Put those Tractor Cannons away, Guardians. The Crota’s End contest mode has come to a close, and players can now go back to using the full extent of their abilities and armory. The 48-hour contest mode for the returning Destiny Raid addressed Bungie’s former promise to bring difficult content back to Destiny 2. And it didn’t disappoint. That said, with contest mode ended, players should once again have little trouble toppling the son of Oryx.
While Bungie has been on the backfoot with its community, including a fumble during the most recent State of the Game and the lackluster reveal of The Final Shape expansion, it’s tough to argue the company isn’t at least trying to make some amends. Joe Blackburn has become the face of the studio, commenting on community backlash and responding to conspiracies around future content. On top of that, Bungie turned the difficulty to 11 for the Crota’s End relaunch, a direct response to the overwhelmingly negative feedback following the Root of Nightmares Raid. Initially, this posed a bit of a surprise considering the original Destiny version could be soloed, but hardcore players reveled in the challenge. Thankfully, Ol’ Crota’s weekend romp is over, and now it’s time for Guardians to take out those contest mode frustrations.
Contest mode Raids are no new thing in Destiny 2. Since the Crown of Sorrow Raid during The Forsaken expansion, Bungie has built hype and a little competitive energy around the launch of these new endgame PvE activities. On top of players typically heading into these new Raids without knowing what they’ll encounter, contest mode sets players at a power disadvantage. It also prohibits using specific abilities, armor, weapons, and mods.
What made Crota’s End contest mode so hard?
Now that contest mode is over, Guardians jumping into Crota’s End might wonder what all the weekend fuss was about. Sure, the Raid features a mix of puzzles and boss encounters that demand a bit more than the average Strike or Dungeon, but with the contest mode smoke cleared, the content is no more daunting than a pass through King’s Fall or Europa’s Deep Stone Crypt.
Part of what had made contest mode so grueling was the heavy restrictions during the first 48 hours. Entire Subclass Aspects, Exotic weapons, Exotic armor, and even mods were completely disqualified from use. That nigh unkillable and super fun to play Strand Banner of War Titan build? Disabled. The powerful new Tessellation Exotic fusion rifle earned via preordering the $100 version of The Final Shape expansion? Disabled. And for good measure, the Seasonal Artifact Mod that makes heavy ammo easier to come by, Elemental Embrace, was also disabled.
Of course, players managed without these boons, as they always do. But considering most of these recent additions shook up the PvE meta and readily incorporated into prep builds for the return of Crota’s End, the changes left Guardians scrambling to find viable alternatives for the time-dependant race. Tack on the power disadvantage, which translates to less outgoing damage with increased incoming damage, absurd enemy density, and the fact that players were learning the updated content for the first time, and it’s easy to see why this contest mode felt so much more complicated than the last.
Crota’s just a regular raid boss now
Back at full power, without the restrictions imposed by contest mode, Crota and his Raid isn’t much to worry about. That’s not to say that Guardians can race through without participating in each encounter’s mechanics. But generally, it should mean there’s a lot more flexibility between a group wipe and pulling through by the skin of your teeth. The leading threat players will face in Crota’s End at its regular difficulty is coordination.
All encounters revolve around receiving a specific buff, passing it around to other team members, and using it to interact with particular objects when needed. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary for Destiny 2, but it does require clear communication and listening skills. Without the constant threat of death from the overpowered adds swarming the team, it’ll just take a little practice.
The Raid’s bosses similarly cause less stress. Without the gear and mod restrictions, Guardians can access the exact build and abilities they want for any situation. And naturally, with the power disadvantage removed, all foes, including those pesky bosses like Crota, take more overall damage and deal less (so long as players’ power level is higher than the contest mode’s 1780 power gate).
While it’s now mostly sunshine and rainbows, one crucial point for Crota is that his damage phase triggers via a finicky Destiny 2 mechanic: the Hive relic sword. Though contest mode often demanded the use of three relics before Crota’s shield broke, the regular difficulty still requires two. These Hive relics are pretty hit or miss (no pun intended) regarding hit detection on Crota’s giant form. However, once that shield finally comes down, he’s now nothing more than just another Hive boss in a Raid. Bring a sword, Guardians.