Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it’s story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what’s going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what’s drawing our attention across the solar system.
Destiny 2 thrives on its endgame replayability. In the original Destiny, it was the raids, pinnacle six-player activities that challenged your patience, game sense, loadout, and team communication. The barrier for raids was so high that it was a frustrating pain point for many players, with many on social media lamenting that they felt like they couldn’t ever run one. Thankfully, now the endgame is quite robust and varied, with multiple options of three-player and six-player activities that can be both exciting and challenging.
With dungeons, Grandmaster Nightfalls, and countless other Legendary activities, there’s an opportunity for a larger portion of the player base to engage with the endgame and the rewards it has to offer. This is great for players who don’t have a team of six always ready to go, and each endgame activity has its own merits, but the raids truly stand head and shoulders above all else unless you’re a PvP fanatic. Tweaks to raids over Destiny 2’s lifetime, such as introducing Triumph Seals and craftable raid weapons with Ability 3.0-friendly perks (Incandescent, Repulsor Brace, Voltshot), make them all the more compelling.
Despite these enticing reasons to get into a consistent routine of raiding, there’s still a massive void of engagement from the broader Destiny community. Believe it or not, it’s hard to get five other guardians who satisfy all of the requirements: are at the required power level, willing to invest multiple hours, and even available in the first place. More often than not, hopeful raiders are at the mercy of the dreaded LFG.
LFG, or “looking for group,” is, quite frankly, painful. It’s basically a way players reach out to others to coordinate playing an activity that doesn’t support matchmaking, meaning it’s up to you to find teammates. The unofficial LFG process has been a challenging system to deal with, but it has come a long way over the years. In the early days of Destiny 1, you would have to go to an LFG subreddit and then field a flurry of PSN or Xbox Live messages. Later on, Destiny 2 attempted to ease the pain by introducing the uninspiring “Guided Games,” but unfortunately the feature never seemed to take off and is all but forgotten.
In recent years, PC players have had a bit of a cheat code with Discord servers dedicated to LFG that function in a surprisingly neat and organized manner. Even then you still have a mess of different components, like Steam IDs (a ridiculously long string of numbers) and the hilarious prerequisites for LFG postings, barring many players from participating. And while these kinds of prerequisites make sense if you’re going for Legend-level challenges, a raid seal, or a flawless run, they aren’t necessary for casual runs.
Now, I know why these prerequisites are laid out by people organizing LFG runs, and it’s to avoid the common issues players deal with when engaging with players who might be unprepared for a raid. Unfortunately, this can be discouraging for anyone who’s a little rusty or isn’t a weekly raider. Even as a frequent raider, I confess that I need refreshers for encounters in certain raids that I haven’t touched in months (such as Last Wish). It’s a hard sell for my current clan or group because other raids are more rewarding or relevant this season–not everyone wants to run a raid that debuted back in Forsaken unless you’re going for a specific triumph. So I’m usually at the mercy of folks who aren’t interested in helping me relearn the mechanics, which leads me to avoid trying altogether.
LFG has always been intimidating, if not frustrating, for several reasons. The big one is simply not knowing who is on the other end of the LFG search post. What if they’re rude, incompetent, or worse, toxic? Sadly, some of the lowest points of playing Destiny have been during LFG raids, and to this day, I always pause before I make a raid LFG post.
Things are a bit easier when a LFG post does not require voice chat. For starters, no communication requirement generally means that the activity you’re LFGing for is less demanding. For instance, dungeons don’t have a wipe timer, and Grandmaster Nightfalls are fairly manageable. Many legendary seasonal activities like Wellspring don’t require verbal callouts or coordination. So in these moments, I’m stunned at how easy and painless LFG is, and if I need to farm Pinnacle drops late at night while my friends are asleep, the LFG Discord server is just a few clicks away. But when LFG can be so painless at times, why do so many of us dislike using LFG for raids?
The obvious answer is that the alternative of running with a consistent team of familiar faces, is just a far more pleasant experience. I have been lucky enough to have friends or regular clanmates to raid with in the past, sometimes even consistently. If you have a full group of teammates you’ve played with before, the odds of success rise significantly. Familiarity, it turns out, is key to a successful raid. And unfortunately, all that is thrown out the window when you mix in players you’ve never met before.
Recently in Destiny 2, I took a chance and ran the Deep Stone Crypt raid with three strangers through LFG. It doesn’t help that I’m an overthinker with this kind of stuff and easily get anxious, so you can see yet another reason I like to avoid dealing with this altogether. However, the dream of finally completing my craftable Posterity or Succession was enough to get me to grit my teeth and give LFG a shot.
If you know, you know.
One of the players on our team was unnaturally quiet, but he relegated himself to the roles that usually don’t require any callouts. Another player was quite loud but incredibly good-natured, even when we botched a few attempts in the early encounters we normally have on-lock. The last player was very affable as well, offering some neat insight into certain builds for the raid.
I had a sneaking suspicion they were more hardcore into the nitty gritty of all the stat builds and damage numbers than myself but even still, there remained a pleasant vibe during the raid. After a few jokes–and despite botching some of the encounters because of some silly mistakes–I felt my cynicism and nervousness dissipate. By the time we dispatched Taniks, one of the LFG strangers even got the Exotic rocket launcher from the raid–an extra special moment that we all got to cheer for since it was his first time getting the weapon.
It was incredibly telling that we were all surprised this raid run was so fun. We all had LFG horror stories to share with each other, which was a funny testament to how often LFG tends to suck. But I’m surprised to say we were proven wrong this time, and I want you to know it is possible for things to go well, particularly if you’ve avoided raiding because of similar reservations about LFG.
The whole process might be scary and a pain to go through, but if you’re on the fence, let me encourage you to take the leap of faith. I did, and it was rewarded. I got to make new friends to welcome into my little Destiny bubble, and it makes me genuinely joyful knowing that raid might’ve been our first together, but it definitely won’t be our last.