Just two weeks ago I tried convincing myself I was done with Destiny, in the post ‘Why I’m reluctant to check out Destiny’s expansions.’ Shortly after making the post I caved and purchased the expansion pass for $34.99, determined to see what all the fuss was about.
I never really got into Destiny before this moment. I purchased it once it was released but mostly played the game solo, and never really enjoyed it. Sure the shooting was rock solid and an absolute blast, but the story missions and strikes with random groups weren’t doing it for me.
Over the last two weeks I decided to go ‘all in’ with Destiny. I started out by joining match-made strikes, which were still hit or miss. By that I mean there were times I was matched with players so terrible it made playing the game miserable. They would rush into enemies and die over and over again. They would attempt to stand directly underneath a boss and shoot up at it only to die. I’d resurrect them and they’d die again. In other strikes I would be matched up with someone AFK, or someone trying so hard not to die that they’d fail to contribute to boss fights at all. Even worse I’d be in the middle of a strike and one of the other players would drop out of the fight for no reason leaving us short handed.
With a little help from Xur
The weekend of the 14-16 Xur made caused a huge ruckus by offering the legendary weapon Gjallarhorn in exchange for 17 strange coins. This infuriated a lot of players, many of whom felt buying the rare weapon devalued the weapon and the experience of earning it “rightfully”. I was disappointed to find I only had eight strange coins in my inventory and through the weekend I only earned two more (from engrams).
This weekend, however, was a different story. I logged in one day last week to find three Legendary weapons and 13 strange coins waiting in my mailbox. I used these strange coins to purchase my first piece of exotic gear from Xur this weekend, the Eternal Warrior helmet.
This raised my light level high enough to start doing the higher level strikes. I started running The Dark Below and House of Wolves strikes which helped me get Vanguard Marks (alongside a couple lucky drops) which eventually got me to level 32. I enjoyed going the process of trying to get better gear for the first time in Destiny, however the strikes themselves didn’t impress me. All of the strikes I’ve done since purchasing the expansions have been the same strikes I’ve done before, just at a higher level. I don’t think I’ve actually seen any new content yet, which is kind of a bummer.
Completing my first raid: Vault of Glass (Hard)
I’ve been trying to do Vault of Glass ever since I was a lowly level 24, but never could get anyone to take me along on the raid. I finally got into a group on Sunday and was excited to finally head into a raid. I was level 29 and felt like I was ready for the challenge. Most of the group was in the thirties and a few had done the raid before, so I felt like it would be pretty easy. It turns out I was wrong. We struggled right from the start, taking quite awhile to erect the spire. Eventually we made it through and onto the next challenge, the confluxes. After a short briefing from our leader (watch out for the fanatics) we dived in. This section proved to be a major roadblock. We were a man short of a six man team and could not successfully defend the confluxes, failing over and over again. No matter what strategies we tried it always ended in failure, and after a couple hours our group disbanded.
Discouraged, I continued doing strikes and managed to get some better gear raising my level to 32. This morning I was browsing the Destiny forums earlier this morning and happened across a group looking for another raid member for Vault of Glass. I decided to shoot them a message and before I knew it I got an invite to their party. I didn’t realize they were doing the Hard mode of Vault of Glass. Oops. Worried that I would miss my chance to complete the raid, I didn’t tell them that I had never done VoG before in any form. We made it through the spire section with ease and I was feeling rather confident this run would go smoothly.
The conflux section went much smoother this time, though there were some hiccups when it came to the oracle section. I had never made it this far, but did my best to figure out what was going on and I tried to follow everyone else’s lead. It took four or five tries with varying strategies, but eventually we managed to pass the oracle section as well (a man short as well). We got a sixth raid member and proceeded to the Templar battle. This also proved challenging, but we were able to finish the fight on a third try, and further into the raid we went.
At this point we were a few hours into the raid and I started having thoughts about leaving the raid as I was getting tired and frustrated, but decided to press on. The group descended into the Gorgon’s Labyrinth, and this is where I finally had to admit I had no clue what I was doing. The group ran ahead and I couldn’t figure out how to get down the cliff into the labyrinth. I tried jumping several times and ended up dying four or five times. Eventually they realized I wasn’t with the group and I had to admit I had never done the raid before. It turned out they were actually really helpful, and told me I should’ve told them earlier so they could’ve explained everything. From here on out they took time to make me aware of everything that was going on which was really cool. I didn’t expect the group to take kindly to a noob joining them on a Hard mode raid.
The disappearing platforms section also gave me some trouble, but they showed me how to get across using the passageway to the right and I finally made it after four or five (or six) tries. They then walked me through the cliff walk very patiently, and on we went.
The gate section took some further explaining, but ended up being easier than I expected after our first wipe (where I was sent into one of the portals). This actually ended up being my favorite section of the raid as the strategy fell into place and we absolutely rocked Atheon in one try.
I was excited to have finally completed my first Raid in Destiny and I was especially thrilled that the group I jumped in with was so helpful and patient with me. The sense of community I had while doing this raid was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had while playing Destiny and I can’t wait to experience more of this.
After the raid the group wanted to immediately head into the Crota’s End raid, and told me I was welcome to come along (though it would probably require even more explaining), but after the three hours spent working through Vault of Glass I was a little beat. I couldn’t imagine heading into another two to three hour affair, no matter how fun it would be.
I ended up looting a ship and the Praedyth’s Revenge sniper rifle which seems pretty cool. I’d like to run Vault of Glass again, but most likely on Normal next time. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to head into Crota’s End. I might try to tackle it next weekend, but raiding is exhausting!
Long story short
This post is pretty long-winded, so I’ll wrap it up shortly. Ultimately, my opinion of Destiny has evolved quite a bit over the past two weeks. How much you enjoy Destiny really depends on how much you interact with the community. Playing endless match-made strikes in which no player EVER talks (I’ve never experienced a single strike mission where anyone said a word, and I always join the strike team channel) is no way to experience Destiny. Using the forums and groups to look for groups may be a bit of a pain, but the time invested pays off incredibly by providing a much better Destiny experience. There’s nothing quite like the experience of running a raid with five other people from around the world. I’m addicted.