Destiny is nearly three years old and owes much of its survival to not only a dedicated playerbase, but the solid post-game content that has been offered. Much of this is thanks to the four unique raids that developer Bungie has crafted, each one designed to push a squad of six to their absolute limits. However, now that all four of the raids have been fully updated to support Destiny’s current level cap, one has to wonder which is the best available?
Every raid is now on equal footing and the ideas of how they would hypothetically hold up is a thing of the past. When judging these raids the mechanics, encounter designs, bosses, and aesthetics all factored into our decision making. However, we did not include what or how much loot you can earn from a raid, as that is determined too much by RNG (Random Number Generator). We are also counting how these raids function for all three classes since it needs to be balanced and not require a fireteam to run only specific characters.
With that being said, here is our definitive ranking of Destiny’s four raids:
4. Crota’s End
When it released with The Dark Below expansion, Crota’s End was considered by many to be an underwhelming raid that offered nothing truly special. Sadly, this still stands as Crota’s End plays more like a difficult Strike than a complex and challenging raid. Many of the encounters lack difficulty since the majority of the enemies thrown at players can be easily killed or even ignored. This is especially disappointing because certain sections like the sword bridge are unique in design, but end up being undermined by how simple they are to finish.
Crota’s End is also abysmally short and only features four real engagements that can be completed rather quickly. The final boss Crota also fails to deliver since many of his mechanics simply rely on if your team can hit him with 4-5 rockets at a time. This is a shame because this Hive focused raid has one of the coolest openings to all of Destiny. Being chased through dark tunnels by a swarm of Thralls is always a rush, but sadly the momentum just doesn’t carry through the rest of this activity.
3. King’s Fall
The Taken King marked an important turn for Destiny as it introduced a solid narrative, tons of new items, major changes to base mechanics, and the King’ Fall raid. Set aboard Oryx’s ship, players were tasked with surviving a gauntlet of challenges and boss that eventually led to one final showdown with Oryx. While the other raids focused more on combat, King’s Fall went in the opposite direction and made almost all of its encounters mechanics driven. This made King’s Fall infinitely more challenging, but this was also the major flaw in the raid’s design.
Many of the puzzles require almost all of the fireteam to remain alive, meaning that if you lose someone early on in Hard Mode then you’ll have to reset. This can cause a lot of frustration, as it requires non-Sunsinger Warlocks to perform with absolute precision in order to succeed. Yet, this flaw doesn’t hold back King’s Fall too much since every boss battle is masterfully constructed, requiring teams to think outside of the box in order to succeed.
Where this raid really shines is in the level of creativity and freedom that players have when approaching boss fights. There’s typically more than one way to defeat a boss, which lends some nice replay value for those who are tired of utilizing the same maneuvers over and over again.
2. Wrath of the Machine
Destiny’s newest raid, Wrath of the Machine is easily one of the most hectic and kinetic raids that Bungie has designed yet. From the opening encounter it becomes clear that players will need to balance puzzle solving and combat in order to survive. Unlike King’s Row, these puzzles aren’t as punishing and allow for some harrowing moments when you are down a few members of your team. Bungie did an excellent job in presenting new encounters that users have yet to experience such as the Vosik’s multi-stage boss fight.
The standout encounter is undoubtedly the Siege Engine which feels like a scene ripped out of the latest Mad Max movie. Running from a giant a death machine is an absolute thrill, as it subverts the usual formula of going into a large room and killing a big boss. There’s a near perfect mix of teamwork and challenging combat focused gameplay in this section. However, Wrath of the Machine goes beyond these encounters and delivers some thoughtful, slower moments such as the infamous binary puzzle room just before the Aksis fight.
All of this is wrapped up in a striking visual ascetic that’s full of haunting vistas, cyberpunk themed structures, and twisted, fire spewing machines. While it’s only Destiny’s second best raid, it is undoubtedly the most gorgeous as every boss room feels meticulously constructed to beautifully reflect the challenge offered to players. The only blemish on Wrath of the Machine is that the Aksis boss fight is laughably easy and fails to deliver a memorable finale after the fantastic Vosik and Siege Engine encounters.
1. Vault of Glass
Could it be any other? Destiny’s first raid still stands out as one of its best, as the Vault of Glass (VoG) delivers on nearly ever front. While this raid is on the longer side, Vault of Glass delivers fantastic encounters that still hold up after all these years. There’s a sense of scale that always looms over the player during this raid, as areas are large, open, and offer a vast amount of freedom in how you engage enemies. Encounters are challenging and require great coordination, yet are balanced enough that won’t demand players reset if someone dies. Boss battles are grand and deliver a nice sense of awe, while every mechanic that players learn thoughtfully build upon one another.
Bungie’s slight changes, such as a reduced number of Oracle rounds, makes Vault of Glass more manageable and fair to newcomers. Structurally, VoG is uniquely designed as the player is always diving deeper into the caverns of Venus. Not only is this thematic to the raid, but it allows Bungie to produce some heart stopping moments such as the lead of faith into the Gorgon pit. Speak of, while the stealth section is a bit annoying at first, this area helps break up the nonstop action that makes up VoG’s major locations.
Vault of Glass is Bungie’s finest Destiny achievement that casts a rather large shadow over every raid to come since. Not only is it a thrill to play, but Vault of Glass represents everything fun about what Destiny is and could be. There’s a sense of comradery built around this raid, as it was the first big challenge that players needed to vanquish. Even with nostalgia glasses removed, Vault of Glass delivers superbly balanced combat, gorgeous level design, and one of the most inventive boss encounters of the modern era.
Destiny 2 may be on the horizon, but there is little doubt that Vault of Glass will be remembered as one of the best moments in the series.