Why Destiny 2 is the only successful live service game

Despite recent trends in game studios releasing live service games, many have been failures. So Destiny 2 is an exception.


In recent years, the gaming community has seen countless live service games emerge that promise an experience far beyond what is typically offered by AAA games. With hopes of a constant stream of content spanning several years, these games promise extended experiences that keep the player engaged for a longer period of time, thereby avoiding the typical 30-70 hour campaign usually offered in single-player stories , emerges mode seem small in comparison. Despite the fascination of these games, many of them are unsuccessful. A big exception to this is destiny 2.


First released in 2017 as a typical pay-to-play game, destiny 2 became free to play two years later when it switched to a live service model. The game is set in a sci-fi world where gameplay is split between player and environment and player versus player activity. In this world, players take on the role of a guard protecting the people of Earth’s last city from hostile alien races. Unlike many other games that were discontinued just a few years after their release, destiny 2 is still constantly updating itself with a stronger community than ever. That’s how it really set itself apart from other games.

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Destiny 2 offers player engagement through gameplay

Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph gear display for all three classes

It would be an exaggeration to say that destiny 2 is the only major live service game to have found mainstream success. However, many other successful live service games fit into one of two categories – MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and games that are exclusively PvP, such as Brave. An exception to this is of course Genshin Impact. However, due to the gacha mechanics and the effects they have, it doesn’t really make sense to think of it in the same sense as these other live service games.

One of the reasons why destiny 2 is so successful that it combines elements of the aforementioned categories. Not only can players team up with others to take on the harsh world of the game, but they can also compete against those players. As a result, there’s a game mode for everyone, regardless of their mood or preference, and the game is accessible to people looking for both competitive and cooperative elements. Of course the players are busy destiny 2‘s story, but the reason they’re coming back update after update is because there’s enough compelling co-op and competitive content between those updates.

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Other live service games have failed to provide a story told through regular updates, possibly because they don’t have enough variation in the different game modes they offer. Both anthem and Marvel’s Avengers, for example, are two major live service games that have tried and failed, leaving their stories unresolved and players disappointed. Both games also offered exclusively PvE without any PvP elements. This left the gameplay stale and boring for players looking for a challenge.

Destiny 2 launched as a full-fledged game

A group of Guardians who attack enemies in the Destiny 2 game

A very common criticism of live service games is that they are lazy as studios offer unfinished games that are refined over time. Unfortunately, many live service games live up to this criticism and launch with a plethora of technical issues that affect not only the game’s performance but also the players’ impressions. Because of this, many players avoid these games at launch and just never get into them over time.

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However, destiny 2 did not start with the same problems and controversies. Probably because the developers built on areas of improvement from the first game, destiny 2 felt smooth, fun, engaging, and most importantly, sophisticated. As such, the game didn’t feel like a work in progress that was hastily launched. This resulted in it having an excellent reputation in the gaming community which only grew over the years and more and more people were encouraged to try the game.

When gamers are looking for a live service title, they want something they can invest their time in without making it feel like a waste in the future. They want a game that will always motivate them to come back. An engaging story, fun variations in gameplay to keep things from getting boring, and a complete, refined product all equally influence a player’s desire to come back for more. In total, destiny 2 differs from other failed live service games by simply delivering exactly what players have come to expect from a live service game.

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