[Update: Completed on 9/15! I really enjoyed the last fight and the raid as a whole. It’ll probably take a while to marinate as I go for repeated runs but for now, it’s one of my favorites.]
Bungie has a pretty great track record when it comes to Destiny raids. While the game was fairly fresh they dropped Vault of Glass on us, which is still talked about to this day. Even for all of Crota’s issues it has its charms, and King’s Fall/Wrath of the Machine are on a whole new level.
Over the course of two years I was consistently raiding in these events, ranging from a power level (light at the time) requirement of 26 all the way up to 370. Today’s raid, Leviathan, requires at least 260 in a reset Destiny 2.
And it’s also worth doing.
The first thing that struck me after boarding the Leviathan, the world-eating Cabal ship, is how different it looked from the rest of the Destiny universe so far. It’s decadent as hell, in line with the whims of the gluttonous Emperor Calus. It has a golden God of War aesthetic to it, and seeing more of the Cabal’s world is appreciated.
The token acclimation fight is back, this time requiring players to go hunt for standard banners to plant to open a large door. My team handled this by having half the group defend the point and the other half hunt for the relic. What’s really important is that there’s a decent reward afterward, a Calus token and a powerful engram. It’s far better than material rewards in the original Destiny, and tokens are a welcome return from Wrath of the Machine. The only catch is that you need to repeat this phase multiple times to unlock new parts of the raid, and the rewards do not stack. On the bright side, I do dig the “hub world” effect and the event is fun enough to warrant repeating.
Leviathan’s second battle is another non-traditional encounter housed in a bathing pool. This one is very mechanic heavy, requiring a decent amount of communication and individual skill to stay alive, since most of the fireteam is split up. The kicker? You only get to revive someone once, so there’s technically a finite amount of lives to clear it — if you don’t pick someone up within 30 seconds, the entire team wipes. This is a mechanic that persists throughout the raid, and I love it.
The Pleasure Garden, the next area, is even trickier and requires more communication than any fight I’ve seen outside of Aksys challenge mode. Some are finding it tedious as it’s stealth-oriented, but I really dug slowly figuring out the best method to clear it over the course of three hours or so. I came up with the idea to assign each individual person an elite to kill (there’s six, one for each Guardian) and we cleared it on that first run. Leviathan’s next area is another puzzle-like challenge that’s heavy on jumping, followed by its only legit “boss fight.”
I’ve seen a lot of complaints that the raid is too hard/technical, but I’m loving that even normal mode is a challenge, and that Bungie is trying new things for Destiny 2. Bottom line? This raid doesn’t mess around in terms of forcing everyone to do work, even if it’s on the easier side overall. What I dig the most is that so far, it seems like the raid is tuned around puzzles rather than hard boss fights.
Outside of accounting for mechanics, my 283 power Warlock (who is now 287 after getting a 290 sword from the Gardens) handled it fine and didn’t die to errant fire too easily — a lot of players under that, even in the 270s, struggled, despite the 260 minimum requirement (historically the raid ends 20 above that, in this case 280). Heroic (hard), should be coming soon (it typically takes two weeks), followed by challenges (which require esoteric criteria to earn better loot).
I’m anxious to keep going, clear the final boss, and see the higher difficulties plan out. While Leviathan hasn’t had any spectacular moments for me so far, it’s also one of the most consistently entertaining raids in Destiny. Stay tuned to see how it stacks up overall.