There are plenty of mechanical details that need to be tweaked before Destiny is ready for its full public debut, as this weekend's past stress test showed. There are balance issues and a few bugs, and the smart thing for Bungie to do is to really nail down the questing and shooting and matchmaking until they're all pretty much perfect. That's your core gameplay right there, and if that's not satisfying, nobody will really care all that much if you can dye your armor red. After all that's taken care of, however, what I want most next - before more content, even, is a house. Well, more like an apartment. The game says that the Tower is "where the Guardians live," so fine, let me live there.
MMOs are a mechanical hamster wheel - do the quest, get the loot and XP, level up so that you can get better gear and do harder quests, repeat - which can inevitably get really dull over the long term. One way to make the grind more enjoyable is to allow the player to emotionally buy into the conceit at work: I'm not just killing ten Thralls, I'm cleaning out this area to prevent the Hive from gaining a foothold on Earth! Narrative matters if you want to keep players happily churning away in your sustained world, and I don't just mean the narrative you write, but rather the one the player creates for themselves.
Who am I, besides a Guardian of Earth? The game will undoubtedly tell me some of that, or more accurately, the game will perhaps tell me who I was before Ghost woke me up and stuck a gun in my hand. Who am I now? I, as the player, chose the Warlock class not just because of its stats, but also because they're warrior/scholars. I'd like that pursuit of knowledge to be reflected in my Guardian's demeanor somehow, but how? It's hard to reveal a love of learning by gunning down Acolytes or Knights, so perhaps I have a bookshelf in my apartment filled with ancient teachings. Maybe I can even choose a class of loot that will show up as random drops. Instead of an emblem or custom color, maybe I get a data vid or a scroll from the before times. The apartment is also a natural environment to interact with the game's Grimoire, which gather lore and information that you discover in the game via sets of cards; perhaps you could even display your favorites on the wall. A personalized living space would allow you to choose what matters to you in the universe of Destiny - sure, you're fighting to save everything, but inevitably some bits will touch your soul just a wee bit more than others.
My apartment could be more than just yet another layer of customization, though; it could also be where I relive my favorite Destiny moments. Maybe there's a photo album sitting on the coffee table that collects all the images I've shared while I was playing, or a video monitor that lets me watch all the clips I've uploaded. If, as Bungie hopes, Destiny really is a game we end up playing for several years, it would be fantastic to have an easy way to look back on those early moments that you're otherwise likely to forget ever happened. The one major downside with this particular plan is that it's limited to the next-gen version of the games, as Xbox 360 and PS3 don't have a way of sharing clips or photos. As an alternative, trophies or mementos from certain activities could be made available as decorations, much the same way that the stuff Commander Shepard acquired found its way into her living quarters. Over here, we have a shard of Sepiks Prime, and on the table, a music collection that I found in a loot crate. Not as interactive as movies, perhaps, but still pretty great.
Then again, maybe it's just a situation where I throw fat piles of Glimmer at furniture sets. We don't have a real sense of how the economy works in Destiny, and there may be ample ways to spend your hard-earned (stupidly-named) cash, but dedicated players might end up with full-to-bursting pockets, just the same. If so, apartment decorations are a great way to soak up that money - just ask anyone who's ever played Animal Crossing. You wouldn't even have to be able to move them around, or anything, just buy the bedroom set, Oblivion-style, and have it plop down where the bedroom set goes. Maybe you get some kind of silly bonus for having a complete apartment set, like unlocking new dance moves or a gun that shoots sparkly bullets. Or a Ghost that barks and runs around like a puppy when you come home. Don't tell me you wouldn't collect furniture to get a Destiny puppy, because I won't believe you.
Destiny wants to be a blend of solo and social play, a sprawling adventure (complete with great shooting,) and I am on board for all of that, but I also want a place that's mine, fully mine. Not part of the saga of the Guardians, not part of the social spaces, just my little nook away from everything else. Preferably on the fourteenth floor, with a nice view of the Traveller.