Bungie is determined to bribe me into running Destiny 2's new raid this weekend

 Crota's end images
Crota's end images
Crota's end images
Crota's end images

Recently, my Destiny 2 clanmates and I took the healthy and responsible decision not to participate in the next raid race. The way things work in Destiny 2 is that for the first 48 hours of any new or reprised raid a modifier called 'Contest Mode' is active, during which time player power is capped 20 levels under the enemies in each encounter. Result: you deal less damage and take much more. For those who don't have a well-drilled fireteam and meta loadouts, the experience is bracing—particularly as fatigue creeps in, and the tempers of old gamers with decaying thumb skill begin to fray.

But there must be a sweet reward, right? Historically, not really. Unless you're serious about winning the race, the prize for which is a boxing-style championship belt for all six team members, then the reward for beating Contest Mode has been an in-game emblem for bragging rights. However, today the pot got sweetened substantially. In its latest This Week at Bungie post, the developer announced that beating Crota's End under Contest Mode will also enable players to skip what sounds like a substantial quest and instantly earn Necrochasm, the exotic weapon tied to the raid. Here's Bungie's full breakdown:

  • Players that acquire the Bottomless Pit quest from the raid vendor during the 48-hour Contest Mode period in Crota's End will have the quest automatically marked as complete and all rewards placed in their inventory immediately.

  • The quest does not require any currencies to purchase it.

  • Rewards will include Husk of the Pit, Eidolon Ally (fully Masterworked), and Necrochasm.

  • Players will notice they can acquire Essence of the Oversoul from completing raid encounters and Triumphs. This is required to complete the Bottomless Pit quest if they don't finish within the Contest Mode as well as to complete the weapon catalyst's objective for Necrochasm.

  • During the Contest Mode period, players who obtain the weapon catalyst will not be able to progress the objective on it, and it will statically show the objective progress at 20/35 Essence of Oversouls collected, regardless if they collect additional Essences.

  • After Contest Mode ends, all Essence of Oversoul that the player has acquired thus far will still be respected and the player may begin making progress on the catalyst objective, continuing from the number they previously acquired.

  • Players that acquire the Bottomless Pit quest after the 48-hour Contest Mode will have to complete the quest starting from the beginning to obtain the quest rewards.

I've been playing the game since day one to the tune of many thousands of hours, and reading those bullet points still gives me a headache. Acquiring the gun in Destiny 1 involved getting a random drop from the boss called the Crux of Crota, and then levelling up various inferior versions of the gun until it was fully transformed into Necrochasm. From what I can tell here, though, it sounds like you won't have to rely on RNG to start the questline in Destiny 2, and that a contest mode clear will skip you straight to the final reward.

Crota's end images
Crota's end images

That sounds quite a bit better than an emblem to me, and I was all ready to make a dramatic 'just when I thought I was out, you pull me back in' return to day one raiding. Unfortunately, my deadbeat clanmates don't share my enthusiasm. Something, something, kids, sleep, something. Anyway, I've had to go cap in hand back to my considerably more degenerate ex-clanmates to see if they've got room for me. I'm not optimistic.

Bungie has also released a list of the weapons, perks and mods which will be disabled in the raid whilst Contest Mode is active due to balance issues. Incredibly that includes the brand new Strand Titan aspect I was talking up for being so much fun in our interview with game director Joe Blackburn earlier this week, and Tessellation, a weapon only available as part of the $100 pre-order for next year's The Final Shape expansion. I'm not sure whether that's actually due to a balance problem or if Bungie just wants to nix any potential pay-to-win criticism. Here's the full list:

  • Tessellation Exotic Fusion Rifle

  • Warlock Weavewalk Aspect (currently disabled in all raids and PvP activities)

  • Titan Banner of War Aspect

  • Foetracer Exotic Hunter Helmet

  • Elemental Munitions Mod

Truly, I never thought I'd live to see Foetracer considered OP in any context, and I'm also shocked that the bugged Lucky Pants/Malfeasance combo didn't get put on the naughty step.

For those who prefer to watch along rather than get their own asses beat, Bungie is providing an exclusive emblem (not the same as the contest mode one) for players who watch at least two hours of the raid via the Twitch Rivals channel or another approved streamer. Crota's End will kick off at 9:30 AM PT on Friday 1 September. As this is a reprised raid—ie it's being brought back from Destiny 1 and updated—to fully clear Contest Mode, teams also need to complete a series of challenges (one per encounter) over the course of a second run. Honestly, that's probably the biggest reason my crew are refusing to run until Sunday.

Despite being widely considered as the easiest of Destiny 1's raids, so much so that it started the trend of players doing daft stuff like beating the boss solo using a drum kit, I expect Bungie to have punched up the design in order to bring it in line with our power crept abilities and gear. Speaking of which, the loot table has been completely data-mined. Spoilers, obviously, but there are some great perk combos on these guns.

The Destiny 2 version of Crota's End also drops the Age of Triumph version of the armor, which means it's adorned with glowy green spikes. The ornamented version was actually designed by Christopher J Wright at Vicarious Visions, who said: "The goal was to take the existing armor and make it appear that energy from within was so great it couldn’t be contained causing it to explode out of the existing armor." It is, without question, some of the best-looking gear in the whole series.

Or in other words: Won't somebody please carry me this weekend?