This weekend there was a perfect storm of events that led me to a situation I rarely find myself in. With no wife around, and no friends in town, I had quite literally nothing to do for two days other than try and be productive by reading, writing, or working out.
Or rather, I played Destiny the way it was meant to be played. With other people. With a headset. Doing high level content. Destiny power levling can raise the level of your.
I used to be able to do this more naturally. A long time ago, I had friends still playing the game, and a wife not yet in med school. These days, my friends have moved on and my wife can’t have me yelling about the cheapness of Skolas into a headset while she’s trying to study twelve feet away. As such, my Destiny experience has mostly been single player for a while now. I’ve used sites like DestinyLFG for certain events here and there since, but never this much in one dose.
This weekend, I did three Nightfalls, three Prison of Elders challenges and one full Vault of Glass Raid using DestinyLFG to set me up with groups each time. Given that I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of the insertion of randomized matchmaking into the game so that players who are reluctant to use third party sites to find groups can simply do so in the game itself, I was curious if a weekend of non-stop LFG would change my mind.
My experiences with LFG over the course of the weekend were varied. The Nightfalls were an interesting case, as absolutely no one thought it necessary to use mics. I suppose the idea is that since we’ve all done these strikes before a zillion times, we know the ropes. But a lack of communication was painful in some instances. “Just shoot the turret” I yelled at my team as we threatened to wipe on the Spider Tank for the third time. But I didn’t know if they could even hear me.
The Nightfall was the only activity where I actually had groups quit on me, or I quit on my group. The rule seemed to be after two wipes where you’re sent back to orbit, there was clearly something off about the group chemistry, so we’d head back out to find a new party. It was also in the Nightfall where I found my first taste of level/gear discrimination.
On DestinyLFG, there were countless posts made by 34s requesting only 34s with maxed weapons including Gjallarhorn. On my level 32 alts, this was a problem, but I finally talked myself into a 34 group by simply promising “not to die” in my message to them. When I arrived, I promptly killed the Spider Tank by myself, and delivered on my promise.
The Prison of Elders groups I was in (note: this was not the end-all, be-all Skolas challenge, but either the 32 or 34 ones) usually had two people with a mic, myself being one of them. This helped immensely, and no one ever quit on purpose in those groups. After doing a full run with my main character, when it came to my alts I joined games who were already at the final boss. In one game, I was the only one with a mic, and I had to explain how to kill Qodron to my silent allies, who after the fourth wipe finally seemed to understand what I was talking about, and eventually we beat it.
The Vault of Glass run I did was absolute mayhem. Perhaps it’s because it’s so late in the lifecycle of the Raid, but it was chaos from start to finish. Despite joining up with what seemed to be a pretty solid group at the start, only three people of six had mics (myself included) and one player who sounded like he was 18 was constantly yelling at a kid who sounded like he was 12 as they sparred over strategies. People kept dropping so we did most of the run with four. We had one player simply go AFK during the Gorgon’s Maze so we sat there for 20 minutes trying to leap across the chasm with no spawning platforms until he finally came back.
By the time we reached Atheon, we’d lost nearly every member of our original group. It was just me and the 18 year-old, and I was constantly rotating in new people by posting fresh LFG posts and inviting whoever wrote back. After rotating about eight new people in, we finally won. By the end, all six of us had mics, which resulted in some coordination, but a hell of a lot of infighting as well.
When all was said and done, my weekend of binge-LFG-ing on high level content had gotten my alts to level up, landed me a few exotics, and gave me a fresh perspective on in-game randomized matchmaking.