No, of course Destiny’s raids couldn’t work with matchmaking

By Patrick Garratt, Tuesday, 24 February 2015 13:56 GMT

Imagine a group of randoms taking on the Atheon with no voice chat? No, neither can we.

destiny_raids

I hadn’t experienced the raids and I couldn’t believe Bungie had made something as complex as suggested. I should have listened. Bungie was right. Matchmaking wouldn’t work in Destiny raids.

It’s important to be able to admit you were wrong. Despite professing otherwise, I’m wrong a lot. And in regards to this opinion piece on matchmaking in Destiny’s raids, I was, without question, completely wrong.

When Bungie said there would be no matchmaking in Vault of Glass there was a mini-uproar. Destiny’s first raid was an unreleased mystery at the time. Chiming in with the rest of the chorus was easy. Bungie should allow matchmaking in the raid, I said, as failing to do so would wall off the best content from users incapable of assembling a sufficiently powerful team. While this was correct, Bungie maintained that the raid itself was too complex to be attempted with randoms. Phooey, I said. Turns out Bungie wasn’t lying and I was a dick.

While I’ve only completed three raids, it’s obvious to me that there really is no way Vault of Glass could be completed in a random fireteam consisting of non-vocal members.

I’m going to talk specifically about some of the raids’ intricacies next. There are SPOILERS below.

Vault of Glass contains at least two sets of mechanics that couldn’t realistically work without verbal communications. The first involves all members of the fireteam standing in specific places on a map and clearing adds while shooting oracles, which take the form of spawning balls of light. If the team misses an oracle, everyone is forced to run to the centre of the level before a boss enacts a ritual and ends the raid. If four are missed, it becomes impossible to “cleanse” and the entire team dies. There are seven oracles to monitor, and they appear in seven waves. Even if everyone on the team had been through this section before and was familiar with the concepts involved, it’d be virtually impossible to even divide the group into three to cover the left, centre and right areas. It’s hard enough with voice. Without someone orchestrating and everyone in a vocal party, completion would be excruciating. Not impossible, but certainly horrible.

The final fight against the Atheon also couldn’t work with randoms, as I think anyone who’s run it will easily attest. The encounter begins with the players standing near a portal. Three of the fireteam, selected randomly, are then teleported away to either Venus or Mars to retrieve a relic. Whoever picks it up is unable to use guns. The other two members of the away team must then shoot seven oracles, within ten seconds of them spawning, while moving in a specific direction at a certain speed while they go gradually blind. The relic-holder is unable to cleanse the away team if it drifts apart and the raid will fail.

“Massive team effort.” ArekkzG knows best.

Simultaneously, the team back in the Atheon’s chamber needs to clear adds to keep the portal open so the away team is able to return. Once the relic is back in the room, the fireteam then jumps to a platform in the middle of the area, and the relic-holder puts up a protective bubble to allow direct attack on the Atheon. The co-ordination involved requires constant chatter (and usually some shouting), and if you have inexperienced members on the team you just couldn’t do it in a random group. I’m sure it’d be possible with a very experienced group of players, but assigning roles would still be a nightmare. Even if you are all in the same party, what if someone doesn’t speak your language? What if one’s called RuMIn8toR844562921054 and you have to invite them to chat but aren’t friends? It’d be theoretically doable, but something akin to pulling holey wisdom teeth.

Crota’s End isn’t as demanding in terms of organisation, but it’d still be awful without voice. I’ve only run this once, and we were carried by an experienced lead player, but the fact remains that the final encounter requires co-ordination across the entire team. Rocket strikes are needed to bring Crota to his knees before he can be hit with a sword to deplete his health, and the team needs to stop firing on him after he initially succumbs. At points team members need to fire into the sky together. The raid wipes if insufficient damage goes up into the air. It’s hard enough to get everyone to do it when you’re all vaguely acquainted and sharing a party. With randoms and no voice? No chance.

It’s hard enough to get everyone to do it when you’re all vaguely acquainted and sharing a party. With randoms and no voice? No chance.

Yes, we know Crota can be soloed on hard. But many players searching for Crota groups are doing it for the first or second time and don’t have the knowledge to be able to run the first thrall section without guidance. Even with instructions it’s likely most new players will die. With random matchmaking, they’d just be left sitting there as a ghost, surrounded by thrall, probably not understanding that they have to wait until whoever actually knows what they’re doing finishes the section. Or that they can hang back at the start of the level while the runner takes care of the thrall, but if the leader dies they’re capable of running up and finishing the section for the rest of the team. They wouldn’t know, and telling them would be awkward at best. There would be little fun.

This is a long-winded way of saying I was wrong. I hadn’t experienced the raids and I couldn’t believe Bungie had made something as complex as suggested. I should have listened. Bungie was right. Matchmaking wouldn’t work in Destiny raids.

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