Destiny 2: Master Vault of Glass exposes one of the game's biggest problems

Atheon, Time's Conflux
Atheon, Time's Conflux (Image credit: Bungie)

As someone who regularly does Master and Grandmaster Nightfalls as well as several raids each week, I consider myself an endgame player in Destiny 2. I'm usually always excited to dive into whatever hardcore PvE challenge that the game's developer, Bungie, throws at me. The Master Vault of Glass raid that Bungie recently released is an exception, however, and the reason why is because the raid's 1350 Power Level demands that players gain a lot of Power Levels on their seasonal artifact to make its combat feel less punishing.

Grinding bounties for levels is a terrible and outdated system.

This wouldn't be an issue if the leveling process beyond the pinnacle gear cap of 1320 was fun and engaging, but it isn't. The only efficient way to accrue large amounts of experience to level up your artifact is to complete bounties, which are monotonous and feel like chores. To-do lists that ask me to kill X amount of an enemy or get X amount of kills with a specific weapon type aren't enjoyable, they're a slog. And I hate that I feel required to trudge through that slog just to have a chance in the Master Vault of Glass raid.

This is a problem that has always existed in Destiny 2, but up until this point, players have never really needed to earn more than 15 Power Levels from their artifact. Most of them are easy to obtain just by playing normally and completing seasonal challenges since they don't require nearly as much experience as the levels that come after the first 15. The fact that Bungie is pushing players to grind at least an additional five or six to reach a 1340+ Power Level — with each level requiring upwards of over two million experience — is leaving many players frustrated by how tedious that process is.

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

It's true that my friends and I don't technically need more Power Levels to complete the Master Vault of Glass. After all, Grandmaster Nightfalls cap your Power Level at 1335 regardless of how many levels you've earned and pit you against enemies at 1360 — 10 higher than Master Vault of Glass' 1350 enemies and a full 25 Power Levels higher than you. But in Grandmaster Nightfalls, you have many more opportunities to deal with enemies from range and get more revive tokens, too (assuming you prioritize killing Champions). The Master version of the Vault of Glass raid has tons of close-range encounters and swarms of enemies that threaten to quickly overwhelm you if you're not in the 1340+ Power Level range, even if you're using defensive strategies and one of the best Destiny 2 builds. It also doesn't cap your level like Grandmasters do, which indicates that Bungie wants players to have to grind their level up for the Master raid.

Bungie needs to introduce new ways to level efficiently if it's going to be part of the endgame.

If Bungie is aiming to make leveling a more prominent part of Destiny's endgame PvE experience, it needs to introduce some new leveling systems that are more engaging than what we have now. Expecting players to grind bounties constantly is terrible, and it almost makes me not want to bother with Master Vault of Glass altogether. It baffles me that difficult endgame activities such as normal raids and Nightfall strikes reward significantly less experience than going to kill some basic trash mobs in a patrol zone for a bounty does. Why not reward players with large chunks of experience for doing the weekly Grandmaster Nightfall, completing raids and raid challenges, or performing well in competitive Crucible?

Ultimately, leveling just isn't fun or satisfying to do, and that sucks considering I love every other part of Destiny 2's current endgame experience. I'll still probably grind my way to 1340+ since my friends want to play the Master raid and I enjoy overcoming challenging content with them, but getting to that point won't be fun. And if Bungie continues to push Power Level grinding as part of the endgame without improving the leveling systems themselves, I'm not sure how long I'll be able to put up with the tedium.

Your thoughts

Do you agree with me that Destiny 2's leveling process needs improvement, or do you think it's fine how it is? Let me know in the comments.

The game's latest expansion, Destiny 2: Beyond Light is available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, PS4 and PS5, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs. It costs $40, but you can also play it through an Xbox Game Pass subscription. If you've never tried out Destiny 2, you definitely should, as it's easily one of the best Xbox One shooters.

If you do decide to check the game out, make sure you review our Destiny 2 beginner's guide on how to get into Destiny in 2021 for helpful tips, tricks, and information that will help you get acclimated with its systems. Also, for more on the Destiny 2 endgame, don't miss our Destiny 2 Deep Stone Crypt raid guide as well as our Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall guide.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.