Trying to Review Season of the Drifter: How my Master Plan Failed
The Master Plan
It is Wednesday 6th March in Nottingham. I’ve taken the day off work to assemble some IKEA furniture, having recently moved into a new flat with my girlfriend. Or at least that was my excuse. Destiny 2’s latest expansion, “Season of the Drifter” was released yesterday and I optimistically decided to review it. During my day off I played all of the the new activities and noticed that the Reckoning had only one out of three tiers available (I would later realise that the third tier has a recommended power level of 690 and I was only at 640). If I was going to review this expansion properly I would have to reach the maximum power level of 700. It would be a hard task but it was achievable if I managed my time effectively.
If it takes around 15 hours to complete all of Destiny 2’s activities in a week, surely I can commit two hours a day to play?
My routine in the week is busy. I, like most people, work from half eight until five and I go running every other evening. There’s also band practice once a week and things to cook and dishes to wash. With everything combined I realised that I only had two opportunities to play Destiny 2. There were 45 minutes between getting home from work and starting cooking or going for a run and also an opportunity to stay up late for an hour to cram in some late night gaming once my girlfriend has gone to bed. I quickly discarded the last idea because when the clock turns to double digits I start to worry I’ll be tired the next day. So, that was my plan: 45 minutes of Destiny every day after work and additional time at the weekend if I was in Nottingham.
The next day, the time came to execute my plan. I left work at five on the dot and managed to get home in good time. Things were going perfectly. I threw my work bag down next to the kitchen table, quickly walked over to the Xbox and firmly pressed my index finger down on the power button. It jolted to life. I excitedly turned on the TV only to be greeted by an error message “You have been logged out of Destiny 2, please log back in”. “Perfect” I pessimistically thought and pressed A on my controller.
Three minutes later the login menu appeared and I clicked on my Warlock, now at 645 power after my day off assembling IKEA furniture. At the start of all of my play sessions I immediately travel to the Tower to collect daily and weekly bounties. I realised this would waste time, but the completionist in me cannot leave these bounties un-ticked. Loading into the tower took me up to five minutes on my outdated original Xbox One.
My character loads into the Tower’s main landing pad. By this point I have calculated the most efficient route between vendors. Tess, Zavala, Shaxx and then the Drifter, who in the latest expansion has been moved to the Annex in the opposite end of the Tower (there is an option to fast travel there, but on launch a bug stopped your character loading in properly). I sprinted towards the Annex, taking racing lines round every corner imagining this is what Mo Farah felt like when he broke the world record at the Olympics, and managed to collect all of my bounties in just under five minutes.
Finally it was time to start an activity. The strike playlist was loading. It took me another five minutes to find a fire team and start a mission. By the time I pull the trigger I have wasted almost 20 minutes, leaving only 25 left, or roughly the length of a strike.
I play one strike then log off.
My master plan was executed perfectly and I’m left having gained the equivalent of absolutely Jack-shit. Power Level: 645,
Over the following days I continue with my plan. I manage to complete three strikes, the weekly flash point and a heroic adventure. Three powerful gear drops bump me up one or two power levels, but I can’t help feeling robbed. The weekend arrives and I am already stressed. I am much further behind than anticipated, but I’ve forgotten my girlfriend is away for the weekend and all I have planned is two hours of band practice on Saturday. I somehow manage to play Destiny for eight hours straight by channeling the gaming stamina of my sixteen year old self, and complete most of my weekly milestones. Power level: 652.
By March 22nd I have made up some ground, ut the master plan needs some tweaking. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is released today and I’d decided to review that too. The new plan would focus on Sekiro, but there would likely be natural breaks if I was stuck on a challenging boss fight allowing me time to play Destiny 2. I also limited myself to playing Sekiro at the weekend rather than getting annoyed when playing after a long day at work. My planned 45 minutes (which I now realise is actually closer to 25 minutes) were still secure. I also improvised on a couple of occasions and played when my girlfriend was cooking or at the gym. Sneaking in some power level grinding bumped me up to a hefty 665.
April arrived and it was set to be a busy month. I needed another eight hour session on Destiny, but all of my weekends were fully booked. I even had two events that needed some serious preparation as my brother’s wedding and girlfriend’s birthday quickly approached. I managed to play most nights during my slot and stayed up late a couple of nights over two weeks. Immediately I regretted this decision as I felt like I’d just flown in from Australia the next morning at work. In a bid to play more Destiny I riskily decided to put off writing my best man’s speech until the last minute. Power level: 670. Stress level: Rising.
Half way through April my brother was officially married. After recovering from the wedding and what can only be described as the worst hangover of the 21st century, I noticed other game bloggers had released their review of Sekiro. I was behind for the second time as my master plan failed all around me. I started to feel overwhelmed, partly due to the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, but mainly because of Destiny 2. In frustration I noted down the working title for the review as “Season of The Drifter Review: The Overwhelming Expansion”. Power level: 670 still.
As the following two weeks passed I gained several power levels and uploaded my Sekiro review on 29th April. Ironically it was titled Path of Most Resistance, just as I became more and more overwhelmed. Power Level: 678.
At the start of May I am presented with an ultimatum; play Destiny 2 every waking moment I have free or cancel the review. I considered staying up late every night for two hours of additional play, but then I realised that is probably one of the criteria for diagnosing Gaming Disorder. I chose to abandon the review and as a result Destiny as a whole. This season brought to light many of the things that frustrate me about the game and the new content didn’t do enough to change my mind. Over the next few days I change the working title of the review to “Season of the Drifter Review: One step forwards, two steps sideways”.
As I look back at my time with Season of the Drifter I will always be reminded of my power level, stuck at 678, and it will likely remain that way for quite some time. Perhaps one day I will pick the game back up, probably when I have forgotten about all my frustrations. Now, however, it is time to assemble some IKEA furniture. Furniture assembly level: 700.