When entering the Raid on Hard Mode for the first time, my mind raced with the expression: “Eyes up, Guardian.” By the time my group and I finished it, all I could think was: “Head down, Guardian.”
This post consists of my ongoings before and after the Raid. Before I entered the Raid on Hard Mode, I made sure I was level 30 (the recommended level when completing the Raid on that difficulty); let me explain what I had to go through to obtain a level 30 guardian.
Randoms The Name
Destiny is a game based on a Random Number Generator (RNG). The equation is massive and the unknown is heavy with emotions. I feel as if each item dropped is more than luck, it is a gift. People like to joke that they pray to RNGesus to get the one item to add to their arsenal, and I must say that it is no joke. Obtaining level 30 in Destiny is one of the most difficult and cringeworthy things I accomplished after nearly two months of searching for the right items.
RNG is a ravage beast towards my main character, a Warlock. RNG is not my friend and it showed while being stuck at level 28 for weeks. I completed the Raid on Normal Mode every week, hoping to obtain pieces of armor that would boost me up to level 30 and only ever received the chest armor and nothing else. To level up to 30, I had to obtain armor with “light” attached to it. Through a careful analysis, I had to own at least three pieces of Raid armor and one piece of exotic armor (they are yellow and shiny) to reach my goal of level 30. I thought I was doomed to stay at level 28 forever until Bungie announced that the Iron Banner would be back, with a vengeance.
The Iron Banner is a Player vs. Player (PvP) arena, just like the Crucible, except that my armor and weapons mattered. Basically, the higher my level was compared to others meant that I could easily destroy them. If a level 20 approached me in the Iron Banner, he/she was mincemeat. My gun would tear them to shreds and they would barely scratch me. The reason why the Iron Banner was so important though was the fact that its vendor would be selling armor that could boost me to level 30.
I worked my ass off in the Iron Banner for the one week it was open. I played everyday to ensure that I could build up enough reputation with the vendor to buy the armor I needed. There were some good moments and some bad ones, but overall, it was fun and challenging. Below are some highlights from my Iron Banner experience. Once it was over, I could finally be the guardian I always wanted to be.
The Very First Time
Now that I was level 30, it was time to do the Raid on Hard Mode. My group and I consisted of four level 30s and two level 29s. It seemed manageable at first, but the further we went into the Raid, the more difficult it became. The only difference between Hard Mode and Normal Mode was the fact that if I died in Hard Mode, I could not be revived until we get a checkpoint. Luckily, my Warlock could self-revive at least once (depending on if my Super move was ready to use), but even then, I knew this would be challenging.
One part of the Raid involved us protecting a group of Confluxes, which were large pillars where the Vex (an antient cyborg species) could sacrifice itself. If enough Vex were sacrificed, our entire team would wipe (or die).
First, we set up in our positions and defended the back most Conflux. A hoard of enemies tried to kills us after the first Conflux, but we all went to hide in the “hidey-hole” (a room where we cannot be damaged by Vex). Once that was over and the Conflux disappeared, and two new Confluxes would pop up on the left and right; the challenge intensified here.
With the two Confluxes open to vex sacrifices, it was our goal to protect them, but we failed every single time. There were hoards of enemies overwhelming us; it was a pain in the ass. There are two reasons why this was happening: A) not enough high level guardians and B) not enough maxed-out weapons among the group. One guardian would die and we try to fend off the rest of the Vex, but we always wiped.
Frustrations were building and one of my buddies was fed up. He went to Destiny Looking for Group website to try and find a checkpoint at the next part of the Raid. Thankfully, my friend found a group of guys with the next checkpoint. This part of the Raid is much easier as many would agree that the protecting of Confluxes was the hardest part in the entire Raid.
We went to the next checkpoint, skipping the entire hard part of the Raid, and emotions were calm. Our next task was to destroy a number of Oracles (giant balls of light) before they disappeared. Each Oracle has a unique spawning point, so we had to position ourselves in the right places to hit each one with ease. The platform at which we stood on was high enough not to be damaged by other Vex and the guardians could focus solely on the Oracles. One person was on the ground level while five of us would stay at the very top and shoot the Oracles from there. By far, this is the easiest part of the Raid.
Finally, the Templar, a giant boss who shoots crazy amounts of light rockets at us, was next. Before Bungie updated the game, guardians could knock the Templar off the map with well-thrown grenades. We decided to kill him this way since it would be the fastest method and time was not on our side (it was nearly midnight by this point). We wiped a few times, but it was done in less than 20 minutes. We were almost to the end of this chaos-filled adventure.
The next section of the Raid consists of destroying two large Gatekeepers (basically, a smaller Templar). First, we had to teleport to another planet to find one of the Gatekeepers, kill it and pick up a relic (think Highlander but with a shield) before getting to the final boss. This part took a long time, but after we got into a rhythm, and discovered how/who could destroy the Gatekeepers the fastest, all was well for our group of six. It was time to face our Destiny.
The Final Fight
Atheon, the final boss in the Vault of Glass. He is a giant Vex lord that no one know the origin about (unless you read vague cards given to us as backstory in Destiny). His firepower can kill a level 30 guardian in two shots. Even though he is standing in the open, we cannot attack him head on when he appears. Instead, three of us must be teleported first. Once three are teleported to another planet, the three guardians left behind must open the teleport, defend themselves against the monstrous Harpies (which are basically suicide bombers), and stay alive long enough until the other three return. The team that was teleported to another planet must kill Vex, hold onto a relic like before while cleansing the other two teammates (it gets dark, fast inside their) and destroy a group of Oracles that spawn in the air. Once the three guardians come back from the other planet, everyone jumps on a platform in the middle where everyone unloads all that is holy onto Atheon. The reason we have to go through this whole process is because a damage boost called Time’s Vengeance will be activated, which lets us do catastrophic damage to the Vex lord. After the Time’s Vengeance expires (all 30 seconds of it), we must run away and do the same thing over again until Atheon is dead.
The final battle took forever; we failed numerous times. Our team spent maybe one or two hours trying to defeat Atheon. The more we wiped, the angier we got. The frustrations were building and we could not do anything about it unless we quit.
On our last try, Atheon was nearly dead. Our team made a final push to try and finish him off. Everyone unloaded their clips of ammo into Atheon, but we came up short. Two guardians died and the ones left alive thought it was over. It is funny how that is not the worst part though. Atheon teleported two guardians, me being one of them, and left two outside fending for themselves. Luckily, my team was smart enough to remind me about the glitch that occurred. Whenever Atheon teleports two guardians instead of three, we can run out of the teleport (if the gate is open) and not die in the process.
My buddy who was with me yelled at me to run toward the gate. I had the relic in hand. I noticed that another guardian died outside, but the gate was still opening. The guardian who opened the gate was trying to kill Atheon by himself, but failed to finish him off. The gate was open and we ran through. My buddy with me tried shooting Atheon with everything he had, but perished from the on-going assault of Harpies. I dropped the relic, which I knew would surely end the raid, but had to at least try and take down Atheon. With one of my last rockets left, I shot Atheon, dead-center, and I died… but not before Atheon.
Triumph Turns To Misery
We did it! I could not believe my eyes, but we destroyed Atheon! We were yelling with excitement; laughing and hollering at the top of our lungs. I looked to my right, where the rewards would pop up and with a heavy sigh, could not believe the crap I was given. I saved the Raid and was awarded nothing spectacular, nothing that would help me in the future, it was utter defeat after defeating the greatest foe in the game. I was heart broken.
The Next Week
Last week, I decided to try the Raid on Hard Mode one more time. We had some difficulties again, but found some randoms with the Gatekeepers checkpoint. We decided to hop in their game, and formulate a new plan since they were not used to our methods.
We changed up tactics, wiped a few times, and just when we were about to finish the Gatekeepers section, people started dying. We were down to three guardians when we opened the second portal and teleport to another planet. We needed to grab one more relic before we can get to Atheon. My buddy with his relic had to come with me and cleanse me since I would not be able to see for long. I destroyed the Gatekeeper with the last of my rockets and sniper rifle as fast as I could. However, we had one guardian watching the portal outside, and I knew he would not last much longer.
After the Gatekeeper fell, and ran as fast as I could to grab the relic. Right before I was about to grab it, I died, but luckily could self-revive. I yell to my friend in the portal with me to run outside and protect the Conflux. It is worth noting that once the Gatekeepers are destroyed, our team must protect the Conflux in the middle from an on-coming traffic of destruction; giant Minotaurs who do massive amounts of damage.
It was my buddy and I with relics, doing everything we could to protect the Conflux. Our teammates were cheering us on, helping us locate the next enemy on our right, left, behind us; they were everywhere. When they started sacrificing themselves to the Conflux, we tried to destroy them quickly. After destroying Minotaur after Minotaur, the Conflux disappears, my relic is gone and I die by a Minotaur. We all yelled at the last guardian to stay alive. We did it. Two people defended a Conflux that is usually defened by six guardians. It was incredible, exhilarating and one of the best moments I have experienced with Destiny. Watch the way it played out below:
Finally, it was time to battle Atheon once again. We had a hard time since our group of guardians consisted of three level 29s and three level 30s. The two randoms my group joined had very weak weapons and I thought we would never succeed. We died over and over again, getting no where.
Then came the final run. I was tired, and a little upset that we had not finished it yet. Our team was doing brilliant. I made sure to kill all of the suicide Harpies so my other teammates could damage Atheon; I was not going to let anyone kill my teammates. I asked how much health was left, and they said about a quarter or so. I was excited. I thought, “Finally, we are almost done!” Then the worst thing happened… an error code.
Right before three of my teammates were teleporting to another planet, I was kicked from the game and sent back to the main menu. I received a stupid error. My heart sank with dread. I did not want us to lose because of a faulty glitch. I knew I could no longer help my team, but rushed back to join them and start over again. I apologized profusely, but what I came back to surprised me. I heard my group yelling that they almost have Atheon. Before I completely joined the fight, my fellow guardians did it; they defeated Atheon with five guardians! I was ecstatic, and extremely lucky to receive any rewards. Thankfully, I joined my group in time to get something for my efforts, but one glitch almost doomed us again.
My feelings towards Raids on Hard Mode is peculiar. I love the challenge, but with all its abundance of problems and the fact that it is really hard to find players who are on par with my friends and I, it may not be worth the stress. It is a waste of time to die over and over again while getting the crappiest rewards. Bungie stated that they are fixing the Raid rewards system. Bungie stated that they are working on fixing the glitches. Bungie stated that they are listening. In all honesty, I do not know nor understand what Bungie is doing. I have never played a game like this before; something always evolving and changing. I want to be the best at Destiny and do everything it has to offer. Maybe that is the reason I continue to play it. Hopefully, the next Raid will be challenging, memorable and less glitchy than the Vault of Glass.