It took some players a day, others a week and in my case, even longer, to face.
It’s called the Vault of Glass. Inside is the culmination of Destiny’s previous trials. I tried my best to keep my first attempt as fresh as possible – so I stayed well clear of any articles or YouTube videos about the Raid since it was opened back in mid-September. The Vault itself was on Venus, contained a few stages and involved the Vex – that’s all I knew.
While I have my own reservations about Destiny as a game, I couldn’t deny completing the Vault of Glass was an enticing prospect. It could be the most enjoyable and challenging co-operative gaming experience I’ve had since playing Gears of War 3 with three other mates on Insane difficulty.
So, armed with my Level 28 Titan, joined by five other comrades – three Warlocks, a Hunter and another Titan – the fight began as we landed on the lush, Vex-infested planet of Venus.
Stage One: Getting Inside the Vault, the ‘Sync Plates’:
With Vex enemies, Void damage is a must. All squad members were kitted out with various Void grenades, fusion rifles and heavy weapons. We also remembered to bring Solar-based weapons as well – for any Praetorians on the battlefield. As the Vex teleported in, most of us funnelled out onto the battlefield unaware of our objective.
In no time at all we found and cleared the ‘Sync Plates’ – left, right and middle – and struggled to grasp their significance as our death count grew. A holographic spire began to form the longer we held the plates, but we became overwhelmed – losing all three plates – and began the process again. Morale took a dent, that’s for sure.
Our team leader, the only one with previous Vault experience, broke the fireteam up into squads that would better complement one another’s skill set. Two Warlock/Titan squads were assigned the left and right sync plates – one with a Striker and the other, myself, with a Defender subclass (utilizing the ‘Weapons of Light’ ability) – whilst assisting the other side on cue. The Hunter and third Warlock used a Bladedancer/Viodwalker combo to focus on the middle plate, as well as the left and right upper staircases.
It turned out to be a great strategy. Looking after the left side was manageable, with two potential spawn points plus the leftovers from ‘Mid’, as we called it (abbreviating everything in situations like this always seems to work). Staying alive proved difficult as my barrier was used almost a dozen times and I was close to death probably more than that.
After twenty minutes and three deaths, the spire had completely formed and the door outside the Vault of Glass had opened. A sigh of relief followed and then reality set in: the real challenge had now begun.
Stage Two: Oracles and Confluxes, Defeating the Templar:
The door opened with a mighty thud and, before I knew it, those Destiny servers booted me out of the fireteam (don’t know about you, but I’m sick of seeing bloody ‘caterpillar’, ‘zebra’ and ‘bee’ error codes every time I get disconnected)!
A few frantic seconds followed and I re-joined my team huddled around a chest down the gloomy passageway. Acsendant Energy was a great reward for me, as I had officially fully upgraded my Red Hand IX hand cannon from New Monarchy.
Shortly after, a new area revealed bold, grey towers of stone with blue shards of light from below. It was a long way down and our team leader revealed this was the next boss area.
We hit the ground and were greeted with a huge machine (later revealed as the Templar) with a 360° shield and a prompt: “Defend the Conflux”. A column of light soon materialised nearby and the Vex arrived in large numbers. The battlefield was long, allowing for a great line of sight on incoming enemies and good use of cover behind wayward pillars. The ‘Stage One’ teams soon mobilized: Warlock/Titan squads took to the flanks with “Team Mid” suppressing the corridor to the conflux.
It was good fun. They kept coming and it was really satisfying continuously landing precision shots and not having the Vex gain any ground on the objective. We had successfully defended the conflux and a few victory chants followed.
As the conflux evaporated, I was waiting for a door or portal to appear to the next area; my confidence wavered for a while. Next, “Defend the Confluxes” appeared with three columns of light sprouting up.
To not get overawed by the clusterfuck that would follow, the team leader quickly summarised what was required: Annihilate anything that moves before it’s sacrificed to a conflux. Too many sacrificed enemies would equal death to all teammates and a restart to the previous phase.
It started off fine, with mere waves of Goblins and the occasional Minotaur. Then, in an instant, the difficulty amplified five-fold. Hobgoblins spawned on the battlefield – as well as on the outside stone columns – with more Minotaurs and a few Praetorians thrown in. Hectic gameplay, and a few restarts, followed; it was a shit-fight, to say the least.
It felt like hours, but only twenty minutes had passed and the confluxes now vanished; Phase Two was completed. The team took a huge sigh, with the knowledge that we’d earned a valuable checkpoint. Ten seconds later, moans, groans and shrieks shook the cave and faint musical notes vibrated around us; Phase Three would soon be upon us.
A “Kill the Oracles” and “Kill the Fanatics” prompt appeared (I was later told we’d been killing Fanatics since Phase One!). It seemed a daunting task and was as if I’d just skulled three Reverse-Jägerbombs; I felt a bit sick.
The Oracles were green orbs and Fanatics were green hyper-active Goblins. There were six Oracles in total – two on the left, three on the right, and one in the corridor – and a shitload of enemies. Oh, there were so many enemies. The journey to the ‘cleanse plate’ – renewing your status after getting ‘marked’ by a Fanatic or missing an Oracle – didn’t help the stress levels either. Anyone that wasn’t cleansed by the time the Templar used its ‘Ritual of Negation’ died and your fireteam could only miss a couple of orbs until the cleanse plate vanished – meaning death for all that are marked.
There were a number of deaths and a lot of ammo synthesis going on. At times, one teammate would die – forcing attention to the left or right side – leading to missed Oracles, leading to others being marked, leading to a ‘cleanse run’, resulting in death.
Phase Two lasted for over an hour and deafening sounds filled my headset when the Oracles were vanquished. A reward popped on the screen as I received the legendary shotgun, Found Verdict. If I liked shotguns it would’ve been fantastic news (I’m more of a fusion rifle-type player), but it was better than getting nothing at all.
After staring at the Templar’s ugly mug this whole fight, it was finally time to take him down. The team leader asked for composure as everyone took their stations. However, nobody noticed the blinding beams of light emitting from a shield hovering above the floor.
I took it without thinking and made my way to the cleanse plate with three other teammates, ready for the Templar’s appearance at the location of the first conflux. Soon enough, the shooting had started and the Oracles were back. There was a lot to take in: Templar, Oracles, Hobgoblins, Minotaurs, cleansing; it was a wild ride.
I don’t remember too much after that. The shield acted as the cleanse plate and I assisted with clearing out some Harpies. Above all, I tried not to die; it was a blur.
I was so pleased to see the Templar defeated. The team spent almost two hours in this area and was more than ready to move on. We eagerly awaited the rewards and tough foes that awaited us – venturing into the darkest depths of the Vault of Glass.
Stay tuned for Part Two, which will bring this epic adventure to its conclusion! – HW