Destiny’s Vault of Glass is a hell of a good time

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 29 September 2014 08:11 GMT

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Our fireteam had read that even opening the door was likely to destroy us, so we were kind of astonished when it only took us a couple of very quick tries. “Wait, what?” we asked each other. “Is it over? Did we succeed?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never successfully completed this bit,” one guy said.

“I think we did it. The door’s open,” I said.

High fives all round. On reflection, it wasn’t that hard; knowing what to do, and knowing how to do it, as well as being prepared to react to problems and adjust our teams to cover weaknesses, was all it took.

Without that flexibility, trust in each other, and decent preparation though, we would have been smashed. We could not have done it if anybody had stuck their ego in the way of taking direction, or tried to hog kills, or otherwise exhibited the kind of behaviour unfortunately so often exhibited in randomly match-made multiplayer.

Our group dynamic served us well throughout the rest of the raid. I don’t want to give a blow-by-blow account of what we faced; how we struggled; the time I somehow forgot how to jump for minutes on end; the solutions we employed; the loot we got and the loot some of us did not get (I muted my mic and literally screamed in rage). It went for eight and a half hours. Who has time to read that?

I keep saying eight and a half hours like a broken Furby because it is astonishing to me. I’ve sat down and played marathon games session before, of that long and much longer, but never with the same group of people for the entire time and never with such a constant state of intense concentration, challenge, and entertainment.

We had time to play it, though, and that’s what got me. When one of our number left, we subbed someone in within a few minutes, and somehow this didn’t alert us to the passage of time. When I called it, everyone was shocked by how much time had passed. Next time we do it, it won’t take us anywhere near as long; I hear some crews have it down to 45 minutes now. But for this first try, we committed eight and a half hours.

I keep saying eight and a half hours like a broken Furby because it is astonishing to me. I’ve sat down and played marathon games session before, of that long and much longer, but never with the (mostly) same group of people for the entire time (if you had asked me “Brenna, do you know five people who will give you an entire day of their time?” I would have said no) and never with such a constant state of intense concentration, challenge, and entertainment.

I am hooked. Destiny’s raid are amazing. Let me tell you about just one incident, from the final encounter.

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I have this hat now. Everyone was very jealous.

By the end of the raid we had four level 28s and two level 27s, of which I was one. The gap between those levels is huge. Even with a pretty decent weapon and precision shots, I was doing bugger all damage to enemies. Meanwhile, they could one shot me. I was a liability. My fellow level 27 died significantly less times, but was also struggling to make a contribution.

“Guys, I don’t think this is working,” I said sadly. “I don’t think I’m helping at all. I’m dragging us down. Maybe you should get someone else in, and I’ll come back when I’m level 28.”

The others rushed to reassure me I could do it, and we talked through the problem. In the end, we decided to swap me from my current role of minion management, which I’d volunteered for because it is significantly less difficult and stressful than the other team’s, to a more active one.

In this second role, I did much better. I had the right kind of equipment to meet the challenges we were facing, and thanks to a clever tactic devised by my clanmates, my being underpowered didn’t matter – but my skills, especially my excellent sense of direction and practised sharpshooting, did. I was instantly much happier, and the minion control team started doing a much better job of clearing a path for us.

As I mentioned, we didn’t take down the final boss – but we figured out how to do it, and we will, given the time and practice.

I got a message from a fellow clan member. “Will have questions tomorrow,” he wrote. “It has occurred to me that I am taking Destiny too casually.”

By the end of that eight and a half hours, my fireteam was among the best-oiled machines I have seen in gaming. We learned to communicate, and to work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We could laugh at our failures, and we were very proud of our successes.

One of my teammates livestreamed our attempt on Twitch, and part way through I got a message from a fellow clan member, who hadn’t been able to make it but managed to tune in for a little while.

“Will have questions tomorrow,” he wrote. “It has occurred to me that I am taking Destiny too casually.”

Yeah, man. This is not a game for content locusts and the half-hearted. The best thing about Destiny, for me, is the whole other game that starts once you finish the story missions, hit the level cap, and look around thinking “what now?”

If that question leads you into Destiny’s Vault of Glass – and I don’t think it should necessarily – then you’ll find something unlike any other shooter before it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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