While I won’t say I expected it, I wasn’t all that surprised when Bungie announced as part of the House of Wolves DLC reveal that there will not be a new raid. After all, their previous DLC, Crota’s End, was a yawn-inducing snorefest of a raid that lacked substance or challenge after the initial thrill wore off. Crota’s End was far too reliant on a single person to do the vast majority of the
heavy lifting exciting parts, while everyone else’s job was either to go die on purpose (bridge), not die by standing around waiting to shoot rockets every so often from the safety of a high ledge (Crota), or even worse, just doing whatever they wanted until the encounter ended (pit). Really, Deathsinger is the only encounter in the entire raid where I’ve ever felt like I was really playing the damn game.
But enough complaining about a DLC that was more or less finished before anyone even logged into the actual game for the first time. Let’s examine what Bungie’s announcement means for the DLC and for us content-hungry Guardians.
FIrst, I’m pretty sure there was a raid in the works for HoW. Planet Destiny, among others, have published articles in the past mentioning a raid. In the announcement stating there is no raid, it was stated that they “didn’t make this decision lightly,” implying that they cut the raid from HoW relatively recently.
You know what? I’m glad they did it.
Despite a general lack of chatter from the player base about the Crota raid being boring/exploitable, it kinda sucked, but people aren’t complaining because they are getting their loot. You know what people ARE complaining about? Wanting more content! Too bad everyone blew through the Crota raid like a Gjallarhorn rocket through, well, everything.
Its clear that the raid simply was not any ‘better’ than Crota’s End. I don’t want the next raid to be 20 minutes long and chock-full of easy ways to win, and neither does Bungie, but they clearly can’t figure out how to design interesting encounters for six people that are fun and remain fun the 10th time you do them. The Vault of Glass is alright I guess, and at least it feels like a raid both in scale and in how long it takes, but how long did they work on that, like two years?
Enter their solution – the Prison of Elders. You know, that place where the Archon Priest with the BIGGEST precision damage zone ever came from, and wishes he never left after you stagger-locked him with Black Hammer a few hundred times.
The Prison of Elders is a “new cooperative end game activity focused on variety, replayability, and skill,” which sounds fun, but is eerily generic. That could define basically anything from the Iron Banner to a raid to the Roc playlist to fucking playing soccer in the tower. My guess is that this is the trial run for making three-man content the focus of the endgame PvE. It makes perfect sense to try after all the problems with the Crota raid. Players will have more of the burden, and so more things to do. Mobs, like the Knights you have to clean up after killing Deathsinger, won’t have gigantic HP pools, and things will probably be less dangerous in close quarters in general, making in-your-face playstyles (like mine) less suicidal. Also, I’m no game designer, but I have to believe that designing mechanics for encounters with three people have to be less exploitable than encounters designed with six in mind.
Now, we don’t know much about the Prison yet, but there’s one thing that, while I would like to see it as a part of Destiny, I really REALLY hope is not what the Prison of Elders turns out to be.
Bungie, if you read this, PLEASE. Don’t let it be Horde mode from Gears of War. Fighting wave after wave of dudes is fun, and should be in the game somewhere besides the pit after ‘the path forward is clear,” but I don’t want to have to grind that for months on end to get the best gear.
That scary notion aside, the next few weeks are going to be a blast. Next week we learn how our current exotics are going to get to the new max attack of, presumably from the announcement page, 365, and the week after that, we’ll see the Trials of Osiris in action, which also has gear drops.
In closing, I’m viewing the lack of a raid in House of Wolves as Bungie finally stepping up and saying “Hey, we haven’t done Destiny justice, and we take pride in our work, so from now on, we are only going to release content that we can be proud of.” Or maybe I’m just continuing to justify my playing a game I’ve invested almost 400 hours into in the vain hope it will magically become what I know it could be.