When developer Bungie added the Forsaken expansion to Destiny 2, it also brought several new guns to its live-service experience. One of those weapons, a grenade launcher called The Mountaintop, upended Destiny 2’s competitive landscape. It was devastating in fights and became a mainstay of many players’ arsenals–and it was incredibly tough to earn, which made it feel like a significant power boost as well as a badge of honor to wield.
Two years later, Bungie “sunset” a number of older weapons by capping their stat levels. With lower stats, those guns couldn’t compete in newer or higher-difficulty content, which effectively rendered them obsolete. The Mountaintop was among those sunset weapons, and for many, losing some of the best weapons in their arsenals, guns they’d poured hours of grinding and frustration into earning, was enough to make them abandon Destiny 2 forever. Though Bungie made the change for the health of the game, at least from its point of view, that choice still came at the expense of some of its most die-hard players, who had scraped and struggled to claim The Mountaintop. Something they felt was theirs was taken away. The frustration was enough to drive some players to quit Bungie’s MMO shooter entirely.
This Destiny 2 scenario is emblematic of what cryptocurrency advocates point to when they push for the use of blockchain technology and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, in video games. Lots of talk about integrating the blockchain with games amounts of lofty promises and claims about how the technology empowers players to “own” pieces of games and profit from them. Fundamentally, though, a big part of the appeal is that, in the world imagined by crypto gaming fans, your copy of The Mountaintop would be yours, and once you earned it, Bungie would never be able to change it or take it from you.