Bungie Sets Date For Next Destiny 2 Raid, Controversy Ensues
For Destiny fans, few things are more exciting than the release day of a new raid, even eclipsing a big DLC launch like Witch Queen. From the moment the raid goes live, a global race is launched to see which fireteam of six players can make it out the other side the fastest. Tens of thousands of teams participate, but only one can claim the bragging rights of being “World’s First.” It is no surprise then that players have been eagerly awaiting news of when the next raid will drop so planning and preparations can begin. Bungie recently announced that the next raid will release on August 26, 2022 at 10 AM Pacific, but this particular date has generated a significant amount of controversy.
For those not keeping track, August 26th falls on a Friday, which bucks the now established pattern of launching raids on Saturdays – at least since Garden of Salvation launched in 2019. Saturday seems to be the natural choice for maximizing player participation – fewer people need to call out of work or school – so why is Bungie regressing to a weekday?
Remember how the World’s First race is a Big Deal™? On Raid Day, Destiny 2 typically surges to the top of most-watched Twitch streams as people cheer on their favorite streamers. More importantly for Bungie, people who have stopped playing or are otherwise curious about starting to play check in to see what the latest content is all about which can drive the game’s growth. Stakes are raised higher by implementing a “Contest Mode” for the first 24 hours which artificially reduces the player’s power level to a capped amount for added difficulty on top of having no real walkthrough guides to reference. Even a returning raid, as this will be, has refreshed mechanics.
However, Vow of the Disciple, the last raid to launch, experienced some of the most frustrating technical issues in the franchise’s history. Many raid teams experienced relentless game crashes which prevented them from even reaching the first encounter. While some teams eventually figured out convoluted workarounds, the magic of the World’s First race was already soured. Bungie’s developers naturally had the weekend off, so the company was forced to call in crews for overtime to address the issue. Bungie also ended up extending the Contest Mode window an additional 24 hours so those who had a spoiled experience still had a chance at completion as it took so long to resolve.
Bungie understandably does not want a repeat of this situation. The move to Friday ensures a full staff of developers will be on-hand to squash bugs should any issues that arise. In response to player’s objections, Community Manager Liana replied, “Because we also work M-F and remember how broken Vow was when it dropped? This way, if something like that happens, we can have all hands on deck without burning out our teams.”
Some players immediately objected to this reasoning, insisting that developers’ work schedules could be shifted for raid week to cover the weekend or take other measures. Liana continued on to explain that this move is ultimately made to help combat the burn-out plaguing so many studios. What may seem like a “easy one-time exception” to many belies the reality that live service games already demand significant overtime loads. The company needs to respect its employees’ personal time or it could shed talent which will leave the game in a far worse state than the backlash from launching a defining event on a weekday.
We can see both sides of the picture. It sucks to miss out on a time-gated experience because of real-world obligations. While this would be true for someone no matter when the raid launches, there is no denying that it impacts more players on a weekday than a weekend. Still, players need to keep in perspective that this is, in fact, a video game and it is created by real people who deserve to live their lives. Even if the “World’s First” title is out of reach as a result, many players will likely still have time to achieve their Day One clear with a later start. For others, the Day One experience is out of reach entirely, but there is always a next time.
So now hopping off of our soapbox, what do we actually know about this next raid? Bungie has kept a lot of information under wraps to maximize the surprise. We do know that like Vault of Glass, this raid will be reprised from the Destiny Content Vault. Technically, the DCV could include any of the now “sunset” Destiny 2 raids as well, but Game Director Joe Blackburn has already hinted at it being a Destiny 1 classic. Besides Vault of Glass, the remaining Destiny 1 raids are:
• Crota’s End
• King’s Fall
• Wrath of the Machine
Fans have been speculating for a long time about which of these raids will be selected. We do not have any particular favorite, but Wrath of the Machine from the Rise of Iron expansion could tie into the recent story developments of Lord Saladin, now known as Valus Forge. Alternatively, King’s Fall which features Savathûn’s sibling Oryx also fits into the greater Witch Queen expansion which is currently active.
Whatever the case, the raid's identity will be announced during the Destiny 2 Showcase on August 23rd, days before it goes live. We still expect to see a lot of hype around the World’s First race. While reintroduced raids like Vault of Glass have not attracted as large of an audience as an all-new experience, they do come with their own twist. Completing the reprised raid first is only half of the battle. Contenders will then need to re-enter the raid with Challenge Mode active and clear it again while completing additional objectives in each fight. Only then can the new World’s First title be claimed.