I like Lore. When Destiny was first announced before any gameplay footage was shown, I was immediately hooked by the idea alone.
Here's some of my notes.
- 1 New Project Idea
- 2 Speculation
- 3 Story
New Project Idea
I'm thinking of condensing and rearranging the information here as part of a side project, to make a more streamlined and story-centric presentation. Not on here, I don't think, maybe a blog or something, in the style of various Lore videos I've seen on youtube. I think I would have three major categories: History, Guardians & Allies, and Enemies. I would also include some minor speculation about some of the gray areas of the story, but I would be careful to label it as such.
- Ares One and the Golden Age
- The Collapse and the Dark Age
- The City Age
- Six Fronts
- The Faction Wars
- Twilight Gap
- The Great Disaster
- The Reef Wars
Guardians & Allies
- Guardians Introduction
- Titans, Hunters and Warlocks, and their subclasses
- The Traveler
- Jaren Ward
- Dredgen Yor
- The Queen & The Reef
- The Nine
- Society, Houses, History
- Caste System, Religion
- History, Goals and Projects
- History, Goals
- Oryx and the Taken
- The Ahamkara
- The Black Garden
- Dreams of Alpha Lupi
The Taken King
Bungie just trademarked this name but we know nothing about it except an obvious Hive-looking logo. I think this might be Comet:Plague of Darkness. Question is, who the "king" is supposed to be. I have a few ideas; it might be Oryx coming to avenge his defeated son Crota, which I think would be the most likely scenario. One other idea I had though is that, considering the Cabal have had very little screentime, and that according to their lore they have a massive empire that's on the run, then maybe Oryx has abducted the Cabal emperor. That's be an interesting way to shake things up.
Okay, NEW THEORY: HOW seems to be subtly nodding to Taken King. Eris is seeking help from the Queen to stop Oryx. Taniks invades the Hellmouth and sends out a mysterious transmission. Skolas mumbles about the Light-snuffer, Darkbinder. The Fallen know Oryx is coming, and he is very likely furious. Crota killed by Guardians, his shrine destroyed by Guardians, his sacrifice tainted by Guardians - It's quite obvious that Oryx is out for blood.
UPDATE: Well, I was right about Oryx, and came very close to the Cabal's level of involvement. I should've realized that the name "Taken" should have reminded me of the Dark Patrol concept art of zombified fallen and Cabal. Now would be a good time to go back to all of the original concept art and see what other concepts have yet to be implemented, could give us major clues on what to expect.
Dredgen Yor and Jaren Ward
It's no coincidence that Thorn and Last Word are considered Yin and Yang. I note that it's strongly implied that Dredgen Yor destroyed Palamon and killed Jaren Ward, based both on the "associations" tags in Thorn 2 and subtle references to Yor in Last Word 1 and 3. I'd just like to see confirmation of it. Furthermore, I'd like to see conclusive evidence that the boy telling the story is Shin Malphur, the guardian who fights against Yor. This has all kinds of implications; firstly, that a Guardian doesn't necessarily have to be the ancient dead, and secondly, that a ghost can pass from one guardian to another. Particularly if they have a familial bond. Do Guardians even have families?
As for Yor's corruption, I think that's pretty straightforward. I'm going to make a lot of comparisons to Tolkien, since I'm seeing some of the same themes here. Yor's a lot like Boromir, in that he became both prideful and despairing, and thus became an easy target for the Darkness's temptations. It seems he had already dabbled in Hive sorcery before completely losing himself.
I suspect "Mysteries 2" describes the Traveler's struggle against the darkness; the only alternative would be Rasputin, but I doubt it. Rasputin seemed to survive by going off the grid, not by openly fighting. Furthermore there are clear references to the Black Garden, which we know that (for whatever reason) is connected to the Traveler. Furthermore it says "IT always wins." Clearly whoever is speaking has a history with the Darkness. Rasputin had no idea what the Darkness was when he first encountered it.
If my suspicion is true, then it means the Traveler had "brothers and sisters" and was created by someone, possibly this being called "The Gardener", who is also connected to the Black Garden. I think the Traveler and its siblings were meant to simply uplift existing civilizations, until the Darkness became a threat. Fighting the Darkness was not its intended purpose, but after discovering humanity, it found the will to fight.
On second thought maybe the narrator is Rasputin which makes the Gardener the Traveler. The key to figuring this out is how the Black Garden is related to the Traveler. Pujari says the Traveler didn't make the Garden, but its arrival to Mars is nonetheless the reason for its existence. It's interesting to note that the word "knives" is used both here and in Dreams of Alpha Lupi. What are the knives? Is this the weapon the Darkness uses? How would someone like Rasputin steal them?
I strongly believe Toland's theory is closest to the truth on the nature of Darkness, but I think elements of the other theories are also true. Furthermore, I think I know why Darkness hates the Light so much; It's implied that Light is more than just the Traveler's power, it is life itself. Life is already an anathema to the cold, uncaring universe, as it refuses to yield to the natural order. Darkness is chaos and death incarnate, and cannot abide free will. This is most likely why the Vex and Hive worship it; they may acquire great power from the Darkness, but they also fear it. The Fallen likewise also fear and respect the Darkness; perhaps they are Fallen precisely because they yielded to the Darkness rather than fight back.
The Darkness is trying to do the same to Guardians. It's trying to seduce them to its will. It succeeded with Dredgen Yor, and it will succeed with any Guardian who despairs of ever being able to fight back. Fear is the Darkness's most powerful weapon when it comes to undermining its enemies.
Minions of Darkness
I would be very surprised if the Vex and Hive ever go to war with each other, because they seem to be the only races that ever work for the Darkness directly. The Vex want to take control of reality, while the Hive want to consume the worlds of light and offer them to their gods. The two goals are not mutually exclusive, and both advance the purposes of their master. And upon further reading, it would seem that both the Hive and Vex create realms outside of space and time for their "gods" to inhabit. I would very much like to see if they do in fact work together in some instances. The Fallen and Cabal however seem to only incidentally serve the Darkness, which is why the Vex attack them. The Fallen and Cabal act as "useful idiots", if you will, putting physical pressure on humanity, while the Vex and Hive work on the actual existential threats. The military threat of a Fallen raid or a Cabal invasion is definitely important, but they can't come close to threats such as "altering reality", "consuming the Traveler's Light", or directly bringing about the arrival of the Darkness.
There's one small hiccup to this theory, though. Even though many Vex are called "Zealots" or "Disciples", and the Sol Divisive are very clearly religious, Atheon's name pretty much means "Atheist." Specifically, it means "one who does not follow the gods of larger society." What exactly does this mean? Are the Vex not a hivemind? Do the Programming Collectives have conflicting goals? Why would the religious Vex put one of their most important projects in the hands of an atheist? This bears more research.
One possible interpretation is that Atheon himself is a "God", in the same sense that the Sol Progeny might represent Gods as well. And as a god, he would have worshipers (The Supplicants, literally "petitioners" but more precisely those who give humble prayers) but would not himself worship. That's the only reason I can think of.
It would seem that I missed the "eon" part in Atheon. The name taken as a whole probably means "one who does not believe in time," which would be far mor fitting for the Vex.
The Jovians and the Nine
I believe the Nine, and by extension the Jovians, were given a choice by the Darkness; yield or die. It's obvious that they've been touched by the darkness; Xur says the light hurts him. So why help humanity? I think that whereas pride turned the Fallen into what they are, the Jovians still retained some aspect of their humanity and wanted to fight back somehow. With the Darkness's retreat, they saw an opportunity to reach out to the City and aid them however they can.
Binary Star Cult
I think the Binary Star Cult is a reference from the old version of the Destiny script. If you're unfamiliar, a QA tester leaked that the story was very different back in 2013 (as evidenced by the fact that 2013 trailers show cutscenes not in the final game, particularly involving Crow and the Speaker). In that story, the Traveler and the Darkness were actually one in the same, and the idea that the Traveler sparked the Golden Age was actually a massive lie. I'm glad they changed the story because that doesn't make a lick of sense. What caused the Golden Age then? Where did the Guardians get their power? Who created the Ghosts? Why is the Traveler protecting Humanity from its own minions? Why would the Speaker lie about the fact that they're living under a world-ending monster? I'm kind of disappointed that some people actually seem to think the Traveler/Speaker are secretly villains.
I have no evidence to support this, but I wish it were true; the Speaker is the Traveler himself, or at least a fragment of him. He may or may not be aware of it, but if the Traveler could create the Ghosts, it stands to reason it also created a guide for human survivors to see them through the dark age. It would explain his connection to the Traveler, and give him a much-needed human touch.
The only information we have on the Nine is Legends two. Each origin seems to contradict each other; but I don't think that is the case. Notice that there are nine origins. I suspect that the Nine refers not to the number of its members, so much as the nine origins of its members. I believe that all these things are true simultaneously, as I believe the Nine and the Jovains to be some kind of amalgam creature. Xur implies, when he says "some of this body's cells originated on this world", that he himself is some kind of composite creature. This explains how the nine can simultaneously be human, awoken, warmind, and leviathan, and so on.
As much as I love the lore of the game, what really matters most is the narrative; lore without narrative is unrealized potential, and I see a LOT of unrealized potential in this story. For clarification, "plot" is what happens in a story, whereas "narrative" is why things happen and why the audience should care. And I think there are a lot of gaps in why we should care about what happens in the story.
In my eyes, the biggest problem is that there's no connecting thread for the story. You just go from point A to point B because reasons. Everything feels separated; you're not going on a heroic journey, you're just hopping around different places, with no larger goal in mind. I'm going to do a scene-by-scene takedown of what I was thinking about as these things happen to give you an idea of where the story's lacking.
A Guardian Rises
The opening cutscenes do an excellent job of establishing the universe, giving us enough information while leaving a little bit of mystery. The only thing I would've like is if we spent a little more time with the astronauts and understand what they were thinking about and how they reacted to the Traveler. I want to see that exact moment where "everything changes forever." I want to know how these characters were transformed by the Traveler's influence.
Here's where I think the first major fumble takes place. The Speaker says, "The Darkness is coming back. We will not survive it this time." Now, this is where the conflict of the game should be clearly defined. Instead, we are given the vague, obscure task of "push back the darkness like all the other Guardians are doing" which pretty much translates to "futz around shooting things until someone else comes and tells you what to do." The hero (you) has no clear goal or purpose. I want to feel like a hero making courageous sacrifices and bold decisions, not a faceless soldier following orders or stumbling around in the dark.
How would I have fixed this without changing too much of the story? Have the Speaker say "We need to revive the Traveler, I know it seems impossible but I need you to find a way." I would rearrange a few of the missions as well; Make Restoration the last mission on Earth, and have The Dark Within take place beforehand. Now you have a very urgent reason to find an NLS drive and go to the moon. Killing the Archon is just what gets the Speaker's attention and makes you into a valueable asset. "A new guardian and already killing Fallen nobility? This might just be the guy I'm looking for."
Chamber of Night
How exactly does the Speaker know that the Hive are siphoning light from the Traveler? Again, this would've been useful establishing earlier on. During my revised cutscene in Restoration, I would've also added "When you get to the Moon, keep your eyes open. I don't have anything solid yet, but what we do know about the Hive is that they literally consume light. It might be related to the Traveler's current condition." Now you've successfully tied the moon missions to what you've been doing beforehand on Earth.
A Stranger's Call
The plot literally doesn't start until halfway into the story. Seriously. You're not given a goal until the Stranger gives you one. "Destroy the Black Garden". The rest of the game is the struggle trying to get there. That is a story! But then what does that make what we were doing the first half of the game? I don't really know.
I get it, she doesn't have time to explain, but that's no excuse for other characters not being able to explain certain things. Ghost says "We've heard the legends" about the Black Garden. Uhh, you may have, but I was dead until a few days ago, and I haven't heard anything about it until now. It would've been nice if this had been brought up earlier in the game; maybe Master Rahool could tell us some stories out of boredom and just happen to mention the Black Garden. Also, why does Ghost know that the Awoken know where to find the Garden? Why should they know? I thought they were a bunch of isolationists. Again, this would've been good coming from Rahool, since he is an Awoken, and he could've told us it's "an old Awoken superstition" or something. Then we'd have good reason to visit the Reef.
As for the Stranger telling us to go to the Black Garden, I wouldn't change much else. In fact, it would fit very nicely with the changes I've already mentioned. "The Speaker wants us to find a way to save the Traveler? Well, this might just be our best lead! Can we trust her though? Can we trust the Awoken? I don't know, but we have to try." See? Right there, you have an actual decision to make, an emotional moment that adds weight to the story.
The Awoken / A Key Awaits
This scene is literally the best scene in the game. Why? Because it has characters and things happen, dammit! As much as I think the Stranger's a cool character, being an Exo means she can't emote, so we lose the intrigue and tension that we get here. Right away you're thinking "Can I trust these people? That Queen must be really ruthless if she can control Fallen. Also, is she calling me 'it'? Why do I get the feeling they're going to screw me over?" This scene accomplishes its goal and does everything it needs to do right. It's too bad we see so little of the Queen and her brother.
The Black Garden
The Heart does make us believe that it's the Darkness itself and that we need to stop it to delay the arrival of the Darkness, but that's not what's actually happening. If you didn't read the Grimoire cards, you wouldn't know what the Vex were actually planning; the Sol Progeny are going to the Vault of Glass and use its reality-altering powers to take control of the universe. If that were made more clear, not only would it tie the Vault into the story, it would also give us some very terrifying stakes to deal with. But the fact that the Vex worship the Darkness is enough of an eerie thing. That's not the real problem here.
This was such an anti-climax. Not the fight itself, just what Ghost says at the end. "We're back on Mars!" - Uh, what? How do you know? Everything looks the same. I would've liked to at least see the stars or Phobos or something so that we can see for ourselves. - "The shroud of darkness is lifting, and Light returns to the Traveler. The Speaker is calling us home." I just keep saying "What?" This ending is so phoned in. I want to SEE the shroud lifting and light returning to the Traveler. Or rather, I want to see that our battle did change something. Also, why can't the Speaker physically call us home? Why does Ghost have to say it for him?
The cutscene afterward is kind of... meh. It just didn't hit home, it felt too much like a cliffhanger but without the tension of one. The stranger should've said something like "We might just survive, but the darkness's minions are still a threat. We need to delay them and the darkness as much as we can until the Traveler comes back to us." So we know that the fight continues, but at least we've made a major step towards winning this war. It's like the ending of Star Wars: A New Hope. The Empire still exists, but the rebels have survived and dealt a major blow to the Empire. The war's not over for them but they have a renewed sense of hope and are able to fight on. But we don't get that here. The Traveler has remained unchanged (as far as we, the audience, can tell) and we're just going to keep doing what we were already doing. Because... uh...
The Dark Below
The story is virtually nonexistant. In-game, anyways. We're told about Eris and her team, about the battle that took place on the moon, and how Crota wiped out thousands of Guardians, but I would've liked to have seen it in the intro cinematic instead of the non-intro we got. Crota would've been clearly established as a godly threat, and his army as a nigh-unstoppable force. Instead they're just regular Hive that are painted yellow.