I began playing Destiny 2 in November 2018. While I can’t remember the date I first logged on, I remember running through the Red War campaign with my brother, who introduced me to the game, and being completely lost because he was overleveled for everything. Curse of Osiris, Warmind, and Forsaken played out in a similar fashion. Since then, I’ve played on and off, returning for the underwhelming seasons and taking a break during the good ones. Such is life.
I left about halfway through Season of Arrivals because raiding was bad for my mental health, and didn’t come back until after Beyond Light had released. Once again, I don’t remember the exact date, but I made my return in November 2020, with the intent to defeat Dûl Incaru in a one-person fireteam. And on January 31, 2021, I succeeded. And then I told my brother.
At this point, the average gamer might wonder why I’m so excited about beating the Shattered Throne solo. But I am not the average gamer. There are two crucial distinctions that set me apart from average gamers everywhere, landing me in a class where few belong and fewer still remain. See, I’m bad at video games. Really bad. Destiny 2’s aim assist isn’t enough to salvage my headshot accuracy, I have the reaction times of a drunk and about the same situational awareness, and I’ve deleted more god rolls than I care to count. But I keep trying anyway.
Hey, it’s worked out so far.
First, I had to acquire the proper gear. Adored and Lament were easy enough. Anarchy and Heritage took more time. The Beyond Light campaign gifted me some nifty new Darkness powers and a Long Shadow, I had a good Escape Velocity in my Vault, and once I found out that the New Light quest awards a curated Night Watch, I had my favorite scout rifle with the new logo in the top right corner. Which doesn’t actually make it new content, but that’s been talked to death already, and while I’ve deluded myself into thinking I can write, I can’t delude myself into thinking I can make that subject interesting again. And of course, I had the Recluse. The sun may have set on its reign, but just like the British Empire, its loyalists will continue acting like it’s still relevant for the rest of time.
Next, I had to decide whether to run on Warlock or Hunter. I chose the latter so I could crutch on invisibility, and because I’m awful at platforming and Hunter has the most forgiving double-jump.
With my equipment in order and my class chosen, it was time to take on the Shattered Throne. I made it as far as the pit with all the beams and Ogres, but then I slipped and fell to my death, thanks to one of the lovely quirks of Destiny 2 platforming. Angled surfaces won’t always refund your double jump. Confused and annoyed, I did what any sensible, mature individual would do. I Alt-F4ed and complained about how stupid the game was for several minutes.
A few hours later, I made my second attempt. That one ended in the first encounter when two Ravenous Taken Phalanxes teleported in defiance of all known laws of Destiny, then used their combined powers to slam me against a wall real hard. In keeping with my maturity and good sense, I Alt-F4ed again, then proceeded to make shrill, screeching noises. Like a monkey.
Later that evening, I tried again. My plan of killing all the Labyrinth Architects with Lament worked when I had Lament ammo and didn’t when the game decided to pull a big funny and never drop a heavy brick. But I killed everything without much trouble and moved on.
The Descent was the first part that got my palms sweaty. Specifically, the bit that had killed me the first time, with the narrow beams and the Taken Ogres. But I didn’t screw up and fall to my death again. Invisibility got me through the Thrallway without any trouble, and after a few more close calls with Taken Phalanxes, it was time for Vorgeth. I wasn’t sure how to do the Vorgeth skip, or if it was even still in the game, and I didn’t want to waste time charging a Blade Barrage for a strategy that might not even work. So I dove into the Vorgeth fight, fully expecting to earn the first death of the run at the withered hands of the cheapest enemies in the game.
I did not die during the Vorgeth fight.
Granted, it took me three phases, because I had the bright idea to kill him with Anarchy and a sniper rifle. Unfortunately, sticking him with the mines triggered his axion attack, so instead of sniping him, I had to shoot down projectiles with my Recluse throughout the whole damage phase. I don’t know what’s more of a miracle, the fact that I didn’t die, or the fact that it only took me three damage phases to kill him. Near the end, I had a close call with the Petitioner’s Marks, with the last one I needed despawning. Having survived two phases so far, I was terrified at the prospect of having to do this all over again, but somehow my panicked ability spam was able to kill the replacement Wizard and its lackeys before the timer ran out.
The Ascent was mostly uneventful, though the enemy spawns were different than I remembered, and I spent quite some time in the second Thrallway farming heavy ammo. Much to my surprise, I did not die on the Wipeout Wall, and I went into the final fight wondering if I could actually get a flawless clear. My hopes rose high in tandem with my character.
Then I died.
The Dûl Incaru fight began well enough. I killed everything with Anarchy and Shadowshot, and then I tried to click on Dûl Incaru’s head with a sniper rifle. But my hands were shaking so much that my typically terrible aim was even more abysmal than usual, and Finite Thought x3 wasn’t enough to secure me the one-phase. I was on top tree Nightstalker, so I couldn’t go invisible as often, and the enemies just spammed me to death. I’ll omit the usual drivel about how I wanted to quit right then and there but kept going by sheer force of will, because no one cares.
My first death led to thirteen more, because the Shattered Throne doesn’t have Rally Banner spots and the Taken Psions were being stingy with ammo. I tried a run with Celestial Nighthawk and bottom tree Golden Gun, but as I found out, invisibility was the only thing keeping me alive in spite of my ineptitude. Then it was back to farming. I’d switched to Heritage and Recluse over Escape Velocity and Adored, the better to not miss all of my shots with, but I still didn’t manage the one-phase kill. This time, though, I survived to see it through.
After more than two years of playing Destiny 2, after more than a year of wanting to solo the Shattered Throne, and after over two months of preparation and making excuses for why I hadn’t done it yet, I put the final round in Dûl Incaru. Mission complete.
A triumphant “yes!” was out of my mouth before I remembered how late it was. Luckily, nothing came of that mistake. I took screenshots like I was my own proud parent, then closed out the game and got writing. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve managed to delude myself into thinking I can write something worth reading, and no one’s managed to stop me yet.
At this point, if the average gamer’s attention span hasn’t been depleted, they might be wondering why I bothered to write about my experience soloing an activity that’s over two years old and not very hard. In part, it just felt right to record this moment. I’d consider it one of my proudest achievements. Not that I’ve got many to choose from, but still.
More importantly, though, is that my victory is proof that pretty much anyone can solo the Shattered Throne. I’ve gone entire Crucible games without landing a single final blow, I’ve died to the ads on the second encounter of the Prophecy dungeon, and once, I failed the Sparrow section of Deep Stone Crypt so many times that a teammate had to go back and lead me to the end. If someone that bad at Destiny can beat the Shattered Throne solo, then chances are, you can too. And who knows, maybe you’ll even go flawless. Though I certainly won’t.
For those wondering, the first encounter dropped a Tigerspite with Outlaw and Pulse Monitor. The Vorgeth encounter yielded Reverie Dawn Strides, and the Dûl Incaru fight gave me a Waking Vigil with Triple Tap and Snapshot Sights. I didn’t bother with any of the secret chests.
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