Celebrating World First for Destiny 2: Lightfall's New Root of Nightmares Raid

Mar 15, 2023 - Hippy

We did it, fam. Another World First race has come and gone, this time with a brand-new experience with the Root of Nightmares (what’s up, RoN?) raid. As with all raid races in the past, conquering RoN was a global effort. Fireteams from all around the world filled up those water bottles and grabbed their best buds to see who the winning team could be to complete the newest raid first. It was a close race! Lots of hopeful fireteams shot their best shot when aiming for that coveted belt. You know how it goes, though. Only one team can win, and oh, did they win.

For today’s celebration of World First, we’re breaking down some juicy numbers from the 48 hour Contest Mode period this past weekend, and we’re sitting down with the winning team to learn more about what it feels like to cross that finish line. Before we dive into an interview with the new winners donning grins of pride, let’s check out those stats about what went down when the race for World First went into full-speed-ahead mode.

How Good 'Ol RoN Faired

Now that we have a winning team crowned and validated, let's break down some stats from those first 48 hours:

  • Total players that entered the raid:
    • 582,428
  • Total hours spent in the raid:
    • 4,550,022
  • Total Guardian deaths:
    • 84,177,812
  • Players that cleared Cataclysm:
    • 361,633
  • Players that cleared Scission:
    • 315,036
  • Players that cleared Macrocosm:
    • 249,731
  • Players that cleared Nezarec:
    • 197,694
  • Unique players that cleared the full raid – i.e., players that got all 4 reward events:
    • 190,459

So basically, we have a lot of emblems to giveaway, and quite a few raid jackets to dole out. For those that do get emails (we're still working on that), you'll want to keep an eye out for the next Bungie newsletter. In that, we'll be breaking down your own #RaidComplete report to see all those triumphant moments and those hilarious times y'all managed to yeet yourselves off of various map edges. Impressive.

But wait, there's more. And by more, we mean some sweet, sweet art.

There is no Nezarec, Only RoN

We love seeing all of the art y’all are sharing in response to Root of Nightmares, especially the dad bod appreciation posts. We just wanted to share a few of our favorite submissions from you all to celebrate another World First in the books.

Get to Know the Newest World First Champs: Team Hard in the Paint

Now, let’s dive into bragging rights territory. Enter Team Hard in the Paint, the proud fireteam that can forever claim their spot as the ones who beat Root of Nightmares before anybody else once the latest raid made it out into the wild. And by wild, we mean... just the game. Anyway. It’s an exciting time to be able to claim this sort of victory, so let’s celebrate, shall we?

Warning for mild encounter spoilers.

Congrats on your impressive win! How does it feel to know your team was able to be the first to cross that finish line?

Osiris: I think I can speak for everyone when I say that clearing this raid while believing we were first was a feeling we'll all remember for years to come. After coming so close to getting World First multiple times—being just minutes away from first place in the past—makes the race feel almost like a double-edged sword. At the end of the day, there’s no silver or bronze trophy, so when we got second or third in other races, it sometimes felt a little soul-crushing, but that’s the nature of competition.

On the other hand, it was very motivating knowing we had what it takes to win, and this made me want to try even harder next time. When I saw the official Destiny tweet go up with all of our names on it, I felt so proud of this team that I couldn’t help but scream at the top of my lungs. All of our hard work finally paid off, and we could not be happier to have the title of World First Root of Nightmares.

What do you think your team had that was special that made this win possible?

Kai: I think our team has always excelled at learning and executing new mechanics, as well as being very good at adapting and communicating when something goes wrong. This allows our team to reach damage phases more consistently. For example, once we figured out how to start damage on the planet boss, in that same attempt, we ended up beating the encounter in that same attempt.

Outside of the raid, I think our team succeeds because we all trust each other. We think about each encounter differently and listen to each other's ideas without going back and forth on if it is right. Some people on our team slay every enemy as soon as they spawn (even red bars, you’re going down) because they trust that the others will figure out the mechanics. We've had this team since Vault of Glass came to Destiny 2, but circumstances never let our full fireteam play a day one together until Root of Nightmares. With all of the pieces in place, our confidence in this race was through the roof. We all knew we were good enough to win, and we just hit a flow state for the whole day.

What drives you to compete in WF year after year? Do you see yourself stopping anytime soon?

SK: What pushes us to compete each year is a combination of a shared belief in our team's ability to win and the fact we're all close friends. Hard in the Paint was initially formed as a team comprised of members of several Destiny clans with no goal of competing for World First. In our first raid together, Vault of Glass 2.0, we far surpassed our expectations and finished second place. With the belt seemingly in reach, we've been driven ever since to push the limits of Destiny and play cleaner than other teams. Many of us have competitive backgrounds from either playing sports growing up or playing other video games at a high level, so it seems natural we would continue that trend in Destiny raid races.

Since many of us have been playing Destiny for several years, we have grown to cherish the game as something where we get to spend time together. For us, raid races are just another occasion to get excited to hop on and play as a group. The long-lasting memories we make during these raids are a huge part of what keeps us coming back to compete. If it weren't for the tight-knit group of friends I’ve made from playing this game, I think my experience would be entirely different and I would probably be doing something else.

What's the highlight for you and your team when winning something like this? Any pitfalls?

SK: The highlight of the raid was realizing we had finally done it. After finishing Nezarec, we felt pretty good about how fast we beat the raid, and we hadn't gotten any messages telling us other teams had cleared. Last year in Vow of the Disciple, some of us thought we won right as we killed Rhulk, only to learn shortly after that we were third by only fifteen or so minutes. I can't describe how it feels sitting in orbit looking at Twitter seeing early confirmations that our team won. It felt incredibly rewarding knowing our time spent preparing characters, loadouts, and testing weapons had finally paid off.

Another special part about winning World First in Destiny is the incredible support from clanmates, old friends, and the community. We got so many messages of encouragement that it was difficult to even respond to them all! It means the world to us to see everyone cheer on our team. Otherwise, I wouldn't say we’ve had too many pitfalls. There’s been some negativity toward our team on social media, but we don't necessarily care about that and keep to ourselves for the most part.

What was the hardest part of the raid for you and your team? Most frustrating, most rewarding?

Grangalf: The thing that took us the longest to figure out was how to actually move the planets during the third encounter. We realized pretty quickly that we needed to get all the light and dark planets on their respective sides, but we weren’t sure how to swap their positions. I think the thing that threw us off was how different that encounter was from the rest of the raid. The first two encounters, and the transitions between them, all took advantage of the ball mechanic. This was a cool departure from other raids that traditionally build on one or two mechanics over the course of the whole raid.

The only frustrating part was during the second encounter when we had a couple of wipes after we already had a grasp on how to complete the encounter. Those could have been avoided if we had played a little better. The most rewarding part of the race came during the third encounter when we finally figured out how to start the damage phase. We were able to finish up that encounter soon after.

What's your one tip to help WF attempters pursue their own goals of one day taking home that belt?

Punz: GRIND. Put in the time. Ever since a tangible reward has been tied to raids, the competition has been insane, and day one raiding is more accessible now than ever before. So, get yourself a team or a group of friends and start raiding. Build that chemistry, get that practice in. Try to pay attention to the meta, see what builds and guns top players are using. Next, test them. The best way to find out if something is good is to test it yourselves. Just make sure to get the tools you need to get the job done, and hope the hard work pays off.

Favorite moment from good ‘ol RoN?

Roen: Winning aside, my favorite moment in the raid was entering the full room and seeing the Macrocosm encounter for the first time. Visually, it's a remarkable room with all the planets floating and moving around. As someone that's always had an interest in astronomy, this was very cool to see represented in the context of a Destiny 2 raid. Macrocosm is also a unique encounter in terms of mechanics because, historically, a lot of raid encounters on a conceptual level tend to be very similar to each other. For example, some raids use symbols, plates, or relics as a mechanical foundation for all of their encounters. In Root of Nightmares, the encounter's uniqueness was very refreshing and thus difficult to problem solve. To me, these qualities made it the most memorable moment in the raid.

Before we let y’all go, one more question. If you could create your dream raid, no limits, what would that raid look like?

Hard in the Paint (team answer): Our dream raid would contain three boss encounters, one add-clear focused puzzle encounter, and an escape-type encounter. We enjoy encounters that focus on role variety, a good sense of urgency, and bosses that feel scary. Intriguing platforming sections are also something we want in our dream raiding experience.

When first loading into the raid, you should immediately see the full scale of the environment you are about to enter, as this is something we love from Destiny raids. The first encounter would be a boss fight which acts as a gatekeeper to the entire raid and sets expectations for future encounters, similar to Kalli in Last Wish.

After beating the first boss, the next encounter would take you from the entrance of the raid where you fought the first boss into the sections where the rest of the raid takes place. Imagine if the first encounter of Garden of Salvation took you all the way to the Consecrated Mind arena. This encounter should focus on solving puzzles and fighting enemies while moving as a group to immerse raid teams further into the playable space.

The third encounter would take you to the second boss's space, featuring novel mechanics not seen yet to take players by surprise. This encounter would not only feature a boss, but also include high tempo add pressure, occasional puzzle solving, and partial boss damage as players must traverse a sprawling landscape to pursue the boss and stay alive until a final arena is reached.

Following one last platforming section, you arrive at the final boss. We envision a giant room designed for players to feel like there is nowhere to hide. The boss towers over the entire room, looking down on players as the encounter goes on. The boss splits up players from their team, forcing them to survive as they are hunted by the boss one by one.

After the last boss, we'd have a climactic escape encounter to cap it all off. Our favorite conclusion to a Destiny raid has been Queenswalk because it’s the only encounter that happens after a final boss has been defeated. The dream raid would conclude this way since we think that moment of realizing “you aren’t done yet” is an awesome feeling and a truly memorable way to cross the finish line.

As a final note, we think Exotic quests add a lot to a raid’s flavor. Tasking the entire fireteam to find and solve hidden, side puzzles mid-raid to acquire Exotic weapons like Divinity and Outbreak Prime have been awesome parts of our Destiny raiding experiences. We would have a quest of similar nature so our dream raid could continue to create fun experiences for all types of players.

And that’s a wrap! A massive congratulations to the winning team and all of the teams that participated. If you haven’t checked out the newest Destiny 2 raid, then what are you even still doing here? Go, go! Go play, and we hope you have an absolute blast.

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