Destiny raids are the bread and butter of the series for a great many players. And you’d be hard pressed to find a bad one in Destiny 2! After years of developing the six-player activity in the first game, Bungie really found its footing in the sequel, delivering a great gaggle of group activities this time around. But everyone has their favorites — and their least favorites. Which is what we’re here to work through today. Welcome to our list of every Destiny 2 raid, ranked from worst to best!
“Worst to best” is obviously subjective. In general, we at Fanbyte are actually great fans of all the raids in both Destiny and Destiny 2. And the line is only getting blurrier as Bungie rolls content into and out of its “vault” system. Old raids return; newer ones depart. But we’re going to go over each and everyone that gets modernized for Destiny 2 using a variety of metrics. That includes how important the raids are today, how they felt at the time, what gear you get from them, how buggy they are, how difficult they are, as well as that general wow factor of cool mechanics and beautiful vistas. All of these raids incorporate some measure of these elements — but a few of them sport that special blend that truly wows (or wowed) us.
Also make sure to check out our Destiny 2 Dungen rankings, here.
So let’s take a look! Here are the worst and best Destiny 2 raids, ranked in that order.
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Spire of Stars
Spire of Stars is simply too much. It was introduced as a “Raid Lair,” or a supposedly shorter, simpler endgame encounter before Bungie dropped that branding and made raids easier altogether. But the expectations set by the name just don’t meet reality. Spire of Stars is a pain in the ass. Well, part of it is.
The first three encounters are fine. The chief gameplay loop is playing hot potato with a magic basketball. If anyone holds it too long, they die. If anyone inhales supercharged smoke without touching the ball for too long, they die. It’s actually pretty fun when you get the rhythm down! But the final boss requires you execute on that rhythm perfectly, and memorize various symbols, and deal with random buffs. Then you still have to kill what was once a very challenging boss.
Because it’s such a hassle, and most of the loot isn’t worth it anymore, it’s hard to get a group together for Spire of Stars. The problem is that one of the best Exotic Catalysts in the game — an upgrade for the once dominant Sleeper Simulant — is locked behind the even more challenging Prestige mode… Ugh.
Eater of Worlds
Eater of Worlds is a fun way to close out the night. It’s easily the easiest raid (or in this case Raid Lair) in Destiny history. But sometimes that low-impact six-player activity is just what you need to bring the gang together. Vex clogging up the garbage disposal of the Leviathan is a clever, if low-stakes setup with some attractive set pieces to boot. Sadly the same can’t be said of the gear… Titans in particular get some Big Bad Beetleborgs lookin’-ass armor that doesn’t stand up to other, sexier equipment. Eater of Worlds is irrelevant in almost every sense of the word, but a relaxing way to introduce newbies to raid mechanics.
Crown of Sorrow
Crown of Sorrow isn’t terrible. It’s just not terribly great, either; a perfectly middle of the road raid released during arguably the greatest season of Destiny content so far. Gahlran, the giant baby boss you battle in the bowels of the Leviathan, has some neat visuals. Tricking him into hitting himself feels good. But by the time he rolled around we had seen so much of the Leviathan and Hive minions he manipulates already. Not to mention the marquee Exotic he drops, Tarrabah, is just a pretty divisive submachine gun. It’s no One Thousand Voices or Anarchy — that’s for sure.
The first and for a while only Destiny 2 raid, Leviathan kicked things off in most opulent fashion. The whole thing is themed like a filigreed game show. Wherein Guardians fight to amuse his majesty, Emperor Calus, on his quest for endless indulgence. Leviathan isn’t the hardest raid in the game. As a result, neither is it the most rewarding. But it’s damn memorable. Calus is one of the best characters in Destiny lore: a socially progressive space emperor warped by visions of a dying universe, who now turns planets into wine and demands everyone party till doomsday. That is until he meets the player characters, and grows so enamored with their entertainment value that he begins writing fanfic about them.
Leviathan itself has a fantastic reveal, too. In the end, raiders discover the “Calus” they beat is actually one of several thousand robots built to fight you over and over again for the ruler’s amusement. It gives an in-game reason to run the same mission over and over again — a concept revisited in Last Wish. And who could forget the “ding” of shooting goblets out of each bot’s hand to start the final encounter?
I want to love Last Wish more than I do. Truly! It’s a fantastic location with some extraordinary boss battles. In many ways it reminds me of King’s Fall from the first game — featuring some of the highest highs in the series, burdened by interminable cruft. Last Wish is long. It’s exhausting. So is it any wonder almost nobody plays it the way it was intended? I refuse to believe anyone ever has — instead opting to glitch through the signature skirmish entirely.
Yes. You can’t talk about Last Wish without addressing the Riven bug. The final boss of the battleground is a complex mass of calling out eyeballs to pop with a Scout Rifle, blasting boils as you fall through the void, and looking into another universe to decipher glyphs. Except… nobody ever does that. Instead, they brute force the wish dragon by glitching through walls and wailing on her with swords. This has gone unaddressed since Last Wish launched in 2018. And, as someone who likes to actually engage with unique mechanics in Destiny, it’s kind of a bummer.
At the same time, trudging through three major puzzles, two boss fights, and an extended platforming sequence means I understand the impetus to skip ahead. Plus, after you “beat” Riven, you’re still not done. I can’t blame anyone for breaking the game when it’s so easy.
Scourge of the Past
Bungie is batting a thousand with Fallen raids. While the faction has almost never felt like a central threat, right up until the Beyond Light expansion, their raids act as wildly unique side stories — classic sci-fi diversions from the usual Destiny space magic. Wrath of the Machine was a standout raid from the first game. And Scourge of the Past is one of the most one-of-a-kind in Destiny 2.
It kicks off with a manhunt through the Last City. We almost never get to see this environment in Destiny, despite its supposed importance, and letting us actually fight through it adds that much more weight. The intro is followed by a death race against a flaming eyeball, a tank battle, and finally a showdown with a goddamn Metal Gear. Much like the Mad Max-inspired zamboni ride from Wrath of the Machine, we simply don’t get these sorts of moments anywhere else in the game. It’s rare to see wholly unique enemy designs, even as raid bosses, rather than overgrown Strike bosses Rita Repulsa’d to five times their normal size. But Scourge gives us one of the best. Plus it gives out Anarchy: one of the best Exotic weapons in the game.
Garden of Salvation
Garden of Salvation was a fitting final raid before Bungie announced it would start “vaulting” old content. It’s a charcuterie of the very best elements from the game’s first era: a gorgeous locale, uncommon mechanics, reasonable length, and a stellar exclusive Exotic. Plus the armor has glowy bits. Destiny players love glowy bits.
Seriously, though, Destiny should give out gear that looks forged from your enemies’ corpses more often. It works in Monster Hunter, and it worked with the sorcerous items from the first game. And boy does it work in Garden of Salvation. Not to mention Divinity, the Trace Rifle you can only get by completing an optional puzzle throughout the raid, is more than just your “big damage doer.” It’s a support weapon — one that makes allies deal better, more consistent damage, or (in the case of Xenophage) even adds new functionality. Destiny can always use more out-of-the-box toys like that.
The one and only downside to Garden of Salvation is that the Vex… aren’t the most interesting antagonists. Don’t get me wrong! They have a cool back story. They’re milky mech pilots that decided to invent religion out of logic. But their hive mind means they lack personality. We’ve yet to hear a Vex talk shit to us like Oryx, or Eramis, or Ghaul. So it’s not quite as satisfying when we wend them packing back to the Darkness. The Sanctified Mind still looks cool as hell, though, and that’s worth something.
Special Mention: Vault of Glass
Vault of Glass is, appropriately enough, the first raid to come out of the content vault. It’s not actually in Destiny 2 at the time of this writing. But I ran it enough in the first game to have some pretty fond memories. Its time travel mechanic was incredibly novel for its… well, time. Though the Gorgon’s Labyrinth can go to hell. As can all stealth sequences in Destiny. The rest of the area, however, was a damn good first try at raids that helped carry the game for months after its release. I’m mighty curious to see how (and even if) Bungie updates it for modern players — whether with enhanced mechanics, new loot, and/or extra story.