Even back when details on the 'Vault of Glass' were sparse, it was clear that Bungie intended the Raid to be the first real test for a serious Destiny player — and over the weekend, the studio revealed that almost 500,000 players have already passed that test.
Pitched as the ultimate test for players within the base game, the 'Vault of Glass' challenges Guardians to assemble a 6-person team to tackle a lengthy mix of high-level combat encounters and some puzzle elements. Two things are essential for success in the 'Vault'; sufficient gear that you reach the level 26 requirement to even enter, and a party who are able and willing to work together as a team.
Bungie gave players a week to develop their characters in-game before the Raid was made accessible, and from the moment it was made available, the race was on to be the first team to complete it. Amassing huge audiences on Twitch and considerable buzz around the internet, the 'Vault of Glass' was resoundingly well-received, and did much to improve Destiny's standing with audiences after initial reviews were mixed.
The first group of Guardians to beat the 'Vault of Glass' took 11 hours to do so, but that record would soon be bettered. Within a few weeks, a team had conquered it in 37 minutes, and just last week we saw a two-man team manage to do the work of six. However, it's not that the Raid is easier than Bungie suggested that it would be — this is the work of expert players. The developers have said that the 'Vault of Glass' has been attempted by some 1,970,807 Guardians, so it's only about one in four that make it all the way through.
The players that do manage to clear it seem to hunger on for a greater challenge; almost half of them go on to attempt it on a higher difficulty setting intended for level 30 characters. Only 36,181 have accomplished this, perhaps making it the real gold standard for the game's elite.
We know that more Raids are on the way, with their presence in the two Destiny expansions currently announced revealed by a glitch two weeks ago. It will certainly be interesting to see how much of a step up from the 'Vault of Glass' they represent in terms of difficulty, especially given the frustrations of high-level players following the recent Iron Banner event.
End-game content is essential to a game like Destiny, and from the numbers having beaten the 'Vault of Glass' already, it seems that its something that players are hungry for. However, a big question remains: will its audience be willing to pay for expansions to gain access to additional Raids?
Destiny is available now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Its first expansion, 'The Dark Below', will be released in December.