Destiny's first expansion, The Dark Below, raises the game's level cap and introduces a whole new tier of more powerful armour and weapons. It also introduces a difficult new six-player raid. The problem is those new additions have undermined the best thing the game had going up to now: the original Vault of Glass raid.
For the past couple of months, the Vault of Glass hasn't just been the best thing about Destiny -- it's also been one of the best ways to obtain high light-level raid armour, which would allow you to gain the 120 light points needed ascend to level 30. For weeks, my raid team and I would plunge into the Vault every Tuesday night, chatting and battling Vex, rejoicing when we got armour we wanted and cursing the game when it gave us us crap we didn't.
This week, that become largely pointless. Thanks to the new expansion, vanguard vendors in the tower are all selling armour with 33 light points, enough to take you past level 30 pretty easily, and up to level 31 should you obtain a full set. In an instant, all of the raid armour we've spent months obtaining in the Vault of Glass was rendered worthless. I had spent three months slaving away in the Vault hoping for raid boots, but this week I had enough marks saved up that I replaced everything but my helmet and got halfway to level 31 in about a day.
My team has of course shifted our focus to the new raid, which takes place on the Moon and is called "Crota's End." We haven't completed it yet, but so far it's been good fun, and a challenge worthy of its predecessor. It's also easily the best thing about the expansion. (I'll have more thoughts on The Dark Below in general on Kotaku soon, though for now I'm taking my time and want to be sure I have a complete sense of how the game has changed.) All the same, old habits die hard, and my team has gotten so good at the Vault of Glass that it'd be a bummer if we simply stopped doing it entirely.
This sort of thing often happens when an MMO-like game releases an expansion and raises its level cap. The new gear replaces the old gear, and the world keeps on turning. Destiny's problem, though, is that after the expansion, the Vault of Glass itself has become almost meaningless for the very high-level players for which it was designed. You can still play it, of course, but even on its higher level-30 difficulty, the gear you'll get won't be as good as the basic gear you can buy from vendors or earn by playing the rest of the game.
The legendary guns in the Vault of Glass top out at 300 damage, putting them behind the new, more powerful legendary guns in the expansion. The exotic guns can be upgraded, but will require a weekend visit to Xur to unlock their full potential. And most disappointing of all, the legendary raid armour that we used to covet is now worse than the stuff we can buy in the store back home. Why bother?
Obviously, this could be easily addressed with a patch. It probably will be, too -- when I spoke with Bungie's Luke Smith about the Vault of Glass back in October, he told me that it was their plan to make the Vault into something that would stand the test of time. "I think that long term," he said, "we have a piece of great content, so [we're asking], how can we make that timeless? How can we capture what's good about it, put it in a bottle, and let players always come back to it and have a great time there? I don't want to say that's something we're gonna solve in the next couple months, but it's certainly something that we're going to be looking at going forward."
That's promising. The possible solutions seem easy, too: Let anyone with the expansion earn higher-level legendary weapons, 33-light vanguard armour, and higher-level exotics from the Vault of Glass. Save the new 36-light armour and the new exotics for Crota's End. Without that kind of change, we'll all stop doing the raid, because it's just not worth it anymore.
I asked Bungie if they're planning a patch, but they declined to comment. Here's hoping they patch the Vault sooner, rather than later. It would be a shame to see the game's coolest dungeon fall by the wayside.