WHAT IS THIS?
This used to be our regular weekly segment at the YOUR Destiny website and is meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically. It is an informal space for various reflections on Destiny from the perspective of the resident writers at YOUR Destiny. Here we deal with anything related to Star Wars Destiny.
The opinions presented here are obviously just opinions - you might disagree, heck, we'd almost be disappointed if you don't disagree! Feel free to participate in the discussion on our Facebook Page!
MARCH 30, 2020.
Read OUR PREVIOUS COLUMNS!
Written By CLAUS STAAL
First of all, a few words in relation to the global crisis caused by the novel Coronavirus/COVID-19, declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by WHO and resulting in some of the most far reaching and radical political measurements taken since World War II. I know there are a lot of different opinions on the seriousness of the situation and the measures taken, both from a health and medical perspective as well as politically, but I'm not here to debate that. I honestly haven't made up my mind yet, but I sincerely hope all of you are safe - no matter where you are and what restrictions have been imposed on you by yourself or others - and that you stay safe.
A lot of us will be suffering before we see the end of this, whether economically, socially or physically. No matter what, I hope we as a societies will stand together and help where ever possible and necessary .... as always, unfortunately, it is the weakest in society that will suffer the most.
As a side note, I'd like to add that I've recently sent the majority of the students home from my college, which is also a boarding school, a measure that has not been used since 1940, during World War II, when the Nazi occupation forces took over the school and used it as headquarters for the local Gestapo ... thought provoking.
STAY HEALTHY AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
5 THOUGHTS IN RELATION TO DEADSTINY:
Now on to the main topic of today ... my long overdue thoughts on the January 14, 2020, article, "The Saga Concludes", published by Fantasy Flight Games announcing the end of Star Wars: Destiny. Most people were not surprised, and while I kind of had seen the writing on the wall, I couldn't help being a bit surprised nonetheless ... Somehow I just thought we were all being a bit too sceptical ... as it turns out we really weren't.
1. ARE FFG REALLY THAT BAD?
I know that Fantasy Flight Games has often been criticized for their lack of everything from communication and transparency with customers to their general business model of creating awesome games just to let them die without a fight, but what actually surprised me the most was the fact that FFG could mismanage the world's biggest movie franchise (I know that the Marvel universe has actually been grossing more, but it also cranked out a gazillion movies) in an almost unprecedented way.
I mean, I understand how you can create a game like Runewars, a miniature game in a generic fantasy setting, which almost from the get go looked doomed to not take off, but failing to make even a moderate success of a collectible card game set in the Star Wars universe is quite the feat.
No-one expected Star Wars Destiny to ever get close to the success of the big three - Magic The Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! - but what many had touted to meet all the requirements for a commercial success just never took off. I used my Google-Force-Powers to look up some old reviews of the game from when it first came out and many of them are really stellar. So what happened?!
Many people have suggested that the constant struggle with Disney concerning the intellectual property rights of the Star Wars franchise was a huge stumbling block while others have pointed out the difficulty and expenses of producing the dice as another key element in the eventual demise and failure of Star Wars Destiny to carve out a decent piece of the pie in the Collectible Card Game market, while some have even pointed towards the choice of making it a Collectible Card Game in the first place, rather than a Living Card Game, to be the real death mark of the game.
I have another idea though, namely that Fantasy Flight Games had absolutely no clue what they were getting themselves into and didn't have the skills to fight it out in an arena far outside of their main competencies! In a world superbly dominated by Wizards of the Coast, The Pokémon Company and Konami there just isn't room for amateurs. I expect KeyForge to suffer a fate similar to Star Wars Destiny. I'm not just saying this because FFG discontinued Destiny! And it has nothing to do with Richard Garfield, but everything to do with Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight Games.
While French publisher Asmodee, of which FFG is a subsidiary, might be a giant in the board gaming industry - only eclipsed by Hasbro - they are tiny specks of dust in the universe of Collectible Card Games. And still I wonder ... how the f*ck do you mess up a Star Wars CCG? Seriously?!
2. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE?
I was originally looking for a competitive "nerd game" to replace Destiny and actually bought a copy of the Marvel Champions Starter Set. Yeah ... that didn't work out. The game is just super boring. I also had a look at Marvel: Crisis Protocol, but when I realised that the miniatures were not prepainted that dream died in its infancy. I just don't have time for that.
Maybe I'll try my hand on X-Wing again, but I doubt it though. For some reason, and it's probably only in my head, the Destiny community and the joys it brought me as a player, content creator and tournament organiser, felt very unique. I'm not sure it can be replaced.
3. I STILL WORK HERE:
One of the main reasons I originally got involved in content creation for Star Wars Destiny was to have a creative outlet to take my mind of my daytime job, which - because I'm a workaholic - became an all-time job, and I can really feel that I'm back in the old routine.
I'm still spending countless of hours in this room, but these days I'm primarily outputting academic stuff totally unrelated to Destiny. Sometimes I miss making a deck analysis or analysing some game I just lost on TTS.
My wife often told me, in reference to me spending evenings and nights mulling over content for the YOUR Destiny website, that while she was "sad" that it sort of intruded on the time we could have spent together as a family, at least it meant that I weren't working constantly. Even if it at times felt like work it really wasn't.
I'm certain that I'm not the only one struggling to maintain a proper work-life balance. Like many other people I find a great deal of identity in my job and while that's good at times it can also be extremely challenging. For the last 20 years of working full-time I've just never been able to strike that fine balance. Thankfully I have a very understanding family ... one can only hope they don't run out of patience before I get my sh*t right.
Recently though I've started buying roleplaying books again, and while I still haven't had my first proper roleplaying session yet, I've been going through all the books and it's been an incredible walk down memory lane. I started playing Dungeons & Dragons in the mid-80's, then moved on to AD&D 2nd ed. in the late 80's, maybe early 90's, until many of us switched our attention to Magic the Gathering when it was published in the mid-90's. I got rid of all my RPG books when I started moving around a lot during my university years, but have since been rummaging through auction sites, online bookstores and my local game store, to find many of the lost gems of my mismanaged youth. That has made me incredibly happy ... Now, I just need to actually play a campaign.
4. SWD: A RENEWED HOPE:
I was really happy to see some of the spearheads within the established Star Wars Destiny community lead the charge on keeping Star Wars Destiny alive. To my understanding it will primarily be developed for use in Tabletop Simulator, which almost by default keeps me away from it. You can keep updated on the developments in their Discord Channel!
For reasons already explained, I spend way too much time tucked away in my office and by my computer. I can definitely feel that I need to interact with real human beings or be at risk of being sucked completely into my own awesome private space. It might be awesome, but it's also pretty damn lonely here.
I do hope though that they are able to keep the game alive because it deserves it. It remains my favourite game and pastime activity. It's in fact pretty damn awesome and combines so many things I find challenging: Deck building, optimisation, dice math and the fast paced style of play feels tailored to my particular kind of personality.
To my understanding there will be regular sets released and even some kind of competitive circuit introduced. I'm definitely going to check in on it once in a while although I'm not going to take active part. With the massive talent and dedication amongst those committed to the project, I'm sure we'll see plenty of awesome stuff from them!
5. YOUR DESTINY:
And lastly ... what about the smaller community within the community, created around the YOUR Destiny team and extended family? Good question. I've really been putting off this decision off for as long as possible.
For the 1.5 years that the YOUR Destiny website remained active, it was buzzing with life! Loads of articles were published, many of them courtesy of people who felt that the website was a great resource for Destiny players, while others were written by me.
I still plan on keeping the website up and running for the foreseeable future, albeit with considerable less activity, because I believe it to have been an important part of the Star Wars Destiny history ... at least very important to me. I'm also going to update several of the resource pages to reflect the current state of the game as well as add a few new pages. I'll release an article within the next couple of days talking about "a new system" I've been working on for Destiny.
5.1: THE YOUR DESTINY TEAM:
I've had the joy and privilege of connecting with a great group of people, who would go on to become the heart and soul of the YOUR Destiny team, many of them traveling the world together for Star Wars Destiny tournaments, from local tournaments to intercontinental championships and the World Championship. Since I originally came up with the idea of the YOUR Destiny Podcast and the website I've managed to go to tournaments in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Poland, Sweden, Iceland and the US.
(Below a couple of photos from my latest Destiny related trip to Iceland):
Everywhere I went I've met nothing but kind people, many of whom ended up becoming my good friends. Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity!
Although I decided not to mention individuals, I hope you know who you are, but I'd be remiss not to say thank you to Mads Utzon, my podcast co-host for the better part of a year, likely to be one of the best players to have graced the game of Destiny and nothing short of an outstanding friend, true sportsman and absolute blast to be around. Thank you!
THANK YOU to everyone, especially our many patrons who actually made this possible, who stuck around for this emotional roller coaster ride that was the short life of Star Wars Destiny!