Destiny 2‘s Season of Plunder brought back an iconic piece of Destiny in the form of the King’s Fall Raid, which was one of the biggest endgame activities to tackle in the game, something that carried over to the modern days of the franchise as well. Following in the footsteps of Vault of Glass, King’s Fall too was guaranteed to have a Master version in Destiny 2 that would launch a few weeks after the base Raid did, and that’s precisely what happened. Bungie’s vision of harder content for Raids entails releasing their Master difficulty soon after launch, and the same held true for Vow of the Disciple and will likely be repeated for Lightfall’s Raid too.
And yet, while having Master difficulty active for a handful of Raids does provide players with an extra layer of challenge and rewards, with Adept Raid weapons soon receiving a rework that could make them more desirable, this is not necessarily the best course of action. The main reason is that Destiny 2‘s Raids are often not something that regular players engage with, and that’s because of several factors combined, such as the lack of in-game LFGs and a spike in difficulty and team coordination. As such, having Master Raids be just the regular “Contest Mode” version of the Raid rather than featuring artificially increased difficulty due to multiple Champions appearing per encounter would be much better.
Why Contest Mode in Destiny 2 Works so Well
Contest Mode is what Bungie activates when launching a new Raid, and it typically lasts for 24-to-48 hours. What Contest Mode does is it basically caps players at a given Power Level, much like GM Nightfalls, and thus increases the overall difficulty of the Raid by making enemies tougher and bosses more punishing when it comes to resources like ammo. Destiny 2‘s Warpriest encounter is a great example of this logic, where in Contest Mode many players hit a wall when facing this boss due to the overwhelming scarcity of Special and Heavy ammo.
Contest Mode is somewhat similar to what Bungie did with The Witch Queen Legendary Campaign, as it imposed a Power Level penalty onto players that increased the difficulty of each mission without the need of throwing multiple Champions into the mix. This approach was praised by the community for two reasons: one, it made the campaign quite challenging for those who didn’t want to finish the expansion in one hour or two and little effort, and two, it allowed players to tackle it with varying loadouts and no Champion mods. Champion mods in Destiny 2 are often a sore point, as they actively limit the options players have when facing these enemies.
Why Master King’s Fall Needed Contest Mode Over Champions
Making Master King’s Fall have multiple Champions and Champion types per encounter doesn’t increase the difficulty of the activity per se, it just restricts what sort of weapons and builds players can use there, which is almost never a good thing in Destiny 2. Having Contest Mode come back when Master difficulty launches for future Raids would be the better option of the two simply because it achieves the same purpose, but it makes it far more enjoyable than the current iteration. A permanent Contest Mode would be a better way to make Raids always engaging and challenging in the long run, and also provide players with the experience of it if they miss launch day.
In fact, Contest Mode is gone forever after the initial 24-to-48 hours window expires, and it’s a sad occurrence for Destiny 2 players who don’t want to miss out on what the game has to offer if they can’t be online for a very brief period of time. Because King’s Fall set a new precedent in Destiny 2 thanks to its release date being a Friday, this could be even more appropriate for Bungie to do in the future. Overall, Contest Mode is in most scenarios a better way to handle Master Raids, and it should become the norm moving forward.
Destiny 2 is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.