Going forward, and especially given Bungie's readiness to listen to criticism, I would like to direct some attention to raid loot and the steaming pile of apathy it has become. With most of our raids being lost in favor of the Deep Stone Crypt's new raid and the return of Vault of Glass, I would like to discuss what makes raid loot (specifically weapons) so uninteresting and how it can be changed.
So, what was raid loot like back in D1?
For starters, all raids had a full arsenal. There was an example of every weapon-type present. They also had special, unobtrusive perks that helped a lot in the raids. VoG weapons did bonus damage to Oracles, Crota weapons did bonus damage to Hive majors, King's Fall weapons did bonus damage to ALL Taken enemies, and WotM weapons did bonus damage to ALL Fallen enemies. The armor also had blanket ammo perks, like more heavy and special carried, that proved stupidly useful in day-to-day play.
Our first two raids, Vault of Glass and Crota's End, featured either perks never-before seen on specific weapon types (ex – Vision of Confluence: Full Auto on a scout) or entirely new perks (ex – Black Hammer: White Nail). The primary weapons (the pulse, auto, HC, and scout) had elements assigned to them.
King's Fall lost the elemental burns on the primaries, due to how powerful it was in general, and introduced the perk that became Auto-Loading Holster and a randomized final column perk. A lot of the guns were pretty lackluster (except the Anguish of Drystan, which was absolute trash) but there still were some gems, namely Smite of Merain and the Qullim's Terminus.
Wrath of the Machine brought back set rolls on all weapons, this time the elements would change on weapons that had them. It also introduced a new concept; two perks that had synergy. Chaos Dogma had Triple Tap and Triple Double (a second round was added from reserves). This synergizing perk idea is something we see today, like with Breakneck and Oxygen SR4.
The Decay of Raid Loot
Leviathan weapons had some importance in D2Y1, being the only weapons outside exotics that could have a second perk. And some of those weapons are still great. I still use Inaugural Address from time to time. But once Forsaken came around, raid weapons lost a lot of value. For starters, we didn't have a full selection of weapons. To this day, we don't have a raid grenade launcher, sidearm, SMG, LMG or linear fusion that isn't getting sunset (not counting Tarrabah or Anarchy since they are exotics). Raid weapons just didn't have that luster once random rolls started appearing on them, because now they had to compete with world drops and seasonal weapons. Why bother with the Nation of Beasts when Kindled Orchid was easier to get and had better roll potential, was my mentality after Black Armory.
Most of the weapons also were pretty samey. With Crown of Sorrow and Scourge out of the picture, we have:
- 2 140 snipers (1 kinetic, 1 solar)
- 2 140 hand cannons (1 arc, 1 solar)
- 2 bows (1 kinetic, 1 solar)
- 2 void auto rifles
- 2 fusions
I know there are other weapons, but I'm trying to make a point: most of the loot from the raids are pretty much clones of themselves.
We'll be missing a machine gun (with Bane of Sorrow gone) and the previously listed weapons.
As of now, the only thing that sets a Fall Expansion raid weapon apart from any other pre-Shadowkeep legendary right now is the fact that they won't be sunset next season and the perk pools are pretty small (on Garden weapons, anyway).
Armor doesn't really have the importance it once had, mostly because the average player probably won't need the raid mods. Let's be frank, I'm sure most players go into a raid for the weapons, not really the armor.
How To Fix It (IMO)
- Each raid should have a full weapon selection. If Bungie wants to keep Garden and Last Wish relevant, I think it's fair to ask for an updated drop table. Since the current weapons are good until Season 14, S15 should see new things. If not, see my 5th point.
- Every weapon should have a set roll. I really don't care about "diversity of builds" because nothing is more insulting than getting a raid weapon with a bad roll. It doesn't even need to be a god roll; Found Verdict had a roll any other shotgun could have, and it was fantastic for just about everything in the game. If there needs to be some random element to them, masterworks and getting a fully masterworked weapon to drop will be just that.
- Have a rotating weekly pool. Since Hard/Prestige mode isn't really a thing anymore, having a normal mode drop table with 14 weapons will get kind of crowded. Tying certain weapons to challenges, like how the Adept weapons were in Age of Triumph, is also a possibility, but I don't think that'll be entirely fair or even healthy for the player base. With weapons rotating in and out of the encounters weekly, it gives incentive to play the raid week-to-week. If we aren't getting a full arsenal, this point shouldn't matter.
- Bring back raid-specific bonuses. While having inherent bonus damage to certain factions is great, I don't think that'll happen because of how Bungie is shying away from blanket damage buffs. Besides, I like the idea of an Oracle Disruptor-like perk better; a utility perk that doesn't make a massive difference in gameplay… except in the raid.
- Try new weapon sub-types. We don't really need another energy hand cannon, or a kinetic pulse (unless it's a 540 lmao), or a 140 sniper. I don't think anyone's really saying "yeah, I need a void 140 from the raid."
I really hope someone, somewhere at Bungie hears this, or even better, already knew about these concerns going into the new raid. I really want to get excited about raid loot again. It's some of the most special gear in the game, and especially with Vault of Glass slated for a return, I don't want to feel apathetic about getting a weapon I once loved, like Atheon's Epilogue.
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