There’s nothing else for it when the normal content runs out. Patrick Garratt pops his Destiny raid cherry, but is he ready to grind for level 32?
“There’s a curiosity in seeing the content, but it’s going to have to be seriously good to deserve dozens more hours to get a full raid set.”
I started my first Destiny raid on Friday night. I guess that’s a little odd, as I’m level 30 now and the Vault of Glass’s normal mode starts at level 26. In truth, I think I’ve been a little scared of its reputation for taking forever, as forever is something I don’t really have. I shouldn’t have worried. All that talk of ten hours drags from beginning to end was only really relevant in Destiny’s early days. An experienced group will see it off in a little over an hour.
Why now? I’m starting to raid now as I’m hitting The Wall. The only new activity left for me is repeated raiding for the highest level of Destiny’s gear, with level 32 the goal. Now I have Ice Breaker and a bunch of other top tier guns, soloing any of the story missions on 30 really isn’t that difficult (although the weekly heroics and Nightfalls are still no cakewalk), and grinding the raids is the start of the proper Destiny end-game. But I’m tired. There’s a curiosity in seeing the content, but it’s going to have to be seriously good to deserve dozens more hours to get a full raid set.
There doesn’t seem to be a problem. What I’ve seen of the Vault of Glass lives up to its status as being the best run in the entire game, and I’ve no doubt I’ll be able to put up with many playthroughs. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, as I’m sure I’m not alone in having avoided it unnecessarily, but it really is an entirely new experience compared to the other missions. The normal story chapters feel so comfortable compared to the raid, which instantly feels dangerous and challenging, far harder than anything else in Destiny. I was glad to be led through it by experienced players. Even though I had no idea what was happening for a bunch of it (“Who’s on the left?” “Which left?”), I shot a bunch of stuff and we progressed.
We didn’t finish it, unfortunately. Beating the Templar was epic, but I had to quit. It was midnight. I was broken. Some of the group moved on to the final boss the following night, but stopped again. We tried to get through with three of us last night, but we couldn’t. There’s a plan to bring down the Atheon tonight. I feel as though I need to be there, and not just for the gear. I’ve come this far. I want to see him die. It isn’t over yet. Not even for the first time.
“Any seriousness to the sci-fi gets stripped away, revealing a world of numbers and colours, DPS and adds. Raiding lifts Destiny’s veil.”
On Friday night we were led by Thomas Puha, a Finish ex-journalist who couldn’t join on Sunday because he was trying to get the Flawless Raider trophy by running the Vault of Glass without any member of the fireteam dying. By succeeding, he won the Destiny platinum, Guardian Lord, awarded for getting every other trophy. I don’t even want to think about how much time he’s invested.
But this is what Destiny’s raids represent. The final grind in a game where grinding is only sufferable thanks to the brilliance of the core action itself. Am I prepared to get wholly involved? Potentially, but probably not. The organisation necessary for Destiny raiding takes the concept to an entirely new level, but it’s also when it looks at its silliest, at its most like a game. Yes, it’s an amazing challenge, but the elevation of the format to six players and exponentially more difficult bosses allows the daftness to gleam through the cracks. The customised colours are suddenly luminous, ridiculous, and the energy and super effects become as Day-Glo as rave, and as anachronistic. Any seriousness to the sci-fi gets stripped away, revealing a world of numbers and colours, DPS and adds. Raiding lifts Destiny’s veil. It’s like being stuck in the middle of an acid tragic’s dream fireworks display. One wonders how Bungie’s going to up the kaleidoscopic ante with House of Wolves.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t good, though. As to whether or not I’m going to step into the abyss and start committed raiding, I doubt it. I’ll do it when the opportunity arises. I’m not going to sit there for ten hours a day, but I’ll be up for raiding when it happens. I still haven’t ended the Atheon, and I haven’t even looked at Crota’s End. We’re playing tonight, in fact. Hopefully I’ll get a decent drop. If not, there’s always next time.