Things Not Said

a heartfelt collection of insights.

The First Curse

Some time after The Taken King released for Destiny back in 2016, I unlocked the quest, Imprecation, exclusively granted by Banshee-44 (everyone’s beloved gunsmith at the tower). Little did I know the difficulties awaiting me were not in completing the quest, but rather, in using the exotic weapon rewarded for doing so.

It’s unfortunate that whenever a gaming article appears, it’s usually dismissed as “juvenile” or just “gaming news”, something irrelevant. Because there is a wealth of knowledge to explore within games and the gaming industry whether it be in design, development, storytelling, replay value, or the complexity of reward systems for players who invest their time in playing. In this article, I want to disclose how a single weapon in Destiny (among hundreds in the game) revealed a profound secret to successful living. Let’s dive in.

The First Curse is an exotic hand cannon weapon. A slow, yet powerful double-action revolver. There was even a cool spinning animation whenever you equipped it. The gun hit like a tank if you can nail precision shots, but precision shots require patience, timing and anticipation skills. The First Curse was the quintessential “high-risk high-reward” weapon. When first acquiring it, I was stoked, immediately eager to try it out. However, when I did, I was quickly met with much frustration.

The weapon didn’t fire fast enough, it took forever to reload and one of its exotic perks seemed useless: Instant reload upon first precision kill, which also granted increased range and stability until the next reload. Unfortunately, I was dying more often than not. I couldn’t move adequately enough with it whatsoever. It left me utterly disappointed. I immediately wondered if anyone else struggled to use this rare weapon? Quick research revealed I wasn’t alone.

How could this game require me to go through such a lengthy difficult quest—only to reward me with a ineffective weapon that got me repeatedly killed? What was the logic surrounding this gun? Eventually, I found the answer I was looking for. And it radically changed the way I perceived the weapon, the game… and life, believe it or not.

You see, I thought wielding this weapon outright was going to net me immediate results. Initially, I thought all I had to do was aim and pull the trigger. Right? Evidently, it proved to be a flawed approach. Unlike most weapons in the game — where you can simply select a weapon and “Run & Gun” with it —The First Curse demanded something entirely different.

Destiny is multilayered game. Aside from being a first-person shooter, there are classes, sub-classes, armor builds and weapon builds… all customized to your specifications. “Builds” became a vital component for players whenever they considered which game modes and/or objectives to engage in (such as Prison of Elders, Strikes, Raids, PVP etc.) And it was in this realization that The First Curse needed to be approached.

Sometimes in life, in order to evolve, you have to conform yourself around a particular thing over forcing that particular thing to conform to you.

The First Curse didn’t fit any of my preexisting builds or favorable ones. I had to create an entirely new build around the weapon. It couldn’t be around what I grew comfortable with. Doing this felt like I had to “relearn” the game. I had to adapt a new playing style, a new build. One that made me perform how The First Curse did. Up until that point, no other gun in the game required me to do this. I was blown away. And the results were unbelievable. My efficiency and K/D ratio surged. I became strangely dominant… by playing less aggressive and more timely. Destiny’s fun-factor skyrocketed for me. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the nuances of the new gameplay style. A deep appreciation for both The First Curse and Destiny emerged.

How many times in life do we frustrate ourselves because something we have or engage with doesn’t fit our expectation of performance?

What if we’re executing key decisions in life inaccurately? We recognize there isn’t a “one size fits all” build in life for everyone and everything. Particular aspects of life retain their own uniqueness and approach. And these aspects ought to be respected and observed in this manner. Think of the toddler attempting to fit the square block into the round hole. No matter how hard they tried, it never worked. So why would we do the same as adults, and take a like-minded approach?

Re-imagining how you move requires you to examine the components surrounding your life uniquely. They’re all different. If you expect the same application to work effectively across the board for everything, you’ll be met with frustration and likely, failure. Evolving your effectiveness and efficiency demands different “builds.” You’ll learn that adapting the way you move only improves your success rate.

I encourage you to examine your performance under a magnifying lens. Evaluate the details. You’ll discover ways to optimize yourself and become more adept and productive. Don’t be afraid to explore unlikely options either. It may very well be required.

We all desire to be the best version of ourselves, and actively improve. But sometimes there are subtractions by additions. You can’t expect results if you try to solve your problems the same way you created them.