Destiny’s very first raid, the Vault of Glass, has long been thought to be its best – or at least, the community’s favourite. But it has a serious rival in Destiny 2’s latest raid, the Last Wish, which was added in the Forsaken expansion.
Bungie told us a fair amount about the Last Wish before it was released. It showed us the location and promised more bosses than any raid yet – likely a response to community criticism of Leviathan, Destiny 2’s first raid, which was far more focused on puzzles and mechanics than blowing up aliens. Only one Last Wish encounter, the Vault, didn’t involve a boss.
Ultimately, a team from Clan Redeem would take the world-first title after almost 19 grueling hours, despite a very late arrival at final boss Riven. Adding to their ecstasy was Math Class’s agony as they finished world third – a gut-wrenching two minutes after they would’ve earned an exclusive emblem for doing so. It was a dramatic night, and a spectacle that dominated Twitch for as long as it lasted.
In the second of our three interviews with Datto of Math Class and FleshCrunch of Redeem, two of Destiny’s best raiders discuss whether Last Wish really is its best raid yet, and how Bungie can ever beat it if so.
If you’d like to check out the rest of our interview with Datto and FleshCrunch, let us catch you up. In part one they discussed Destiny’s competitive raid scene and what you can do if you want a world first, and in part three they assess the competition, with Anthem, The Division 2, and others coming for Destiny’s audience.
PCGN: Redeem arrived at Riven several hours after some of your rivals. Did you think the race was lost? How did you rally?
FleshCrunch: I was worried when I heard that another team had already made it to Riven. Thoughts like ‘how did these guys figure out the Vault so fast? What is actually going on in here?’ crossed my mind several times, and had me worried that we would lose the race.
After seven hours trying to figure that out, and finally getting it, I got a huge burst of energy after we beat the Vault. And then got another one a few hours later too, when our good friend, clanmate, and now FaZe member Tfue, gave me a hefty host. At this point I was exhausted, both physically and mentally, but his host gave me the energy I needed to persevere.
Why do you think you beat her first despite such a huge deficit?
FC: Here at Redeem, coordination and teamwork has always been something we’re good at. You can look at all raid races in the past, even the ones we lost, and see that we’re typically the team that does the best on damaging the boss and staying alive when we reach a new encounter. I would have to give it to that aspect of our gameplay.
You were awake and focused for almost 19 hours. How did you not collapse into a sloppy, angry, emotional mess?
Datto: I did, I just turned off my stream first, ha. Nah, when you know what’s at stake, you can’t afford to do things like that. And at the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. But when you’re in my position, you need to at least try to act as professional as you can, especially when you have 60,000 people watching.
FC: Another thing Redeem does pretty well is telling each other to just shut up, stop arguing, and stay alive. When we can do that our focus snaps back into us. Of course, we all had lapses in judgement every now and then, and we all caused our fair share of wipes.
Datto, were you upset to have missed out on the emblem by just two minutes?
D: Absolutely. I was counting the seconds on the clock and we just could not get it together.
We know the incoming DLC will add raid lairs like last year’s did. What are you hoping to see from them?
D: I get this question a lot and I never know what to say other than, ‘I just hope it’s good’. It could be almost anything and I wouldn’t care. As long as it’s done well, I’m happy. I do hope the story of the expansion continues in some meaningful way, or more things are explained or developed, but otherwise, I’m mainly there for the gameplay. And Bungie – significantly more often than not – nails the raiding experience.
FC: Hopefully some lairs with more than one boss encounter, and hopefully said bosses would be a bit more menacing. Personally, I haven’t really been scared to stare a boss in the eyes while looking down the barrel of a shotgun in quite some time. They’ve done a stellar job with this DLC though, and as far as content goes, I can’t ask for too much more out of the Lairs, so that’s really it. They’re supposed to be quick and to the point.
Overall, is Last Wish Destiny’s best raid yet? How does it compare to Vault of Glass?
D: I think it’s the best raid, yeah. Vault of Glass will always have a place in everyone’s hearts for those who were there at the time, but in terms of everything that Bungie has developed, I think Last Wish is the best raid it’s made.
Vault shined bright for multiple reasons, although I do think that one of those reasons was because the rest of the game was just not great. Last Wish does so many things really well on top of the rest of the expansion being pretty good, even when standing on plates isn’t the novelty it might’ve once been.
FC: I would certainly call Last Wish the best Destiny raid experience we’ve had. It certainly compares well to Vault of Glass, but personally I feel like it doesn’t even have to. Vault of Glass to me is all nostalgia, and isn’t actually very good as a raiding experience. It’s cool the first time you go in, but if you start paying more attention to the mechanics you can soon realise that they’re very basic, and not all that creative.
Is there anything about Last Wish that you don’t like?
FC: The Vault. It’s very similar to the Totems encounter from King’s Fall, where it’s a lot of standing around swapping off while mindlessly killing stuff. Shoot stuff, guy grabs ball, slam ball, shoot stuff, new guy grabs ball, slam ball, repeat. The formula is just a bit different with Totems in that you just directly hand off the ‘ball’, which is just called an aura instead, and ‘slamming the ball’ is standing on a plate dumping a debuff. I’m also not a big fan of a raid encounter that doesn’t end by killing a boss. Very anticlimactic.
D: At first, I hated that the Riven 1% finale existed, but that was during the world-first run. Nowadays, I don’t really mind it at all. I guess the fact that there won’t be any prestige mode kind of sucks. Also, the first two raid challenges haven’t been very exciting. I would like to see Bungie design fights with challenges already in mind, or have them be a part of the design process, instead of designing a fight and then asking ‘ok, how do we made a challenge mode out of this?’. Obviously I don’t know if that’s how they do it, but that’s how it feels like they do it.
Redeem has called for bosses to have more health, recently showing that they can kill Riven in one cycle using only Edge Transits. Datto – do you think this is a problem too?
D: I think it both is and isn’t a problem. Mastery over an encounter, to the point where you can one-cycle a raid boss, is a good quality of an encounter. Look at how Oryx ended up – you had to do four cycles every single time, so you didn’t really feel like you got better at the fight. You were never really rewarded for getting better at it. That did mean it was always hard for those looking for a more constant challenge, but the average raid group is probably not one-cycling Riven right now.
Redeem is basically the top dog PvE clan, so of course they’re going to steamroll everything, and with the announcement that there isn’t going to be a prestige raid, the raid we have now is the one we’ll have forever.
As much as I’d love it, to really challenge a group like Redeem, Tier 1, Math Class, Be Bold, or any other top-tier organisation after the world-first run, you’d need to scale the game so hard that it’d be insane for an average group to even get through it. If we always had to two-cycle Riven, I think that would get monotonous. However, there should always be more difficulty options for those looking to push themselves, instead of having to come up with self-restrictions.
What feedback would you give to Bungie’s raid design team? How can it do even better next time?
D: Prestige mode and good challenges. Much easier said than done for sure, though.
FC: There’s not a lot of feedback I would give. All I’d like is a fight where you have to juggle mechanics, do damage, and stay alive all at once. Basically a Skolas fight made for six people. They did an excellent job on this raid, and other than the shallow health pools, I don’t have much else to complain about.