I see a lot of posts on Reddit from newer players looking to learn raids, and I can tell that many of them are frustrated. It’s hard to get into raiding these days. In August 2019, I myself was trying to get my first raid and looking at an endless sea of LFG posts demanding players with 30 clears, wondering if I’d ever learn a single one.
For this reason, I decided to write some tips for players looking to break in to the world of raiding. Let me lay my cards down from the beginning: I’m not actually some amazing sherpa or god tier raider. In fact, I was a total scrub a year ago, with no experience or endgame gear. I can’t say that I’m astoundingly good now, but I’ve gotten a lot better. Today, I’m a competent enough player, know every raid, and play regularly with great people.
To be completely honest, I did it with a lot of help–and a lot of screwups along the way. In fact, that’s why I think my perspective is helpful. If I can do it, so can you! (Of course, I hope everyone will sound off below with their own resources, suggestions, disagreements, etc.)
The purpose of this brief guide is to present resources so that you can work out your own path to raiding, from one not-quite-new-light to another. I try to present what I think is the most optimal version of the path–one that will best position you to learn every raid as quickly as possible. Of course, you can just run a raid or two, see how you like it, and take it from there.
Either way, here are five tips to learning the raids:
1. Be Patient!
Be patient, plain and simple. I cannot stress this point enough. Patience is the single most important attribute you can have. If you really want the prize, you’ll get it. But it won’t happen overnight.
Destiny players often expect instant results, spamming LFGs or Discords with “need five to carry in Leviathan right now!” type posts. It rarely works. You won’t get Divinity or Anarchy; in fact, you probably won’t even find enough people to get started. If you miraculously do, the most likely result will be pure frustration.
Setting up raids is challenging. You need a half dozen people to commit to hours of hard work, especially if people are learning for the first time. You will also likely need the help of experienced players and sherpas–people who volunteer to teach raids for free.
It might not be obvious, but these players don’t have selfish reasons to play the raids anymore. I know Destroyer of Worlds is burning a hole in your quest inventory, but it’s actually instructing you to run a raid that hasn’t evolved since the launch of Destiny 2. Most hardcore players have had all of the loot from the Leviathan for years. Raiding right now is a bit like begging strangers to spend three hours riding the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World—after they’ve ridden it three times a week since 2017.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find an excellent team. (Destiny is a weird world, and some of us just really can’t get enough of that damn song.) It does mean you need to be patient. Know that you won’t always snap your fingers and instantly get what you want. And remember to be there for the journey, not the destination.
Along the way, jump at opportunities when they present themselves. Maybe this weekend, you’ll only find a team to run the single raid you already know. That’s ok! You’ll gain experience–and clears. You might even make friends who will later help you get the one you need.
Raiding is the most fun when you take the time to assemble good groups of good people. Don’t burn yourself out on the toxic ones, or waste time with situations that won’t actually help you progress. In the end, waiting a few days might guarantee you actually finish the raid–and have a good time in the process.
2. Get the Gear!
Great, so now you’re stuck waiting until next weekend for your first raid. That’s excellent news! It means you have time to grind out some gear.
Gear is important. (Duh!) However, it isn’t the be-all-end-all of Destiny. Good players use whatever they feel like–including
. Truth be told, bad raiders can skate by with anything as well; I did my first raid after about a month of playing without a single piece of high-quality gear.
That said, I wouldn't recommend my approach. You’ll be in much better shape if you start off with a strong loadout. The more varied options you have, the more you can tailor your gear to the situation for optimal performance.
I’d recommend trying to get a handful of weapons that fill a couple of key roles. In particular:
- A few good, quick-shooting primary weapons—SMGs, Sidearms, Scouts, Pulses, Auto rifles or other things that shoot fast to kill lots of red bar minor enemies (ads)
- One or two reliable special ammo weapons—Shotguns, Fusion Rifles, Snipers, or other mid-powered gear that quickly puts down groups of ads and stronger yellow bar enemies
- A handful of top notch heavy weapons—for the strongest targets and boss damage phases (DPS), especially a good grenade launcher and a ranged weapon like a sniper
Don’t go running around with two random primary weapons you picked up off the ground. You’ll look great if you’re able to use that SMG to mow down a line of thrall, swap to a Fusion Rifle to nuke the yellow Knight, and whip out your GL to melt a giant ogre.
I have some recommendations for specific guns below, but I’d definitely suggest combing Reddit and Google for advice; the internet is packed with info about gear. I’d also definitely suggest checking out some basic weapon guides from some of the more popular Destiny blogs/writers, as well as some of the best work from
. There are even exhaustive spreadsheets and podcasts dedicated to Destiny gear!
It’s an especially good idea to complete some of the questable exotics, and to use resources like the menagerie—a great matchmade mission that lets you choose specific weapons as rewards rather than having to rely on random drops. There are obviously a lot of god tier weapons in the game, but very solid weapons are pretty easy to get:
- Seventh Seraph weapons, like the Seventh Seraph Carbine Auto Rifle and Seventh Seraph VY-7 SMG
- Easier pinnacle weapons, such as
- Menagerie weapons, including Badlander Shotgun and Erentil Fusion Rifle
- Moon bounty weapons, such as the One Small Step Shotgun and Love & Death Grenade Launcher
- Common world drops, like the
- Quest-based exotics, including
I’d recommend building yourself a little raid kit. It’s not hard to get started. If you’re really strapped for gear, you can just spend an afternoon getting the Seventh Seraph Carbine, Badlander, and Whisper, and still get through some of the easier raids. From there, you can grow your collection, and maybe begin to chase top tier weapons like The Recluse. Of course, if you really catch the raid bug, you can spend all your time hunting down godly loot like Anarchy, Mountaintop, and 1000 Voices.
3. Get the Tools!
Ok, you’ve got the guns. Now get good, 4head!
Seriously though, your gear can’t carry you. You’ll also need to build a broader toolkit. This step can be a tad more intangible; experience is the only foolproof teacher, and experience is exactly the thing that you can't get overnight.
The good news, though, is that your abilities can be supplemented by tools. Learn as much as you can about the game by taking advantage of the tons of in-game and out-of-game resources.
In-game, get familiar with everything you can, including all of the NPCs you’ll encounter. If you don’t know about Xur, you can start visiting him every Friday to unlock exotics more quickly. Get his armor for all three characters; make those two other characters right now if you don’t have them yet. (You’ll thank me later!) Build your skill in pinnacle activities like Nightfalls, as well as in the Crucible. Yes, I’m even speaking to those of you who hate PvP. Crucible has some of the best loot, and learning to fight real enemies will help you get technically better. If you can
Out-of-game, you’ll also find there is a veritable flood of resources designed to help you get better:
Destiny Companion App: The most important resource to have running at all times. It will let you move weapons from your vault to your character or from character to character. It also has a built in LFG (Looking For Group) page where you can find fireteams, and it will let you track your progress on quests and other important goals. Destiny Item Manager (DIM) is also a popular alternative, and has more extensive features.
- Destiny Tracker: Probably my most visited website. Among other things, it lets you look up yourself and other players. I also love its weapon breakdowns, which let you see which perks come with which weapons and virtually spec them so you can see how it affects stats. When I get a decent looking drop, I immediately go to that page to see if it stacks up.
- Raid Report: This is a great page for raiders. It lets you look up someone’s record as a raider–how many raids they’ve run, how long it took to run each, and even who ran it with them. Keep an eye on yours and help it grow!
- Destiny Sets: More of a vanity interest, but I see requests for this function a lot here on Reddit. The page lets you connect your account and see what gear you’ve unlocked, including all of the ornaments and other cosmetic gear you’ve unlocked. (I mean, what’s the point of getting a flawless raid clear if you don’t look good while doing it?)
- r/raidsecrets: there are a ton of great resources on Reddit. This is one of the best. It’s home to some of the best puzzle-solvers and game explorers out there. Any question you have about a raid was answered there long ago.
- r/CruciblePlaybook: Keeping to the theme of Reddit, check out this godly PvP resource. Yes, I know: you don’t like PvP. Neither did I, until I realized I needed to play it to get the best gear. And then got better at it. And then found out I actually really do like it a lot.
- r/Fireteams: This page helps facilitate matchmaking for any and all group activities. People often post about raids. It’s a bit slow, but can lead to more substantive groups. I see a lot of people here posting about running raids “blind”–that is, figuring out the mechanics without a sherpa or walkthrough–so it’s a great resource if that’s what you’re hoping to do.
- r/DestinySherpa: I saved the most important for last. This page is full of sherpas who will teach and guide you through Destiny raids. You can post there looking for help, and stay tuned for scheduled raids offered by the sherpas. It’s your best resource. I learned half of the raids through this site, and met a bunch of good friends along the way.
4. Familiarize Yourself with the Raids!
More or less, this tip is an extension of the last step. Familiarize yourself with the raids as much as possible in advance! Watch videos on YouTube–both the
. Learn the nicknames, the roles, the history, whatever you can. It really doesn’t take that much time, and it will make a world of difference when you actually start.
As far as learning specific raids goes, my advice is to start simple and work your way up. (Of course, I did the exact opposite of what I’m telling you to do: jumped into a Last Wish without any gear or knowledge of what a raid really was!)
It’s hard to say which raid is the easiest, since so much of raiding is situational. The same raid can take one hour or five depending on the group. Is one person learning for the first time, or are five? Is your Sherpa any good? Did people actually budget the time they need to finish–or are they going to have to start homework three hours into your Divinity run?
In terms of easiest to figure out as a first timer, my own ranking is the following:
The first two are the easiest to learn, with simple roles and relatively modest mechanics. I’d recommend starting with Scourge of the Past; it’s the right mix of easy and popular. The encounters are fairly simple, and you more likely to find a group to run it because it has a chance to drop Anarchy, one of the most sought-after exotics in the game.
Eater of Worlds is definitely shorter and easier, but your odds of finding a group are a bit lower because it’s an old raid with no loot incentives. (I mean, what Titan wants to grind for this set?) That said: some people regularly run the Y1 raids for fun, and some sherpas teach it regularly because of how easy it is pick up. If you see a chance to join an EoW, jump on it!
In the second tier are Leviathan and Crown of Sorrow. Both are a tad harder than the first two. Levi is a bit longer and has more content to absorb compared to SotP and Eater, but the mechanics are fairly easy and the raid difficulty hasn’t really kept up with the rest of the game.
Crown is essentially a glorified raid lair; it’s not amazingly long or complicated. It is a tad busy on the ground, with lots of running back-and-forth, so it’s a bit more pressure and offers a few more chances to screw up. It’s a lot of fun, and you’ll still be able to pick it up very quickly.
In my opinion, the next tier includes the hardest three raids. Spire of Stars isn’t actually super-hard, but it has what might be the most mechanic-heavy encounter in the game: a very long and intricate boss fight with many stages and technicalities. That part can take forever if people make mistakes (as I often have!).
Garden isn’t amazingly hard, but it has a handful of tricky parts–especially a final boss that is almost as easy to screw up as SoS. I’d recommend skipping Divinity for your first few learning runs, since the quest adds time; I’d bet money people start dropping before you finish.
Last Wish is the longest raid, with a number of demanding sections that require a diverse loadout. It’s also the best raid in the game in my opinion. It’s a stunning arena to explore with great encounters, as well as a cool premise and an exotic that makes all those heartbreaking
worth it in the end.
5. Find People to Play With!
Ok, now you’re onto the final step. Find people to play with. This part is obvious, but it’s also hard–especially if you’re new to Destiny or MMOs in general.
Some of you might need to start by getting over your fear of playing with others. I was in that position. My suggestion is this: if you’re new to multiplayer activities, start simple. Keep an eye out on LFGs for straightforward, easy stuff–like running the story missions or a few strikes–then move on to exotic quests, Iron Banner, or other more challenging tasks.
Assuming you’re ready to raid, there are many, many resources available to you. I’ve already mentioned r/DestinySherpa above. Go there ASAP if you haven’t yet!
Next, I strongly recommend join a clan! Look for a decently sized and active one, as well as one with a social dynamic you enjoy. Many clans have Sherpa programs or offer regularly scheduled teaching raids; good clans want to keep members, so they will provide resources. However, don’t just start spamming the channels to get Divinity carries. Chat with your sherpas like they are human beings; get a sense of their schedules, and figure out the sorts of raids they like to run. (Remember Step 1: be patient!)
There are a handful of other sites and apps open to first-timers. The 100.io is solid, featuring a handful of good Sherpas who schedule teaching raids in advance. I was able to learn all of the Y1 raids there; use the filters to cycle through all of the raids one by one until you get lucky.
The Destiny app is more inconsistent, but useful nonetheless. Yes, there are lots of KWTD posts with ridiculous stipulations. That said, friendly teams or good sherpas often go there to pick up an extra player in a pinch. I’d recommend putting on the raid filter and checking regularly–you might get lucky. (It does have a schedule function, though it’s rarely used.)
Discord also hosts many other Destiny servers besides clans, including a few official ones. Keep your eyes peeled on Reddit and elsewhere for raid-focused servers, hosted by clans or individuals. There aren’t a ton and they pop up infrequently, but they offer great places to learn raids.
Ok. that is that. Now get raiding, and please comment with any thoughts!
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