After years of playing Destiny 2, I can confidently say that raids are my favorite endgame activities in the game. While not all of them have been perfect, they have helped create some of my fondest memories as a gamer.
While the set-piece encounters are very engaging, and it’s fun to knock your friends out of a jumping puzzle for the umpteenth time, most boss fights are non-interactive. The mechanics leading up to them are enjoyable but the boss fights themselves become DPS checks mostly. Bungie managed to make Vow of the Disciple a very fun experience with Rhulk, and hopefully, all future Destiny bosses are just as engaging to fight.
Vow of the Disciple is One of the Best Destiny 2 Raids Ever
With the release of every new Destiny 2 expansion release, the raid is what we look forward to the most. I was strapped in and ready for the day one experience, but my group was met with the error codes. Bungie decided to extend the day one contest modifier to 48 hours instead, and we were able to get multiple clears for clan members. Destiny has been building up to this raid for years, with The Darkness being a central force in the game’s lore.
Bungie managed to weave storytelling into the raid quite well, 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 matches their standards and even tops them in certain areas.
One of the best things about how Vow of the Disciple is that the encounters keep building on top of each other. Everything you learn when you interact with the Obelisks carries over to future encounters. As a result, Vow of the Disciple just keeps getting more and more engaging.
One thing that sets apart traditional MMO bosses from Destiny’2 bosses is that they fight back aggressively. If we look at most raids Destiny 2 players have experienced, the bosses typically have a wipe mechanic or a singular attack. There is no threat once you get to the damage phase and you always have Well of Radiance to simply ignore any incoming damage from other enemies that may be around.
In the last two campaign raids we received, Sanctified Mind in Garden of Salvation simply hangs mid-air as you damage it while Taniks from Deep Stone Crypt pushes you out 10 seconds, which is a cue to just jump out and hop back into the DPS phase.
Rhulk from Vow of the Disciple literally kicks your fireteam members (and you) out of the map if you are not careful. Once you complete the initial mechanics in the final encounter and get to him, he immediately engages players in combat. You have to dodge his attacks and trigger the damage phase and if you are not paying attention, you might hear the “guardian down” voice line in a matter of seconds.
There are barely any situations in Destiny 2 raids where you risk dying to a raid boss but Rhulk does not sit around. Spire of Stars’ Val Ca’uor was the previous boss who fought back, but everyone simply cheesed him with Wardcliff Coil, making the fight very easy.
And it’s not just the combat either. The lore surrounding Rhulk is interesting and if you have not completed the raid yet, we will not spoil it for you. He has some of the most unique mechanics we have seen in Destiny 2 and I can’t wait to get back in the arena with him.
Things Are Still Far From Perfect
While facing Rhulk was a blast in the final encounter of Vow of the Disciple, there are still things that Bungie can improve for the raiders. When jumping 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 get the right people.
The game lacking an LFG system or a large-scale social hub to find party members is upsetting. Most MMOs have systems in place to find a party and have fun. While PC players have access to Discord, console players have an even more frustrating experience. Having to rely on third-party websites and apps is not enough, and Bungie should do something about it.
The other thing that I don’t like is how Master raids are handled in the game. The Witch Queen campaign showed how engaging the game can be in the Legendary difficulty setting 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.
The Lucent Hive enemies are well designed, and having contest mode with challenging enemies felt a lot more engaging than dealing with champions. Destiny 2’s raids have always been great and they are getting better with time. With another legacy raid from Destiny 1 coming back in 2022, we can’t wait to see how Bungie modifies it for Destiny 2.
It’s a shame that many players shy away from endgame activities, with a lot of it having to do with a poor LFG system. Vow of the Disciple is something everyone needs to experience and if Bungie can improve its social systems to help first-time raiders, it would be a win for everyone.
The studio spends a lot of time and development effort on its raids but only a small portion of players get to experience it truly. According to Steam’s achievements section, only 7% of players have completed the Last Wish raid, which is disheartening.
Until Bungie presents a solution, I recommend getting a group of friends or like-minded guardians together and checking out the new raid. It’s one of the best pieces of content Bungie has ever made, and it complements the solid Witch Queen campaign really well.