Productive Vs. Negative Frustration

On Wednesday night, my regular fireteam was playing Iron Banner in Destiny 2. For anyone unfamiliar, Iron Banner is a variation of the Crucible, Destiny’s PvP mode.

I am the first to admit I’m not super adept at PvP. I’m passable to decent, but, on Wednesday night, something was amiss.

The whole reason I delved into Iron Banner was to finish leveling my green set of Solstice armor; all I had left was to get super kills in the Crucible. Fair enough.

There were so many issues happening, it was as though I wasn’t even playing and I mean that literally (no joke, at one point as I was guarding a capture point and actively moving, I got booted for inactivity). I explained to my fireteam what was happening. There would be times I would Golden Gun another player and it wouldn’t kill them. I Golden Gunned someone THREE TIMES and it didn’t kill them. On that last situation, another person in the fireteam actually saw it happen and couldn’t figure it out either.

Something was very wrong.

I usually land somewhere in the middle, score-wise, at the end of each match. That night, except for one match where I was second to last, I was dead last every time.

That’s not normal.

I could list off all the ways the game was borking me, but I won’t bore you. Basically, if something was supposed to work, it didn’t. At least not for me.

My PS4 is hardwired into the router. My internet speed is fast. If someone’s poor internet connection was causing problems, it wasn’t mine. Even my partner, who was playing via our wireless, was having a far better time of it than me.

I was maybe the most frustrated I’ve ever been while playing a video game. No lie; I was really upset.

When I finally logged out and set the game aside I had to wonder: is playing this game worth it? If a game is so borked it can’t be counted upon for even the most basic functions, why play it? If a developer designs a quest to be so grindy and the function to complete it so sketchy, how does that game value my time?

I started to realize I don’t think it DOES value my time.

And that made me exceedingly frustrated.

I think of other games where I’ve been frustrated and it’s been productive, overall. Most recently, I was playing Nex Machina where the learning curve is fast and furious. I recalled hearing people were encouraged to start on Rookie (the game’s version of “easy” mode), and I’m glad I did. Housemarque’s previous game, Resogun, was perfectly fine to play on normal. When I played Nex Machina on Rookie, I was still getting trounced once in a while.


When I would eat sh*t for the third time on a level, I knew it was because of my own error and not the game’s. If I was dying, it was fair; I needed to observe patterns and respond accordingly. Sure, occasionally I would get spawned directly into a laser and die, but that was fairly rare. I was frustrated for bite-sized chunks of the game, but I always knew what I had to do to overcome the obstacle at hand.

That kind of frustration is productive to me.

In the Crucible, when normal things that should function just weirdly don’t function, there isn’t anything I can do about that. That kind of frustration is infuriating.

Destiny 2 taps into this weird part of my brain that has to do with collecting and completing things. I’ve put so much time into the first and second game, of course I was going to want to participate in the Solstice of Heroes event. Of course I was going to want to obtain and level up this armor that marks the end of year one. But when the game doesn’t function properly, it makes it darn near impossible to do those things.

I decided to boot the game up again last night (against my better judgement) and make a push to finish that green set of Solstice armor. This time, I was back to normal and my shots and supers were functioning mostly fine. I was able to finish leveling my green armor in short order. Clearly something had been amiss the night before.

But it all made me wonder about how I spend my gaming time.

For better or worse, I love Destiny. Wednesday night was the first time I honestly considered putting it aside for good. There are so many other games out there I want to play; presumably games that don’t take their players’ time for granted. I understand making a game grindy for certain things, but I think Bungie is taking it a bit too far, particularly if things aren’t functioning as intended.

That’s a frustration I don’t want or need.

There will be a weighing of this issue in my immediate future.

With that I ask: have you ever been supremely frustrated with a game to the point of not wanting to play it anymore? If so, which one/s? And which games have you been frustrated by, but for your own failings and not those of the game?

This weekend I will be playing more compact games. On the docket for today is Superhot and hopefully finishing What Remains of Edith Finch (it made me mad motion sick when I originally started it a while back). I’m also hoping to finally get to A Way Out, and I just got my copy of Dead Cells so I may give that a go. I’m also keen on starting Murdered: Soul Suspect. I think it’s going to be a robust weekend of varying entries.

What will you be playing this weekend?

Please be safe out there, friends. Cheers.

4 replies »

  1. I too have reevaluated my commitment to Destiny 2. The required grind coupled with both bugs and obfuscated game play decisions by the developer has left me frustrated more often then not. My game time is so limited that I’m not willing to repeatedly not have fun while playing. I don’t think that I’ll buy Forsaken. I’ve other games to play as well as games such as Anthem and The Division 2 to look forward too. What I really loved about Destiny 2 was that it’s a “one stop shop” with various modes to meet whatever type of game that I wanted to play at any given time. But there’s too much “other stuff” getting in the way of playing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t blame you. Like, at all. I feel like you nailed it in your comment here.

      I’ve still been trying to chip away at leveling my Solstice gear, and yesterday I saw that I have less than a week to finish it and I immediately felt weary. I’m not sure I’m even going to get that far.


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