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Raidapalooza 2019

The event becomes a tradition for Extra Life.

At the end of Destiny 2’s first year, my regular raid group had the idea to run all three of the Leviathan raids in one evening, as a challenge to ourselves for fun.

It was a pretty good time.

We didn’t get around to this last year, but in the last couple of weeks, what’s now grown to become Ethos (our Destiny 2 clan) started discussions around doing something similar once we’d completed Garden of Salvation. Schedules have magically aligned, and this Saturday, we run Raidapalooza 2019.

Raidapalooza 2019 will start this Saturday, November 30, at noon Central time, and will run for 12 hours maximum. Each raid will be limited to a two-hour hard cap.

It’ll be broadcast on Twitch here.

We’re raiding for a cause.

Since this will be a fairly long event, we’ll be streaming it on my Twitch channel, and hopefully raising some funds for Extra Life. I didn’t get to participate in Game Day this year, so instead, I’m running some longer streams between now and the end of the calendar year to raise those funds.

I’m hoping to raise $1,000 this year. Right now, we’re sitting at $50, and we could use your help.

There are things you can do to help, such as:

All of the proceeds from this fundraiser are forwarded to children’s hospitals in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

What are the Raids?

The first Destiny introduced the MMO concept of “raids” into the first-person shooter genre. Simply put, a Raid in Destiny is a six-player cooperative activity with higher challenge than much of the rest of the game.

Players are expected to master complex mechanics and tougher combatants than they’d experience in playing alone. They have cohesive themes and narrative importance to the Destiny experience.

As a whole, they are sharply-crafted and rewarding experiences—that many players of Destiny simply never get to see due to the six-player requirement and time necessary to learn the encounters.

As our team runs the raids, you’ll see clear and concise communication, or “calls,” throughout the experience, and witness the result of teamwork that’s been built over many attempts.

There are seven raids currently available in Destiny 2. We’ll be playing through them in release order, and limiting each raid to a maximum of two hours to ensure we can showcase as many of the raids as possible. We’re guaranteed to run at least the first six raids on Saturday, with a rotating cast of players.

Here’s what you can expect out of each raid.

Leviathan

Grow fat from strength.

Called by a mysterious invitation from the Cabal Emperor, Calus, the Guardians board his pleasure barge, Leviathan. Calus wishes to test the Guardians and their Light to see whether they are fit to serve as his Shadows: trusted operatives and elite forces.

As a raid, Leviathan relies more on mechanics than on enemy difficulty. The first three encounters are selected in a weekly random order. Players will face poisoned water in the Royal Baths, be hunted by Calus’s personal war hounds in the Pleasure Gardens, and run the Gauntlet’s obstacle course before confronting the Cabal Emperor himself in the Throne Room.

Leviathan is a good showcase of clockwork raid mechanics, where each player in the group has a specific job that must be completed to prevent the entire team from losing and having to start over. The raid layout itself is non-linear, and you’ll see us taking secret passages to navigate from encounter to encounter.

The version we’ll run is the “Prestige” version, which adds mechanics to some encounters and raises enemy difficulty.

Grab your Rat King.

Eater of Worlds

In the belly of the beast.

Called back to Leviathan, the Guardians answer a pest control call from Emperor Calus. As the ship slowly consumes the centaur Nessus to create royal wine for Calus’s hedonistic lifestyle, it’s encountered some trouble: a Vex Mind was nestled inside the core of Nessus, it’s been eaten by the ship, and now it’s angry.

Leviathan didn’t have more than a single real “boss fight” throughout the encounter, but Eater of Worlds is essentially a jumping puzzle followed by nothing but a boss fight.

This is a shorter raid; the initial step is a jumping puzzle that requires coordination between all team members, followed by a brief onslaught. Once this is complete, the raid team is confronted by a boss with two phases: a puzzle phase to unlock the boss itself, and then the boss fight itself.

In Eater of Worlds, you’ll see fluid teamwork to deliver matched weapons to various parts of the arena, followed by a final encounter that requires quick field general work to ensure maximum damage to the boss.

Spire of Stars

On the wings of Icarus.

For the third time, the Guardians are called to Leviathan to assist Emperor Calus. The Cabal Red Legion, responsible for invading Earth and assaulting the Traveler at the beginning of the events of Destiny 2, are mounting a final assault to challenge the Cabal Emperor and threaten his position.

Spire of Stars is one of the fewer-run raids in Destiny 2, owing mostly to its combination of heavy mechanics and overwhelming enemy forces. The initial encounter is a challenge of timing and efficient enemy clearing, and it’s then followed by a jumping puzzle that requires teamwork to relay an object from tower to tower.

The final encounter is again in two phases, at the top of the eponymous Spire of Stars. Val Ca’uor is assaulting Leviathan itself, and both he and his warships must be dealt with. The boss encounter is a challenge that requires constant and tight communication, as well as precision when attempting to do damage to the boss himself.

Of all the raids we are running this Saturday, this is the most likely one to run into the two-hour time limit, owing mostly to a lack of recent practice at the encounters. Many of our clan members do not yet have a single completion of this raid.

Last Wish

O murderer mine.

At the heart of the Dreaming City, the home of the Awoken people, sits its greatest secret: Riven, the last known Ahamkara. Ahamkara grant wishes to those who entertain them, but at a price. And this particular Ahamkara has been Taken.

Charged by the Mara Sov, the Awoken Queen, to destroy the Heart of Riven, and thus rid the Dreaming City of a Taken curse, the Guardians enter the Keep of Voices.

Last Wish is the largest and most boss-heavy of all raids across both Destiny and Destiny 2. It ranges from a simple and unlimited-time arena boss fight, to a tightly-timed chase of another boss, to a high-damage fight and then a mechanics-based puzzle, to a complicated boss fight (that we’ll attempt to just out-damage), and then a relay race to cap the entire experience.

Its encounters are both curiously-designed and varied, and remains exciting throughout. If you want to see the greatest mix of Destiny encounter types and strategies, this is definitely the raid to watch.

Scourge of the Past

A vault, filled with the finest wares.

Siviks, Lost to None, a Fallen Captain, seeks to plunder the vast wealth of the Forges of the Black Armory and steal their secrets as his own. Ada-1, the Curator of the Black Armory, has reluctantly sought the help of the Vanguard in repelling this assault on her family’s legacy.

Scourge of the Past is our raid group’s absolute favorite to run when we have six people hanging around and a bit of time within which to complete an activity. It’s largely fun, it moves relatively quickly, and it’s generally easy to complete with a minimum of fuss.

(We’re also still trying to get the space motorcycle from the raid to drop for my son. 30 clears and counting!)

It’s also a very good example of the “introduce one mechanic first, then a different mechanic, then at the end, mash them together!” approach that makes some Destiny raids a joy to teach. It’s again some quick encounters, followed by a two-phase boss fight.

Most of the mechanics are fairly light and rely on good communication and efficient enemy clearing. Some enemies are more dangerous than others in these encounters. If you want to see a raid that becomes super-tight with repetition, this is a good one to check out.

Crown of Sorrow

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Emperor Calus’s appetite for power has ensnared one of his lieutenants in a trap. Gahlran the Sorrow-Bearer has been entrusted with an artifact of great strength: a crown that links him to the evil Hive race and grants him use of their magics. But Savathûn, Witch-Queen of the Hive, has used it as a cunning trap, and a Hive infestation now threatens Leviathan. The Guardians, Calus’s Shadows, are tasked with eradicating the Hive within the ship.

Crown of Sorrow is a return to the innards of Leviathan, and provides a timing-based initial encounter, followed by another jumping puzzle (Leviathan has a lot of bottomless pits, OK?), and then a two-phase boss fight: first with Gahlran’s Deception, and then later with Gahlran himself.

The initial encounters depend more on timing and rapid enemy clearing, while the final boss fight requires sub-teams of two players to control space in tight cooperation, while rotating one-minute timers threaten to kill players throughout.

I rather enjoy this encounter; I get to form a squad with my son to complete the boss fight, which is quite enjoyable. Our timing is almost wordless in most situations at this point, and it’s amusing to find that we are coordinating with fewer and fewer words spoken each time.

If you want to see boss fights utilizing clockwork precision and heavy multitasking to accomplish the correct outcomes, you should watch.

Garden of Salvation

The heart of darkness.

The Darkness is manifest in our solar system with the discovery of a Pyramid on the Moon. Hive there are worshipping the Pyramid, and Nightmares of enemies past roam the system, threatening all. Eris Morn, Bane of the Swarm, has traced the signal from a mysterious artifact to the Black Garden, which is tended by the Vex.

This raid may or may not happen this Saturday; with the 12-hour total time limit, if other raids run longer, we won’t have the time to get into this one. For what it’s worth, our group only cleared this raid for the first time last week, after a bunch of struggling with the boss checkpoint.

If we do get into it, you’ll see some of the most amazing environmental art in the game. Garden of Salvation encounters rely on causing boss damage during specific windows of opportunity. For the first half of the raid, the team chases down the Consecrated Mind, attempting to confront it.

For the second half of the raid, we then battle the Consecrated Mind and later the Sanctified Mind, using a combination of mechanics borrowed from the Gambit game type, and positioning-based puzzles. The puzzles demand careful planning, as when you are helping with that aspect, you are unable to defend yourself from waves of enemies.

By this point, I expect we’ll be mentally tired in any case, so if you are watching, I would not necessarily expect to see a clear on Garden and instead watch us hit either the single-raid 2-hour time limit or the full activity 12-hour time limit.

And then what?

Should we actually manage to complete this marathon within the 12-hour time limit, I’m totally switching from Destiny and just hitting a few shots in Everybody’s Golf.

I have a feeling I’ll deserve it. 🙂

In any case, especially if you have read all the way to the bottom of this post, I hope you’ll stop by this weekend and watch us run some of the most entertaining content that exists in Destiny 2. We’d love to have you along for the ride, and we’d love even more if you are able to donate to Extra Life on our behalf.

See you there. Saturday, November 30, at noon Central time, on my Twitch channel.