This post contains no spoilers for Crota's End.
While the promise of new gear, story missions, and strikes was enough of a draw to have any player interested in The Dark Below DLC expansion for Destiny, most put their focus squarely on the game's new raid. Titled Crota's End, this second 6-player raid would send players into the depths of the Hellmouth on the Moon, and force them to come face to face with the Hive god Crota.
Having now descended to those depths and coming out relatively unscathed, it's hard to definitively say whether Crota's End is a better raid than the Vault of Glass. It's certainly different, but where completing each section in the Vault of Glass felt like a triumph of teamwork, getting through Crota's End feels more like luck... at least for now.
First and foremost, we should mention that although Crota's End is rated at a level 30 difficulty, most of the enemies are level 32. That means anyone under level 30 will have an extremely hard time surviving any firefight, let alone being able to do any appreciable damage. We wouldn't say it's impossible, but it may be best to consult our guide to getting level 30 before giving Crota's End a go.
Once players do decide to take the literal leap into Crota's End they are greeted with yet another unique cooperative experience. There was some concern going in that Crota's End might repeat some elements from the Vault of Glass, but that is not the case. In fact, some might argue that this raid has even more inventive mechanics at play. Once again, the raid forces players to rethink how the mechanics of Destiny work, and to tackle new puzzles with a fresh perspective.
Where Crota's End sets itself even further apart from Vault of Glass is in its difficulty. From beginning to end this is a challenging raid, with very little breathing room. The tougher enemies obviously play a major part in the difficulty, but so does time. And not just time in the sense that an action or enemy must be defeated in a certain amount of time – although there is a section like that – but also in that the team must be quick with specific actions. Time also works hand in hand with juggling tasks, be it clearing out enemies or completing certain actions. Crota's End is overwhelming in that sense, but as they say, practice makes perfect.
But again, luck will play a huge factor for those who do end up surviving Crota's End, at least for right now. We'd actually recommend trying to pick up some of the other legendary gear or raid gear (from earlier on in the raid) and leveling that up before trying to finish the whole raid. Obviously, players will want to jump headfirst into the raid, but it may be better to get the right gear leveled up first. More damage (both done to enemies and taken from enemies) plays a critical part in the team's success.
Crota's End may be one of the more satisfying experiences in Destiny, only time will tell. It's challenging to the point it feels impossible, but with a little cooperation and a fair bit of skill, players will make it through. And chances are once players have downed Crota, they'll want to do it all over again.
Have you ventured into The Dark Below? What have been your impressions of the new content?
Destiny: The Dark Below is available now for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina