Bungie: 'Destiny has to keep evolving'

Destiny. A month after launch, Destiny is a mix of high-highs and divisive lows. It's an enormously successful new intellectual property for publisher Activision, with sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. According to developer Bungie, the game averages 3.2 million players daily, who spend an average of close to 3 hours in-game.

The game's servers have held up well against the flood of guardians playing daily, something we noted as part of our State of Service review. But we were curious, how long had the servers been down since launch?

"Somewhere around four hours total over the month," said Zach Russell, director of online services and technology at Bungie. "When you let millions of players through the front door of the game you've been building for years, it's a nervous time. Have we thought of everything?"

He continued, "Through a lot of hard work by a lot of talented people we had a solid launch on our servers with very limited downtime. We have had some complex network connectivity problems, such as some university networks having trouble connecting to our servers, that we are constantly working to solve, but still have a ways to go."

Bungie has also been highly responsive to feedback, swiftly correcting elements that were becoming all-consuming in player discussions of Destiny, like the Loot Cave and The Cryptarch's almost maniacal glee in devaluing engram hand-ins.

"We had already discussed our old friend, [The Cryptarch], yeah. We play a lot of Destiny, and we use our own feedback as a barometer to measure what's great, what needs some attention, and what plain sucks," said Russell. "In some cases, that can give us an early heads up. That said, a lot of us are going out of our way to play and make friends with total strangers to see what people are really saying and doing in the world, first hand. We're also reading and listening to forums and social stuff, too."

Destiny's first expansion is currently planned for December, with leaks providing a glimpse at what's to come, but Bungie insists the details aren't final. With criticism of Destiny across the spectrum, we wanted to know whether the past month has shifted or solidified the design of the game going forward.

"It means Destiny has to keep evolving," said Russell. "Prior to day one, we had already identified some areas that were going to get some tweaks and upgrades, but we knew that launch would represent a new focus for us. We wanted to stay flexible, and planned to tackle feedback as it bubbled up. We're doing that. It's challenging, and we're learning some lessons, but it's also a great way to stay on our game."