Last night I had the opportunity to finally run through the new raid, King’s Fall, that Bungie gave us in The Taken King. I, honestly, wasn’t sure when, if ever, I would be able to run through it this year. My usual fireteam only maxes out at four players, so we were at the mercy of finding two others; but I caught a break last night, with another buddy inviting me into his group. I may have made us go a little slower, just because I had no clue how anything worked since I stayed blind on the mechanics, we managed to finish the raid in just a couple hours – and only a couple wipes. So today I want to talk a little bit about this raid as it compares with the other two previous raids.
Top to bottom, I think that King’s Fall is certainly the second best of the raids available so far. I still think that Vault of Glass is the best one out of the bunch – mainly because the entire raid is built around different mechanics that all make sense. Once you learn how Oracles and the Relic work, you’ve got the foundation to win, but you still need to pick up on the more minute details – like how best to max the DPS on Atheon. With Crota’s End, the mechanics were all streamlined – and generally had a built in margin of error. If you screwed up with the Relic in VoG, you wiped. If you mess up the lanterns in CE, you just move slower. In King’s Fall, fight mechanics return and they’re more varied than before. There’s a bunch of different things that you have to keep in mind – from the totem encounter to the Warpriest and so-on through the raid. What I like is that they’re easy to grasp, but there’s still a high emphasis on execution. If you slip up on any number of parts, you wipe. Screw up the order on platforms in the Daughters/Oryx fight? Wipe. Die too much to Golgoroth? Wipe. I like that there’s a bit more difficulty to this one. It’s a much more execution based raid. Crota had a lot more wiggle room.
The mechanics behind the encounters in King’s Fall are where I think the raid shines – especially compared with Crota’s End. Each fight has its own feel to it. The Annihilator Totems and Warpriest both have your fireteam splitting up to handle the debuffs and glyphs. Golgoroth is the opposite – your fireteam will be bunched up in the pool of the reflective light to DPS him, with one other member holding his gaze. The final two fights – Deathsingers and Oryx – combine both parts, you have to split up to spawn the platforms, then group up for DPS. That makes the fights a lot more engaging than just DPS battles – as a community we’ve complained about bullet sponge bosses, and these bosses help combat that feeling with their mechanics. We were able to burn the Warpriest in two damage phases last night. Weapons of Light and Shadowshot turn high HP bosses into a lot more manageable numbers with their major damage buffs.
Where I think King’s Fall isn’t as strong as the other raids is the reward phase. I like that you open the chests instead of just getting them dropped into your inventory. But I think the weighting on certain items is a little strong. Moldering Shards drop like candy. I thought I made out well with two weapons and an armor piece, but there were multiple people in my group that got another reward in addition to that – four raid drops in one go. That’s a bit more in line with what I think raid rewards should be. When you did VoG, you knew that you were getting – rewards after each major encounter. Sure the loot table was a lot more spread out, but you knew you were getting a good chunk of raid loot. I just think that if you’re doing this difficult, end-game level activity with unique loot, you should be guaranteed to get that unique loot.
All things considered, I think King’s Fall is a really good example of how Destiny can really shine. The building blocks are what really make the game so fun – the weapons, the abilities, the movement – that when they have a well designed environment like the raid, they really show off. Just like Vault of Glass made the rest of the vanilla story look silly, King’s Fall really just makes me wish that the entire game was that polished and fun – and that with The Taken King being way more put together in general.