I realize this might be a wall of text so I included a TL;DR at the bottom.
Last year I invited a friend to play Destiny. I felt bad because I invited them but didn't want to make an effort teaching them stuff. I basically told him to just do the New Light quests which he could do solo and he should be good. But of course that was too boring and they stopped playing. Fast forward a couple of months I finally got them to play again and you know what got them hooked? Exotic weapon hunts. Starting with the Riskrunner quest. Since then, they've been playing consistently. That's right, guys. If you have a New Light friend, start with the simple and free exotic quest from Banshee.
Actually, I didn't realize this at first. The same thing happened recently with two more of my friends. I told them to just do the New Light quests and they should be good. One actually did like the game a bit and got to 1000 power level on his own which is easy enough to do just by doing stuff. The other one didn't want to do stuff on his own at all. Obviously, I started playing more with the friend who seems more "dedicated". While playing with this friend, he started to ask why some weapons and armor have blue backgrounds and some have purple backgrounds, and why I have one with a yellow background on it. I asked them if they have done the Pain and Gain quest yet and they said no. So I started to tell them about exotic weapons and if they want one we could do the quest. I thought this was a waste of time because right now Riskrunner is "not meta" in any endgame activities and I could instead be teaching him about the weekly challenges and why they are important, bounties, engrams, etc. But we did actually do the quest and it was fun. He is Titan which I also main and it was enjoyable teaching him the jump mechanics. Seeing him fall to his death a bunch of times during the quest was so funny and when he did start getting it and making the jumps it was a rewarding feeling. When he got Riskrunner, he was so excited when he started using it and melting several Fallen at a time. It was nothing like any of the puny weapons he used before.
That's when it hit me. When I started playing the game, Riskrunner was my main and when I got this weapon, that's when I really started to love Destiny. I didn't know about any of the season activities, I didn't know about Nightfalls. I didn't do raids. I just loved slaying with my Riskrunner. I did all the Legacy campaigns with my Riskrunner. I played the game for a long damn time loading into random strikes and maps just slayin' with weapons that felt good to use, wrecking stuff with my Super feeling like Captain America with my Sentinel Shield. Didn't pick up bounties. Didn't know there were dungeons, didn't know there were weekly Singes. I just slayed, slayed, slayed. I started season of Undying and didn't know about the Artifact and only got one before Season of Dawn ended. My first 100k Nightfall was during Season of Worthy.
So this weekend I did the same thing with the other friend that didn't want to do stuff on his own and got the same result with the Riskrunner quest. He got hooked. I took him to the Whisper quest as well and told him I suck at PvE and wouldn't be able to carry him. I just showed him how to do the jumping puzzles and we had fun even though we didn't finish it. Today, I told him if he wanted more stuff to do and more stuff to get in this game it's really worth getting the Upgrade Edition which comes with Forsaken+Shadowkeep and a free season pass. Without much prodding, he bought the game and he even bought another one and gifted it to the other friend who I mentioned was more "dedicated" but couldn't afford it at the moment.
Today, I walked them through the Xenophage quest which also has an enjoyable questline. We tried the Whisper quest again as well and it was fun even though it took three attempts for us to finish it. It was an enjoyable and satisfying grind. They're now interested in doing more stuff in the game and I told them about raids and even though I don't do raids myself, I had them join my clan that does raids a lot. I told them they should be able to do raids now that they have decent weapons in Witherhoard, Whisper and Xenophage, etc. They're totally invested in this game now.
So that's it. If you want to invite your friends and keep them playing, try starting with the free and fun activities especially exotic hunts. If you're a god at the game, try not to single-handedly carry them and instead walk them through the activities and have them do the interactions (opening doors, ghost hacks, carrying orbs) and teach them the mechanics (supers, abilities, finishers) along the way as needed. Don't try to dump too many information at the same time. Teach them how stuff works only as you encounter them in the game and when they ask questions. That's how you were when you were learning and falling in love with this game. But instead of Google, they now have you. Once they're totally into the game, that's when you introduce them to the more grindy stuff.
To get New Light friends hooked, do exotic hunts that also have fun questlines like the Riskrunner quest from Banshee. The gunplay is what makes playing Destiny feel great that once you experience it, it's hard to find another game that scratches that itch. No matter how tempting, avoid introducing them right away to the grindfest. Ease them slowly into it or they can come to that on their own once they're invested.
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