destiny taken king founders pack

Collector’s Edition: Balancing Incentives

Published on: Jun 16, 2015 @ 22:36

The Taken King can be pre-ordered now! This article will outline everything you can expect from each version. We’ll also talk about some questionable decisions regarding the Collector’s edition & VIP rewards.


VIP Rewards

Before we dive into the controversy over these, let’s first go over exactly what these are and how we’ll get them on 9/15/15.

To be eligible for these VIP rewards:

  1. Have at least 1 level 30 character (before August 31, 2015) or own expansion I & II (before August 31, 2015)
  2. Own/Play The Taken King (before 2/1/16)
vip rewards
Appears to be an all-black shader & sparrow with the Hunger emblem

Every edition includes the VIP rewards, but to be eligible to use them, you must meet the requirements listed above.

Most of you all are good to go, as I’m sure the majority who are reading this have already played both The Dark Below & House of Wolves.

To be safe, make sure that when you purchase TTK, at least 1 character is level 30. Level is determined by armor quality, and although Bungie probably has a more foolproof way of determining your maximum level, it never hurts to be extra careful!



Pre-order any of these and get early access to the Vanguard weapons pack. Vanguard weapons will also be available to everyone else on January 1st, 2016.

Digital Download ($40)

The cheapest version, a digital-only download, this just includes just The Taken King. Pre-order for the 3 Vanguard weapons.

You need Destiny, The Dark Below, and House of Wolves to play this Digital Download version.

legendary xbox one editionLegendary Edition ($60)

This is for those who are ready to try Destiny for the first time, or who haven’t got any of the expansions yet. This includes not only The Taken King, but every other expansion, as well as the original game. Pre-order for the 3 Vanguard weapons.

Digital Collector’s Edition ($80)

The Digital Collector’s edition includes everything that the Legendary edition has. It also includes:

  • Exotic Guardian Class items featuring XP bonuses
  • Three class-specific emotes
  • Three armor shaders
  • Early access to 3 Vanguard weapons (pre-order not necessary)

If you don’t yet own Destiny or the expansions, pre-ordering this edition will allow you to play them immediately.

digital content collector's edition
Access a special Vanguard Pulse Rifle, Auto Rifle, and Sidearm on 9/15/15

Collector’s Edition ($80)

A much better deal compared to the Digital Collector’s edition. For the same price as the Digital Collector’s, you’re getting so much more!taken king collectors

This edition includes everything that the Digital Collector’s edition has, in addition to these physical goodies:

  • Collector’s Edition SteelBook Case
  • Modified Treasure Island Book with Intro Letter from Cayde-6
  • Cayde-6’s Personal Notes and Illustrations
  • Collection of Relics and Artifacts
  • Strange Coin Replica
  • Weapon Schematic
  • Early access to 3 Vanguard weapons (pre-order not necessary)


One Step Forward…

For a developer, one of the hallmarks of inspiring confidence in your fans is the ability to learn from your mistakes. Bungie has had its fair share of minor and major miscues with Destiny, and the launch of The Dark Below exemplified most of them. The most contentious issue, of course, was the almost paradoxical relationship between the time Guardians invested in Destiny and the return on that investment.

The Exotic upgrade system was about as thinly veiled a grind as there could have been, and it disproportionately punished players who had bothered to fully max their Exotics. It required them to trade in what had previously been a fully functioning weapon, and in return they were given the same weapon without any experience – essentially placing them back at square one.


Bungie had maybe hoped that the eventual increase to overall ATK (from 300 to 331) would be enough sense of “progression” to make the grind feel worthwhile, but this did not pan out, as it turned out this damage was simply required to be able to contend with the perpetually over-leveled enemies in Crota’s End. Even if Guardians were able to swallow their indignation over Exotics, most couldn’t help but despair over the way The Dark Below handled Legendaries.

Not only were old weapons suddenly outclassed by everything the vendors were selling, but there was no way to upgrade them either. With the squeeze of Vault space ever-present, the reward for amassing a collection of weapons and dedicating time to upgrade them was needing to dismantle them to make room for the new stuff. All in all, it was an unintuitive and borderline spiteful system that threatened to sour the community irrevocably on Bungie’s ideas for expansions.

The House of Wolves has had almost the opposite effect. The Ascension system was a masterstroke, not only avoiding the mistakes of The Dark Below, but even going so far as to retroactively fix them. Anything a player held on to could be relevant, and every ounce of experience invested in an Exotic or Legendary worked toward maxing them at the new attack value. Bungie pretty much knocked it out of the park.

Two Steps Back…

If Destiny wants to hold on to its players who have stuck around through thick and thin, faithfully pre-ordering every package, they should be proportionately rewarded for their loyalty. So, does The Taken King follow this obvious prescription for a satisfied consumer? Not quite.

New players are going to be given the chance to jump into Destiny with all three expansions, plus the base game, for $59.99. This is obviously a great deal, especially when compared to the snowballing price for those who have been assembling their Destiny experience piecemeal.


For anyone who purchased Destiny on Day 1, the cost up until House of Wolves has likely been upwards of $95. That number amounts to the cost of the base game, plus the Expansion Pass for Year 1. Anyone new to Destiny will get all that, plus The Taken King, for $30 less. While annoying to those who have been around for a while, this is standard industry practice for DLC-heavy games, and necessary for growing the playerbase. An entry fee of $134.99 would be prohibitively expensive for those on the fence about joining Destiny. This, all in all, is not a problem.

The Physical Collector’s Edition has a host of collectable goodies, whose appeal will vary according to the value an individual places on such things, but also has – most importantly – three class-specific emotes, three armor shaders, and three exotic class items with XP bonuses. The Digital Collector’s Edition has the same rewards. Either of these can be purchased by anyone with the money, and enjoyed on the day The Taken King is released. They also include the base Destiny game, and The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions. And all this for only $79.99.

Players who have already purchased Destiny, The Dark Below, and the House of Wolves, provided they have leveled at least one character to 30, will be uniquely able to purchase the expansion as a standalone for $39.99. They will also be given a commemorative (“VIP”) Sparrow, Amor Shader, and Year 1 Emblem for their support of Destiny since its inception.

Is the problem clear yet? There is no way to earn the Digital Collector’s bonus items for those who already own Destiny, short of buying the entire game again for $80. This means that someone who hasn’t played any Destiny can come into The Taken King with a class item that speeds their own progression, three new unattainable emotes, and three unique shaders while those who have been around since Day 1 would have to shell out the big bucks if they wanted to enjoy the same luxuries.


Yes, they get the Founder’s set, which is a thoughtful gesture – but it’s an incomplete one. There is absolutely zero reason to withhold anything from its most dedicated Destiny fans, and anything short of offering full access to the new stuff for a price that doesn’t include re-buying the game is at best a seriously disappointing miscalculation, and at worst a cynical grab at more money.


Rewarding Investment

Who would truly appreciate three unique shaders? Who has been clamoring for more personality in the form of emotes? Who would die for the ability to speed up the grind with new XP Class items? The answer, is Destiny’s current players, who are vocal about their desires and do not wish to pay $80 for a few digital items.

It’s in the labeling, too: the “Collector’s” Edition. Destiny is, in itself, a game of collection. A lot of its players have been spending the better parts of their weeks for the past year amassing a collection of weapons, armor, sparrows, emblems, shaders, and class items to be proud of. And now, unless they have $80 to spend, their collection will be incomplete. The name is bait, and it’s frustrating to have to purposefully not rise to it.

collector's digital contents

And who’s most likely willing to bite the bullet and purchase the Collector’s Edition, anyway? Is it a new player? No. Someone who is tentatively reaching out to explore a franchise they’re unfamiliar with is generally not going to commit to the most expensive version of that game. The Collector’s Edition ensnares players who already have most of it, but have got to have it all.

Note: it appears that we will have access to class items found within the game itself that feature similar benefits as the Exotic class items.

There’s (currently) no way of getting the special stuff without buying the whole game again. This is almost too conveniently restrictive to be an oversight. Players want return on investment, and there aren’t any shortcuts to fulfilling this.


“VIP” Rewards are Lacking

It’s so important for a game like Destiny to be able to attract new players. They breathe new life into the community, and are instrumental in helping to sustain the growth of a massive franchise like Destiny. The Taken King and its Collector’s Edition are certainly jam-packed with enough stuff to entice them in droves.

taken king story oryx

Unfortunately, it’s the veterans that are getting left out. Whether or not a longtime Destiny player gets a suitable thank-you gift means nothing for the bottom line, but when they don’t, discontent is not far behind. The last thing Bungie/Activision wants is for Destiny’s biggest fans to feel slighted, and judging by the collective reaction to the pre-order packages, it’s safe to say that many do.

They need to evaluate how important it is to withhold exclusives for those who are paying for the Collector’s Edition. It would be extremely easy to include the emotes, shaders, and class items with the VIP Founders package, free of charge – or even sell them for $4.99, etc. This would be the perfect way to reconcile the mammoth deficit of $40 that it would require to get a chance at the Collector’s Edition content.

Fortunately, the ship could be easily righted. Looking ahead to growing the playerbase is fine, but right now, Destiny’s current community needs to feel supported by Destiny.