A Date with Destiny

After several months of delays, flaking, and people doing that thing were they commit to something but understandably have to bail when their mental health, physical health, or life gets in way, I am finally set up to do the raid on Destiny 2. I’ve literally been waiting to do it with this group of people because this group of six is my clan, they’re the people I want to play this game with. I’m not a hardcore gamer, I don’t really care about having a top-tier character or the best loot, and I don’t really enjoy grinding away (repetitively repeating tasks in order to reap the completion rewards as much as possible) in most games, so I was never going to do this with a group of strangers. I like to play video games with my friends, so I’m fine waiting until they’re all ready. Usually. The past 8 months of waiting have been a bit much, though.

It isn’t only Destiny, either. I’m having trouble getting friends together for almost any of the “old” online games. I used to play Overwatch a minimum of twice a week, but now it’s getting rare for me to play it at all during any given week. People have moved on to other games. Heck, I have as well. I spend more time playing Switch games than I do on playing computer games. I had a brief affair with Borderlands 2 again, and I even got to play it with a few of my friends, but that first week of playing it was all we had. We’re back to doing our own things for now.

Most of the time, that’s okay. It’s perfectly natural to go through cycles of spending more time with friends and then less time with friends. The same of true of bigger games without any real end, like Overwatch and Destiny 2. Something will prompt you to return to a game like that and then you’ll play a lot of it until something else captures your attention. If that was all of it, I wouldn’t mind it that much. I’d be quietly waiting for the cycle to come around again with some other game and then I’d dive right back into it with my friends. For the Destiny raid, though, it’s different.

My roommate, the head of our little clan and the center point for the entire group (since I only know half the guys in the group because of him), has been actively trying to organize a raid for months. Our clan has changed members and he’s even gone so far as to get a new person into the game and leveled all the way up JUST so we have a sixth person to do the raid with. And, you know, cause he’s a really nice dude who wants to share his interests with his friends, but also because of the raid thing. He’s found strategy videos for use to watch, shared diagrams and charts on how to navigate the read, done extensive research into the tricks of the raid, helped everyone optimize their characters, come up with a list of the best gear for each class, helped us all get the gear we want to use, and even managed to make the raid sound like a lot of fun despite the amount of work it sounds like from his pile of diagrams, videos, and charts.

And yet here we are, 6 months after the closest we ever came to doing the raid (we had four people online for it and the remaining two flaked last-minute). We’ve got a time set, we’ve got gear picked, we’ve got characters optimized, we’ve got teams picked, and people have actually started watching the guide videos. But only four of us are firm commitments. One has left some wiggle room in his commitment for last minute cancellation and another has committed, but he’ll be coming back from dog-sitting for his girlfriend and, as often happens when people encounter their significant others, he is liable to be distracted. I wouldn’t hold it against either one if they wound up bailing on us in order to go on a date/prepare food for the week or because they wanted to spend some time with their loved one, but I can see my roommate getting more and more frustrated.

Not only have people been flaking out or ignore his attempts to organize raids in the past, but they start asking if we’re ever going to do a raid after all of the dates my roommate set in the survey has passed by with only him and I responding. Neither of us can nag any of the people into responding to the surveys or queries, and no amount of enthusiasm on our parts has been enough to get four other people to commit to a date and time for a raid. It is incredibly frustrating to try to get people organized, have them ignore us, and then have them start complaining that we’ve never done a raid. I can only imagine how much worse it is for my roommate since he actually wants to have a fully optimized character and all the best loot (which is only possible if you grind through the raid at least once a week).

I mean, if I was in his shoes, I’d have lost my temper with this group and just done it on my own, with a bunch of strangers. There’s even a feature in the game for finding a group willing to random players join them for stuff like the raid, so it’d be easy to do, if somewhat time-consuming. He knows I don’t really care and the only other friend who cares would just do it on his own as well, so the only reason he’s still trying to organize us is because we’re his friends and he wants to play with us.

So I’ve cleared my night. I’ve had a couple of quiet conversations about the importance of honoring commitments. I’ve watched the videos and will do so again before the raid. I’ve responded to the messages and reviewed the charts and pictures. I’m ready enough to back up my roommate and be the second leader he’ll need to make sure everyone stays focused, on-task, and working as a team. I’ll be taking an hour or two before our scheduled time to get ready, including making sure my outfit and accessories are appropriate. Honestly, it feels a lot like preparing for a date that’s been a long time coming, minus the emotional turbulence and anxiety since I don’t need to worry about someone liking me.

I don’t think I want to pursue that metaphor too far. I don’t think I’m ready to make any kind of commitment, not while I’m still hung up on Breath of the Wild… And I know Destiny 2 isn’t the kind of game that will settle for an occasional fling. They’d be fun, but we’d both know that I’m mostly wasting both our times if I don’t make a serious commitment. For now, I’m just going to focus on the raid and we’ll see how it goes from there.

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