even earlier (me, I’m an Alpha veteran), especially after Bungie’s blog post last week which seemed to suggest there would be some acknowledgement of Guardian age.

But it also means that the Laurea Prima is available to Kinderguardians. You could quite feasibly pick up Destiny right now and complete the Triumphs list within a month, provided you have the skill and a support group. If you know what you’re doing and can put the hours in, you could probably get it done in days.

The cut off date is September 9, less than a week before Year One starts. Doesn’t this feel less like a “thank you for your service Guardians” and more like “buy into Destiny now or miss out forever”? Is the target of this “reward” the existing, loyal player base, or new buyers who would otherwise wait for the full Taken King re-release?

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My experiences are meaningless

I’m so disappointed in Bungie and Destiny over this. This is partially my fault; much of my disappointment stems from my misinterpretation of repeated comments from Bungie about how it wants to acknowledge our adventures so far. I imagined equipment and cosmetics that would be exclusive to players who had been there right from the start. I don’t want to have to say to Kinderguardians, “There was a time when enormous Hive Knights appeared on the map all the time”: I want them to see it written on my Guardian’s body so they burn with envy.

I’m not getting that, apparently, and I suppose that’s fine. It’s good business sense, really; if Activision and Bungie made meaningful content inaccessible to new players, they’d be less keen to buy in. But even as I acknowledge that sense, I don’t like it.

I don’t like it because I feel like all the time I’ve spent with Destiny so far is meaningless*. And also that Bungie values people who cough up cash now more than its faithful players.

*Of course if you want to look at it that way all time spent playing video games is meaningless (and everything is meaningless and oh God why did I start thinking).

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