Back when I played the original Destiny, I think I had MAYBE five friends on the PlayStation Network total. So while I enjoyed the shooting combat of the game, there was no likelihood of me pursuing the Raid. Then, as people often cited the raids as Destiny’s best content, I found myself frustrated that the game had gated its best content behind something I, as a predominantly solo gamer, would never experience. I walked away after a hundred or so hours with the game angry and refused to return when The Taken King expansion launched.
Since that initial run, Kinda Funny launched and my involvement in that internet community has led me to a couple hundred friends on my PSN list. So as excited around the sequel started to swell up, I decided to give it another shot. And within the game’s first week, I managed to get my Hunter up into Raid Ready territory and found a group of people to play with. We spent roughly 12 hours together on Sunday and another 5 Monday night about the Leviathan. Here are ten things I learned during that time (spoilers within):
NOTE: This is certainly one of the more viscerally angry and hostile pieces I have compiled but anything else would be disingenuous to my experience.
1. The Raid is not at all a welcoming experience to new players.
After having relatively few problems playing through the campaign and grinding up my gear to be raid ready, I thought I’d be in a pretty good position for the long haul we had planned on Sunday. Hell, I was even one of the stronger members of my fireteam, based on my power-level. And most of my fireteam had experienced many a raid from the original game. We were moving along well enough at first in the raid’s central area, where we needed to collect (and defend) as trio of relics from around the arena in order to open a door for our first trial. Since the reset, it has been revealed that the raid’s three main challenges will be rearranged each week, but for us, it was the Royal Pools.
Attempting to tackle the raid blind, we were eventually able to deduce the main mechanics of this segment but we were routinely being overwhelmed by enemies and unable to last with the restriction that we each only had one revive. So even when we knew what we had to do, it took us hours to manage to complete the challenge. Our second trial was even worse, despite the fact that we gave up on trying to figure it out for ourselves and used a guide. We continued to fall victim to the fact that one slip up would fuck us over and spent maybe half of our initial 12-hour run trying to get through the Pleasure Gardens.
All of this is to say that absolutely nothing in the core game prepares new players for all of the new mechanics they have to perfect (and trust five other people to perfect) in order to progress through the raid.
2. The LAST thing I want to hear about while attempting to finish the Raid is how quickly YOU finished the Raid.
Seriously. Good for fucking you for starting and finishing the raid in the time it has taken us to get from the beginning of the final boss battle to the part where we can actually do damage in the final boss battle. I’ll celebrate your achievement ANY OTHER FUCKING TIME. But if you come into a stream to nonchalantly drop that little tidbit while the rest of us are clearly struggling, you can go fuck yourself every way imaginable.
3. The social aspect of a Raid is directly at odds with the tactical aspect of the Raid.
“Raids are a great chance to hang out with friends,” they said. Not when somebody’s funny little story is keeping us from hearing each other call out objectives and targets. If I need to rely on myself and five other people to be completely focused in order to not fuck up a sequence for the fiftieth time, joking about how cool your emote is is likely to make me snap. Your levity of a situation I’m trying to fight through is not helping our progress through the raid (because everything in the game wants to kill you) or our friendship (because I want to kill you).
4. The Raid will force me into a play style I hate.
I’m not a fan of Auto Rifles or Submachine Guns. I prefer taking my time to fire off a more precision shot with a Hand Cannon or a Scout Rifle. But when I’m being overwhelmed by dozens of enemies at a time, I don’t have time for precision so I end up wasting a lot of extra ammo in the panicked flurry of trying to kill whatever monster is attacking me from every goddamn direction. Fuck you.
5. Bungie couldn’t ship a finished product to save their lives.
Re-balance all the PvP shit you want. I don’t care. But if you are shipping a raid that you know thousands of people will be racing to finish, shipping it with bugs that cause AI to randomly spawn outside their set path in a fucking stealth area can kiss my fucking ass. It’s also fucking bullshit that back-to-back attempts at the Nightfall (while waiting for a raid member to get off work) resulted in an error labeled “guitar” booted us back to orbit. And then a third attempt where we were actually on track to kill the boss with a few minutes left saw us all die and then be stuck because the game couldn’t find spawn points for any of us. And I wasn’t even the one in our fireteam who got fucked over and lost their raid keys by starting a second character. Fuck your cute little error names that don’t mean a fucking thing and fix your shit.
6. RNGesus is a fucking shitlord.
I get that it’s not as bad as the previous Destiny experience, but if everyone on my fireteam is putting in the same amount of time and effort into a raid, those loot chests we unlock at each checkpoint better be fucking worthwhile for EVERYONE! What the fuck am I supposed to do with these coins if I didn’t fucking the raid and can’t cash them in?! So nice to see my buddy got a sweet Raid Chest Piece, though.
7. My patience wears thin real quick.
If you haven’t noticed by the tone of this piece so far, I tend to have a bit of a short fuse on my temper. So if we’re routinely having to restart because you died in the FIRST round of something we KNOW we have to do at least THREE times, I’m probably going to get really pissed off. I might not say anything, choosing instead to silently seethe at you through my television screen, but I’m enraged nonetheless.
8. Bungie is full of cat people.
Given what a goddamn pain in the ass the Pleasure Gardens are and how much Bungie is setting people up to hate dogs through the design of that portion of the raid, I can only assume the team designing this shitshow are cat people. Which makes sense because cat people are, of course, the worst kind of people.
9. I can’t escape it.
After 12 hours on Sunday trying to get through the raid, we called it quits around midnight AZ time so the people on the East Coast could finally get some sleep at 3AM and still be up for work in the morning. But I found as I myself tried to sleep, I couldn’t stop seeing Destiny 2. In my mind’s eye, I would see the minimal HUD and gun, bobbing around as if I was still running around the ship. I barely slept that night because I simply couldn’t clear my mind from the game. It had infected my thoughts.
10. It’s (probably) not worth my time.
As I learned last year while playing Bloodborne for 24 hours straight for Extra Life, one brief cathartic moment of success is not worth the hours and hours of going through the same shit over and over until your whole team manages to luck into a flawless run. There is no reward Bungie will ever give me that will be worth the 17 hours I wasted attempting the exercise in cruelty, known as the Leviathan Raid. I won’t look back on the few moments of fun and levity I had hanging out with friends online. I will always remember the waking fucking nightmare of knowing what needed to be done but having to attempt the cycle hundreds of times because a simple mistake, or a glitch, or a fucking Psion popping you up into the air meant instant death and having to start the sequence all over again. And now that the raid has reset, we have to start the WHOLE FUCKING THING all over again and those 17 hours were just a waste of goddamn time, save for a few laughs, a shit-ton of engrams that didn’t really help me, and a whole lot of headaches.
And if your response to any of this has been, “git gud,” you can go fuck yourself too. I would expect ANY of the stuff described above to be incorporated into a Prestige-level run of the Raid. That’s fine. Make that as difficult as you can so all the people who scream “git gud” from the rooftops cry in anguish with the suffering that special brand of asshole thrives on. But for the average, run-of-the-mill basic raid experience, make it more accessible. You don’t get to brag about your best content being locked away behind such an absurdly steep learning and difficulty curve. Fuck you, Bungie, you sadistic fucks. Crunch is a bullshit element in the games industry but I feel a little less bad that you probably suffered through it.