Press Start: My first time through ‘Destiny: Rise of Iron’s’ Wrath of the Machine raid
The raid in “Destiny's” newest expansion, “Rise of Iron,” might be one of the series' shorter raids, but my first time through it was anything but quick and painless.
Let me give you a rundown of what I experienced one long and aggravating night going through the Wrath of the Machine in Bungie's popular sci-fi shooter.
Myself, three friends and two random players joined up at 10 p.m. last Thursday with the intention of running through the new raid from start to finish. For the uninitiated, “Destiny” raids are long, challenging encounters full of puzzles and boss fights that six-person teams take on together. They require coordination, cooperation, communication and no small amount of skill.
Now, most of my team—myself included—had already been through the raid until at least the final boss fight the week before, so we knew what we were doing. But one thing made this raid more challenging and, in the end, much more frustrating: Hidden in the raid is a deeply complicated puzzle that, once completed, unlocks a secret room after the raid's completion that eventually leads to an exotic (read: incredibly rare and powerful) weapon.
The prospect of earning one of these weapons excited us all, so we were ready to get started.
To unlock this room, our team had to shoot specific monitors hidden throughout the raid—at least, I think that was the challenge. Other members in our group knew where they were and took care of them, so I didn't bother to learn the details.
We had almost no trouble getting through the first three-fourths of the raid. We took down bosses with relative ease, explaining to newcomers how to handle each in-depth fight. We found secret chests filled with delicious loot and were generally having a good time.
Then we reached the final boss.
The Wrath of the Machine's ultimate encounter, Aksis, isn't exactly an easy foe to beat. Without diving too deep into how to defeat him, at one point in the fight he teleports around the room. Three of the six players are randomly “empowered,” and one of the three must reach Aksis and hit him on the back. If someone misses or doesn't reach him in time, your team is killed, and you have to start from the beginning.
What makes it particularly hard is the fact that the three empowered players are chosen at random, meaning a team has mere seconds to figure out in the chaos of battle who is empowered. Once that's sorted out, all three empowered players must move into position—still while fighting—before Aksis teleports. With six players trying to communicate simultaneously and plenty of room for error, we ended up dying—a lot.
We started the fight around midnight, two hours into the raid. I figured we'd be done within an hour, but by 1 a.m. we were no closer to finishing the fight. It didn't help that once our team got into the swing of things, someone would leave, requiring us to find another random player to fill in the gap.
Normally, we would have quit and resumed the fight the next day. However, because of the monitor puzzle, we couldn't leave because doing so would reset the raid. That meant we had no choice but to finish in one sitting or lose our chance at the exotic weapon without starting over from scratch.
So we decided to keep trying.
At one point, around 2 a.m., we almost had Aksis defeated. I was empowered and went in close to deliver my blow to his exposed back, but the game glitched. Despite doing everything right, I couldn't attack Aksis, and our team was wiped out. While this frustrated my fellow teammates, they saw how I was cheated and didn't blame me for the glitch.
It was just after 4 a.m. when we finally defeated Aksis, and what a rush that was. After more than six hours in the raid, we had finally beaten it. We were tired and hungry and aggravated, but it was over, and the best prize was waiting for us.
We followed our team leader as he hopped into the secret area that was supposed to be open after shooting all the monitors and solving some other raid puzzles.
Our hearts sank when we realized at the same time the room was still closed.
I won't tell you some of the choice words my team members used to express their rage. After spending way too long beating a frustrating raid, all of our hard work had led to nothing. To this day, we don't know why the path was closed after we had done every puzzle correctly to open it.
I, for my part, couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. I went to bed and have barely touched “Destiny” since.
But this weekend, I know I'm going to give it another shot. Because even though it was frustrating and terrible and we were cruelly gypped of our earned rewards, it's still fun to experience it all—both the ups and the downs—with your friends.
Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.