Destiny 2's Master Raids are completely pointless, and that's a big problem
The game's hardest activity is also one of the least rewarding ones available.
Out of all of Destiny 2's endgame PvE activities, its Master Raids — more difficult versions of normal Raids with deadlier enemies and extra Champion minibosses — are arguably the hardest ones to complete. Raids are already considered tough by many players since their mechanics often demand constant communication, strong teamwork, and good gear loadouts, so they're transformed into the ultimate endgame challenge when Master difficulty adds even more enemies and grants all combatants increased health and damage.
Because of the significantly increased challenge, you would think that Master Raids would be some of the most rewarding types of content to grind. However, that isn't the case, which has led to the community largely finding Master Raids pointless to run unless you're trying to complete triumphs and unlock the Raid's title. And when you consider that this is supposed to be Destiny 2's pinnacle endgame activity, it becomes clear that this is a big problem.
Adept Raid weapons just aren't good enough
Ultimately, the core reason why Master Raid rewards are underwhelming is because the weapons they drop are worse than the ones you can get from the regular version of the Raid and the weapon crafting system. While the Adept versions of Raid weapons that you get from completing encounter challenges on Master difficulty do offer minor stat boosts and the ability to equip them with Adept mods that provide additional bonuses, the ability to craft normal Raid weapons with enhanced perks makes them obsolete.
The sizable boost to the effectiveness and uptime of your perks that enhanced perks provide is simply more powerful and useful than the extra stats you'll get with Adept variants. There are a few situations where this isn't the case — someone that plays a lot of PvP might prefer a weapon they can use the Adept Range mod with, for example — but in the vast majority of cases, you're better off with enhanced perks.
The fact that the more difficult Master versions of Raids feel less rewarding than standard ones makes zero sense and feels pretty bad as someone that frequently plays Destiny 2's toughest content. I was hopeful that Bungie would improve Adept Raid weapons in some way since players frequently complained about this issue back when the Master Vow of the Disciple Raid came out, but sadly, nothing changed with the Master King's Fall Raid weapons.
You can get high-stat armor elsewhere
Another issue with Master Raid rewards is that the high-stat armor drops you can earn by completing encounters normally are significantly harder and less worthwhile to farm compared to alternative sources. While you're guaranteed to get armor drops that have high overall stats as well as lots of a specific stat, the stat focus is based on a weekly rotation, and the armor drops themselves can't be manipulated by an armorer mod on your Ghost Shell. You also can't get armor from Master Raid encounters more than once a week per character unless the Raid in question happens to be the weekly featured one.
Meanwhile, other sources of high-stat armor like completions of the Master Duality Dungeon, completions of other Raids and Dungeons, and Umbral Engram focusing work properly with armorer mods. This allows you to target farm armor pieces with specific stats whenever you want. Master Duality encounters can also be farmed infinitely, and it's not hard to stockpile Umbral Engrams and Umbral Energy to go on an armor focusing spree, either.
It's also unfortunate that Master Raid armor doesn't drop as Artifice armor. This unique type of armor offers an extra mod slot that makes it easy to keep your Destiny 2 builds in top form as seasonal mods rotate in and out of the game. However, Artifice armor is currently exclusive to Master completions of the Grasp of Avarice and Duality Dungeons. Perhaps Bungie wants Artifice armor to be the incentive that gets people to purchase Dungeon DLC, but adding it to Master Raids would at least give people a decent reason to run them.
So, what should Bungie do?
It's clear that Master Raids are in a tough spot due to their lackluster rewards, and some changes need to be made if they're going to be Destiny 2's pinnacle PvE activity moving forward. If some of the following changes were made, I think players would start to find Master Raids more appealing:
- Allow Adept Raid weapons to roll with enhanced perks.
- Alternatively, give players a way to "ascend" crafted Raid weapons into Adept ones by playing Master Raids.
- Create Master Raid-exclusive memento cosmetics that players can earn and equip on their Raid weapons.
- Allow players to manipulate Master Raid armor drops with stat-focusing Ghost Shell armorer mods.
- Allow Master Raid completions to drop Artifice armor.
- Alternatively, allow players to farm Master Raid encounters for armor infinitely.
Overall, it's just a huge bummer that Master Raids are as pointless as they are currently, and I hope some big improvements to their reward structure are coming in the future. Hopefully by the time Destiny 2: Lightfall and its accompanying Raid arrive, the Master version of it will actually be worth players' time.
Destiny 2's upcoming Lightfall expansion is slated to launch on Feb. 28, 2023 and costs $50. Lightfall preorders are available now, and if you choose to get your copy of it early, you'll get instant access to some bonus cosmetics and the Exotic Quicksilver Storm Auto Rifle. The DLC itself will introduce a brand new story campaign, a new location to explore and complete activities in, a new Raid, and more.
Destiny 2: Lightfall
The upcoming Lightfall expansion takes players to the neon-soaked city of Neomuna on Neptune and pits them against the fearsome Shadow Legion — all while the threat of Darkness pyramids, The Witness, and his new disciple Emperor Calus looms overhead.
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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.