by Paul Tassi

Destiny’s raid has been the source of much joy and frustration among players since its launch nearly a month ago. Joy for those who have gotten to experience and beat the most challenging, most innovative, most rewarding content of the game. Frustration for those whose schedules don’t allow them to organize a 6-man raiding party to beat a raid that can take anywhere from two to ten hours, depending on your skill level and knowledge of what’s inside.

I always wondered about how with Bungie’s lack of Raid matchmaking and how challenging the content is, how many players would actually attempt and complete the Raid in its current form. Now we have answers from Bungie themselves. Here are the vital stats (via the Bungie Weekly Update and Kotaku):

Destiny averages 3.2M players every day with an average playtime of 3 hours a day(!)

1,970,807 players have attempted the Raid on Normal

472,082 players have defeated the Raid on Normal

202,729 players have attempted the Raid on Hard

36,181 players have defeated the Raid on Hard

Honestly, this is more than I anticipated in all categories. 1.9M attempts out of 3.2M active players is a pretty solid ratio. So is 472K who have actually beaten it. That’s about 15% of daily active players who have beaten the Raid, meant to be the top-tier challenging content of the game. Given these numbers, it seems it’s working as intended.


And yet, I’m still convinced the Raid needs matchmaking, both in-game and out of game.

Out of game, there are a number of pretty solid third party sites that have sprung up which try to connect players together in order to form raiding or Nightfall parties. Destinylfg, ThatWizardCamefromtheMoon, and so on. Still, it is inexcusable that none of these sites were set up by Bungie themselves ahead of time when it was them who made the “friends only” matchmaking rule in the first place. A Bungie site would have the budget to be a lot more in-depth and effective than these third party sites (though they’ve done a great job), and should have existed from the beginning.

And yet, the problem remains with these sites that if you’re going online to try and find anywhere from 1-5 strangers to round out your team, why is there simply not randomized matchmaking in the game in the first place? Finding a group of strangers online is more or less randomized matchmaking itself, only stupidly annoying to organize compared to an automated in-game system.

I understand the downsides of Raid matchmaking which always come up each time this topic is raised. There’s little to stop you from getting throw into the game with lower level players or poorly communicative teammates, but honestly, that happens already regardless. And while sure, many match-made teams will likely disintegrate and most won’t reach end the end of the Raid, at least it would give players a chance to experience the content in a way that doesn’t force them to go on outside forums looking for a group, or sending random invites to everyone they see in the Tower. And I’m willing to bet that even randomly matchmade groups could grow to become a tightly knit team if they communicate and perform well. That’s already happened to me many times on matchmade Strikes, where I’ve stuck with the same group mission after mission, and had a pair of new friend requests waiting for me when I was finished. Why couldn’t that happen for the Raid as well?

Again, this comes down to something I was talking about earlier this week, that Destiny’s next update needs to be heavily social-focused, as it’s too hard to make friends effectively in the game.

I just don’t see the downside in inserting matchmaking into high level events like Raid, Nightfall and Heroic Strikes. Right now some players don’t get to experience this content at all because of those restrictions. With matchmaking, sure, it may prove to be more challenging and frustrating than with a tightly knit group of your buddies or max level strangers, but at least the challenge is presented, not avoided entirely. Worst case scenario you don’t beat the mission and you’ll come back another day, but at least you got to try. Best case you find a good group that you stick with until the end, and you’ll probably make a few friends after an ordeal so harrowing.

Even if these Raid numbers are higher than I may have anticipated, I still believe matchmaking is a must. There’s no point hiding what is far and away the best content of the game from half or more of your players due to arbitrary restrictions that require players to manually organize their own teams outside of the game.

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