The one thing The Division could do without: Destiny’s pre-raid experience

By Sherif Saed
14 January 2016 13:00 GMT

Doing Destiny’s busy work to fit an ever-changing set of raid rules is a chore. We’re hoping for a different experience from Massive’s online RPG shooter.


“The more you delay playing Destiny’s raids, the more the rules keep changing.”

There hasn’t been any new content in Destiny since the launch of The Taken King back in September. If you’re a Destiny regular, you’ve probably already exhausted everything there is to do, and maybe even have multiple alts that are all fully-decked.

For myself and many others, who don’t often find readily available groups to play Nightfalls and raids with, The Taken King was a 3-week fling. Having finished all story content, played all strikes, explored the Dreadnaught, and even beaten some Court of Oryx bosses, the only thing left for me to do is the endless grind.

What about the raid? I’ve come to terms with the fact that Destiny’s version of raiding is not for me, at least not when a raid is fresh. I played Vault of Glass multiple times, and Crota’s End twice, but never on or around launch. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed each of them, but it’s the hours and hours of preamble that I could really do without. Which is the reason I’ve yet to play King’s Fall, and it’s why I haven’t launched Destiny probably since October.


To me, engaging with Destiny’s endgame feels like preparing for a job interview. You have to look the part, present yourself well, and just hope the Bungie gods bless with you with what you’re after. Otherwise you’ll have to do the whole thing all over again. Oh, but that’s not all. The more you delay playing it, the more the rules keep changing.

At first, you need to reach Light level 290 (the actual Bungie-set minimum). A few days after, 290 is not enough, because nobody wants anyone below 295. “X encounter is hard, and we don’t have time for you,” is what I’ve seen over and over on many LFG sites. After that, specific weapons and armour are mandated. The same way it was ‘Gjalla and Ice Breaker or bust’ in Year 1, it’s now become Zhalo, Black Spindle, Touch of Malice, and whatever helmet the community at large decided was a necessity for your class, and the fastest way to get through the raid.

It’s frustrating. It’s not fun. And it puts a dampener on the whole thing, even if the raid itself goes well afterwards. Sites like The100 only help in giving me a pool of public games and LFG posts to choose from. I never play a single game at regular times, Destiny or otherwise, and so the whole “available at these hours” idea was never the pull.


Of course, thanks to Bungie’s insistence on not including matchmaking for raids – even if there’re a million different ways complaints against including one could largely be addressed – I have to deal with this nonsense every time I want to play. And it’s what goes on in my head whenever I feel like launching Destiny, which then leads to me forgetting about the idea and playing other games instead.

But Destiny will soon lose its stature as the only big console shooter-RPG/MMO with the release of The Division in March. With every new trailer, piece of info, and interview, that game looks more and more like Destiny with AK47s in New York.

“The Division looks more and more like Destiny with AK47s in New York.”

That’s not a bad thing. Especially if the Destiny experience could stand to be improved and iterated upon in so many ways, not the least of which its endgame, multiplayer content. It’s not currently known whether or not The Division will have raid-like activities, or if some of them will also not support matchmaking, and there’s a lot we don’t know about the structure of the experience as a whole.

But, from what I played, and what we learned so far, it seems Massive’s approach to player activities are different than that of Bungie’s. This manifests itself somewhat in the game’s Dark Zones, the combined PvE and PvP high-level zones, which you could think of as sort of a big raid. It has loot and is always fraught with danger. You have big, difficult mobs to worry about as well as other players who can turn on you at any moment and kill you for your loot.


This unique experience is ripe for grief opportunities, and will probably be better played in moderation, similar to Destiny’s raids. Which is why I think they could ultimately fill that gap. Perhaps The Division’s answer to raids is to not offer one. After all, the game is based on real-world locations, weapons etc, and that level of authenticity could prevent it from having raid-style mechanics.

Or perhaps there are few tricks up Massive’s sleeve we’ve yet to see. One thing is clear: the developers’ vision is one of grandeur, scale, and player-driven moments and it would make sense for them not to repeat the same mistakes Bungie has.

Massive has a chance to make a game that welcomes players of all levels. A game we can return to weekly and daily, and one that doesn’t judge us and requires us to do chores before we’re to be allowed in its halls of glory. I only hope the studio seizes this chance to deliver another game we won’t stop talking about.

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