Destiny is a lot harder at level 12 than it is at level 40.
Catch up on our Kinderguardian Adventures so far.
At the end of our epic Patrol session last week, plus a few Bounties, Ash and I had hit level 11. It was more than time to go and do the level 8 Devil’s Lair Strike, rounding off our Cosmodrome adventures. We were already over-levelled, and we’d probably get matchmade with someone running it for lols. Between that and my experience, we’d knock it over in half an hour, I thought.
To my great delight, we were actually matchmade appropriately, picking up a level nine Hunter. I hammered the inspect key, took in the tiny Grimoire score, and felt the rush of joy that every Destiny veteran feels upon encountering a genuine newb; even with my own personal newb by my side, I was not immune.
“It’s a little baby!” I exclaimed. “A real, actual little baby! Oh my gosh, a little baby.”
“I was here for the alpha. I have never been a baby.” This was a lie! Of course I had been a baby. Destiny reminded me of it moments later.
“Is he going to be okay?” Ash asked. “I mean, will this be too hard for him?”
“What? Of course he will. He’s only two levels below us,” I said. “When I say baby, I mean he’s a newb, like you.”
“Oh,” she said mournfully.
“You are also a little baby,” I reminded her.
“So are you?”
“I am not. Look at my Grimoire score. This level means nothing, Ash, do you hear me? Nothing. I was here for the alpha. I have never been a baby.”
This was a lie! Of course I had been a baby. Destiny is only the third first-person shooter I put any time into, and the first MMO (or MMO-lite, if you must) that I actually understood properly. But I had forgotten all this, blinded by my own glory.
Destiny reminded me of it moments later.
I had to herd my babies into the Refinery; the rando in particular seemed fascinated by the battles in the Rocketyards. It may have been their first visit to this zone; they may not have realised that the endless spawns around us were not part of the Strike, and they they needed to follow the radar. This is not clearly signposted; it’s a mystery Destiny players have to figure out for themselves. I was not willing to wait and relied on emotes, mime and directional gestures from Sparrows to point our new friend in the right direction; I will literally never opt-in to voice chat with a stranger.
Eventually we settled down for the first wave battle. I took up my customary position for the kick off – just outside the first spawn door, ready to take everything down the moment it stepped into the danger zone.
I had to rethink things that I take for granted when I run Devil’s Lair on my main. Tactics I had not employed since September 2014 had to be dug out of the back of my brain.
This was a mistake. At level 40 I would have been fine, but at level 11, with level-appropriate equipment, I was not exactly one-shotting the Captains and Vandals that spewed forth. I survived, but it was a near thing; my babies, bless them, were doing an excellent job clearing out other targets, but were not automatically working together as a team to leverage the heroic sacrifices and tanking of me, their courageous Titan.
I had to rethink things that I take for granted when I run Devil’s Lair on my main. I could not just shotgun absolutely everything and expect not to run out of ammo. I could not expect my teammates to immediately take down the blasted snipers, or to cope with the influx of stealth melee Vandals, or to save their heavy ammo for rocketing wizards. The rando actually ran into the laser gate and was incinerated; I hadn’t thought to warn Ash about that, because I’d forgotten it isn’t obvious. What a nasty surprise that was, the first time!
Tactics I had not employed since September 2014 had to be dug out of the back of my brain. There’s a gap behind the crates you can retreat to in times of trouble. The catwalk above it is a great place for a distance player to hang out, crouching to evade the snipers. If you run back out towards the Rocketyard you can lose some heat for a few previous moments. And so on.
It took us about four attempts to get it done, and my babies were exhausted. I felt so sorry for them that I nipped ahead and supered the Captain and his pals in the next room, so they could limp through in relative peace before the horrors of the tank battle.
I had said I was going to let Ash find things out on her own, but I caved. “It has two attacks,” I said hurriedly as we huddled in the hut opposite the Walker. “There’s the barrage of blue projectiles you’ve already seen, and then there’s this other one, a missile strike. If you see a red laser-” at this point, the other baby was conveniently blown up by said missile, their body hurtling across the field. “… move out of the way, fast.”
“If you see a red laser-” the baby was conveniently blown up by a missile, their body hurtling across the field. “… move out of the way, fast.”
“Does it have a weak point?” Ash asked, already unloading bullets and strafing out of fire range like a pro. My heart swelled with pride. I explained the system – focus fire on legs, hit the core, rinse and repeat – and we went at it.
Baby didn’t do too bad a job, considering he wasn’t getting any of this helpful advice; he didn’t die much, and after the first two legs he seemed to get the idea. It wasn’t as painful as the hectic wave battle, but gosh – doesn’t it take forever? I had absolutely forgotten what a damned bullet sponge this thing is unless you’re well-equipped for it. I can’t wait to bring Ash back here at a later date, when she is bristling with powerful weapons, so she can be astonished at how rapidly it is over.
As it is, she was pretty worn down by this point. I took her and Baby 2 up to the Dead Ghost, dealt with that blasted sneaky Vanguard sniper, and then announced that we would now proceed to the boss.
“You mean that wasn’t the boss?” she said.
“No, or the mission would end,” I pointed out.
“I thought maybe we’d just walk a little way and it would go, ‘Congratulations! You did it,'” she said.
“No, the boss is a servitor. Remember the briefing? Its name is Sepiks Prime.”
“No,” she muttered, and I had to concede this was fair enough. Nobody listens to the briefings.
Sepiks went down on our first go; he’s a remarkably simple boss, really. Ash’s young man wandered into the room just as we kicked off and pointed out the weak spot, which I hadn’t even thought to mention: again, I’d forgotten this isn’t immediately obvious. She probably would have figured it out.
I took up position in the little shed and left the babies to find their own positions, resolving to relinquish the shed if either of them made a move on it. They didn’t, and to my surprise they proved extremely survivable – weaving in and out of the crates and doggedly refusing to go down even when Sepiks unfairly teleported on top of them, bringing a wave of adds with him. Ash and Baby revived each other determinedly while I sat happily in my shed letting them get on with it. Nice.
After the battle I got Ash down to he Golden Chest but Baby 2 misinterpreted our gestures and spent a great deal of time waving and dancing instead of climbing down to the treasure. Ah, well; you do you, baby. You’ll remember this day when you finally get around to hunting down the chests.
“I have trust issues with you and caves,” Ash had said to via text message before we started playing that day.
This is absolutely understandable. Not only had I deliberately sent her into a number of scary places, last week’s “he won’t aggro” disaster had definitely done some damage to my reputation.
So I was surprised to see how keen she was to wander into various caves as we kicked back in Patrol to wind down from the Strike. On her own, Ash discovered the path leading out of Forgotten Shore towards The Grottoes, and while the slightly higher level Dregs at the border made her cautious, she wasn’t fazed by the Acolytes, Knights and Shrieker she encountered. When they were down, though, she looked set to leave.
“Don’t you want to go through there,” I said, indicating the entrance to the path to the Refinery.
“I have trust issues with you and caves,” she repeated.
“In that case you should come see this one over here,” I teased, leading off towards that horrid little pocket where a knot of Thrall spawn all at once.
“I have trust issues with you and caves.”
She didn’t take the bait, preferring to wander down into the dark cavern where a couple of Wizards float about, watching over a seething sea of Thrall and Acolytes.
We took them down rapidly; the great trick with Wizards, I always think, is shotguns. Because I wanted Ash to get the practice and the kills, I enjoyed myself dashing about, sliding on my knees, and dropping shields while she carefully popped head shots in when their guards lowered.
I think this rapid dispatch of a zillion foes bouyed her confidence, because when I pointed out the path leading out of the cave she interrupted me.
“Hang on, what’s in here?” she said, disappearing into a tunnel. “I’m going in here- WHAT THE HELL IS IN HERE. THERE’S AN OGRE IN HERE.”
Mentally, I pasted this memory down in my Kinderguardian scrapbook, to treasure for all time. Baby’s first ogre.
Our trust issues continue.