Feature Gaming Interviews

Interviewing Ardent’s Destiny 2 Day-1 Raiders

In March 2022, Destiny 2 released their newest content update, The Witch Queen. Hungry for success and glory, fireteams all around the world rushed to defeat the enemies that laid within the newest raid that was released on the wee hours of March 6th. With a sound strategy on how to approach the new raid, Ardent fireteams started hours later at sunrise, Singapore time.

Fast forward hours later and we’re incredibly proud to say that a fireteam has emerged victorious with a Day-1 completion title. I speak to clan founder MillionTears4You and 2 of the fireteam’s members, Mionzen and Burden about their experience.

Ilhammi: Hey guys! Ok let’s start by introducing yourselves a bit!

Million: Hey everyone! I started the Destiny 2 clan 4-5 years ago. Currently the clan has at least 80 active members. 

Burden: Hi guys, so as the name says, I’m a Burden. Recently I was also appointed as the clan mascot. I’m a university student from India, and I’m going to be moving to Japan next week.

Ilhammi: Burden, relax. This is a a chill interview, this isn’t a rehearsal for a job interview ok.

Burden: Hahahaha ok. Right, so I was actually in Singapore playing Destiny 2 when we got the Day-1 achievement. I was at Mionzen’s place raiding beside him.

Mionzen: Hi everyone, I’m Mionzen. I’m originally from the Philippines; been living in Singapore for the past 10 years. A group of 4-5 friends and I are constantly looking for people to play the game with and it hasn’t always been easy finding people to play the game with, especially in Southeast Asia. I chanced upon a Facebook ad by Million and that was how we got around to getting to know each other. My friends and I joined him and as the clan grew in numbers, I was given the chance to be a part of the admin team in the clan as well.

Ilhammi: So let’s talk about the race itself. What kind of preparations did you guys make before the release of the raid and what was the mindset going into this raid for you?

Mionzen: So this isn’t the first Day-1 completion attempt that we’re attempting. Destiny 2 introduces a Day-1 contest every time a new raid is released. Over the past 2 years Burden and I have tried to achieve this feat. Burden tried for it 2 years ago and I tried for it last year. This year we really wanted to see if we could do it. It started with first choosing players that we were comfortable playing with. In Destiny 2 there were activities in the game that are deemed some of the hardest to complete, called Grandmaster. Together with one of our members GalaxyVanana, Burden and I built our chemistry together. Burden then reached out to some members who were more PVP-focused and through playing the game together, we then realised that as a team, we stood a fighting chance to achieve Day-1 completion.

Burden: The raid is released 3 weeks to 1 month weeks after the content update. Together with the update also comes a new level  cap, weapons and armor. For me, I essentially ‘no-life’ played my way through the start of the expansion. I rushed through as much as I could because I knew that I was going to be traveling to Singapore one day before the raid was released. Knowing that there was a deadline in mind, I rushed through as much as I could to prepare so that I could enjoy my trip to Singapore. Overall, we did our prep work as a team, and most importantly, we had fun together, through the preparation stages and during the raid release time itself.

Ilhammi: So Million I understand that you were unavailable to take part in the Day-1 race for this raid yes due to your busy schedule.

Millon: Yes! Ever since towards the last season of Destiny 2, I’ve taken a backseat role to management of the clan due to real-life commitments like baby, pets etc. I’ve given more control to the admins and the senior members of the clan. They’ve been helping out a lot!  I’m very proud of what the clan has achieved, especially after the past attempts for the achievement.

Ilhammi: Oh yes, I think you mentioned that you were very close to getting the achievement for the previous raid yes?

Million: Yes, that was Deepstone Crypts. The boss’s health was so little you could barely see its HP on the health bar. We really missed Day-1 by only a bit. We sent 2 teams during that raid if I can remember correctly.

Mionzen: That’s correct. Million was with Burden and I was in another team. We also missed it by a little bit only. 

Burden: Yeap, both teams were communicating with each other and we were sharing strategies, pointers and tips with each other. 

Ilhammi: Ah, so there wasn’t any competition where one team would hide strategies from the other to get ahead.

Mionzen: Oh no no, we worked as a clan, and we really were just rooting for at least one fireteam to get the achievement, as long as the team was from Ardent.

Ilhammi: That’s great! Now back to the current content update, now that you guys have come out from the raid victorious, what are some thoughts you have about the raid, or content update as a whole?

Burden: So this year Bungie actually decided to make the raid more accessible for players. I honestly felt dissatisfied about how low the entry requirements were to enter the raid. I was in a call in a Mionzen and Raiivenex. We were talking about how low the entry requirements were. It was quite surprising to see that you could just complete the main story and you’d have been adequately ready for the raid. This was quite different from previous content updates where you really had to grind your way to be raid-ready. I was expecting something like that. I essentially overprepared.

Million: So the raid was released coincidentally, on my birthday as well. This was another reason why I wasn’t able to take part in the raid. I was playing super casually during that period and even then, I found myself being ready in-game for the raid.

Ilhammi: More often that not when a developer makes a game more accessible to allow a larger player base to enjoy the game’s content, you definitely will get some pushback from players especially who are more… passionate and hardcore? This happened personally to the community in World of Warcraft. Some players were unhappy that content was made too easy, while others are just happy that they, as casual players can enjoy the game. While

Million: Yes I understand where Bungie is coming from. They’re trying to make content more inclusive for the entire community.;

Mionzen: For me I’m looking at this from two perspectives. The first is from a player like Burden who essentially ‘no-life’ played the game right off the expansion’s release. He didn’t get any reward for doing so and there wasn’t any info from Bungie about the requirements until a week before the raid’s release. By that time we were already prepared enough for the raid. While I do feel it’s a bit unfair, I do feel this is a step in the right direction, because overall we didn’t need to stress ourselves too much over preparing for the raid. We could relax a bit.

Ilhammi: Let’s talk about the start of the race itself, the minute the raid was released!

Mionzen: So we approached this raid differently this year. What Bungie does is that raids are released accustomed to US timing, which is in Singapore time, 1AM. When we attempted the previous raids we started on the dot at 1am. We would adjust our body clocks prior. For someone like me who is already working, that is incredibly hard and stressful on the body to do. Also, what we noticed is that for our previous attempts, we would play till 8am and everyone would be very tired by then. With this raid, we decided to start at 7am. What this meant was we had 18 hours instead of 24 hours which a team who started at 1am would get.

Ilhammi: Wow, were you guys stressed that by the time you lost?

Burden: While this was seen as a disadvantage, we did see some advantages from this decision. When we started at 7am, the advantage we had was obviously, being in a better headspace, having better energy from the rest we got before. Also, we had hours of data prior to work with, from Reddit, watching streamers who have been attempting the raid before. So every time we got stuck, we actually had information to work with. 

Ilhammi: Wait a minute, Burden weren’t you out the the night before the raid? No need sleep ah?

Burden: So I got about half an hour’s worth of sleep. I woke up at 4:30am and I realised that I had to head over to Mionzen’s place at 6am. I took a shower and I think the anticipation of everything got to me; I just stayed up to watch videos, streams etc.

Mionzen: For me I was able to sleep peacefully, because I knew people like Burden would be awake earlier and then I could dissect what was given to me.

Million: Good use of team mates! 

Ilhammi: I know it was your birthday as well, but you did tune in when you could!

Million: Yes I did tune in to streams, and I realized that there were connection issues that held back progress. No one made any real progress until 2-3 hours after the raid was released. Ardent really made a good choice to start later.

Ilhammi: Yes what a great decision indeed. So tell us more about the raid itself, the structure etc.

Mionzen: So the raid consists of 4 encounters. In Destiny 2, encounters can be either presented as boss fights or puzzles. 

Burden: We realised that after clearing the 1st encounter, our DPS wasn’t enough for the 2nd and we took a break over lunch to discuss. Mionzen and I had Ramen for lunch. It was during lunch also that we had a very good discussion reviewing everything and that played an important role in progressing through the raid. 

Million: I was keeping tabs still on everything that was going on via Discord. Mionzen was streaming as well and I was tuning in from time to time. I remember I was having dinner when the raid team cleared the final boss and I was so glad to be present during that time. Some of us were in our own channels really just cheering them on!

Ilhammi: That sounds really epic. Are there any notable moments from the entire race that you wanted to bring up?

Mionzen: So one decision that proved to be really important was the breaks we took. We really only managed to clear the 2nd encounter through taking a proper break. That allowed us to really sit down and discuss properly instead of just attempting the encounter over and over again. I remember that we took a break for lunch and after several adjustments, we cleared the 2nd counter 15 minutes after coming back into the game. This was also for the 3rd encounter. We realized it’s more important to take a break when we felt too stuck.It helped everyone relax better.

Million: You all should write a Day-1 raid guide on how to raid healthily. It’s actually very common for players to bang the wall repeatedly and burn themselves out. It was really healthy for Ardent to adopt a more balanced strategy to take breaks and breathers in between.

Ilhammi: Were there any heated moments during the raid attempts?

Mionzen: It’s funny you would ask that. Whenever we sensed that one player was getting hot-headed, it wasn’t a case of him getting angry at our inability to execute well but rather at the developers for making raid mechanics that seemed unfair. The environment was actually very healthy; there wasn’t any personal negativity towards any of the other players and we were confident in each others’ ability to perform. 

Ilhammi: Sooo Burden, you mentioned that you enjoy the healthy environement that the Ardent clan provides yes?

Burden: Yes.

Ilhammi: Even though Million makes jokes about you half the time.

Million laughs.

Burden: Ahhhh that. That’s like a daily thing now.

Million: Yes it’s been 4 years, he has to get used to it haha!

Ilhammi: So wait, how did the name Burden come about?

Burden: Right. During my console days my gamer tag was essentially my real name. Moving into PC 2 years ago (I’m a PC newbie) I realised to my surprise that my name was taken. I literally went ‘bruh, who took my name’  haha! I remember being in a call with Raiivenex and I don’t remember how but somehow I remember calling myself a burden and Rai recommended that I call myself Burden. I said why not and… well here we are.

Ilhammi: And… Mionzen, how did your name come about?

Mionzen: Oh, this has been my gamer tag since my days with the Xbox 360. It’s a play on my real name actually, haha.

Ilhammi: I see. So we’ve got a name that is founded from sentimental values and history and another that just came about because your name was taken…

Burden: Yes. Haha. 

Mionzen: It really is quite funny, because the name really stuck. When he was in Singapore, I was still calling him in Burden. People were looking at me wondering ‘why are you calling him a burden’.

Ilhammi: Exactly! Million actually introduced me to Burden as Burden and I honestly didn’t know how to address you.

Million: In my phone he’s known as Burden as a contact too so.

Burden: I actually just introduce myself as Burden as well to other people. If you meet me online and you tell me your real name I’ll just introduce myself as Burden. Even sometimes in real life.

Ilhammi: Haha! Now, tell us what happened at the final moments before you downed the final boss.

Mionzen: Right, so we took quite a long break before the kill itself. We spent quite a bit of time optimizing right down to the smallest detail, adjusting our strategies. We were very shocked at the amount of damage we were dealing through those adjustments. We were dealing so much more damage as compared to our previous attempts.  We then knew that we had it in the bag. All we had to do was concentrate.

Burden: I remember when we killed the boss, I saw Mionzen banging his table in excitement. Because I was at Mionzen’s place I controlled myself; I didn’t want to break anything! But yeah I could see Mionzen banging his table and it was pretty intense.

Ilhammi: Congratulations once again! What did you guys do after the raid then? Did you guys go for supper or.

Mionzen: Actually, we cooled down after doing another raid.

Ilhammi: Whut.

Mionzen: Yes! But because the one we did after was a simpler one where we knew the mechanics, everything was like clockwork and we took the time to review and discuss the new raid itself!

Burden: Also, there was another team that was still attempting the raid and we supported them however we could to get them to finish the raid.

Million: Yeah, they were so close to Day-1 though!

Ilhammi: What have you guys been busy with then since completing the raid? I understand that Burden you’re busy preparing for your move to Japan and Mionzen you’re working yes? Do you work from home? 

Mionzen: Yes, my client is overseas and the company isn’t really allowing me to travel yet so I’m at home.

Ilhammi: Ah, that means you do get quite a fair bit of time to play the game.

Mionzen: Err… Yes. I’m not sure I should be admitting here how much I play the game but… yes. Haha.

Burden: There are times when I log on to the game and I see Mionzen and I ask him if he wants to do anything and he says ‘no I can’t, I’m in a meeting’.

Million: See, good multi-tasking.

Ilhammi: Wrapping up, is there anything you want to add on in review of the whole raid as a whole?

Mionzen: We talked about this during the cooldown raid, and we actually unanimously agree that this is one of the best-designed raids. One thing that Destiny 2 has to balance is really balancing an MMO with an FPS. Most of the bosses in the past weren’t as exciting considering they’re not as mobile. The boss mechanics this time were done very well, there were a lot of things to do. We had to memorize more patterns etc. It felt almost souls-like, kinda?

Ilhammi: Yes I was thinking of that actually! Did you pick up the Elden Ring game?

Mionzen: Yes, I just picked it up not too long ago, failing miserably actually haha!

Ilhammi: … Why do you do this to yourself. Burden?

Burden: So I’ve actually finished all the Souls games. Bloodborne I’ve finished, I finished Sekiro 2 months ago as well.

Ilhammi: But… you’re called Burden. You can play games like that…?

Burden: I’m going to sound like I’m boasting but I don’t really find the games that… hard.

Ilhammi: Whut…. Fine this sounds like Million. He takes a glass and tells people ‘it’s not even really that hard.’

Million: It’s like F1 what. Just turn left and right only.

Ilhammi: Oh you’re going there now! 

Burden: But yeah, I’m really only playing Destiny 2 now. Other than that I’m working on my real-life stuff. I do volunteer work as well and that amongst other things are keeping me busy. I play Destiny 2 now just to unwind when I reach home.

Mionzen: Before the expansion release I was playing Horizon Forbidden West!

Million: I am busy playing… the Game of Life. Now that I’m back in office, there’s alot less time to play the game. I come back home, do chores, housework etc. I have to now rely on Mionzen for quick updates so that when I do have time to play, I can condense everything into what little time I have at the end of the day.

Ilhammi: It was really nice talking to everyone today! Any last words before we end off? 

Million: I can see that the clan is very progressive. The clan started out with the aim for Day-1 and now that we have one Day-1 team and the 2nd very close to achieving it, we hope to see more Day-1 teams in future!

Mionzen: Yes, this will definitely not be the only Day-1 raid you’ll see. We hope to strive for more Day-1 achievements in the near future!

Ilhammi: Any advice for new players intending to try the game?

Burden: So what I realised when you log into Destiny 2 is how the game throws so much at a new player; it can get overwhelming. A lot of people who try out the game for the first time actually stop the game shortly after trying it because they get overwhelmed and lost.

Million: I’d say play at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself with players who have been playing the game for years. You’ll get burnt out and also, don’t sacrifice your real-life commitments for the game! Find a group of people that can play and enjoy the game at your pace.

Mionzen: Yes so a mixture of what Million and Burden said; I can relate via a real-life experience. My friend who was a Final Fantasy XIV player tried out the game and like what Burden said, felt quite overwhelmed because Destiny 2 doesn’t have very clear waypoints for new players. Through guiding him personally, he’s actually more progressed in the game now; he’s of a higher level than me and he’s stuck through in Destiny 2! 

Ilhammi: And that wraps it up! Thank you so much for your time guys; it was really fun getting to know you guys through this interview!