Over a year on from the Vow of the Disciple Day One raid, our team is ready to go for round 3.. The disappointment of that experience was expunged significantly by our completion of the King’s Fall Day One in August last year. The Root of Nightmares awaited us at 7 pm on March 10th, 2023.
All of us were concerned going into this Day One with our country’s power crisis as a constant issue. Fortunately, Bungie gifted us with 48 hours to clear on contest mode for Root of Nightmares, a relief to everyone.
A brief reminder for those unaware, contest mode forces players below the light level of each encounter meaning we do less damage while the damage taken is significantly increased.
7 pm strikes and the node appears on Neomuna, we launch in after a short delay and we are met with in my opinion the best aesthetics I have ever seen in a raid. The mixture of the roots sent from the Traveler at the beginning of Lightfall and the pyramid setting is breathtaking. Added to that is the triangle the Witness cut out of the Traveler, which looks even creepier than before. Our admiration for the beauty of this raid would continue throughout.
The first rally banner location. An opening encounter like King’s Fall or Vow or a legitimate first encounter we do not know. A Traveler-looking orb and some DNA twirls. A mixture of Light and Dark. Encounter starts, and we see the usual floating Psions. Melee them, and it is horror. A tormentor spawns, and we all fly into a panic. A wipe to something called sweeping terror, which is exactly that, a sweeping beam that kills us all. The Death Screen appears and we see Tormentors are defeated. THERE ARE MULTIPLE OF THEM??? Well after the Lightfall experience, safe to say we were all terrified of the prospect.
Field of Light is the buff we gain from shooting the white ball. But what do you do with that buff? Can you shoot the twirls? Nope, nothing happens. Right before we wipe again, I notice a new orb in one of the twirls. I shoot it, and I see damage markers but no numbers. Maybe we need to shoot it while having the buff? How these orbs spawned we do not know, maybe it is also tied to the psions or tormentors? Next time around we manage to shoot the orb and it spawns another white ball. Okay… that is progress. Now there is a beam that tells us which twirl will have the next orb. Oh, and something I forgot to mention. Killing a tormentor increases the time we have before sweeping terror activates. Despite our good friend Luke saying “It doesn’t make any sense”, one wipe later we managed to blitz through the first encounter. Going from having only done one or two orbs to clearing the entire encounter. A total of twenty-two minutes and twelve seconds were spent, something we did not realize at the time, but it was on pace with the team’s racing for the world’s first title.
The mechanics are simple. The two psions dying lead to a tormentor spawning, killing the tormentor delays the wipe. Meanwhile, we need to play link the orb to progress the encounter. Every 4th or 5th link gives a moment of respite where the sweeping terror is gone. All we need to do is shoot and move. I know it is quite simple, but I am proud of the speed at which we completed the encounter.
There is no real jumping puzzle in this raid, but this interlude caught us off guard. A floating crystal like the one from Vow and the Lightfall campaign. We are prepared for it to be an elevator. Luke shoots it (unbeknownst to everyone but me at the time) and it sends most of us flying across the gap. Everyone panicked, asking who shot it, meanwhile, I kept quiet wanting to see the chaos ensue. Pillick got stuck with bad RNG on the boopers as I like to call them, but we eventually got through to the next encounter.
So a large area with two sides and three levels, more DNA-like twirls, and the light buff from the first encounter. Added now is a dark version of the light buff, certainly something of importance. Encounter starts. and we get a sweeping darkness timer, most likely the time until we wipe. Can not shoot the orbs in the twirls on the same side you get the buff. Cross the gap to the other side using the boopers. and you can shoot the orbs with the opposite buff. If you started on the dark side, your first orb is on the light side and vice versa. Centurions that can not be damaged without the buff spawn, we believe these to be important and you need to kill them to keep the orbs active. Oh, and if you do not complete a level in the allotted time, you do not just die. The walls on the left and right move towards the centre and knock everything including the enemies off the map. One of my favourite wipe mechanics
Eventually, Luke and Zlade figure out the pattern. Pick up your buff, swap sides, shoot the orb in the twirl, pick up the buff from the side you are now on, shoot the orb on the same side, grab the buff again, and swap sides. Repeat the process until the chains are complete. Once done enemies with either dark or light shields spawn. Grab the respective buffs and kill them to progress. Now take the boopers to the next floor. Continue in the same way for the next two levels and the encounter is complete.
To be completely honest, I had a good idea of what was going on in this encounter, but the exact order they needed to be shot in was still a bit hazy for me, so I went into ad-clear mode. I made sure everything was dead as soon as it spawned and gave as much space for Luke and Zlade to figure everything out. Thank you to Luke for his amazing MS paint drawing, which unironically helped us complete the encounter shortly after.
Shortly after the encounter, we find a hallway with light and dark buffs. Complete each chain to open the pathway, not much to it. We enter a large area with more light and dark buffs. Time to skate across. Oh, wait that is a large darkness bubble from the first encounter? Did we trigger it by skipping? Regardless, we could not race through this section. Somehow, some live the blast. What is this darkness refuge buff we got? Standing on a part of the roots gives it, but how are you going to get through the entire puzzle? Okay… getting the light buff and then shooting the dark orbs gives darkness refuge. While everyone was trying to figure this out I decided to move on ahead, I died many times because I skipped getting darkness refuge. Found a room with more dark and light orbs. Shoot the dark one and then the twirl on the wall. Something happens, and we get text in the bottom left, I did not read it (turns out to be a secret for more loot at the end of the raid). After looking around that room for longer than we should have we find the path, and eventually, make our way toward the third encounter.
We enter the third encounter room, and this looks familiar. Hello ending of Witch Queen, the first time we get introduced directly to the Witness. Anyway, start the encounter, it is a boss as expected, but there are planets? What do we do with planets? Colossus spawn, we kill them and gain planetary insight, now we can attune and what is this planetary shift? We die a couple times, but we do get to see the fact that when you get the planetary insight you can see the planets colours change. On the left side, it is two light and one dark, and on the dark, it is two dark and one light. Eventually, figure out that the people on the left side must swap with their respective right-side teammates. Attune to the planet which is the odd one out, call which one is the odd, and swap sides with your partner. Attune to the planet which your partner called out. Now all the planets are in the correct place. So how do we do damage? More colossi spawn, kill them, and now the three planets in the middle change colour. Either two light or two dark with the other being different from the two. Pick up corresponding buffs and deposit them on their correct plates in the middle. Now the damage starts. The first damage plate will be one of the two light or dark depending on what you needed, then it goes to the opposite and ends on the other light or dark.
Continue the process until the boss is eventually defeated, and the planets where I originally thought we might need an astronomy degree were simpler than first-grade maths. To be honest, once again, I had no idea what was going on in this encounter. How my teammates were figuring out where and how to swap was a mystery to me. But I kept quiet, let them do their thing, and killed my centurion to ensure they had their colossi to kill. So I have to say everyone else carried me hard here. All I did was shoot enemies and damage the boss, a real pay-to-hire.
Not much happened in this next interlude but oh boy, here is the final boss. We get to the platform, which looks eerily similar to the first encounter. Not important for now, but Nezerac’s current state looks similar to Rhulk’s. Is he going to give us the same kind of flamboyant entrance? Sure as hell he does, and the encounter starts. Light and dark buff again with the same twirls from the beginning, we’ve got this. Nezerac has crit spots, the same as tormentors, shoot at them to maybe stun him, and it seems to, but not entirely sure. We wipe. Try again, and this time we get booped into the air constantly, turning the entire area into a jumping castle, this was not what I signed up for Bungie, but I am here for it.
Eventually, we figure out that shooting his shoulders stops the boop phase, while shooting his chest delays him from wiping us. Meanwhile, one person on each side must complete the chains to start what we assume will be damage phase. It does start damage, and after multiple attempts with different damage methods, we struggle to reach a second damage phase. We always seem to wipe while trying to connect the chains. Even with being on an eager sword, I struggle to reach the end. After a loadshedding-induced break, we come back with some much-needed energy. More attempts and not much progress. After another short break, we decide to have two people on each side completing the chain. Once we gain a rhythm it goes smoothly. Our damage becomes inconsistent due to Nezerac’s want to move unpredictably, and then he out of nowhere kills us during our race to complete the orbs. Then the time comes when we reach the final stand for the first time, his health bar drops to zero but we all die. Do not tell me we got all this way, he died, I see him dying on my screen just for us to wipe. We all come back to life, and the encounter and raid is done. Nezerac has been slain and we are victorious. After a total of around eighteen hours, and twelve hours in the raid itself we complete the day one Nezerac the Final God of Pain has been put down, for now, at least.
Aesthetically this was by far the best raid I have ever seen. From the roots to the darkness pyramid, to the Traveler in the distance, the third encounter room, and lastly the Silver Wings Tree, it was simply beautiful. I can stand there for hours taking in the amazing atmosphere.
But here is where we get a little controversial. I know a lot of people have been complaining that the raid is too easy. The fact that World’s first was completed in under 3 hours. While more teams than ever finished the raid in 48 hours is good fuel for that. I feel like it is a good thing for the game. There are going to be some raids that are easier than others and I honestly believe it is better to have these raids. A day one experience where players can have an easier time experiencing it is needed. If this continues to be a trend in day one raids then maybe it is something of which I will change my opinion.
I felt the raid was just the right difficulty for all the normies like me raiding, difficult enough to test you but easy enough for us and others to complete. Yes it was easy for those who live and breathe Destiny, and I can not comment on that, I am not in that group. Either way, everyone can have their opinions, and let us not disregard them because they are either elitists or casuals.
Lastly, to my team: ThePeachZA, Vertigo, Pillick, Luke, and Zlade, thank you so much for another amazing Day One experience and for carrying me in the second and third encounters. A huge congratulations, despite all the issues and the fact that we had to deal with loadshedding we got it done well within the twenty-four hours we wanted, so soak it in. Thank you to everyone who has read my rambling thus far and once again I will see you again, on the other side.