Vault of Glass is back, Guardians. In case there’s any doubt, I can confirm the hype is true – Vault of Glass is Destiny‘s greatest raid, and not just because it was the original one, either.
The first time my clan and I attempted it, it took us six hours (and the guidance of a friendly Destiny Sherpa) just to open the bloody door. It’s tested and splintered the camaraderie of my clan’s friendships, and it’s kept us up until 3 am, desperately trying to finish it before the weekly reset.
A tricky tapestry of complex puzzles, challenging combat sequences, and some truly gorgeous backdrops, Destiny raids demand the kind of collaboration and precision timing that, quite frankly, I typically abhor. Despite that, completing Vault of Glass for the first time is up there as one of my favourite gaming experiences ever. We’ve done other raids since, of course – a particularly memorable night trying to complete King’s Fall on Hard still burns bright in my mind – but Vault of Glass was the first. Vault of Glass was the best.
So why am I so conflicted about its return in Destiny 2?
Destiny 2 is unusual in that developer Bungie spoke openly and candidly about deleting stuff and moving it to the curiously titled “Destiny Content Vault” (there’s that vault word again, as though it’s all been secreted away into a bank’s strong room with lasers and armed gunman). Nothing was safe from the cull, either; raids, dungeons, armour, guns, strikes, activities, quests, and full fucking planets were taken offline. Bungie explained at the time that it was to help manage the game’s file size and “make room for new experiences” for players… except some of those new experiences aren’t that new at all, are they? Just look at Vault of Glass.
Do I sound salty? A bit cynical? I guess I might be. In fairness to Bungie, VoG hasn’t been resold to us – plus a lot of players, particularly on PC, missed out on the original Destiny game, and the raid is available to all players for free without the need of a season pass – but it’s strange to me that players can’t play Destiny 2‘s opening Red War campaign mission anymore but can play a six-year-old raid.
And look, I get it. We’re a sentimental bunch, we gamers, and we’re quite often drawn to games – or remember them fondly – because of the memories associated with them more than the gameplay itself. Destiny is as important to me because of the (hopefully) life-long friendships I’ve developed through it as much as its smooth, satisfying gunplay.
I’d spent most of my life avoiding games that require mics and multiplayer because – let’s face it – it’s not always fun being the only female online, but Destiny, as Halo before it, tapped into a whole new appreciation of gaming, guns, and violence. They’re the ultimate stress-reliever for me, which is why my love of Raids puzzles me so as, quite honestly, they’re not remotely relaxing and there hasn’t been a single jumping puzzle that hasn’t left me squirming with embarrassment.
It’s not the first time Bungie has triumphantly unveiled a “new” Destiny location or feature that we’ve played before, though. Shadowkeep took us back to the Moon, a location hitherto available in the original game. And don’t forget: a whole buttload of us paid not only for the original Destiny but Destiny 2, too. Many more were on board before the game switched to a free-to-play model, which means early adopters like me are not only seeing content they’ve already played before rebadged as something fresh, they’re also watching content they’ve previously paid for roll out for free this time around.
It’s not that I begrudge replaying old areas in games, either. Silent Hill 3, for instance, recycled Silent Hill 2‘s Brookhaven Hospital, but in that, you got to explore with a fresh pair of eyes and during a different time period, too, which was fascinating for those of us who’d spent a lot of time creeping through those dark corridors. Done right, returning us to old stomping grounds can be incredibly exciting, especially when devs tease us by changing just one or two things to keep us on our toes.
To be clear, I don’t take issue with Bungie’s pivot to F2P. I don’t even really care about the microtransactions – I much prefer Tess’ Eververse wares now D2 is F2P than when they were shoehorned into a game I’d already paid hundreds of pounds over the years to play (even if it does take six days for all your Guardians to reach the transmog cap). But I’m still not convinced that Bungie really is sunsetting some of our hard-won weapons to “make room for new experiences” given so many of those experiences thus far seem to be recycled.
For now, I’m still cautiously optimistic about Destiny 2 and its next two upcoming expansions, The Witch Queen and Lightfall. But my Guardian and I will be watching closely to see if – and how – that pesky Destiny Content Vault impacts future content.