I, as many other Guardians, picked up Destiny on day one, and have sunk 500+ hours into the game since September. I used to count down the hours until Xur would arrive in the tower with shiny new Exotics for Guardians to buy, but since November Xur has become less relevant to most Guardians. Which leads me to the question, is Xur relevant?
When Destiny first launched on September 9th I, like many other Guardians across the world, stayed up late to start my adventure. As I plunged myself into the game’s story, I was driven by the hunger to hit level 20 as quickly as possible. As I grinded away at the story and eventually hit level 20, I discovered to reach the level cap of 30 I had to grind for new armor with Light. Destiny power leveling make upgrade easy. Around came Friday, and a strange looking person called Xur: Agent of the Nine appeared with a variant of sought-after Exotic items for Guardians to purchase. These incredible looking armor pieces and weapons had Light levels and perks I had never seen before – I had to get them. And so started the struggle to get enough Strange Coins to purchase those beautiful Exotics before Xur disappeared on Sunday morning.
Many others like myself couldn’t wait for Xur to bring new stock each Friday. We would grind away at Strikes, trying to save up those prestigious strange coins to buy an incredible piece. This was the norm for players at the beginning of Destiny’s launch. Nightfalls offered one chance a week at a beautiful Exotic, but with the level being set at 28 and most players struggling to get to level 24, the never-ending circle was born. Grind for gear to get to 28 for Nightfalls, get nothing; so wait for Xur and try again next week.
As Destiny evolved from its origins at launch, however, Xur has changed, and so have players’ mentality towards him. Xur was seen as the key holder for that final piece of armor to get you into the Vault of Glass (VOG) Raid. Then when VOG wouldn’t drop that Titian arm piece, Xur was your only option. Week after week he would come, and week after week he didn’t have the Exotic that you needed to finally reach level 30. With patches and updates though, Xur became less relevant until Iron Banner, for me, broke Xur and VOG all together.
When Bungie announced that Iron Banner would be improved and would bring those ever sought after amour pieces to get to 30, it broke the game and the games main focal point. For me and many others, the main focal point – and the only reason I was still playing Destiny – was to grind out that last piece and to finally get to 30. As someone who loved playing RPGs with mass-grinding whilst growing up, Destiny called out to me and made this grind the main point of the game. Week after week I would complete VOG and not get the Titan gloves or the Warlock helm, but this didn’t deteriorate me as I knew one day I would get these and when I did I would feel like I deserve them.