After years of playing Destiny 2, I can confidently say that raids are my favorite endgame activity in the game. While not all of them were perfect, they helped create some of my fondest memories as a player.
While the set-piece encounters are very engaging and beating your friends out of a jumping puzzle for the umpteenth time is fun, most of the boss fights are non-interactive. The mechanics leading up to them are fun, but the boss fights themselves mostly become DPS checks. Bungie managed to make Vow of the Disciple with Rhulk a very fun experience, and hopefully all future Destiny bosses will fight just as compellingly.
Vow of the Disciple is one of the best Destiny 2 raids of all time
With the release of each new Destiny 2 expansion, the raid is what we look forward to the most. I was strapped in and ready for the first day’s experience, but my group was confronted with the error codes. Bungie chose to extend the first day’s competition modifier to 48 hours instead, and we were able to get several clan member clearances. Destiny has been working on this raid for years, with The Darkness being a central force in the game’s story.
Bungie did a pretty good job of weaving storytelling into the raid, and it was fun moving from encounter to encounter. Last Wish and King’s Fall are my two favorite raids of all time and I can confidently say that Vow of the Disciple meets their standards and even exceeds them in certain areas.
One of the best things about Vow of the Disciple is that the encounters build on each other. Everything you learn from interacting with the obelisks carries over into future encounters. As a result, Vow of the Disciple becomes more and more compelling.
One thing that separates traditional MMO bosses from Destiny’2 bosses is that they fight back aggressively. If we look at most raids that Destiny 2 players have experienced, the bosses usually have a wipe mechanic or a single attack. Once you hit the damage phase, there is no longer any threat, and you always have Well of Radiance to easily ignore incoming damage from other enemies that may be nearby.
In the last two campaign raids we got, Sanctified Mind in Garden of Salvation just hangs in mid-air when you damage it, while Taniks from Deep Stone Crypt knocks you out for 10 seconds, which is an indication, easy to jump out and jump back into the DPS phase.
Rhulk from Vow of the Disciple will literally throw your Fireteam members (and you) off the map if you’re not careful. Once you complete the initial mechanics in the final encounter and get to him, he immediately engages players in combat. You’ll need to dodge his attacks and trigger the damage phase, and if you’re not careful you might hear the “Guardian down” voice line within seconds.
There are few situations in Destiny 2 raids where you risk dying to a raid boss, but Rhulk doesn’t sit around. Val Ca’uor from Spire of Stars was the previous boss to fight back but everyone just chopped him with Wardcliff Coil which made the fight very easy.
And it’s not just the fight either. The lore surrounding Rhulk is interesting, and if you haven’t completed the raid yet, we won’t spoil it for you. He has some of the most unique mechanics we’ve seen in Destiny 2, and I can’t wait to get back in the arena with him.
Things are far from perfect
While it was a blast taking on Rhulk in the last encounter of Vow of the Disciple, there are still things Bungie can improve for the Raiders. When I get into raids, the biggest problem I see is the lack of an LFG system. Yes, I know how frustrating LFG groups can be at times, but they can also be fun if you find the right people.
The game that lacks an LFG system or a major social hub to find party members is annoying. Most MMOs have systems for finding a party and having fun. While PC gamers have access to Discord, console gamers have an even more frustrating experience. Relying on third-party websites and apps isn’t enough, and Bungie should do something about it.
The other thing I don’t like is how master raids are handled in the game. The Witch Queen campaign showed just how engaging Legendary difficulty play can be, and it felt a lot better than dealing with annoying champions in Grandmaster Nightfalls. Being forced into a weapon meta with weapon mods just doesn’t feel right.
Lucent Hive’s enemies are well designed, and the competitive mode with challenging enemies felt a lot more engaging than dealing with champions. Destiny 2’s raids have always been great, and they only get better with time. With another Destiny 1 legacy raid coming back in 2022, we can’t wait to see Bungie mod it for Destiny 2.
Too bad that many players shy away from endgame activities, which often has to do with a bad LFG system. Vow of the Disciple is something everyone needs to experience, and if Bungie can improve their social systems to help first-time raiders it would be a win for everyone.
The studio puts a lot of time and development effort into its raids, but only a small portion of players get to really experience it. According to the Steam Achievement Panel, only 7% of players have completed the Last Wish raid, which is disheartening.
Until Bungie comes up with a fix, I recommend getting a group of friends or like-minded Guardians together and checking out the new raid. It’s some of the best content Bungie has ever made, and it complements the solid Witch Queen campaign really well.
https://www.mmorpg.com/editorials/how-destiny-2-finally-offered-a-true-mmo-like-raid-experience-2000124789 How Destiny 2 finally offered a true MMO-like raid experience